Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

vant of the crown to have misconducted him- sign the high office which he held in his self, such a pension may not be revokable? Majesty's councils, and yet this ready comIf it is, it ought to be revoked ; if it is not, pliance with your vote is stated by the hon. so much more the pity. Having taken up gentleman as an article of aggravation in the more of the time of the house than I at first charges against the noble lord. The hon. intended, I shall not longer intrude upon gentleman has made that act of the noble their attention, meaning to conduct myself lord a ground of accusation against him, and as becomes me towards the members of the seems to have considered his deference to house, and particularly those who agreed the authority of the house in the light of a with ine, and trusting that those who dis- subterfuge to evade or disappoint justice. agreed with me on a former evening, will What would have been the feelings and the agree with me this night, because there may animadversions of the hon. gent. what his be many who will now imagine, that the expressions of indignation and resentment, house, having come to the resolutions found if the house had met this day, lord Melville, ed on the report, ought not to stop short, instead of bowing to its decision, still conand may therefore concur with me in the tinuing to hold the office of first lord of the vote that lord Melville should be removed admiralty ? (A cry of hear! hear! from the from his majesty's councils. In this hope, opposition benches) Would he not have and with this view, and not meaning to be made that the ground of further and increasled away by my own suggestions, unless ed invective ? (Still a loud cry of hear!) I they should be supported by the house, and take for granted, from the symptoms on the without any desire of pressing the house to other side of the house, that the gentlemen a division, if it should appear that it is not, there assent to these assertions ; they would actuated by sentiments similar to my own, have considered lord Melville's continuance I shall conclude by moving, ". That an hum- in office as an aggravation of his guilt; and ble address be presented to his majesty, yet they now condemn him for his prompt praying that his majesty will be graciously acquiescence in their wish. What course pleased to remove lord viscount Melville from then is lord Melville to pursue to avoid their all offices held under the crown during wrath, if what he has done, according to the pleasure, and from his councils and pre- notification of my right hon. friend, be sence for ever.”—The question being put, made the ground of invective against him?

Mr. Canning rose, and spoke to the fol- and is this to be taken as a specimen of the lowing 'purport. However strongly the fairness of the motives upon which gentlehon. gent. who has just sat down has ex- men boast of acting, and of their imparpressed his desire that the house should on tiality in acting upon them? Sir, the hon. this occasion attend merely to the call of in- gent. has applied to me for information partial justice, and however desirous lie may whether I have dismissed Mr. Trotter from have been of disclaiming any other motives the employment which he held under me in for the course he has pursued, than what the navy pay office? I have told him that I proceeded from a wish to establish an exam- have done so. After the decision of the ple, such as may effectually prevent the re- house on Monday night, I could not have a currence of the like mischiefs and irregular-moment's hesitation. Some gentlemen ities in future ; I cannot help thinking, and thought proper on a former evening to aniI am pretty confident that many of those m:advert in terms of severity on my having who have heard the hon. gentlemau's retained Mr. Trotter in office, after the acspeech are of the same opinion, that, not- cusations, relative to which the house have withstanding his professions of moderation, decided, had been published against him. he has introduced such topics and spoken in But of my conduct in that instance, I trust such a tone, as prove him to have been ac- every candid man will approve. Mr. Trottuated by something more than the motives ter i considered on his trial, and whatever alleged, and indicate something much my own opinion might hare been of the namore bitter than appears to be warranted by ture of the charge against him, and the dethe nature of the case under consideration. gree of his guilt, it struck me that it would Gracious God! what measure of justice be extremely unfair to prejudice the public would the hon. gentleman deal out in this mind against his case, by dismissing him case? What is his object? In the interval under such circumstances. He stood in that has elapsed since the house last separat- such a situation that I could not feel it coned, lord Melville has, in deference to the sistent with public justice, to fix a seal of decision of this house, thought proper to re-intany upon the man by dismissing him

or

[ocr errors]

while his trial was pending. But the mo- nounced illegal, Mr. Wilson naturally supment the sense of this house was known, posed would implicate him in the peşalties when I no longer could prejudice a man applicable to the illegality of the transaction, whose guilt, till declared by a competent and on that ground alone he declined to ans tribunal, I should have felt it unfair to pre- swer the interrogatories of the commissionjudge by any act of mine, I removed Mr. ers. But although the charge of legal guilt Trotter; and my reasons for not removing might attach to this man, I believe that he him before that sense was known, will, I is perfectly free from any imputation on the have no doubt, be deemed satisfactory by score of morality, Still, though I entertain every dispassionate mind.—Nay, I have lit- this opinion of Mr. Wilson, if this house tle doubt that although a learned gent. (Mr. pronounced a different opinion, I should Ponsonby) remarked with such severity on bow to its authority, and remove him from my conduct on a former evening, that hon. office. But no such opinion has been degentleman himself will, upon a little reflec- clared, and I think him not at all fairly imtion, if he possess the mind and feelings of a plicated in the guilt attributed to the transBritish lawyer, be ready to confess that he action which led to this discussion. Why was wrong, and that to have taken a diffe- then should I comply with the wish exrent course from that which I have pursued pressed by the hon. gentleman ? with would have been unfair, tyrannical, and op- what justice could I sacrifice a man whom I pressive. With regard to Mr. Wilson, who conscientiously believe to be innocent, to holds a secondary station in the navy pay suspicion, or to clamour ; unless some new office-to him I do not conceive that any evidence should arise, or some competent imputation attaches, that would warrant me tribunal should pronounce Mr. Wilson in acting towards him in the manner which guilty ? I have not, I cannot have, any perthe hon. gentleman desires. On the con- sonal partiality for Mr. Wilson, whom I trary, I consider mír. Wilson to be one of know only as a clerk in my office : but I the most industrious and deserving servants will mete out a different measure of justice of the public. But, says the hon. gentleman, to this or any other man whom circumMr. Wilson is reported by the commission-stances may place in my power to what the ers as having given a reluctant testimony; hon. gentleman seems disposed to shew to as having refused to answer questions, lest lord Melville. But to return to the question ; they should tend to criminate himself. Sir, the hon. gent. has now renewed all the unthe conduct of Mr. Wilson before the com- fairness, and apparently forgotten and thrown missioners of naval inquiry has been thus aside all the fairness and moderation, of explained to me; and not to me only, but, which he thought it necessary to assume the if I am not much misinformed, to the naval semblance at least in the last debate. - He commissioners themselves, I speak in the has resorted to every means of aggravating presence of one of them (sir C. Pole), who his charge: he has collected every circumwill correct me if I am wrong, though they stance that could tend to give an unfavourhave not thought fit to report that part of able impression against the object of his acMr. Wilson's evidence. Mr. Wilson acted cusation, and has even construed the act occasionally, in the absence of the paymas- which was a mark of the noble lord's defeter, and used to sign drafts in the usual form rence to the house, and of his humiliation, on the bank, for the money wanted for the into an aggravation of his criminality. The office. If there was any legal guilt in the hon. gent, at one time calls particular parts manner of executing this part of the duty of of the tenth report dark and doubtful, which the paymaster, and that there was legal at another time he assumes to furnish clear guilt in it must not now be doubted, since and glaring evidence to aggravate the guilt of the house has so decided,, Mr. Wilson, so lord Melville. And he has travelled not only far as he acted in this respect for the prin- out of the charge itself, but out of the report, cipal, participated in that legal guilt, and into the whole range of party politics, into was liable, or thought himself liable, to the history of every action of lord Melville's whatever might be the legal consequences political life, to collect topics, which have of it. That he had ever acted with a view no natural relation to the subject properly to private emolument, has not been sup- before the house, and all calculated obviousposed or charged against him. His evi-ly to inflame the passions upon a charge dence upo: oath expressly denies that impu- which its advocates term an appeal to justation. The share which he had had, as tice.—The lion. gent. tells you, that the mosubstitute for another, in a practice pro- tion this night is nothing more than a conVor: IV.

Z

.

[ocr errors]

firmation of the vote of the former night. would challenge any man to produce an inBat the vote of the former night, as amend- stance where party prejudice has been found ed, only declared that the noble lord had to obstruct, or delay, or influence the proviolated the law, but it did not charge him motion of merit, whether political or mili, with having done so for private emolument. tary.-Sir, the hon. gent. has congratulated You have indeed recorded your opinion that his country on the extraordinary public virlord Melville has been guilty of a violation tue which has been manifested on this occaof the act of parliament, in consequence of sion. If he means the virtue displayed by which certain advantages have resulted to the house of commons; I cordially agree ancther person. But you have not said that with him. Whatever I may have presumed the noble lord has liad any participation of to think of the vote of Monday night, as such advantages, nor does any thing appear hasty or premature, no man more heartily to justify such an inference. I trust, there than I subscribes to the purity and integrity fore, that when the hon. gent. so trium- of the motives which dictated it. If the phantly declares his conviction that the hon. gent. means to compliment himself on house cannot act inconsistently with itself; the part which he has taken, on the part that it will not disappoint the just expecta- which he this night takes, in urging the tion of the country; I trust, sir, he will house to a rigour beyond the measure of jusnot find himself mistaken. The house will tice, and, I venture to affirm, beyond the follow

up

the vote of last night wich consis- measure of its own feelings of what is right; tency—that is, in the same sense and spirit I am far from presuming to deny his claim in which that vote was given. The house to that credit, for an exertion of virtue bewill not disappoint the opinion which the yond the ordinary rate of most men's capacountry has conceived of its justice, temper, city, and beyond the usual practice of the and wisdom, by first voting a man guilty of country and the times in which we live. a lesser offence (I do not mean to vindicate The hon. gent. must have gone far back into lord Melville, or extenuate the infraction of the times of ancient Greece and Rome to find the law for which you have held him respon- models of that sort of virtue. There he will

but an offence merely legal is less in have found, no doubt, that when a great the eyes of every man than the gross moral political delinquent was to be brought to jusguilt which the hon. gent. would now im- tice, and an appeal made to the people to pute to him, and which he would fain per aggravate the severity of punishment, the suade you, contrary to your own knowledge accuser was not generally found among those and recollection, you meant to impute to who had received any injury from the accushim yourselves), and then turning round ed; but among those whom he had served. and apportioning the punishment, not to the And, sir, when I look back to the proceedcrime of which it has found lord Melville ings of this house in the year 1795, when I guilty, but to all the foul aspersions and ag- recollect the serious charges which were then gravated charges which the hon. gent. has it brought forward against two most eminent this stage of the business thought it decent commanders, now members of the other to heap upon him; to which charges the house of parliament (and for their services house is no party; and which it not only well entitled to that distinction); when I did not sanction by its vote of the last night, recollect that in the debates which arose upbut upon deliberation refused to agree to on those charges, their most active defender, even an ambiguous and doubtful affirmation their most indefatigable advocate, was that of them.—The hon. gent. has disclaimed very noble lord who now is made the theme any other motive for his motion this night of the hon. gent.'s violence and invective, but a view to public justice. What has been and when I see that noble lord, now no already done towards that end? Is the state longer a ninister, already pulled down from of humiliation to which the noble lord has the high eminence on which he stood, and been redu'ed nothing? Is such an end to such prostrate at the feet of the house of commons, a political life nothing? Has not the noble no longer formidable from power or danlord already suffered quite enough to disarm gerous from influence; when I see him now, any set of men not actuated by the most after his political existence has ceased, after rancorous feeling of party enmity? And the crimes of his political nature (be they against whom is this enmity directed? what they may) have been severely visited Against one who never was himself suspect- upon him; when I see him now in this de ed of deserving the character of a bitter po- fenceless state persecuted and hunted down, litical antagonist. In any of the public si

--and by whom? by the friends of sir John tuations which lord Melville has occupied, I Jervis and the kindred of sir Charles Grey:

sible;

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a

I cannot, sir, refuse to the hon. gent. the thèy not call for the fullest investigation of praise of Spartan inflexibility, of more than every part of their conduct, and appeal to the Roman virtue : but while humbly and at a fair decision of the house? The right hon. distance I admire the exertion of these high gent. has spoken as if these noble persons qualities in him, I pray to Almighty God to received favours from the noble lord who spare me the pain of being ever called upon appeared in their defence; but I utterly disto imitate his example !

claim the existence of any such favours. Mr. Grey.--I rise, sir, under no incon- noble lord defended them because they had siderable share of embarrassment. I was in served with credit and honour those by some doubt, whether I should take notice of whom they were employed. This sort of the observations of the right hon. gent. at all. justice was due, not merely to their particuIt is, indeed, unpleasant to me at all times lar merits, but it was due to the country to enter into any thing in this house where whose interests they had promoted. Will I am personally concerned. With regard to the right hon. gent. opposite, who, on the whatever I or my hon. relation have done, I occasion when the motion for an inquiry do not feel that we have merited the reproof was brought forward, moved the amendof the right hon. gent., since I do believe we ment, say, that he did not seriously believe neither of us have any obligation to confess that the charge was unfounded—will he say to the zeal, impartiality, or ability of the no- that he was not convinced that their conble lord. The right hon. gent. accuses me duct, so far from being liable to censure, for the warmth I have displayed respecting was entitled to the highest approbation and this business, and in answer to this accusa- gratitude ? Am I then to be told that the notion it is only necessary to say, that I am ble lord who appeared in defence of the noquite unconscious of any such bitterness, and ble lords was conferring a favour on them, it would, I think, be rather difficult for the or any of those with whom they were conright hon. gent. to shew in what way it has nected ? Am I to hold myself under obligabeen evinced. He chooses to congratulate tions to the noble lord for a defence of those me and my hon. friend near me (Mr. Whit- gallant officers, whom he himself had embread) on our more than Spartan virtue in ployed, and who had signalized themselves roting against the noble lord, who, as he al in the public service? The right hon. gent., leges, was the champion of those who are however, takes some merit to the noble lord dear to us by the ties of blood or the con- for employing those who were known not nexions of friendship. He tells us th:t the to be in all cases favourable to the adminisbattle which the noble lord fought for these trat on of that period. Without dwelling on relations was disinterested, and he admires this point, or ascertaining how far the nothe return we have made for these magna- ble lords at that time differed from minisnimous exertions. This, sir, is a strange ters, it is sufficient for me to say, that to kind of language; but it will be proper for employ naval and military men of all difme to call the attention of the house to the ferent parties, is no proof of the moderation circumstances to which the right hon. gent. of ministers. They are compelled, whether has alluded. It is sufficiently in the recol- they will or not, to employ the e:vices of lection of the house that these noble lords those who are distinguished by the ir talents being in the service of government, received or their experience, and the minister who only bare justice from the ministers of the would act otherwise would soon find that he day. It will be recollected that among the could not long persevere in arrangements utfew instances of military glory which dis- terly repugnant both to the feelings of this tinguished the late war, the two noble lords, house and the country. It is hardly possitriumphing over difficulties of a very formi- ble to conceive ministers guilty of a greater dable nature, had eminently distinguished crime than refusing the services of persons themselves. On their return to this country of known talents, and to whose employment from the West Indies, some dissatisfaction the only existing o’jection is some differarose, and an inquiry was proposed by some ences of political opinion. But the right members of this house. What was the con- í hon. gent. has represented the defence of duct of these noble persons on that occasion ? ! those noble persons as a work of great diffiDid they fly from justice? Did they wish to culty. It is of consequence to see, then, elude inquiry, or did they discover any how the case really stands. Why, sir, as anxiety to conceal their conduct behind any nearly as I can recollect, though I do not remean or dishonourable subterfuge ? On the member what was the majority, only sixteen contrary, did they not court inquiry? Did members, that is the odd numbers on the di

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

w

vision of Monday, could be found to support | tions by some corresponding measures. Withthat charge now represented as so formida- out some others it is almost a nullity to sufble. The case was one of the plainest and fer the resolutions of Monday to remain on.' least intricate that can be supposed, and, the journals of the house. My hon. friend therefore, the noble lord's defence was, in has said, and has said with truth, that the nopoint of difficulty, trifling, and, in point of tification of the resignation of the noble lord justice, the noble lords had a right to expect by the right hon. gent. is far from satisfying it from those who employed them. I have either the house or the country. The rebeen obliged to say so much on this topic, signation of the noble lord, at another pefor, after what fell from the right hon. gent., riod, might have been very proper, but unit was quite impossible for me to have re- der the present circumstances of the counmained silent. Indeed, the right hon. try, his mere resignation of his situation as gent.'s allusion to this business was equally first lord of the admiralty is far from coming ill-judged and impolitic. It was calculated up to the spirit of those resolutions which to excite unpleasant feelings, without at all will afford such general satisfaction in every advancing that cause which he affected to part of the empire. Lord Melville's resigsupport. The right hon. gent. has alluded nation after the resolutions of Monday was to the warmth with which the noble lord has altogether a matter of course. Neither he been attacked; but, really, I am at a loss to nor any other man dared to have continued discover where the least evidence of it has in power after the opinion of this house was been exhibited. I have felt no personal so solemnly and so beneficially expressed. warmth or vindictive spirit on the subject, The resignation has taken place; but what and I am sure no part of the conduct of my security have we obtained that he may not, hon. friend has betrayed any appearance of in a very short time, be recalled to a very a rancorous spirit. I have supported my confidential situation under the crown ? The hon. friend from a sense of duty, and I only house will bear in mind that the noble lord - regret that I have been prevented from still continues a privy counsellor, and one taking that share in the discussion .which I part of my hon. friend's motion is, that he could have wished. The right hon. gent. be dismissed, not only from his majesty's talks of rancour, of which no trace has ap- councils, but from his presence for ever. It peared; but though there has been no ran- is not at the same time to be forgotten that cour, it was impossible not to feel strong in the noble lord at this time is actually in posdignation when instances of strong delin- session of several lucrative offices held during quency were discovered. My hon. friend pleasure ; and I do not think that, after the urged these delinquencies, with that force resolutions we have passed, his removal which was peculiar to himself; but he ne- from these would be at all carrying punishver resorted to asperity of observation. He ment to an improper length. After the des wished only the ends of justice to be fulfil-clarations we have made, can we take any Jed; but when this object is accomplished, I precautions too strong to insure the object am sure that my hon. friend will never think which the majority of the house professed for a moment of vindictive measures of pu-to have in view? The right hon. gent. rests nishment. It is with a view to have these a great deal on delicacy, as an argument for ends of justice satisfied that the motion of resisting my hon. friend's motion. I, sir, my hun. friend has this evening been brought am a friend to delicacy, where it can be exerforward; but he has declared that if a satis- cised consistently with justice; but I can factory assurance is given that lord Melville never accede to a proposition for screening has closed his political life, he has no wish convicted guilt from adequate punishment, to press the motion at the present moment. by any scruples which false delicacy would This surely is no evidence of rancour, of impose. With a wish then that our resoluwhich the right hon. gent. speaks so loudly tions should not be evaded, but carried into in his speech. As to the necessity of the the fullest effect, I should certainly be desimotion I have no sort of hesitation in say- rous of seeing my hôn. friend's motion ing, that unless something is added to the re-adopted, as at once the most consistent with solutions of Monday night, they are left in- our honour, most agreeable to the calls of complete. After saying that the noble lord justice, most consonant to the expectations had been guilty of a gross violation of an act of the couniry. I shall say only a few words of parlianient, and a high breach of his du- on some other topics which the right hon. ty, we shall not discharge our duty to the gent. has thought fit to introduce into his fuyntry without' following up such resolu- speech. The right kon. gent. has spoken of

« AnteriorContinuar »