HC Deb 03 May 1805 vol 4 cc594-5

—A petition of the electors of the city and liberty of Westminster, convened by the high bailiff in Palace-yard, on Friday the 3d of May, was presented by Mr. Fox and read; setting forth, "That your petitioners share the national gratitude to your hon. house, for your memorable and virtuous votes of the 8th and 10th days of-April last, founded upon the tenth report of the commissioners of naval enquiry, declaring the lord viscount Melville to be guilty of a gross violation of the law and a high breach of public duty.—Never were parliamentary measures received with more exultation by the country than the said votes; and nothing, your petitioners are persuaded, could cause more disappointment to the nation than your hon. house's stopping short of these great ends of justice, which the public interest demands, and the honour you have acquired by the said votes, exacts and enforces at your hands.—The pure, the moderate, the faithful, the independent and the dignified discharge of the functions with which the law has invested the said commissioners of naval enquiry has filled the country with the most unqualified admiration of their conduct. The renewal of their authority is a source of the most unfeigned pleasure to the people at large; and we do most earnestly supplicate your hon. house, that in the construction of the new statute, your attention will be fixed upon the contumacious obstruction to full enquiry, which is so clearly pointed out in the said tenth report; and that you will carefully guard against its repetition.—Your petitioners beg leave to state to your hon. house, that a civil suit against lord Melville and Mr. Trotter, unaccompanied by criminal prosecution, would be infinitely short of the public hopes, because it is so of public justice. It is not the refunding of money that, of itself, is of real consequence to the nation; it is the infliction of an exemplary vengeance. upon proved and powerful delinquents. It is the manifestation to the whole world that high criminals are not above the reach of punishment; and that the corrupt or wanton violators of law shall feel the strength of its arm.—Above all things we intreat your hon. house not to permit the public feeling to be sported with; and in the formation of inquiries similar to the naval commission, that you will take care that the power constituted be equal to its professed objects; both as relating to the vigor of the authority, and to the integrity of those who are to put it in execution; for we submit to your hon. house whether, if any thing can be worse than a deep-rooted, wide-spreading system of abuse and peculation in the management of public money, it would not be the institution of a system of revision, in its nature a burlesque upon investigation, and in its result a mockery of justice.—To all these points we beg the best attention of your hon. house. We beseech you to pursue with effect what you began with so much honour. We intreat you not to relax in your efforts till you have brought lord Melville to condign punishment, and given to all who shall be found to have committed similar crimes, a signal demonstration, that, in the representatives of the people, instead of abettors of their iniquities, they will find only the faithful guardians of the nation, and the zealous vindicators of the laws."—Ordered to lie on the table.