Page images

law bill existed ; and attributed this night, consisted of near 4000 vete.
tranquil state to his peace of Amiens! ran troops, a number completely
So far from feeling any confidence adequate to suppress an insurrection
in those declarations, he, on the ten times more formidable. It was
contrary, felt a sort of superstitious absurd to suppose the city of Dub-
foreboding of some great calamity lin, or the castle, to be for a mo-
impending, whenever he heard the ment in danger from that contemp-
confident boastings of ministers. It tible mob; and if the , honourable
must be recollected what a clamour gentleman had any charge to bring
was raised against his right honour forward against the Irish govern-
able friend, (Mr. Windham) for ment, he was ready to meet it.
saying, that the Irish government Colonel Crawford was averse from
had been taken by surprise on the the renewal of the bill without some
23d of July; but, certainly, every further information being given. He
appearance warranted that supposi- could not but conceive that there
tion ; for, if they had any informa was great negligence, or want of
tion, they neither communicated it precaution, in the Irish government,
to the chief justice, who lost his upon the occasion alluded to, es-
life for want of such information, pecially, when the blowing up of a
nor to the lord mayor, whose house gunpowder mill, belonging to the
was that day plundered of a quan- rebels, ought to have put them com-
tity of arms, nor yet to any person pletely on their guard.
to whom it might be supposed 'na Mr. Francis spoke against the
tural they would communicate it. bill.
Although he could not give his ne Lord Castlereagh replied to the
gative to the bill, yet he wished two last speakers. He did not think
that it might not make any more the government could fairly be

until information was blamed for not bringing before the given to parliament of its necessity. consideration of parliament, sub

Mr. secretary Yorke said, that jects, which they could not produce the information before the house any specific legislative mode of was, that although the insurrection amending. If any other honourable had been suppressed, yet that mea. gentleman thought he could bring sures of precaution were absolutely forward any plan for the advantage necessary; especially, while we of any part of the united kingdom, were at war with an enemy that en it was his duty to do so, and it would couraged the disaffected to break be for the wisdom of the legislature out into insurrections, in order to to decide on its policy. If there support his plan of invading and were any charges to be brought conquering these countries. These against the Irish government for grounds appeared to him simple, negligence and want of precaution, clear, and satisfactory. As the he should wish those charges to be honourable gentleman had asserted, brought fairly and openly, and not that the Irish government was taken by a sort of side wind. He did not hy surprise, on the 23d of July, he conceive that preparing a report of must now, and whenever he heard the information which government that assertion, positively deny it. - had upon the subject, would be pro. The garrison of Dublin, on that ductive of any good purpose; but


[ocr errors]

that, on the contrary, it would in- vaộtages, and take up the safer and terrupt the exertions of government slower operation of laws and free in tracing the different ramifications governments. In those ministers, of the conspiracy. While such in- who now wished for those arbitrary quiries were going on, it would be powers to be entrusted to them, he 1 matter of great difficulty to pre. could place no confidence at all, as şare such a report as might not dis- their representations, hitherto, of dose facts and information, that the state of that country, had been would defeat the views of govern- fallacious. They had continued to ment in prosecuting their inquiries. represent it as in a state of perfect

Upon colonel Crawford's stating, tranquillity, up to the day that it in explanation, that his charge was announced that an insurrection against the Irish government, for had burst forth ; that the lord chief want of preparation, was founded justice had been murdered ; and the e the circumstance of Dublin city of Dublin within an ace of be. being almost destitute of ammu- ing taken. The Irish government sition for its garrison, the honour. appear to prefer the charge of negable Mr. Pole warmly denied the ligence, to that of being taken by faat.

surprise. There was, however, Mr. Windham thought it strange, every appearance of a surprise. The fiat it should appear almost a mat. lord lieutenant himself was at his ter of course to pass such a bill as country house; and surely his friends this

. There were some gentlemen would not say that he would have who seemed to think no more of quitted the capital if he expected an Stopping the constitution, or letting explosion. He should not, however, it bave its course, than a miller oppose this bill, because, as he was Fould of stopping his mill, or set- without information on the subject, ting it a-going. They would order he was not prepared to say that it it to march, or to halt, with as little was not necessary. ceremony as a colonel would give The Chancellor of the Exchequer the orders to his battalion. From conceived the necessity of the pre. the information the ministers pleas- sent measure a question that ought ed to give the house, no conclusion to be always- kept separate, from could be drawn. Sometimes they the conduct of the Irish government, stated the insurrection of the 23d of on the day that the insurrection had July, as a mere contemptible riot, broke out; but since that had been in which but a handful of men were introduced, he must say that he concerned ; and at other times, considered the conduct of the Irish when it suited their purposes, they government, on that day, as highly described it of such formidable laudable, and that they were not magnitude, as to require no less a at all taken by surprise. After measure than martial law to put it having made all the necessary ardown. It was true, that arbitrary rangements for defeating the insurand despotic power might in some rection, the lord lieutenant retired, cases have their advantages, but as as usual, to his country house, to it seldom fell to our lot to have an, prevent any public alarm or appreges to exercise it, mankind was ge- hension. He thought it very surpristerally content to forego these ad. ing, that the two right honourable


[ocr errors]

gentlemen (Mr. Windham and Mr. honourable friend (Mr. Windham Elliot,) the one of whom had been so from the charge of inconsistency instrumental in the first bringing in imputed to him by the chancellor o the habeas corpus suspension act in the exchequer. The suspension oi Great-Britain, and the other in Ire- the habeas corpus was but an act of Jand, without any report of select precaution, but the martial-law bill. committees, but upon the ground gives extraordinary powers of pu. of obvious necessity, should now nishment. So that his right hoseem to think it absolutely necessa- nourable friend might, with perfect ry to have a report of a secret com consistency, approve of one and not mittee, to prove the necessity of of the other. The court of martial the measure proposed. The state. law, established, was the worst of ment in his majesty's speech, that all that bear the name. Under the tranquillity was restored in Ireland, mutiny bill, there were required thirwas perfectly correct, but it was teen officers to form a court-martial; only to be preserved by the same and in no part of the empire, exprecautionary mcasures by which it cept Botany Bay, or the slave coast, was attained. The insurrection of was so small a number of officers the 23d of July, without magnify, required to compose a court-martial, ing it into a business of such im as in Ireland. The impolicy of portance as the right honourable continuing martial law longer than gentleman (Mr. Windham) had dė. it was necessary, was this: in the scribed it, was certainly a symptom common opinion of mankind, DO of such a disposition, as must be disgrace attached to those who fell watched and guarded against by in war, whereas those who suffered every measure of precaution. Before by the regular course of justice, were the 23d of July, many persons of supposed to have an ignominy atgreat authority and information, tached to their death. Emmet, the among others the lord chancellor rebel leader, was a proof of the of Ireland, thought such measures, prevalence of this idea ; when he as are now proposed, were necessa was hurt, at the time of arrest, ho ry; but, after the 23d of July, no said it was nothing, for all was fair body could doubt the necessity. in war ; but when he was condemnThis was not now denied, but the ed to die, by a jury of his country-gentlemen, on the other side, wish- men, he bagged that nobody would ed for the formality of evidence to attempt to write his epitaph. prove it. To all such objections he General Loftus approved highly would answer, that public noto. of the measure. riety, combined with the prepara The Attorney General insisted, tions the enemy were making, and that instead of being a violation of their avowed objects, did afford the common law, martial law was abundant grounds for calling for only an auxiliary of the common the present mcasure. The objections law, when it was confined to such to it, he considered not tenable, districts, and exercised at such times, upon sound principles of reasoning, as would prevent the due execution nor from the melancholy experience of the common law. He then ani. of the last ten years.

madverted, pointedly, to the con. Dr. Lawrence vindicated his right duct and to the language of Mr. 4


Windham, on a former occasion, Upon

the report of the committee when he asked, “ who is it we are being brought up, on the 7th of De. to conciliate? Or for whom are we cember, and the question being put called upon to relax the powers of for the third reading, government? Is it for traitors noto Admiral Berkeley gave notice, riously conspiring against the go. that he should, on an early day, vernment, and against the loyal sub move for papers to esculpate the jects of that country?” From the Irish commander in chief (general language used by that right honour. Fox) from the imputation thrown able gentleman, at a former period, on him by certain expressions of the he could sufficiently furnish himself chancellor of the exchequer, who with arguments on the present occa had stated, “ that the commander sion. He was convinced the loyal in chief had early intelligence of the people in Ireland would not be sa intended insurrection on the 23d of tisfied, unless such a measure was July.” passed.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Mr. Windham, in explanation, denied having ever used these words, said, that he had given no opinion or intended to throw any imputation of the propriety or impropriety of on the conduct of that honourable the present measure, as he had not officer, What he had said


that sufficient information to judge; but, carly information had been sent to certainly, he had never made it a the superintending magistrate. reason against passing the bill, that Admiral Berkeley reiterated his it might be disagreeable to those, assertion. against whom it was to operate. Mr. J. Beresford observed, that

The honourable Mr. Hutchinson the sphere of the insurrection being said, it was with reluctance and confined to two or three streets, and pain that he felt obliged to give his the night being excessively dark, it assent to the measure proposed, and might have happened without any to allow that there was a great dif- blame justly attaching either to the ference between the state of this commander in chief, or to the Irish country and of Ireland ; he, how- government. ever, hoped that the united parlia Mr. secretary Yorke, in reply to ment would at length consider seri. the observations of admiral Berkeously the situation of that country, ley, said, that the chancellor of the and devise such measures as en- exchequer had correctly stated the lightened policy might dictate for language he had used on the former securing its permanent tranquillity. occasion, and had properly disavowA good government should shew it. ed any intention, either on his own self no less active in putting down part, or on that of any of the memrebellion, than in removing the bers of his majesty's government, to causes of discontent, and he con asperse or throw any imputation on ceived it impossible for any honest the character or conduct of the Irish or thinking man, in Ireland, to be commander in chief, for whom he satisfied with the manner in which felt a very sincere respect; if, after its affairs were administered. this explanation, the honourable ad.

The bill was then read a second miral was resolved to bring it for. time, and ordered to be committed. ward, it should be as a distinct


charge against the Irish government, were not occasioned by martial la, and not on the ground of removing but, on the contrary, the marti an aspersion which was never in law armed gorernment with such tended.

power, as prevented individua The bill was, after a few obser- from giving way to their private rs vations from Mr. Windham, order- sentments. Since the time th ed to be read a third time, and both power was renewed, in consequenc bills were subsequently passed with of the insurrection of the 23d ( out further opposition in the com- July, there was only one instand mons. In the lords, the only de- of a person being tried by martia bate which they produced, was on law; and, perhaps, that instanc the 12th of December, when lord was solitary, because it was know. Ilawkesbury introduced the subject, to be in force. On these grounds is by saying, he thought ministers were he moved, that the first of these entitled to claim credit, as not in bills, the Irish habeas corpus sus general wishing that extraordinary pension bill, should be read a se powers should be placed in their cond time. hands, except in cases where impe The earl of Suffolk rose, not te. rious necessity required it. The oppose the bills, which he really measures that were now proposed, believed to be necessary, but to ena in were what, upon nearly similar oc deavour to obtain from ininisterseni casions, had secured the salvation of some information on the state of Irc. Ireland. In Great-Britain, when a land. Ile thought, when an insurwicked and diabolical conspiracy reótion was put down, it was the : was detected against the life of the proper time for government to en. sovereign, the offenders were hand- quire what were the grievances in ed over to the ordinary tribunals, which it had originated. Heconsiderand suffered the punishment due to ed the advice that one of the greattheir crimes. There was then no est men who ever lived, (lord Baoccasion for any extraordinary mea. con) gave to queen Elizabeth, was sures, because ministers were satis- applicable to the present state of fied that the great majority of the Ireland, as well as to the times in population of Great Britain was which that advice was given. That loyal. The case was very different great man advised her majesty to in Ireland, where it was well kuonn appoint a commission to enquire that a considerable portion of dis. into the existing grievances of that affection still existed. It could not country, and to consider of the be supposed, that the spirit of all of most effertual means of redressing those who had embarked in the ex- them. His lordship thought, that tensive rebellion of 1798, could such a commission ought now to be have been since completely chang- appointed. Force might put down ed. A disposition to revenge yet rebellion in the field, but lenity and remained ; for it could not be de justice alone could recover the nied, but that, during the rebellion, alienated affections of a people. there were savage and atrocious acts Lord king complained, that the committed both on the part of the house were called upon by ministers rebels, and of the friends of go. to pass such bills as these, without any vernment. Those acts, however, evidence either of their expediency


« PreviousContinue »