§ MR. T. S. DUNCOMBE
, previous to bringing forward the Motion of which he had given notice, for an Address to Her Majesty, praying the extension of the Royal prerogative of mercy to Frost, Williams, and Jones, thought it right to apprize the House that he was charged with the presentation of 249 petitions, signed by no less than 1,400,000 persons, praying that the House would be pleased to interfere on behalf of those ill-advised and unfortunate men, with a view to procure their restoration to their homes and families. He would not weary the House by particularizing the names of all the towns in England and Scotland from which those petitions had emanated; but he would take the liberty of reading the names of a few of the places, that the House might understand that the petitions in question embodied the feelings of the inhabitants of some of the most important localities in the Empire. He was entrusted with petitions from the following localities, independently of others far too numerous to specify by name: Exeter, Lambley, Nottingham, Clayton (York), Manchester (two petitions), Crewkerne (Somerset), Ashburton, Birmingham (two petitions), Halifax, Reading, Dundee (two petitions, one 2,418), Huddersfield, Darlington, Plymouth, Edinburgh, Stainland, Leeds (two petitions), Bradford (two petitions), Radford (Notts), Haworth (Yorkshire), Stanhope, Linlithgow, Bowden, (Roxburgh), Paisley, Bocking and Braintree, Bacup (3,000), Wigton, Stoke-upon-Trent, Oxford, Old Basford, Shoreditch, Sudbury, Preston, Whitechapel, Derby, Redditch, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Bury, (Lancashire), Clackmannan, Cleckheaton, Hull, Bradford (9,000), Manchester (40,446), Salford (10,710), Tavistock, Newport (Town Council), Hanley, Collumpton, Devizes, Milborne Port, Chorley, London (two petitions), Radford, Staley Bridge, St. Luke's, Newton-upon-Ayr, Crayford (253), Warwick, Hamilton, Glasgow, Wigan (3,370), Ayrshire, Haslingden (Lancashire), Prescot, Chepstow, Tower Hamlets (760), Mr. Howitt (author), Thomas Cooper (ditto), Sheffield (13,000), Bradford (Wilts), Nuneaton (Warwick), Stafford, Kidderminster, (1,003), West Riding, Todmorden (3,040), Warley, Bexley, Leeds (32,500: Dr. Hook, the vicar, twelve 868 members of the town-council, the chairman and vice-chairman of the board of guardians, and several of the members signed it.) He also had the honour of presenting petitions, signed by the chairmen on behalf of various numerously attended meetings which had been held in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and other localities. It had been represented to him—and he believed with truth — that the petitions which he had to present that evening embodied in the aggregate the feelings and wishes of about 3,000,000 of British subjects. It was impossible that he could find time for a distinct or separate allusion to all those documents, but there was one of them to which he was anxious to make a special reference, because of its peculiar and important characteristics. He alluded to the petition which had emanated from Abergavenny, in Wales, to which were attached 633 signatures. Amongst these signatures were to be found the names of six of the jurymen who had tried Frost, Williams, and Jones. The gentleman who had procured these last-mentioned signatures stated that he had not been able to make out more than six of the twelve who composed the jury, but that those six expressed a feeling of strong sympathy for the unhappy men who were affected by their verdict, and did not make the slightest scruple to attach their names to the petitions. Three of the jury had died since the trial, two could not be found out, and as for the sixth, there was no use in asking him for his signature, for he could not write. He was a man of then ame of Christopher, but he was so hopelessly ignorant that he could not tell whether his proper appellation was John Christopher, or Christopher John. In all these petitions the prayer was merely to the effect that the House would be pleased to use its influence on behalf of these misguided men, in the hope of inducing Her Majesty to make them objects for the exercise of her Royal prerogative of mercy. The petitioners did not mean to justify or palliate in the slightest degree the criminal conduct of Frost, Williams, and Jones. What they said was, that looking to the circumstances of the peculiar case of these men, and having regard to the circumstances of the country generally at the period of their trial, and having before their minds the examples of other persons who had been made objects for the exercise of the Royal mercy, and in whose behalf that prerogative had been extended without injury to the interests of the community at 869 large—what they (the petitioners) respectfully contended for was, that having regard to all those things, they were warranted in entertaining a hope that the House would address the Queen on behalf of Frost, Williams, and Jones, and beg of Her Majesty to be graciously pleased to show them some degree of mercy. If he could prevail on the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department to give, not to say an assurance, but even the slightest intimation for himself and his Colleagues in office, that these humane supplications should receive at the hands of the Government that attentive consideration to which they were unquestionably entitled, he would not trespass for one moment longer on the attention of the House, but would leave the prayers of the petitions to be dealt with by Her Majesty's Ministers as they might think fit, feeling confidently assured, that not only would justice be done to the petitioners, but that that description of justice would be awarded to Frost and his companions which was consistent with the principles of a wise and sound policy—justice tempered with mercy. If an engagement of this kind were given by the right hon. Baronet on the part of the Ministry, he (Mr. Duncombe) would desist from his task, nor trespass for one moment longer on the attention of the House. He paused for a reply.
§ SIR J. GRAHAM
thought that it would be the better course for the hon. Member to make his statement. He would then take occasion to explain what were his views on the subject.
§ MR. DUNCOMBE
said, that after what had fallen from the hon. Baronet, he had no alternative but to submit to the House the Motion of which he had given notice:—That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to take into Her Majesty's most gracious consideration the Petitions of the People presented during the present Session of Parliament, in favour of a restoration to their native land of Frost, Williams, and Jones.He would trespass for as short a period as possible on the time and attention of the House, while he endeavoured to explain what his views were upon this subject. He was fully cognizant of the difficulties and dangers he had to contend with. He knew very well the alarm and the prejudices which a question of this kind was calculated to evoke, and he also knew very well the magnitude and importance of the 870 obstacle he had to encounter in the opinion which prevailed amongst very many hon. Members of that House; and prevailed, too, not, he was free to admit, without some warranty in truth, that it was not expedient for the House of Commons to interfere with any of the prerogatives of the Crown, and, least of all with the prerogative of mercy. To this doctrine, in a general sense, he did not object; but he contended that there were cases in which the House of Commons not only might with propriety interfere, but in which they were bound in propriety to do so. Circumstances of a very special and peculiar character might justify and absolutely create the necessity for such an interference on the part of the House of Commons; but while he made this assertion, he was quite free to admit that the Member who sought to procure the exercise of that interference was bound to prove to the satisfaction of the House, that he had not had recourse to this proceeding, until all other means for attaining the end he had in view had been attempted in vain. But surely he was perfectly warranted in asserting that, before the present Motion was introduced, no means had been left unessayed for the accomplishment of the object which was desired to be attained. Nothing had been left undone by the various petitioners who had addressed that House for a series of years past, to induce the Government of the day to procure an extension of the mercy of the Crown to these unhappy men. He was sure that the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department would have no difficulty in admitting, that in the course of last year memorials without end passed through the Home Office, and had been (as it was to be presumed) by the right hon. Baronet himself, laid at the foot of the Throne. But it was all to no purpose. The Government found it impossible to arrive at the opinion that it would be consistent with their public duty to accede to the prayers of the petitioners. He did not complain of this. He was far from desiring to utter a complaint or to cast any censure on the Government for the course which they had felt it their duty to adopt. Bearing in mind the grievous offence of which Frost, Williams, and Jones had been accused and found guilty—the heinous offence of high treason—he was free to admit that no Government would be justified in recommending the extension of pardon to those men hastily, unpremeditatedly, or on light grounds. He 871 was perfectly ready to acknowledge that a great and unmistakeable manifestation of public opinion inside that House and outside it ought to be exhibited before such a course should be taken; but what he contended for in the present intance was, that in the case of these unhappy men, so strong, so extraordinary, and so universal a demonstration of public feeling had been made in this country as would afford ample justification for a compliance on the part of the Ministry with the prayer of the petitioners. The sympathy in favour of these misguided and unfortunate individuals arose from two causes. In the first place, it proceeded from a doubt which existed in the minds of four-fifths of the population, whether the conviction of these men were altogether legal. There could be no question but that that conviction was involved in great doubt—uncertainty not confined to the uneducated only, or to those who were illiterate and unlearned in the law, but shared, as he could assure the House, by men of the highest intelligence, and even eminent lawyers. And when, moreover, he directed the attention of the House to this fact, that the fifteen Judges had divided six to nine upon one point, and nine to six upon another, would any one say that it was not a matter of doubt whether those men should have been tried at all? The great probability—nay, it almost amounted to a certainty—was, that the men would not have been tried at all, that the issue would not have gone to the jury at all, if the point which was raised in favour of the prisoners by Sir F. Pollock and the hon. and learned Gentleman whom he saw before him (Sir F. Kelly) had been decided by the court instanter, instead of being reserved for the decision of the fifteen Judges. He wished to have it expressly understood that he did not find fault with the manner in which the trial had been conducted, in bringing forward this question; he begged also most distinctly to disclaim being actuated by any party feelings whatsoever; and most sincerely did he hope that no party feeling would be permitted to enter into the discussion. The petitions which he had presented that night had been signed by men of all classes, all creeds, and all varieties of political opinion. They were signed without regard to chartism or radicalism, toryism or whiggery; by men of humane feeling, whose principal or sole object in attaching their signatures was, that a measure of mercy might be extended to men whose case they believed would permit of 872 such an exercise of the Royal prerogative, without injury to the interests of the community or the administration of justice. He made no complaint of any one. He admitted that the officers of the Crown who prosecuted in the case of Frost and his companions, conducted their case in a manner which reflected honour on themselves and their profession; for they acted throughout with moderation, temper, and sound discretion; and it was also unquestionable that the prisoners had been defended with the utmost ability by the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, and also by the learned personage who was now Chief Baron. But this was not the question at issue. It was well known that an objection was taken at the trial, which the presiding Judges did not feel themselves at liberty to decide; and which was accordingly reserved for the opinion of the fifteen Judges. However, if the court had been pressed for its decision without delay, the subsequently-expressed opinions of Mr. Baron Parke and Mr. Justice Williams left little ground for doubting but that the prisoners would have been then and there acquitted. But the point was reserved for the fifteen Judges, and the trial went on. What was the point? He hoped that none of the hon. Gentlemen then listening to him would ever be put on his trial for high treason; but if such a calamity should ever befall any of them, it might be as well that they should be provided beforehand with this piece of information—that it was their right to have delivered to them, at one and the same time (that was to say, ten clear days before the trial), a copy of the indictment, and with it a list of the jury, and a list of the witnesses proposed to be examined. Now the objection raised by counsel on behalf of the prisoners was, that these documents had not been given at one and the same time; and he believed there could be no doubt whatever as to the truth of the assertion. The copy of the indictment was furnished on a Thursday; but the lists of the jury and of the witnesses not until the Tuesday following, five days being thus allowed to intervene. Six of the Judges decided that the objection was altogether fatal to the trial and conviction, and nine decided that the objection would have been good and valid if taken at the time, but that, when made, it came too late. Consequently, there were nine out of the fifteen who were positively of opinion that the trial would not have been good in point of fact, if the objection were taken in 873 time, but the objection was not taken in time. What was Sir Frederick Pollock's argument?—and he must say, that the conduct of Sir Frederick Pollock, through the whole of those proceedings, reflected the greatest credit upon that individual—not only upon his talents, but upon his heart and his humanity. What was his argument? Sir Frederick Pollock protested before his God and his country that he could not find authority, principle, or justice that could enable him to take the objection at any other time than the time he did, and which nine out of the fifteen Judges said ought to be taken earlier. Now, suppose this case came before the fifteen Judges at the present time, when Sir Frederick Pollock was on the bench, that would bring to it, at all events, the casting vote of one of those Judges, and then it might be seven to seven upon this very point. Were there no other authorities in favour of the view of the six Judges? Look to the decision of four Judges out of five of the Court of Queen's Bench If Frost, Williams, and Jones, were tried in the Court of Queen's Bench, instead of being tried at Newport, they must have been acquitted, for four out of five of the Judges of the Queen's Bench recorded their votes in favour of its being an illegal conviction, saying it was fatal, and that the objection was taken in time. They had also the authority of Lord Brougham in the House of Lords, who stated—If the majority of the Judges at the trial had decided, upon being pressed for their decision, they must needs have instantly been acquitted. It was an objection fatal to the whole proceeding — it applied to every one of the witnesses. The jury were empannelled—the plea had been pleaded—nay, more than that, again they could not have been tried. That was the first and principal ground he wished their Lordships to consider, and the other was altogether independent of the former. The counsel for the prisoner had a right to press for judgment at the trial, and it now turned out—because they knew what the Judges had done—it turned out, too, that two out of those Judges were in favour of the objection made at the trial, and of the party waiving the objection until after the arraignment and plea pleaded. It consequently followed as a matter of absolute demonstration, that if they had exercised their right of pressing the objection at the trial at Monmouth, it consequently followed, as a certainty, that the objection would have been sustained and the trial at once put an end to. He (Lord Brougham) knew, in point of fact, that that was not an opinion taken up after the arguments in town, but it was their opinion at Monmouth, at the trial. A stronger case—but infinitely strengthened by the bargain made with the counsel—a stronger case for absolute acquittal, in the whole course of his professional experience, he confessed he had never known. He 874 considered, looking at the circumstances of the case, that these unfortunate individuals were entitled to a total release, an extension of mercy it could not be called, because he conceived that a total release was a legal right and justice.It was due to Lord Brougham to state, that not only by that speech, stating those sentiments in his place in Parliament, but otherwise, he did the utmost that it was possible for man to do, not only to save the lives but to regain the liberties of those men, and to carry out what he then said, namely, that an acquittal was their legal right. The conviction was confirmed by the Judges; but recollect what had occurred at that time, and the feeling that existed in the public mind. Why at that time about four millions of signatures were attached to petitions to the Queen in favour of those men. They knew very well that the execution of those men was fixed for the Thursday following the decision of the Judges, which was given on a Friday. They knew that the scaffold was erected—that the block was prepared—that the executioner went down; but then the humane voice of the British public succeeded, but it did not succeed until it was pushed on and accelerated by Lord Brougham and Sir Frederick Pollock. Let them read the papers of that day, and they would find it stated that Sir Frederick Pollock waited six times—he thought on the Friday and Saturday preceding the execution, after the decision of the Judges—upon Lord Melbourne and the Home Secretary at that time. He was returning from them in distress and dismay, having found those parties totally inexorable, and resolved that those men's lives should be sacrificed—he saw Lord Brougham in the ante-room of the House of Lords, and stated his distress, that he had been so often with the Ministers that day, and could make no impression upon them; and Lord Brougham's answer to him was, "Go the seventh time, and say that those men will be legally murdered if they persevere." The seventh visit was sufficient: they changed the sentence, and the public voice and humanity did triumph on that occasion. The sentence of execution was commuted to transportation for life. But there would always remain this doubt on the public mind that if this were a sentence which they would not and could not execute by inflicting the utmost penalty of the law, they could not execute it legally even by transportation—transportation not making that conviction legal that would be illegal for execution—and that impression still existed. At that time petitions poured 875 in upon the then existing Government, and an answer was given that it was necessary to make an example of those persons; but there was a sort of hope held out, that if their future conduct entitled them to the clemency and mercy of the Crown, after a certain number of years their case should be taken into consideration. That time was now arrived. The people of this country thought that after six years of great suffering, the law—the majesty of the law—was sufficiently vindicated. Frost and his companions were for three years working in chains. In what part of the world did they find a political prisoner—for after all they were political prisoners, though of the highest class—in what part of the world, he repeated, did they find a political prisoner treated in that manner? Did they treat them so in France? Where were they so treated? But he did not now complain of that. He did not ask for their acquittal, but he asked for their release; and he must observe, that it was a most extraordinary thing that England was the only country where, on occasions of great rejoicing, they did not offer an amnesty to political prisoners. Look to France. There was, to be sure, a remission of sentences made in England at the birth of the Prince of Wales. Parties were released from different prisons, and pardons granted them; but the case of no political prisoner received a merciful consideration. Look to France, and see what occurred there within these two years; in the year 1844, upon what was considered the victory and the triumph of the French arms on the coast of Africa. It was stated in the ordinance which released those parties. In consequence of the exploits of the Prince de Joinville, between fifty and sixty republicans were released from prison at Doulens, and six Bonapartists. There was a partial amnesty, in consequence of the victory that had crowned the French arms on that occasion. It was not a general amnesty, but a partial amnesty; and amongst the parties released were several of those who—it would be in the recollection of the House—proceeded from England to Boulogne, and made almost as insane and rash an attempt at insurrection as that made by Frost and the other parties who descended from the hills in Wales. It was a partial amnesty, but he trusted would be made a general one, and that Prince Louis Bonaparte and others would be released. Several of his colleagues and companions had been released, and there was an individual to be 876 found in the list of persons released who was concerned in the attempt to assassinate the Duke d'Aumale. He was pardoned and set free; and was there no instance in English history for such an amnesty? Was there any reason against it? Had not our arms been equally victorious, and their country equally prosperous? And was not this a time for the Government to show some degree of mercy? They were inviting France at that moment to a more liberal commercial policy, and why should they he behind France in the race of mercy? They should follow her example by releasing those persons; sufficient punishment had been inflicted upon them, the law had been sufficiently satisfied, and by now pardoning them the Government would act in accordance with the wishes of the great body of the people of this country. He knew that great prejudices and alarms existed on the subject, and he knew nothing that could more tend to create them than the letters of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Macaulay), addressed to some of his constituents of Edinburgh. His right hon. Friend stated that those individuals were great criminals. He did not wish to palliate for an instant their offence—no more did any of the petitioners. But he thought that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh was creating an unnecessary prejudice against those individuals, and causing unnecessary alarm, in case the Government thought fit to recall them. What did the right hon. Gentleman say in one of those letters. That they have not endured sufficient punishment. He says—But rely upon it, there will be insurrections enough if turbulent and designing men are apprized that the penalty of raising a civil war is henceforth to be less than the penalty of robbing a hen-roost. Thinking this, I cannot hold out any hope that I shall vote for any Address in favour of those criminals.He would observe, with reference to a passage in that letter, that if the law did transport a man for life for robbing a hen-roost, that was a most severe law, and the sooner it was corrected the better. The right hon. Gentleman said in another place in that letter—They raised a rebellion which you admit to have been unjustifiable, led thousands of ignorant labouring men into guilt and danger, fired on the Queen's troops, wounded a magistrate in the discharge of his duty, caused the deaths of several unhappy creatures.He believed that Frost's object was to make a moral demonstration in favour of Vincent then in prison; but when ten 877 or twelve thousand men got together, it was hard to say what would be the result, particularly when there were some of them with arms in their hands. Unless they could see into the breasts of those men, it was impossible to say what was their intention. He must look to their acts; but what he complained of was, that those two letters should be published in connexion with the petition he had the honour of presenting to the House, and which was called at that time the national petition. It was coupling the outrages of those men with what was supposed to be the object of the petition, and he must say that his name was most unfairly introduced into that letter. The right hon. Gentleman says—I believe that the non-electors are as deeply interested as I am in the security of property and the maintenance of order; but I believe that a very large portion of them do not understand their own interest. That it is so I have proof under their own hands. I refer to the petition which Mr. Duncombe presented to the House of Commons in 1842. In that document some hundreds of thousands of Chartists asked for the franchise, and told us how they meant to use it. They avowed that their objects were national bankruptcy—confiscation of the soil—of canals—of railroads—of machinery, in short, the destruction of all property.He, therefore, presenting a petition for the destruction of all property, the right hon. Gentleman continued—I was firmly convinced, and am firmly convinced, that such measures would produce indescribable misery to the great majority of the petitioners. I refused them the franchise as I would refuse a razor to a man who told me he wanted it in order to cut his throat.He must say, he wished he had been near the right hon. Gentleman when he was about to take up the pen; for, if he were, he would have refused him the pen as determinedly as the right hon. Gentleman declared he would refuse the man the razor. He was not obnoxious to the charge of supporting a petition the avowed object of which was national bankruptcy, and the destruction of all property. He should be unworthy of a seat in that House if he presented such a petition. That petition emanated from about three millions of his fellow subjects; and he wished the right hon. Gentleman would point out any passage that bore such construction as that which the right hon. Gentleman had put upon it. He did not say the petition was well or ably drawn up, but he would say there was nothing in it to justify such a serious charge. One passage in that petition runs thus:— 878That your petitioners deeply deplore the existence of any kind of monopoly in this nation: and whilst they unequivocally condemn the levying of any tax upon the necessaries of life, and upon those articles principally required by the labouring classes, they are also sensible that the abolition of any one monopoly will never unshackle labour from its misery until the people possess that power under which all monopoly and oppression must cease; and your petitioners respectfully mention the existing monopolies of the suffrage, of paper money, of machinery, of land, of the public press, of religious privileges, of the means of travelling and transit, and a host of other evils too numerous to mention, all arising from class legislation, but which your hon. House has always consistently endeavoured to increase instead of diminish.He really did not see how anybody could say that that was a petition for the destruction of life and property. There was a monopoly of suffrage. He did not know whether the hon. Member for Birmingham was there; but he could tell them that there was a monopoly of paper. There was also a monopoly of machinery; and, decidedly, of land. It was what they were fighting about every day, and that monopoly was contended for by the agricultural and landed interest of the country to the present time. There was a monopoly of religion, and also of the means of travelling and transit. Had they not been passing Bills with reference to railway travelling, and not allowing that monopoly to different companies? But let the right hon. Gentleman look to the concluding sentence of that petition:—And that your petitioners, desiring to promote the peace of the United Kingdom, security of property, and prosperity of commerce, seriously and earnestly press this their petition on the attention of your hon. House.There was no proposition for the confiscation of property, or to create national bankruptcy laid down in that petition. He presumed that his right hon. Friend wrote those letters and authorized their publication; but he must say, he thought they were unfortunate letters to be written at that time, and were certainly calculated to prejudice a Motion of this sort; and if any Gentlemen were about to speak against his proposition in consequence of the impressions they might have imbibed from reading those letters, he hoped they would read the national petition before they entered into any discussion on that point. He agreed in the opinion expressed in a letter addressed to the electors of Westminster by an hon. and gallant Gentleman who had lately a seat in that House (Captain Rous). The Committee appointed for 879 the purpose of endeavouring to procure the liberation of Frost, Williams, and Jones, addressed letters on the subject to Captain Rous, and also to his (Mr. Duncombe's) hon. and gallant Friend the present Member for the city of Westminster. Sir De Lacy Evans stated that he would give them every assistance in his power, and give his vote in favour of their release. Captain Rous said, "nothing would give him more pleasure than to hear that Her Majesty's Government had ordered the release of Frost, Jones, and Williams; that he believed they were more likely to receive a pardon from Sir Robert Peel's Government than from the Whigs." They, therefore, had it from a Lord of the Admiralty that they were more likely to receive the liberation of those men from Her Majesty's present Government than from a Whig Government—more particularly after this letter from a right hon. Gentleman who had been Secretary at War and a Cabinet Minister under the Whigs, and might be Secretary at War and a Cabinet Minister again. The right hon. Gentleman next wrote about the militia, and in a very bellicose strain too. He thought they were more likely to receive the release of Frost, Williams, and Jones, from the present Government than from any other, particularly when he saw the Solicitor General sitting near the right hon. Baronet. The hon. and learned Gentleman knew the case well, and he had read his able speech on the occasion. Of course the counsel of a prisoner was not concluded by the language he expressed when arguing a case; but they might see his sentiments running through the whole of his address, from which they might see that those individuals were ill-used. He felt assured that the conduct of Sir Frederick Pollock was such as to entitle him to make that observation; for after Frost was condemned, after sentence was passed on him that he should be hanged, drawn, and quartered, what did Sir Frederick Pollock do? He visited him in his dungeon, and took leave of him; and let them not tell him that Sir Frederick Pollock, or any other Member of the Bar, would go into the cell of this wretched man, if he believed him to be a felon. There was a strong sentiment in favour of those men, and with regard to the case, which he took the liberty of submitting to the House; and the summing up of Sir Nicholas Tindal would justify any man in saying that it was a doubtful case. It was thought necessary that they should 880 be tried for high treason. He would put this case. If the hon. Member for Cork were tried for high treason—and he remembered it was stated there that he might be tried for high treason—if he were tried for high treason instead of misdemeanor, and convicted, let them recollect this—he would not have had the chance he had on that occasion. His case was argued before thirteen of the Judges, and eleven to two of the Judges decided in favour of his conviction. There was no appeal from the decision of the Judges in reference to Frost, Williams, and Jones. If there had been, how did they know but that the House of Lords would have decided against the Judges, as they did in the case of O'Connell, who was tried for a misdemeanor? This only proved that it was necessary, absolutely necessary, that there should be an appeal in criminal cases. He thought, from the manner in which the right hon. Baronet had answered a question at the commencement of the Session, that it was the intention of the Government to give the right of appeal in criminal cases—at least under certain circumstances. It would be satisfactory to the country if an appeal could be permitted in the case of Frost, Williams, and Jones, from the decision of the Judges, particularly when the Judges were so divided as they were on that occasion. They had granted an amnesty to Canadians; and he should be extremely obliged if any Gentleman would show him that Frost's case was worse than the case of the Canadian rebels. There was undoubtedly a difference between them. The Canadians were engaged in a systematic and continuous warfare against the Queen's troops; but in the case of Frost there was no rebellion: there was a tumult, a dangerous tumult, and certainly lives were lost on the occasion; but there was not a systematic rebellion, such as had taken place in Canada, against the Queen's Government. He could not understand why the case of the three unhappy Englishmen should not meet with the same consideration from Her Majesty's Government as that of the Canadian rebels. He did not ask the Government to raise them, as they had the Canadian rebels, to offices of trust and emolument, the duties of which very probably they discharged with honour to themselves, and with advantage to the Canadian Government; but that they would listen to the prayer of the numerous petitions with respect to Frost, Williams, and Jones; and if they thought that the public 881 voice and opinion were worthy attention, that Her Majesty's Government and the right hon. Gentleman would give the subject their most serious consideration. He would only add his own earnest prayer to that of the people of this country, that this subject should meet with the attention which its importance required. The hon. Member concluded by submitting his Motion to the House.
§ SIR J. GRAHAM
said: I should be extremely sorry if one word which fell from me on the present occasion were tinctured with the least degree of passion or acrimony, for I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Finsbury, that it is most desirable we should dispassionately and deliberately consider the proposition he has brought before us, without the slightest regard to party differences or feelings. I must say, on that ground, that I regretted some of the topics introduced by the hon. Gentleman when he weighed the probabilities of a question of this nature, immediately and exclusively connected with the administration of justice, being regarded more or less favourably by any parties who might happen at the moment to be the responsible advisers of the Crown. I readily admit that the number of petitions presented on this subject, and in favour of the Motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury, has been very large. I admit also that the memorials which it has been my duty to present to Her Majesty in the course of the last year were not only numerous, but signed by a very large portion of the working classes of this country. I must also add that the decision of Her Majesty's Government has been adopted after duly weighing all the circumstances of this case, with reference both to the nature of the crime, and the circumstances under which it is our duty to regard it. I do not deny to this House the competency or the right of interference on such a question; but I may say that I think interference ought at all times to be tempered with discretion, that it ought not to be lightly undertaken, and that upon the whole it is most desirable to maintain strictly the line of demarcation between the functions of the legislative and executive Government. It must always be borne in mind that the brightest and noblest prerogative enjoyed by the Sovereign is exercised under the advice of the responsible Ministers of the Crown; and I shall not shrink from my responsibility, as one of the advisers of Her Majesty in the present case. The hon. Member for Finsbury 882 stated that the persons whose situation he has brought under the notice of the House were misguided and unfortunate. I must say, I dissent altogether from the position of the hon. Gentleman that they were unfortunate, for with reference to the crime of which they stand convicted, they were fortunate in the highest degree. The hon. Gentleman also said that the feeling in favour of these individuals is strong and very general. I admit it. But the hon. Member went on to say that that feeling was universal. To such a proposition I most unequivocally demur. Those who believe that the sentence passed on these individuals ought to be commuted have not hesitated to express so humane a feeling; but those who think the cause of justice and order requires that the punishment to which they have been sentenced should be inflicted, have abstained from the expression of that opinion, in full reliance upon the disposition of Her Majesty to exercise the prerogative of mercy consistently with principles of justice. The hon. Member for Finsbury stated that, in his opinion, the conviction of the persons to whom he has referred was not legal. He stated very accurately the point of law reserved for the opinion of the Judges, and a nicer technicality could not well have been brought under their consideration. The facts are these:—the Statute, which justly affords peculiar advantages to parties accused of treason, provides that they shall have certain privileges which are not extended to prisoners accused of other offences. Among those advantages is this—that parties accused of treason shall be furnished with a copy of the indictment, and a list of witnesses at the same time, and within a given period before the trial. The prisoners in this case were most anxious to obtain, at the earliest possible period, a copy of the indictment on which the grand jury had found a Bill against them; and the solicitor for the Crown, with an eager and commendable desire to afford them the full advantage of their privilege, furnished them with a copy of the indictment at the earliest possible period, five days before the expiration of the period within which he was required by law to do so. On the day within the limit prescribed by law he also furnished them with a list of witnesses; and the point taken was, that the delivery of the two—the copy of the indictment and the list of witnesses—was not simultaneous. That point was reserved by the learned Judges who tried the prisoners for the opinion of 883 their brethren. The hon. Member for Finsbury has said that I have admitted, under certain limitations, the necessity of an appeal in criminal cases; and because I have made that admission, he put a case in which an appeal was made from the opinion of the Judges to the decision of the House of Lords. I never held out the slightest expectation that I could be a party to the establishment of such an appeal in cases of felony. As the law now stands, the final appeal in criminal cases is to the opinion of the fifteen Judges; and the decision of the fifteen Judges upon the question is held to be final. Now, what was the opinion of the fifteen Judges in the case to which the hon. Gentleman referred? It is true that nine out of the fifteen held that the objection, if taken at the right time, would have been valid; but it is also true that nine out of the fifteen held, that in this case the objection was not taken at the right time. So far the hon. Member for Finsbury and myself are agreed. But what was the unanimous opinion of the whole fifteen Judges? It was, that if the objection had been taken at the right time, the sole effect would have been a postponement of the trial, and the case would have been decided at a subsequent period. I must repeat my observation that, considering the advantage which was most humanely—and, as I think, rightly—extended to them by the advisers of the Crown, and considering also that the extreme sentence of the law was not carried into execution on account of this difference of opinion among the Judges, these prisoners were most fortunate. But I next come to the point taken by the hon. Member for Finsbury, that the offence of which these prisoners were guilty was only a moral demonstration in favour of the Charter. I think the hon. Gentleman said it was only to be regarded as a moral demonstration. ["No, no!"] Well, then, I withdraw the statement.
§ MR. T. DUNCOMBE
said, what he had stated was, that he believed that Frost had come down from the hills in order to make a moral demonstration in favour of Vincent, who was then in confinement in London.
§ SIR J. GRAHAM
I understood the hon. Gentleman to say that the purpose of Frost, in going on the night in question to Newport, was to make a moral demonstration. I must observe, in justice to the hon. Member, that he frankly admitted that those persons were convicted of a 884 heinous offence, and one which, in his opinion, was wholly unjustifiable. This circumstance induces me to state to the House—or rather to recall to their recollection—what were the facts of the case. It is not for me to defend the opinions of the right hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Macaulay), who is far more competent than I am to vindicate the sentiments he has recorded on the subject; but I may say, deliberately and dispassionately, after viewing the circumstances of this case, with respect to the offence itself, that I have arrived at the same conclusion as the right hon. Gentleman. I must say, that a more heinous offence has seldom been committed. Now, what were the facts? In the year 1839, there was great distress in the mining districts of this country. The price of provisions was high; the rate of wages was low; and a very general spirit of disaffection and insubordination was manifested. In the moment of that distress, amidst a population so excited and discontented, in a district where frequent meetings of the people had been held, Frost, who exercised great influence in the neighbourhood, decided, in concert with Williams and Jones, that, upon a particular evening, a descent should be made at midnight upon the town of Newport, by three different columns—one headed by Frost, the second by Williams, and the third by Jones. Their avowed purpose was to overpower the military quartered in that town; to take possession of the place; to break up the bridge over the Usk; and to stop the mail. The stopping of the mail was a preconcerted signal, by which the population of Birmingham and the northern districts were to know that Newport was in their possession, and there was then to have been a general rising for the purpose of establishing the Charter. Now, that I may not misrepresent the matter, I will call the attention of the House to what was proved on the trial of these men. The hon. Member for Finsbury has truly said, that the Crown was represented on that occasion by two of the brightest ornaments of the profession of the law—Lord Campbell, who was then the Attorney General, and whose mind was deeply and honourably imbued with sound constitutional principles, and the hon. and learned Member for Worcester (Sir T. Wilde), who, at the time to which I refer, filled the office of Solicitor General. Now, what said the Lord Chief Justice Tindal—than whom a more eminent and dispassionate Judge is 885 not to be found—in summing up the case on the trial of Frost and his co-accused? The Lord Chief Justice said—The charge against the prisoner at the bar is, that, having broken the faith and true allegiance which he owed to his lawful Sovereign, he has levied war against Her within Her realm; that is, in one word, a charge of high treason. I observe that the learned Attorney General stated the case on the part of the Crown against the prisoner to be this—that the prisoner at the bar had brought down to the town of Newport a very large multitude of persons, armed and arrayed in a warlike manner; and that the plan was, to get possession of the town of Newport, to break down the bridge, stop the mail, and that, the mail not having arrived at Birmingham for some time, it would be a signal for a general rising in Birmingham and Lancashire, and the Charter law would become the law of the land. The learned Solicitor General, who has summed up the evidence, has stated the outline of the case, which has been proved pretty nearly in the same form, omitting, with great propriety, that part of it upon which no evidence has been offered, namely, that which related to the general establishment of Charter law. The Solicitor General stated, that the plan of the prisoner was, to get together bands of armed men, with intent, by surprise and terror, or by force, to take Newport, to exercise power there, to supersede the magistracy, and thereby raise a general rebellion within the kingdom. Now, there can be no doubt whatever that if either of the propositions which have been so stated by the law officers of the Crown is made out to your satisfaction, there is full proof of the commission by the prisoner of the crime of high treason.Now, upon that summing up, and after hearing the defence—a defence, I believe, almost unrivalled in point of talent and force, which was conducted by the hon. and learned Solicitor General, and the present Lord Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer, Sir F. Pollock—after everything that legal ingenuity, powerful eloquence, and an earnest desire to obtain the acquittal of the prisoners had been exhausted, the jury, weighing the evidence under the direction of Lord Chief Justice Tindal, and with reference to the statement of the law officers of the Crown, deliberately adopted a verdict of "Guilty." Now, I will read what fell from Lord Chief Justice Tindal in passing sentence upon these prisoners. He said—It has been proved, in your case, that you combined together to lead from the hills, at the dead hour of night, into the town of Newport, many thousnnds of men, armed in many instances with weapons of a dangerous description, in order that they might take possession of the town, and supersede the lawful authority of the Queen, as a preliminary step to a more general insurrection throughout the kingdom. It is owing to the interposition of Providence alone that your wicked designs wese frustrated. Your followers arrive by daylight, and, after firing upon the civil power and upon the Queen's troops, are, by the firmness of 886 the magistrates, and the cool and determined bravery of a small body of soldiers, defeated and dispersed. What would have been the fate of the peaceful and unoffending inhabitants of that town, if success had attended your rebellious designs, it is impossible to say. The invasion of a foreign foe would, in all probability, have been less destructive to property and life. It is for the crime of high treason, committed under these circumstances, that you are now called upon yourselves to answer; and by the penalty which you are about to suffer, you hold out a warning to all your fellow subjects, that the law of your country is strong enough to repress and to punish all attempts to alter the established order of things by insurrection and armed force; and that those who are found guilty of such treasonable attempts must expiate their crime by any ignominious death.I have already observed that, on account of a legal difficulty, which was not ruled in favour of the prisoners, but upon which there was a material difference of opinion among the Judges, the prisoners were spared that ignominious death, and their punishment was commuted to transportation for life; and we are now to consider whether that sentence should be carried into execution. I do not wish to aggravate this case; but I should betray my duty if, in weighing this matter, I did not take into consideration one important fact. I have said that Frost possessed great influence in the neighbourhood in which he resided. On that ground, he had been entrusted with Her Majesty's commission for the preservation of the peace. He was entrusted with that commission in the confident ex-order, tranquillity, and peace. He abused pectation that all his influence and power would be exerted among his neighbours for the purpose of maintaining that trust; he grossly abused it: he abused it to the extent I have already stated. And, certainly, if justice is to be administered—as I hope it ever will be in this country—with mercy, but still with a due regard to the example to be afforded to a great community, I cannot overlook this circumstance of so gross an abuse of a trust so important. I must be allowed to make another observation. The night on which this movement took place was unusually dark and tempestuous. Frost did not consider the fatal and disastrous results which his conduct would produce; he had no misgivings as to the consequences of his crime; but, by an interposition of Providence, the dark and tempestuous night prevented the insurgents from arriving at Newport till daybreak. Frost headed the first column and brought it into the centre of the town, to a building in which a small portion of Her Majesty's troops had 887 been posted. He ordered the column to fall out in front; he pointed out the post as an object of attack, and told the men to go forward. But Frost was not found in their front: he was discovered some hours afterwards in a hiding-place in which he had taken refuge. Now, with respect to their punishment, we must consider how much of that punishment has already been inflicted. The sentence, as I have before said, was commuted to transportation for life; and what time has elapsed since the infliction of that punishment commenced? A period not exceeding five years. Why, Sir, a person transported for seven years for a minor offence would not, in the ordinary course of the administration of justice in this country, have his sentence commuted at so early a period. According to the ordinary mode of proceeding, a sentence of transportation for life, even under the most favourable circumstances, would not be commuted until the expiration of ten years. Now I must remark, that if punishment be not of a vindictive character—as in this country I hope it never will be; but if it be inflicted for the suppression of crime, and in order to afford an example to a great community, I cannot think that I should be justified in advising Her Majesty to accede to the prayer of the petitioners who have supported the Motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury. My sympathy, I am bound to say, is not with Frost and Williams. My sympathy is with the widows and orphans of those men whom Frost, and Williams, and Jones misled, and who lost their lives on the occasion to which I have referred. I must say that I think it is useful that those men should remain—at present at least—examples that such advice as they gave to the people generally proceeds from men bold in counsel, but timid in execution; and who, when matters come to an issue, are eager to screen themselves from the consequences of their misconduct, instead of being found in the foremost rank of those whom they have incited to crime and outrage. Their example, I think, may afford a salutary and useful lesson. I am bound to say that I cannot think, under present circumstances, it would be consistent with my duty to advise the remission of the punishment to which these parties have been sentenced. Far be it from me to say that the gate of mercy should for ever be closed against them. Far be it from me to hold any such doctrine. I say that is a question of time and 888 circumstances. At the present time, and under present circumstances, I do not think it would be consistent with my duty to recommend Her Majesty to extend Her clemency to these unfortunate prisoners. I do not consider it advisable that any interference should take place. No man respects more than I do the feelings and wishes of so large a portion of the community as have expressed their opinions in favour of the Motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury; but justice is administered for the benefit of the entire community, and my belief is, that it would not be for their advantage, rightly understood, that I should accede to the proposition of the hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. MACAULAY
I would not, Sir, say a single word on this question, if my hon. Friend had not brought forward my name in the course of his speech, and if in doing so, had not, he must permit me to say, fallen into some mistakes. There exits no such connection as my hon. Friend appears to think between the letters which he introduced to the attention of the House and his Motion. Those letters were written by me at different times and to different persons. One of them was in answer to a private letter from one of my constituents, informing me of some scrupulous feelings which he and others entertained respecting the proposed calling out of the militia; and the other was written in answer to the secretary of a committee, asking me to support the Motion of the hon. Gentleman on this matter. I had no notion that either of these letters would have been published, though they were published at the same time; and perhaps I have some reason to complain of their publication, and especially that they should have been published together. They were published without my consent or authority, and not only that, but by persons taking the same view of this question which the hon. Gentleman himself takes, by persons who conceived that the publication of these letters might possibly be acceptable at the place which I have the honour to represent, but certainly not with any view to prejudice the persons whose case is now under discussion. With regard to the first of these letters, I mean to pass over all that has been said by the hon. Gentleman respecting his Motion in 1842, for an extension of the elective franchise, as I think it would be very much out of place were I, on this occasion, to go over all the grounds that he went through on the subject. There is not one word in 889 that letter which, on the discussion of the petition which the hon. Gentleman presented, I did not state in the most distinct manner, giving him an opportunity of refuting it at the time; and I will add, there is not a word in that letter which I am not still prepared to abide by. I will not turn away from the question before the House, by deviating into a discussion on the principles of Chartism; but I will ask every hon. Gentleman to read for himself that national petition, and then judge whether I did, or not, take a correct view regarding it. And I beg to say, also, that though the letter which I wrote on the subject of the liberation of Frost, Williams, and Jones, was written without the least expectation that it would be ever published, there is not one word in that letter which I am not prepared to reassert and maintain. But to come to the Motion before the House. In the first place, I have a preliminary objection to the hon. Gentleman's Motion—an objection which would be decisive with me, if the grounds on which he has brought it forward were even much stronger than I think they are. I have an insurmountable objection to interfere—for this House to interfere—with this particular prerogative of the Crown. No doubt this House has a right to advise the Queen with respect to the exercise of any of the prerogatives of the Crown. There is no law which says you may advise the Queen with regard to the exercise of certain prerogatives; but there are other prerogatives of the Crown on which the House of Commons is not to advise Her Majesty. There is no such law as this. But the discretion of former Houses of Commons has imposed laws upon themselves, and our discretion ought to impose similar laws on ourselves, as to the extent to which this advice should be given. There are certain rules which usage has laid down, and which we ought not lightly to pass over. There are some prerogatives of the Crown with respect to which we ought to offer advice, and there are some prerogatives with respect to which the Ministers of the Crown would be greatly to blame if they did not ask our advice before we offered it. For instance, the right of declaring war is strictly a prerogative of the Crown, and yet I think any Minister of the Crown would be much deserving of blame if he did not bring down a message to this House, asking our advice and co-operation, and ascertaining whether the House of Commons was pre- 890 pared to grant supplies for carrying on the war, before the prerogative was acted on. But there are other matters connected with the prerogative of the Crown—the command of the army, for example—on which I do not suppose that any person would allege we ought to interfere. That is a branch of the administration with which this House can have nothing to do; and I pass from it to the prerogative of the Crown involved in the question now before us—the prerogative of mercy. It is no superstition, no blind veneration for the prerogatives of Her Majesty, no desire that these prerogatives should be exercised without check, which would make me wish not to interfere in their use; but I say that those by whom Her Majesty is to be advised as to the exercise of that prerogative of mercy, and who are responsible for its results—that those who should be responsible for the peace and well-being of the community—should be able to assent to the extension of the royal prerogative of mercy in every case in which it is exercised. That they should be able to feel that the exercise of this prerogative in any instance is not dangerous or injurious to the peace and order of society, when they are answerable for the effect which it may produce, and when they are bound to see that that peace and order are preserved. Is there not an object of efficacy kept in sight, in saying that they who have in view all that the necessities of society may require, shall be the persons to tender to Her Majesty the advice under which she uses this prerogative? My hon. Friend seems to look at this prerogative in an erroneous light. He seems to think that the exercise of the prerogative of mercy is a matter of mere amusement to the Sovereign—that it is a thing to be used for the purpose of giving pleasure. That is not a right view of the prerogative of mercy. I do not imagine that the royal prerogative of mercy is a thing to be let off like fireworks in order to celebrate a festivity, and to gratify the public mind. I think that it is a distinct part of justice—that it is a very solemn and awful trust resting on these principles. The Government is bound to preserve the peace of society—to see full protection given to life and property—and it is bound to do so with the smallest infliction of suffering, even to the guilty, compatible with the attainment of that object. To consider the exercise of the prerogative of mercy as a matter of gaiety, is next to the consideration of punishment as 891 pure revenge. The two views go together. The hon. Gentleman, in alluding to the first, reminded me of the king in Tom Thumb, who, when good news arrived, ordered the celebration of a universal holiday, but who afterwards, when another messenger came in with disagreeable intelligence, gave orders to the schoolmaster to whip all the boys. I do not think that view of the prerogative of mercy is consonant to the English Constitution. In this country the exercise of the prerogative should not, as in the case of some continental governments, be allowed to depend on casual circumstances, as on the event of a lucky birth in the Royal family; and yet this appears to me to be but a fair analogy to the notion which the hon. Gentleman has advanced, The view that I take of the subject is this: I conceive that the prerogative of mercy is always likely to be best used when used in conformity with the advice of those on whom rest the responsibility of watching over the public security. There is no such burden over us. For us there would be nothing easier—according to the established usage of Parliament—than to seek to gratify the feelings of our constituents by making Motions for an extension of the Royal prerogative of mercy in favour of all sorts of persons; and if once the precedent be set, depend upon it you will have it soon followed by hon. Gentlemen anxious to give no offence to their constituents; and we shall have Motions of this sort made in the case of every enormous criminal who may be sentenced to death. Have not petitions been presented in favour of every convict, no matter how great his offence may be? And I say the circumstance is perfectly intelligible. It is the natural reaction of the human mind against that barbarous penal code which was enforced in England up to the close of the last century. It is the natural reaction against the severity of our criminal law until a recent period. We have a sort of feeling which it is impossible to account for in the mind, arising from a repugnance at the severity of the law; and the result is, that there is no case of atrocity so horrible that people — ay, thousands of people—will not be found petitioning for mercy in favour of the perpetrator of it. And, I say, that if this House give due encouragement to this feeling, the people will almost force their representatives to make Motions similar to the present in every case where a capital punishment may be awarded. We had a case a 892 short time ago, in which the greatest exertions were made to procure the release of a most infamous hypocrite who to the last moment pretended innocence. He had poisoned an unfortunate woman, to whom he was bound by the tenderest ties; and who, whatever might have been her errors, towards him maintained the most irreproachable conduct. There was not one circumstance of palliation in his case. He had all the advantages that religion, all the advantages that station, all the advantages that education could have afforded him; yet, notwithstanding this aggravation of his guilt, we had persons of the most pure and religious feelings petitioning in his favour. Even dignitaries of the Church of England signed such petitions, praying that a woman might not be hanged. She was represented to be so good—so excellent an instructress of youth — and her services would be so valuable in a penal Colony in instructing the children there in the precepts of religion, that her life was earnestly prayed for. She had been, it was said, irreproachable through life—her only offence, forsooth, being the little one of having mixed some arsenic in her father's drink; and petitions were poured in, praying that she should not expiate her crime upon the scaffold. If the prerogative of the Crown were to be used in favour of such criminals, every one of us would soon be concerned in bringing forward cases of the same character. We should find it difficult to refuse the calls that would be made upon us to make Motions similar to the present. We should have the House occupied almost every day with such matters. I therefore think it necessary to make a stand, in the first instance, against such a system. I have no hesitation in saying, with regard to this power—the prerogative of mercy—that I would rather entrust it in the hands of the very worst Ministry that ever held office, than allow it to be exercised under the direction of the very best House of Commons. If you acquiesce in my opinion, there is no difficulty that you cannot easily get through. The plain course is open before you. If you think the law too severe, mitigate it. It belongs to legislative authority to do so. If you think the Ministry do not exercise the prerogative of mercy where they ought, then address the Crown to remove them. But while you have a Ministry from whom you do not think you would be justified in withdrawing your confidence, then you are bound to 893 leave them, as your ancestors did, free to advise the exercise of the Royal prerogative according to the best of their own judgment and discretion. I do not know a case in which, as a Member of the House of Commons, I should be disposed to interfere with the Ministry in advising the Crown on this matter. If I could contemplate such a case, it would be some case of most momentous necessity—some flagitious and monstrous case of oppression—something like the severity that had been exercised in the reign of King James the Second, against those who had taken up arms against him in the Monmouth rebellion—some case the mere mention of which would be enough to make the blood boil—to make the hair of one's head stand on end. But is the present a case of that description? These three persons raised 4,000 or 5,000 men armed, some with fire-arms, some with scythes, some with pitchforks, many, in fact a large proportion, with deadly weapons of various kinds; and at midnight they marched with them for the purpose of taking a town. They fired on the Queen's troops, they wounded a magistrate in the discharge of his duty. [Mr. DUNCOMBE: He was not wounded by them.] He was wounded by the fire of the traitors who were so armed. [Mr. DUNCOMBE: No, no.] I certainly read the trial formerly, and unless my recollection altogether deceives me, the fact was as I have stated. I believe it is the case, that two wounds were received by Sir Thomas Phillips, who behaved on the occasion with a gallantry that would have done honour to a veteran soldier, much more to a man who had been trained in the civil service. After he was wounded, he avoided mentioning the matter to the private soldiers, but called Lieutenant Gray aside, and stated the fact to him. I believe it appeared on the trial that this attack was intended to lead to a great rising of the Chartists in the middle and northern counties of England. That was part of the evidence adduced. Now when I consider the language used by Chief Justice Tindal—I allude to the passage read by the right hon. Gentleman opposite—I ask, is it too strong for such an occasion? Does it even come up to the necessary conception of the enormity of the offence? When we imagine the effect of a great civil war between classes in England—and that is what these persons projected—that is what they desired — that is what they intended — it would be 894 worse than any war we ever read of. Remember the wealth—remember the civilization—remember the power of all those classes. They were possessed of advantages, to retain which they would have made every possible effort. A civil war commenced under these circumstances, and with such objects in view, would be a visitation more horrible than can possibly be conceived—more tremendous than this country ever saw. It would be more dreadful than the wars of the cavaliers and the roundheads in the seventeenth century. Other wars may be carried on without producing any great or irreparable destruction. Soldiers may be slaughtered on the field of battle. There may be executions after the battle. But then the evils effected are not of an overwhelming character. There is no irreparable wound offered to the civilization of the country. The land may recover after such battles even as those of Towton or of Bosworth; but do you imagine that such would be the case after a great war of classes in this country? All the power of imagination fails to paint the horrors of such a contest. It would produce a shock that would be felt to the end of the civilized world, and that our grandchildren and posterity far into the twentieth century would have cause to lament and deprecate. And yet this is what these men attempted. Are we to take this as a light case? Is what they meditated a trifle? Were the means they had recourse to of a slight kind? Were their objects small and insignificant? Was their purpose one which we should ordinarily be not likely to reject? Is all crime against society in itself so very low and trivial? the murder, and rapine, and spoliation, and every excess of brutality, so unimportant that any motives are sufficient to commit and to sanction them! Is it nothing that the design comprised all the mischief that can act upon the human mind? I speak of the ringleaders. God forbid that I should thus describe the conduct of the unhappy multitude who followed them!—though even for them no individual can have any sympathy—even for those who fell by the fire of the troops. But, remember, that in order to be merciful to the multitude, we must show, at least, ordinary severity to the ringleaders. Every man who commits a crime means to succeed in the object which he has in view. The principal ringleader in this instance hoped to succeed in raising himself from the station of a linendraper in a country town, to 895 be the protector of a kingdom—to be one of the rulers of the public State—to be put upon the same footing with the potentates of Europe, with boundless means of gratifying his rapacity—if that be his passion—or of gratifying any other prevailing disposition which he may have. He hoped for boundless distinction and honours. These are the sort of motives which actuate the designers of such a crime. This is the sort of distinction which those aim at in meditating a measure of this kind—who seek to establish a new form of government; and yet a Motion is now made to put an end to a punishment for such a crime, which would be scarcely thought too great for a case of misdemeanor. Is it not possible that these men may not find imitators, if it shall go forth to the world that persons guilty of high treason—men who have shed blood, who have meditated a great civil war, a civil war of the worst of all kinds, a war of class against class—are to escape with a less amount of punishment than the shop-boy who filches five shillings from the till, or than the woman who steals a piece of ribbon from the counter? What is the use of law unless its punishments bear some sort of proportion to the crime committed? The hon. Gentleman alluded to the case of Canada in the last rebellion. But were none of the Canadian rebels hanged? Is there any resemblance between that and the case the hon. Member seeks to establish? In Canada you hanged the most guilty—which was proper—and you pardoned the others. It is exactly the same case here, except that you hanged nobody. You transported the ringleaders; but how many of the 4,000 or 5,000 that they brought with them, and who were technically guilty of treason, were even tried? The hon. Gentleman argues as if in this case we had hanged a good many ringleaders, and spared the rest. I have said more than I intended. I observed the highly questionable nature of the argument used by the hon. Gentleman, and I could not allow it to pass unnoticed. I do not mean to say that under no circumstances would the Government be justified in extending the mercy of the Crown to these persons; and in voting against the Motion of the hon. Gentleman, I do not object to such an extension of the Royal mercy on a proper occasion. Were I to do that, I should imitate the conduct of the hon. Member, which I condemn. The only opinion which I express is, that Her Majesty's Ministers are not to be forced by 896 the House to exercise the prerogative with which they are entrusted, contrary to their own judgment. It would be certainly inconvenient, and perhaps unprecedented, for the House to interfere with the prerogative of mercy.
§ MR. DISRAELI
I am very glad the right hon. and learned Member has vindicated his letters. It is always, to me, at least, and I believe to the House, so agreeable to listen to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, under any circumstances, that we must have been all gratified to-night that he has found it necessary to vindicate that celebrated epistle, which produced at the same time an effect that has not been forgotten; and I wish that hon. Members in a position as eminent and distinguished as that of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, would also rise and vindicate those other letters which have influenced public opinion, and produced likewise very great effect during the last six months. If they were to do that, the present debate would, I believe, be able to show a comparison in interest with any debate that has occupied our attention for a considerable time. I trespass on the notice of the House to-night with great reluctance; but I have reason to think that the House will acknowledge the necessity of my doing so, when I state that five or six years ago I was, on this very subject, in one of the smallest minorities that ever divided the House—namely, a minority of four, on a Motion identical, I believe, with that which now attracts our attention; and I certainly have not the moral courage to refrain, in the present instance, from coming forward to express an opinion similar to that which, on that occasion, I vindicated by my vote. I think it impossible to aggravate the crime of which these individuals were convicted. It is, as was said to-night by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, in probably better language than it was ever expressed in before—a crime which includes all other crimes; and I am bound also to say that I think, and have ever thought, that the punishment to which they have been subjected is as lenient as any punishment could be under the circumstances. When the crime was so enormous—when the judgment was so merciful, you might well say that it is not the part of this House to come forward either on the present or on the previous occasion; and when you have decided in all public transactions on the mere merits of the case as placed before you, then I admit it will be very difficult to meet 897 this objection. On the previous occasion I was, I believe, the only Tory Member who voted in the minority. I did so because I thought it was impossible for us to decide on the matters brought before us without looking to the circumstances under which they occurred. I believe that was in the year 1839, and I could not then forget that we lived at a period of great political excitement—I could not forget that the system called agitation had obtained in this kingdom for a number of years—and by that agitation carried us to the veriest confines of sedition. Men had become Ministers—parties had been destroyed and been constructed—Administrations had risen to power formed of individuals who, within a short time, had, I believe, sat on both sides of the House. Whether they were Secretaries of State or not, I need not now inquire. I felt that this state of things had been very prevalent in the country, and that there had been also a debauched state of the public mind. When persons, who to a certain degree were ignorant, uninformed, and inexperienced, were seduced by these great examples by seeing that agitation had made some men Ministers, and in another part of the United Kingdom had raised one man to be more powerful than any Minister—when other individuals were induced by these successful examples to play a card infinitely dangerous to the fortunes of this country—I thought that we were bound, whatever catastrophe might have happened, to consider the circumstances by which they were excited, and under which they had acted. I did not think that we could decide on the conduct of these men without reference to these circumstances. I did not think we could say to them, "You have waged a war against the majesty of the Sovereign; you have excited the feelings of the people—you have appealed to the passions of the multitude—you have raised expectations which, if you are well-informed men, you must have known could not be realized—you have then attempted to enforce that which was illegal, but which, if you had succeeded, would cease to be illegal, and therefore you must be punished without mercy." I know very well the correspondence that has been held by eminent leaders in this country with organized masses of the people; and, animated by this conviction, although I thought their crime enormous, and although I thought the judgment upon them a lenient judgment, I felt it my duty, when the case was brought before the 898 House, to record my vote in their favour. I want to know whether any circumstances have occurred since which should change my opinion and my vote. The right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Macaulay), happy in all the arts of composition, and in all the artifices of eloquence, but never happier than when he illustrates his arguments, has ridiculed the distempered sympathy of the public for great criminals. He says, "Look at the maudlin and mistaken zeal, the diseased and disordered state of the public mind, which sympathizes with a murderess, and proposes to send her to one of the Colonies to teach children there. Why, it is the example of our Colonies — one at least—which interests me much at this moment, and which influences me in the course I wish to take. I go to the Colonies. I see in one of them a great insurrection. I see a great political movement there, and I find that traitors there are not only not punished, but they are rewarded. I do not want the people of England to feel—although they will never find in me one who will palliate the enormities of criminals in this country—to feel there is a difference between Colonial and native crime. I am so far an advocate of free trade that I do not wish native industry to have this monopoly, and be protected in this exception. If the Colonial system can only be maintained by making Mr. Frost a slave, and Mr. Papineau the Speaker of the House of Assembly, I think that system should be put an end to as soon as possible. Then, the right hon. and learned Gentleman, never richer in any of his reminiscences than when he appeals to history, appeals to the reigns of James II., and he tell us of an instance with which you may parallel the present case. But that case was perfectly different. It was innocuous. Here Her Majesty's troops are fired on. I might ask, in a parenthesis, were not Her Majesty's troops fired on in Canada? I should like to have a return from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War of the number of Her Majesty's troops killed and wounded during the rebellion in Canada. But when the right hon. and learned Gentleman comes to us, and appeals to the reign of James II. as the model reign for sedition and treason that should be pardoned, I ask him was not the blood of Sedgmoor as costly as that at the little town of Newport? Are we to be told we are to show no mercy in the case of this insurrection, because in the reign of James II. there was a rebellion, in which 899 there was suffering more multiplied? I can find in the observations of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, always interesting and charming to listen to, no valid argument against the Motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury. But I turn to a higher authority—of course I speak with regard to present situation. And here I must remark, that the argument of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, who tells us we are bound to support the Crown in the exercise of the prerogative, which is at present in question, because it is necessary, under all circumstances, goes to prove to us that we should on no occasion question the conduct of Her Majesty's advisers. But you must look a little to the position of the Government. If we admit for a moment this position, that the prerogative of the Crown must not be questioned because of the advice which the Crown receives from an individual, an individual who has told us that in the present case he has taken even a particular responsibility as to the point at issue, we must look whether the Government possesses entirely the confidence of this House. Although I know the Government is supported by 112 Gentlemen, who are the regenerators of this country by a change of their opinions, still, when we are called upon to support the Crown in the exercise of that prerogative by the argument that we must support the Minister who advises the Crown, we are bound to consider whether the Minister possesses the confidence of the House, and whether in a week hence we may not find it necessary to support the exercise of the prerogative of the Crown under very different circumstances and for a different end, and be equally justified in it, because another Minister may be ready to accept that responsibility. Now I come to a position taken by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State. The right hon. Gentleman commenced his speech by stating what was his right possition, as I humbly conceive. Whatever may be my opinions upon the main question, there can, in my mind, be no doubt that the Minister of the Crown was bound to come forward and dilate upon the enormity of the crime, which I should think no one questioned, upon the prerogative of the Crown, and the delicate nature of its exercise, which I believe no one challenges—I think, I say, nothing could be more just and more politic than the position which the right hon. Gentleman first assumed, and then dwelt 900 upon. I know it carried the feelings of those around me, and I believe of the House. It is very difficult to answer the position of the right hon. Gentleman; and I know there was an extraordinary sensation upon these benches, to find Her Majesty's Ministers had one set of opinions, to which they were determined to adhere. But the right hon. Gentleman, though he might have carried the House, and to a certain degree the country, upon that head, pauses in his course before he sits down; and when he had put himself in a clear and intelligible and strong position, both in point of constitutional opinion—that I will say, for I cannot doubt his past sentiments of loyalty—the right hon. Baronet comes forward and says, "at least for a time." "Press me," he said, looking at those hon. Members for Finsbury who were the first to discover he was of so "squeezable" a nature—"bring forward the question again upon another occasion, bring it forward in another Session—perhaps in another Parliament—and I shall be ready to meet you in the most liberal spirit!" "At present," he said, "I disapprove of treason; at present I wish that the exercise of mercy should be delicately and discreetly used; but do not for a moment suppose that I wish to stop you in your constitutional course. Press the Crown and press the Minister; and though the crime is now enormous, and though the exercise of mercy is that prerogative for which I am peculiarly responsible," as he informed us, "though the last to meddle with it, bring forward the question again; and although under present circumstances we cannot be in a minority, still bring forward the question again, and I will hear what you have to say." Now, I say that is not the way the Government ought to have met this question. As regards those parties who come before the House, I voted for them years ago, in the hour of their adversity; and whatever may be their fortunes now, I will not desert them. I voted for them then for the same reasons and with the same sentiments that I shall vote for them now; but between the Government and those forlorn individuals and their friends there is a clear position to take. They, according to the right opinion of society, and the decision of the law, have committed a great crime. The law has awarded them a great, though a lenient punishment. The Government have only two courses to take, to use their own official language. These men are 901 either to be pardoned or to be punished. They are to be punished as an example to society, or they are to be pardoned as an encouragement to others to hope that though they may be criminal, there is the divine attribute of mercy in the Sovereign. But no Government is authorized to come forward and say, "These are criminals; we have punished them, and we vindicate their punishment; but bring forward your Motion again, and we do not say we will then resist your appeal." That is a concession of a most demoralizing character. What is the result? Why this, that if these men ever are pardoned, if there be a remission of their punishment, if the highest, the divinest quality of the Crown, the attribute of majesty which all adore, is brought into action in their favour, what will they, and the multitude they represent, say? Will they feel gratitude to the Crown? No! They will only recognise the timidity and the weakness of the Government. For these reasons, and for others, I shall support the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Duncombe) if he persists in dividing the House, as I supported him before; but perhaps he will be satisfied in bringing the question under the notice of the public. And trusting he has by this discussion placed it in a light which will draw public attention to it, in a way that will call for wholesome sympathy, so that the Crown may perhaps be induced, by its natural impulse and disposition, and the consciousness that it possesses the sympathy of its subjects, to view with mercy the conduct of these men, I hope the hon. Member will not press his Motion to a division; but if he presses it to a division, I shall divide with him.
§ SIR J. GRAHAM
said, he should be exceedingly sorry to be misunderstood by the hon. Gentleman, and therefore he begged to be allowed to explain. The House would remember that he deprecated interference with regard to this prerogative of the Crown. He stated the exercise—the spontaneous exercise—of it ought, in his opinion, to be guided by time and circumstances; and he went on to say he could not be responsible at the present time for any advice to Her Majesty to remit the sentence, but at the same time he thought it right to presume there was no limit to the prerogative of mercy in the Crown.
§ MR. J. S. WORTLEY
said the hon. Member who had last addressed the House (Mr. Disraeli), had taken the opportunity of vindicating his own unerring 902 consistency. He had told the House he had gone out in a minority of four on this question. He (Mr. S. Wortley) doubted very much whether the House would be swayed by the same reasons which seemed to have influenced the mind of the hon. Gentleman, who had certainly referred to topics which tended to show that personal considerations had brought him to give the vote he intended to give. Neither could the House feel very greatly obliged to the hon. Member for having introduced into this debate acrimonious feelings and personal allusions. The hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Duncombe) he hoped would feel that the Motion had been treated with the greatest respect and in the best feeling, by those who differed from him; but, the hon. Gentleman had but little advanced the interests of those he represented on this occasion. If a feeling had been growing up favourable to the remission of their sentence, he (Mr. S. Wortley) could not conceive a more unfortunate interposition with that feeling than this discussion, because by reviving the extreme atrocity of the crime of which they had been convicted, the Crown was embarrassed in exercising its prerogative, and mercy was made more difficult to be extended. When the hon. Member said that public opinion was embodied in favour of the remission of the sentence on these persons, he (Mr. S. Wortley) begged to differ from the hon. Member. He believed, on the contrary, that if the prayer of such petitions were conceded, that public opinion would be shocked and outraged thereby; and if the great criminals to whom reference was made were pardoned, he could but conclude that injustice would be done to others still kept in punishment, whose offences were not of so high a nature. What dark ingredient in crime, he would ask, did not enter into the offence for which Frost and his compeers were convicted? The hon. Member talked of the sudden circumstances under which the crime was committed. Why, was it not proved on the trial that the outbreak had been concocted weeks previously? All the consideration, the ingenuity, and the influence, of the position of Frost were brought to bear in furtherance of the movement. Much ignorance and bad feeling existed, most likely, at the period, in that part of Wales where these atrocities took place; but surely the punishment of the crime should not be visited upon the colliers who joined the forces of Frost, 903 but on those who marshalled them and led them to the attack. The hon. Member for Finsbury also seemed to consider the offence a political crime only. If it were a political offence, then was the crime of Thistlewood a political crime only. The same motives existed in both cases. Thistlewood struck at the objects of his personal antipathy, and counselled as well as planned the intended murders. Frost was equally cognizant of his object, directed his misguided followers to attack the town of Newport and its innocent people, at whatever risk, and at the expense of bloodshed. The hon. Member also said that Frost desired himself that a moral demonstration only should be made. But that very point was left to the jury by the Lord Chief Justice. The learned Judge put it to the jury to say, if Frost had entered the town for the treasonous and rebellious purpose against the Government of the Queen, and the peace of the people. What was the answer of the jury? They convicted him of his dark and iniquitous intention. The Judge called attention to that part of the charge. He put it to the jury to say if Frost was innocent of guilty intent or not? He would refer to the report of the time, and read that portion to the House connected with that point. The Chief Justice said—As the jury have in each case pronounced you guilty of the crime with which you have been charged, I should be wanting in my duty if I did not declare that the verdict which they have pronounced meets with the entire concurrence of all my learned brethren and myself.Then, again, he said—It has been proved in your case that you contrived to lead from the hills, at the dead of night, into the town of Newport many thousands of men, armed in many instances with dangerous weapons, in order that they might take possession of the town, and supersede the lawful authority of the Queen, as preliminary to a more general insurrection.Again, it would he seen from the evidence, that—The guns were to go first, the pikes next, and then the people without arms. Frost said that he was going to take Newport, and that he would break down the bridge, and prevent the passing of the Welsh mail, the non-arrival of which was to be the signal for the attack in Birmingham, in the north of England, and to the whole nation.Yet that was the man who was now represented as having been unintentionally led into those excesses. And when he (Mr. Wortley) spoke of a general insurrection, he might say, that he knew well what was passing in the north of England at the 904 same time; and he would state his firm conviction to the House, that had the attack succeeded at Newport, an outbreak would also have followed in the north. But was the attack at Newport against the peace of the town unconnected with the troubles ofterwards arising in the north? He doubted much if the outbreak in Yorkshire was not a part of the same movement. It was at least identical in point of time. He alluded to the troubles which took place in the neighbourhood of Sheffield. So strong were the opinions of Lord Melbourne and the noble Lord the Member for London, who were in office at the moment, upon the extreme atrocity of the crime, that it was only upon the utmost pressure they were induced to remit the punishment awarded. Now having stated these matters, was this a case, he would ask, in which to exercise the prerogative of mercy? Other circumstances connected with the case should also be made known. Mr. Maule, the solicitor for the prosecution on the part of the Government, had an application made to him by the defendants' legal adviser, for a copy of the indictment and other documents. The indictment was delivered three or four days before it should have been placed in the hands of the prisoner; but the list of witnesses was not delivered at the legal period. This inadvertence was seized by the counsel (the present Solicitor General) as of advantage to his client. The circumstance was very properly so seized, and rendered of avail, in the argument which afterwards took place on the matter. The whole question of the legality of trial was argued before the fifteen Judges, in the Exchequer Chamber. Whatever the issue of that argument, no doubt could exist that Frost and his companions had been convicted of an offence which they must, without remission, have expiated with death. God forbid that the House should for one instant stand opposed to mercy! but he could not think any ground existed for interference, and even had the demurrer in the case succeeded, the only effect would have been, that the parties charged would have again been placed on trial, perhaps to be again found guilty.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
regretted the speech which had been just delivered by the hon. and learned Member for Bute (Mr. Wortley), which rendered it necessary that his hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury should pursue that course which, under other circumstances he (Mr. Aglionby) 905 should have wished him not to have taken. What he should have liked would have been for his hon. Friend, immediately after the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department, to have got up and have deprecated all further discussion. Had that been done, he was quite sure that the general feeling of the country would have been had regard to by Her Majesty's Government, in whose hands the case of Frost, Williams, and Jones might have been safely left. As it was, however, he feared that his hon. Friend must adopt a different course. He had listened with regret to the speeches both of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Shrewsbury, and of his right hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh—to the former, because, it had placed altogether a false construction upon the remarks of the right hon. Baronet; and to the latter because it had infused a good deal of bitterness and excitement into the debate, which were by no means called for. There was a strong feeling of sympathy towards those people, which ought to meet with attention from the Government; and he would ask what was the effect of punishment in this case? Was it the prevention of crime, or the reformation of the individuals? In either case its continuation would be unnecessary. It had been continued for near six years; and their conduct in the Colony during that time had been so exemplary that the severity of their sentence had been somewhat relaxed, whilst it had been admitted that there was no reason to fear if they at once returned to the bosom of their families, that their conduct would again cause any apprehension as to the safety of the public peace. Under these circumstances, he trusted that the right hon. Baronet would still eventually recommend the exercise of the prerogative of mercy, though he feared that the Government would be delayed in adopting that step by the course which the debate had taken.
§ SIR ROBERT H. INGLIS
said, that his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Wortley) had called the speech of the hon. Member for Shrewsbury a speech distinguished by acrimony and party feeling. He denied that the speech exhibited any party rancour; and certainly no personal acrimony. There were two leading points to which the hon. Member had directed attention. One was, that the criminals in the case now submitted to the House had been misled by the speeches of persons high in 906 authority. The hon. Member went no farther than this—that the light which had led astray was light from a high quarter. The other point which was maintained in the speech of his hon. Friend was, that similar conduct on the part of persons in the Colonies had not met with similar punishment. Was there any man of any party in politics who would deny this? Would any one say, that the traitors in Canada were not rewarded for their treason? Had there not been instances of persons who had been expatriated, who, like Frost, had hidden themselves in a coalhole? Were they not brought back to Canada, and placed in offices of trust? What encouragement was that to the loyal men who, under Providence, had preserved Canada? Had not a man like Sir Francis Head, who, humanly speaking, preserved that country, been, by successive Governments, neglected, while Papineau was encouraged and rewarded? His hon. Friend the Member for Shrewsbury did not deny the guilt of these men; but he said that others in a similar situation had been encouraged, instead of meeting with similar punishment. If this was party feeling, he shared it with the hon. Member for Shrewsbury. No one was more convinced of the guilt of these men than he was: he had never voted in favour of their pardon, nor should he do so now; and if it had not been for the closing sentences of the speeches of his right hon. Friend (Sir James Graham), and of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh, he should have remained silent, or contented himself with thanking them for their speeches, particularly the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh, for his luminous exposition of the constitutional view of the question. He should also have thanked his right hon. Friend, had it not been for the last portion of his speech; and he (Sir R. Inglis) confessed, that even his right hon. Friend's explanation was not satisfactory to him; nor did he think that his right hon. Friend did not mean, while he deprecated discussion in this House, to show that his own mind was not made up on this sentence, which was virtually encouraging the renewal of the discussion. ["No, no!"] That was his opinion. He did not join in the wish of his hon. Friend the Member for Shrewsbury, that the hon. Member for Finsbury would withdraw his Motion; but he hoped the House would reject it by a large majority, for he thought the prerogative of the Crown ought to be maintained, and never 907 more than in this case. Hon. Gentlemen talked of political offences, as if they were no crimes at all. Why, the offence for which these men had been transported was the concentration and essence of all crimes. If they had realized the objects they had in view, human imagination could hardly conceive a scene of greater horror and atrocity than would have been witnessed at Newport on the morning of that day when these men were apprehended. He concurred with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh in his eulogium on the merits and services of Sir Thomas Phillips, by whose gallantry, under Providence, those traitorous efforts were repulsed; for he being a civilian, and holding a civil office in the town, had marshalled the military force, and resisted the attack of the rioters. He was glad that the Government of that day had recommended him to the favour of the Crown. He had heard nothing to induce him to give any other vote than that he had formerly given, and he hoped the Motion would be met by the most determined opposition which the House could show.
§ MR. WAKLEY
did not know how the hon. Baronet who had just sat down, was to be satisfied. He commenced by complaining of the manner in which the hon. and learned Member for Bute had addressed himself to the remarks of the hon. Member for Shrewsbury. He (Mr. Wakley) thought, therefore, that the hon. Baronet was so overflowing with the milk of human kindness, that he was about, in the most energetic manner, to support the Motion of his hon. Colleague (Mr. Duncombe). But the hon. Baronet went on with his criticism till he came to the speech of the right hon. Baronet opposite, and of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh; and both those speeches pleased him, with the exception of one portion—and what portion was that? Why, that in which there was intimation of a merciful and humane feeling on the part of the Government. Was that the position which the Representative of the University of Oxford—of the Church of England—ought to assume in that House? He must say, that he was confounded at the spectacle which he witnessed; for he should have supposed that the hon. Baronet would have been the first man to have advocated the merciful Motion of his hon. Friend and Colleague. However, as he had been mistaken in that supposition, he should wish to carry the House back to the impression 908 which pervaded it at the conclusion of the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department. He was sitting beside his hon. Colleague at the time; and he asked him, by all means, if possible, to prevent further discussion. His hon. Friend, in the first instance, he thought, had taken a most judicious course in appealing to the right hon. Baronet, and asking him if he could hold out any hope that mercy would be extended to Frost, Williams, and Jones? The right hon. Baronet intimated, in reply, that he was desirous that his hon. Friend should make his statement, in order, as it was stated, that a vote of that House might justify the right hon. Baronet in extending clemency to those persons. It was absurd to say that this was a question as to the exercise of the prerogative of the Crown. It was not the prerogative of the Crown which was in question. It was an appeal to the Minister for the Home Department to exercise his discretion as regarded the remission of the sentence which had been inflicted upon those individuals. It was a question which was referred to the Secretary for the Home Department; and he thought that the right hon. Gentleman had made a very fair speech with respect to it—a fair speech for a Secretary for the Home Department, and one of the tone and temper of which the House had no reason to complain. What were they to expect from the Secretary of State for the Home Department? It should be recollected that it was a position of great responsibility—a position which gave to the right hon. Gentleman who held it the duty of the conservation of the peace in this country; and every one who considered this subject, and remembered the important interests which were concerned, would admit that the Home Secretary required to exercise very great discretion in deciding as to whether or not persons who had been guilty of such grave offences as those men had should be restored to their country. His hon. Colleague, in introducing the question, did not go into the merits of the case; and when he alluded to that portion of the subject, he deprecated the offences which those men had committed, and spoke of them as offences of the highest nature; and, in addition to that, he remarked that the millions of persons who had signed petitions to that House praying for their liberation, had not, in any of the numerous petitions which they addressed to the House, used any language tending to convey any 909 attempt to justify the conduct for which these men had been condemned to suffer punishment. But there were, notwithstanding, millions of persons in the country of opinion who thought that if those men had been persons of higher station in society—persons possessed of more money, and who would consequently have carried their case to the other House, that the result would have been different, and they would not have been transported. He only spoke of the opinion that was entertained by a great number of persons in this country who had petitioned the House in favour of those prisoners. It was an opinion which generally prevailed, that considering the legal character of the offence with which those prisoners had been charged, the result would have been different if the prisoners had been men of greater station, and possessed of more ample pecuniary means. The House was well aware of the decision which had been arrived at in another place within the last two years upon legal grounds; and it was the opinion of great numbers in this country that if those prisoners were able to bring their case into another House, they would have been successful. But the state of the country at present was highly favourable to the remission of the punishment of those prisoners. What was the state of the country at present? There was no sedition now nor any sign of rebellion, or of discontent to any considerable extent. But if the contrary were the case, and that discontent and sedition prevailed, it would be said that those who sought for a remission of punishment proposed to encourage rebellion by the course which they recommended—namely, to call back those men to their native country. It was for the Secretary of State for the Home Department to exercise his discretion in this matter. But he (Mr. Wakley) could not avoid remarking that some of the speeches which they had heard on that night were calculated to increase his difficulties as regarded this case, and that they found in that House some of the bitterest enemies of Frost, Jones, and Williams—that some of the bitterest opponents of mercy had been found there on that occasion. They ought to recollect that the people had no representatives in that House, and that millions of these people believed that those men had been unlawfully transported. Was that House never to listen to the prayers or accede to the wishes of millions of the people; or were they always to treat the petitions of 910 these unrepresented people with indifference and scorn? If they persisted in taking this course, they would find it one that ought not to be followed, and one that was calculated to produce danger to the Constitution. What would those persons think of finding the greatest opponents of Frost and Jones and Williams in that House? He regretted to perceive the tenor of the speeches of the right hon. Member for Oxford, the hon. Member for Bath, and the right hon. Member for Edinburgh; and he could not help expressing the hope that if every letter of the right hon. Member for Edinburgh were followed with such a postscript, that he would never write any more letters. It was a speech of great eloquence and ability, but it was accompanied with remarks which were altogether uncalled for. He was of opinion that no good could be effected by prolonging the debate. He thought that, considering the legal objections of the Judges, and the principle that an accused person had a claim to the benefit of the slightest doubt, it would be a wise and proper course to remit the sentence of those men.
§ MR. G. W. HOPE
rose for the purpose of noticing a single point in the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford. That hon. Baronet had stated that the persons who had been found guilty of being engaged in rebellion in Canada, had been promoted and treated with honour by the Government of this country, acting through the representatives in Canada. He could assure the hon. Baronet that such was not the case; that no person who had been found guilty of being engaged in that rebellion had been employed at all. The leading person in that rebellion undoubtedly had now returned to his native country: but he had returned under no especial pardon of the Crown; but, under a flaw, if he might so call it, in the mode of proceeding; and the result had been that his conviction was found no longer available against him. But no pardon had been asked, and none had been granted to him. It was entirely in consequence of a technicality that he had been remitted from the consequences of his conviction. As respected those who had not been so prominent in the rebellion, he admitted that pardons had been issued; and the course taken by his noble Friend (Lord Stanley) who presided over the Colonial Department was this—he declined to issue any general pardon, but said he would consider each case as it presented itself, and he did so. The case of each of 911 the minor prisoners was considered by itself; and, with the exception of some who had misconducted themselves in the penal Colony, he had decided in their favour, having found that they had been rather misled by others than having been themselves leaders in that revolt. His hon. Friend had also said that Sir Francis Head had been neglected by successive Governments, while those who had supported Papineau had been petted and employed. If those persons had received employment in Canada, it was the natural consequence of the position they had been placed in by the result of the elections there, and not because the Government had desired either to assist or to oppose any particular set of opinions.
§ LORD J. MANNERS
proceeded to address the House. The noble Lord commenced by observing, that, in spite of the speech just delivered by the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Wakley), in which the hon. Member had stated that the continuance of the discussion could come to no good, and as it had been stated that the petitions of the people who had no representatives in that House were treated with scorn and indifference, he wished to interpose a very few observations before the House came to a division on the question now before it. He thought that the whole tone of the present debate must serve to convince, not only persons in the House but also out of doors, that there existed no indisposition on the part of the present House of Commons to listen calmly, fairly, and dispassionately to the cases submitted by those classes who, it was said, had no direct representatives in the House. Among other points which had arisen in this discussion, he (Lord J. Manners) wished to correct a mistake which the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Wakley) had made, with respect to what had fallen from the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. Inglis). He was sure the hon. Member never meant to say that the hon. Baronet had stood up as the champion of the Church, to vindicate intolerance, and to interpose between the exercise of the prerogative of mercy. He was sure that the hon. Member would, in his calmer moments, give the hon. Baronet credit for the possession of as much humanity as that which actuated the hon. Member himself. His hon. Friend (Sir R. Inglis) might properly think, as a consistent member of the Church of England, that he was justified in promoting the laws of the land, and in 912 vindicating its majesty; and hence the part his hon. Friend had taken. But the principal object for which he (Lord J. Manners) had risen was to express his regret at a considerable portion of the most able and eloquent speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the city of Edinburgh. He knew not whether there was anything peculiar in the construction of his mind; but he must say that he never heard historical Whiggism brought to attack modern Chartism but his judgment was shaken by the feeling of great inconsistency. In the very speech in which the right hon. Gentleman had so eloquently denounced the crime of which those men, Frost, Williams, and Jones, had been convicted, the right hon. Gentleman had attempted to find something in the shape of an excuse and sympathy for the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion.
§ MR. MACAULAY
The noble Lord will excuse me. What I said was this, that if the severity of the punishment in this case had resembled the severity of the punishment by which Monmouth's rebellion had been put down, that then I thought there might be some ground for Parliament to interfere.
§ LORD J. MANNERS
thought there was but a very little difference between them. In the case of the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion, the sentence was that the rebels should be hanged, drawn, and quartered; the sentence on Frost, Williams, and Jones was, that they should be hanged, drawn, and quartered: while the particular punishment carried out was, that the rebels in the former case were transported to the plantations; while Frost, Williams, and Jones, had been transported to the Colonies. He thought the right hon. Gentleman had not by his explanation made any material difference in respect to his case. The right hon. Gentleman had asked the House to look at the motive which had induced Frost to set himself up and to levy war against Her Majesty. What was Frost, it was asked? A linendraper, who wished to become a dictator, had been the reply. Now he could not forget that the House, by its vote on a former occasion, had determined to celebrate the name of Hampden. And who was he but a private gentleman, who also levied war against the constituted authorities of the kingdom? But it was said that the cause in which Hampden had been engaged was genuine, while that of Frost was not. That was a mere question of opinion. There were 913 many who thought the cause in which Frost had engaged was a legitimate cause; but still did that impression change the state of things? He (Lord John Manners) had no doubt that many hon. Members would not hesitate to vote in favour of the erection in the New Houses of Parliament of a statue to Oliver Cromwell. It was quite competent for them to do so; but what he deprecated was, these attempts to palliate rebellion in one age—these efforts to honour the conduct of a regicide in another, and then to deal harshly with those who have excited rebellion in modern times. This, he thought to be a dangerous and fatal course of policy — a course of policy to which he could never lend himself; and therefore, as he was prepared to oppose any proposition such as those to which he had alluded, so he thought he was justified in not voting for the Motion now submitted to the House by the hon. Member for Finsbury. Before he sat down, he must say that he was not disposed to look at the crime of Frost as one altogether without foundation, for he believed there had never yet been a popular insurrection which had not some great evil lying at the bottom; and he thought that if the House would attend more to the social and moral condition of the people, and less to the philosophical and political notions which at present were so much discussed, the Legislature would be laying for the future a better and more enduring foundation for those great institutions of the country which that wicked and criminal attempt went to subvert.
§ SIR R. PEEL
If anything could tend to strengthen my conviction of the impolicy of discussing a question of legal punishment, like the one before us, in a popular assembly, the speech of the hon. Colleague of the Gentleman who brought forward this Motion would have that effect. He says, the impression of millions of persons in this country is, that the sentence on the prisoners was illegal, and that if they had been rich enough to carry it before the House of Lords, the result would have been different—that they would have obtained a different degree of mercy from that which had been awarded, from their wanting that advantage. Surely if the question be one as to the legality of the sentence, this House is not the place in which it can be decided. Such a question ought to be decided by a different body altogether—by men of authority, eminent for their legal knowledge, capable of deciding whether 914 the sentence was informally pronounced, or whether in any of the proceedings there was exhibited any want of technicality, or any omission of an important nature. The hon. Member asks is there to be no concession to popular feeling? Certainly not, if the popular feeling is in error. If the impression of millions as to the illegality of the sentence is erroneously entertained, the House ought to resist that impression. Is the popular impression of the legality of the sentence, to which impression the hon. Member alludes, correct or not? I say it is incorrect; and I do not found this statement on any opinion of my own, but on the highest legal authority in the country—on the opinion of the fifteen Judges to whom the subject was referred. The Judge who presided on the occasion of the trial is one of the most cautious and forbearing of men; and I can safely say that no man could be disposed to give greater advantage to a prisoner than Chief Justice Tindal. Well, what was the opinion of the Judges as to the legal question? The fifteen Judges were of opinion that delivering the list to the prisoners, however well intended for their advantage, was not good in point of law. But they also said that the objection as to the informality of the delivery was not taken at a proper time; and if it had been taken in proper time, what would have been the result? Would it have had the effect of causing a remission of the sentence, and delivering the persons from punishment? No; it would only have had the effect of causing a postponement of the trial until the informality had been corrected. What was the opinion of the Judges to whom the question was referred? That the conviction was good in point of law, and that consequently the Crown was justified in directing the sentence to be carried into effect. I am now stating correctly, I believe, the opinions of the Judges. That opinion pronounces the popular impression to which the hon. Member refers, to be erroneous; and therefore it would be subversive of the first principles of law that this House should refer to such a popular impression. But the hon. Member for Finsbury pointed to this discussion. He said—See what is the result of it. Several speeches have been made, the object of which was to throw impediments in the way of the Crown showing leniency to these prisoners.Why, that is the natural result of discussions in a popular assembly; and can there be a better proof of the unfitness of this 915 place for such discussions than his admission that the claims of these parties to mercy have been prejudiced by the discussion, and that he considered there would have been a better chance of the Crown exercising its prerogative if it had not taken place. It is always very difficult to exclude party considerations from discussions in a popular assembly. Political references give rise to heat and controversy, and the result is always the same. What have we, for instance, to do with Canada? There may have been some injustice; but supposing all the facts urged are correct, are they not, as was observed by my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Hope), decisive proof that these matters may be left in the hands of the Crown, which showed in that case that it is not indisposed to exercise the prerogative of mercy? Sir, I cannot ask the hon. Member to withdraw his Motion, as any compromise. Nothing can be so unwise as to allow the Crown to retire from discussions of this sort with any sort of understanding, expressed or implied, as to the course hereafter to be taken. I think that ought always to be left to the unfettered discretion of the Crown. I think when my right hon. Friend says that he will not undertake to say that at no time shall mercy be shown, he is stating what is quite right; but whether the hon. Member divides or not, I think that this debate ought to close with an understanding that the Crown is under no obligation to take any other course than that which a sense of justice dictates. The interference of the House in matters of this kind inverts the relation in which it ought to stand towards the Crown. With many rights, and many duties to discharge, the Crown is the fountain of mercy and of honour. But the enforcement of the sentence of the law imposes on the Crown a painful duty. Of course in no case does the odium attach to the Sovereign, because all applications and all exercises of the prerogative are made through the Ministers; and these are prerogatives of the Crown for the exercise of which the Ministers are responsible. The same is the case with regard to the granting of honours. If the House undertakes to show lenity, and the Crown has the task of enforcing justice, I think the position of the Crown and the House of Commons will be inverted. It will be most difficult for the Crown to exercise the painful part of the prerogative, if the House of Commons, a popular assembly, arrogates to itself the right of ex- 916 ercising all that is indulgent. Once establish such a precedent, and how fruitful will it be in the future! Why limit it to cases of political offenders? Why limit it to cases of men of education and intellect? Why, if in the case of Frost, who was a man of property and intelligence, and had stood in a special relationship to the Crown, having been intrusted with Her Majesty's commission for the preservation of the public peace, is to be considered a case worthy of attention in a popular assembly, and in which a petition is to be presented to the Crown, to throw on it either the necessity of yielding to its application, or the odium of refusing its assent, where is the case in which the House of Commons may not act upon the precedent that will thus be shown? Will not the pressure of constituencies acting upon their representatives — influenced by merciful feelings—the natural feelings of popular meetings — cause repeated Motions like this to be made for the exercise of mercy instead of rigour? If it is to be the case that the House of Commons, in the instance of a magistrate and a man of education, should think proper to throw upon the Crown the odium of withholding the exercise of its prerogative, I can hardly conceive a case in which the House of Commons may not interfere in like manner. It may be right that the facts of this case should be fully brought before the House in a discussion of this nature; and yet the introduction of those facts at the present moment are said to throw an impediment in the way of a remission of the sentence, and to imply an intention on the part of Her Majesty's Ministers not to advise the Crown to exercise its prerogative in the present case. A magistrate makes an attack upon a peaceable town with a large body of armed men: there was to be a signal for a general insurrection—the bridge was to be broken up—the mail was to be stopped, and the stoppage of the mail was to be an indication to their party at Birmingham and other places, that the town of Newport was in the possession of the rebels, and was held against the authority of the Crown. And that is the case in which, after a period of six years' imprisonment, the House of Commons is called upon to petition the Crown for the exercise of its prerogative of mercy. I must say that I deprecate making any precedent of this kind, for I do not know where it is to stop. I am convinced that is not for the interest of the persons themselves who 917 are suffering the penalties of the law that such a Motion as this should be agreed to. If the hon. Member for Finsbury, who, brought forward this Motion, acting upon his own good sense, should be disposed not to provoke a division on this subject, well and good; but I hope that the hon. Member will excuse me if I do not invite him to spare us the pain of this division, by entering into any engagement whatever, either expressed or implied, with respect to a future exercise of the prerogative of mercy by the Crown. The exercise of the prerogative must be altogether left to the discretion of the Crown; and I do not think it would be wise to deprecate either a discussion or a division upon this case by holding out any expectations that it will be exercised according to the wish of the hon. Member.
§ MR. M. PHILIPS
, as the representative of a place from which petitions, signed by a very large number of his constituency, and praying for the remission of punishment to Frost, Williams, and Jones, had emanated, thought he would not be justified if he did not rise during the present discussion, for the purpose of denying that he had any inclination to treat with scorn or contempt the petitions of his constituency while giving his vote against the Motion. He believed he was right in the opinion he had formed on that subject, and could not act contrary to it out of regard to the opinion of others, who believed themselves to be right, but whom he was convinced were in error. He denied that in opposing the Motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury he could be accused of acting as a personal enemy to Frost, Jones, and Williams, as had been said, and repudiated the notion that personal motives should be attributed to the Members of the House in discharge of their public duties.
§ MR. P. HOWARD
trusted that the hon. Member for Finsbury would not go to a division, but would rest satisfied with having brought the case before the House. He was confident that the hon. Member would not advance the cause he advocated by forcing the House to an adverse decision. The working classes, who had presented petitions in reference to that case, had acted with the greatest decorum and good order; and it was but proper to receive their petitions with attention and respect, particularly as their opinions were not directly represented in that House; but believing as he did that it was not right for a popular assembly, except in extreme 918 cases, to interfere with the prerogative of the Crown, he could not give his support to the Motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury.
LORD J. RUSSELL
I have no wish, Sir, to enter into the present debate; I have only risen for the purpose of pointing out to the hon. Member for Finsbury, and those Members who have taken up his views, the necessary consequences of the course they are pursuing, and the results of this discussion. My hon. Friend finds fault with the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bute (Mr. Wortley) for having, in his speech, stated circumstances which seem in his opinion, and most probably in that of the House, adverse to a favourable consideration of the case before us. But is it competent for us to come to any opinion on the case without considering the offence committed by the guilty persons? Is it possible that hon. Members could enter into a debate on this subject, and not state the circumstances which they think serve to extenuate the guilt of these persons, on the one hand, or those which, on the other, would make it inconsistent with the duty of the advisers of the Crown to extend mercy towards them? It cannot be a desirable or a profitable course to avoid discussion because it would bring into view the unfavourable circumstances of this case. It surely is not desirable that the House should appear to advise the extension of mercy which the Crown does not think proper to grant. The hon. and learned Member for Bute has, to the best of my recollection, stated the circumstances of the case most accurately and distinctly; and I feel myself bound to bear him out in the truth of his statement, that except for a difference of opinion among the Judges on a purely legal and technical point connected with the trial, the Secretary of State of that day saw no reason whatever why the punishment of death should not be inflicted on Frost and his companions. As it happened to be a great question of State, and not a mere ordinary case in criminal law, the Secretary for the Home Department thought it right to take the opinion of his Colleagues on the point; and I do not recollect that there was any difference of opinion among us—except in so far as the difference among the Judges was concerned—as to the punishment recorded against the prisoners. I think it right to state that fact, because the hon. Member for Bute has been censured for his expressions of opinion respect- 919 ing this subject, and because the hon. Member for Edinburgh has been also blamed on the same account. Notwithstanding the remarks of the hon. Members for Shrewsbury and Newark respecting the observation of my right hon. Friend, I must say that I consider he was justified in using those expressions. My right hon. Friend did not compare the offences of Frost and his companions with those of the insurgents in Monmouth's rebellion; but he said, that in his opinion the House should only interfere in cases of excessive punishment; and gave as an illustration of such punishment, the sentences passed on the persons concerned in that outbreak. It is well known that between 300 and 400 persons perished on that occasion by the hands of the common executioner; and that a lady advanced in age, and of great respectability, was put to death, not because she had fomented the rebellion, but because she had given harbour and refuge to a person who was guilty of treason. In such a case of extreme cruelty as that, he could conceive the House of Commons was bound to interfere; but when hon. Gentlemen say that we ought to interfere in a case of this kind, I beg of them to recollect that the laws of this country are executed with mercy; and that we are living under a Constitution to which tyranny at least is a stranger. The only question for us to consider is, if a case of this kind could be better disposed of in a popular assembly, than if it were left to the mature and well-considered judgment and opinions of the Secretary of State. I do not wish to interpose any obstacle to the consideration of this case in a merciful and favourable light by the Secretary of State; but I think that all the circumstances connected with it will be much better considered if left to his judgment, than if discussed in debate before a popular assembly, where different Members take views more or less varying and exaggerated. For that reason alone I shall give my vote against the proposition of the hon. Member for Finsbury.
§ LORD F. EGERTON
entirely concurred in the opinion of the noble Lord. If the House was of opinion that the Government had caused to be inflicted an unjust sentence, or improperly withheld the extension of the prerogative of mercy on the part of the Crown, then the proper course would have been to have moved a vote of want of confidence in the Government in the exercise of its powers. In the case of the Dorchester labourers, the argument of 920 that day was, that so long as the House had confidence in the Administration, the exercise of the prerogative of mercy should be left in the hands of the advisers of the Sovereign; and accordingly, when it was considered that the power of the Crown should be exercised in dispensing mercy, that mercy was shown. But he concurred in the opinion of his right hon. Friend, and also in the opinion of the noble Lord, and which he believed was the general opinion of the House, that these subjects—beyond the mere expression of humanity—were not subjects proper to be introduced into that House—no utility accompanied the discussion. Upon these grounds, without entering into the merits of these unfortunate individuals, he should give his vote against the Motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury.
§ MR. T. DUNCOMBE
felt that great responsibility was thrown upon his course on this occasion. From some of the speeches that evening, one would think that no case of the kind had ever been submitted to the House before. Why did not the right hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Macaulay) exhibit the same indignation when the hon. and learned Member for Bath (Mr. Roebuck) brought forward his Motion for a free pardon to the Canadian rebels? Not one word was said then by the right hon. Member as to the impropriety of interfering with the prerogatives of the Crown. The right hon. Baronet said, that nothing was so wrong on the part of the Government as to retire from a discussion of this sort with an understanding express or implied as to the course that might hereafter be taken with respect to the convicts. But in the case brought forward by the hon. and learned Member for Bath there was an express understanding; and the hon. and learned Member at the close of the debate; said, he was perfectly content and satisfied that his clients would be released, and released they were. All he asked was, that the same weight and measure should be used for these unfortunate inhabitants of Wales as were used to the Canadians on that occasion. He had been unfairly used in this, that he had never rested the case on its merits; he had stated at the outset that he would not do so, and that neither he nor any of the petitioners attempted to justify the conduct of Frost or his colleagues; he said that they were guilty of a high crime and misdemeanor, but that they had endured punishment enough. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Mem- 921 ber for Bute had not done him justice in the speech he had made; and he must say a more vindictive, sanguinary, and bloodthirsty speech was never delivered in that House. The right hon. Gentleman said, they could not commit a greater outrage on public opinion than to release Frost, Williams, and Jones. Now, that he totally and entirely denied. Had the right hon. Gentleman seen the petition which he (Mr. Duncombe) had presented from Leeds, signed by 34,000 of the inhabitants of that town, among others by the vicar, Dr. Hook; by twelve members of the town-council, the chairman and vice-chairman of the board of guardians? Would it be said that the public opinion of Leeds was against the release of these men? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh had spoken of wounds received by Sir Thomas Phillips; but he could inform the right hon. Gentleman that he received no wound in that engagement: he cut his finger after the engagement was over. He believed there were Gentlemen in that House who could confirm his statement. Sir T. Phillips cut his finger while putting up a shutter in a room; but he received no gunshot or sabre wound. He did not grudge him his knighthood; but he certainly did not deserve it for any scars or wounds inflicted upon him on that occasion. In conclusion, he must say, in behalf of the petitioners, that he believed they expressed the feelings of the country on this subject; and it was therefore his determination to take the sense of the House on the question.
MR. C. O. MORGAN
begged to correct that portion of the hon. Member's statement which referred to the wound of Sir Thomas Phillips. He could assure the hon. Member, that instead of a cut finger from broken glass, Sir Thomas received a gunshot wound in the hand when in the act of opening the window to call for military aid.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 31; Noes 196: Majority 165.
|List of the AYES.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Duncan, G.|
|Ainsworth, P.||Dundas, Adm.|
|Bannerman, A.||Ellis, W.|
|Berkeley, hon. C.||Escott, B.|
|Blake, M. J.||Etwall, R.|
|Bowring, Dr.||Evans, Sir de L.|
|Colborne, hon. W. N. R.||Fielden, J.|
|Collett, J.||Gisborne, T.|
|Collins, W.||Hall, Sir B.|
|Crawford, W. S.||Hume, J.|
|Disraeli, B.||James, W.|
|M'Carthy, A.||Turner, E.|
|Pattison, J.||Williams, W.|
|Pechell, Capt.||Wyse, T.|
|Somers, J. P.||Duncombe, T. S.|
|Strickland, Sir G.||Wakley, T.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Acheson, Visct.||Egerton, Lord F.|
|Acland, T. D.||Estcourt, T. G. B.|
|A'Court, Capt.||Evans, W.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Finch, G.|
|Antrobus, E.||Fitzroy, hon. H.|
|Arbuthnott, hon. H.||Flower, Sir J.|
|Arkwright, G.||Floyer, J.|
|Bailey, J. J.||Forman, T. S.|
|Baillie, Col.||Forster, M.|
|Baillie, H. J.||Fox, C. R.|
|Baine, W.||Frewen, C. H.|
|Bankes, G.||Fuller, A. E.|
|Barkly, H.||Gardner, J. D.|
|Baring, rt. hon. F. T.||Gaskell, J. M.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Gill, T.|
|Barrington, Visct.||Gladstone, Capt.|
|Beckett, W.||Glynne, Sir S. R.|
|Benbow, J.||Gordon, hon. Capt.|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|Beresford, Major||Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Bodkin, W. H.||Greene, T.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Borthwick, P.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Botfield, B.||Halford, Sir H.|
|Bowes, J.||Hall, Col.|
|Bowles, Adm.||Hamilton, W. J.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Hamilton, Lord C.|
|Brisco, M.||Harris, hon. Capt.|
|Broadley, H.||Hawes, B.|
|Brooke, Lord||Hayes, Sir E.|
|Brotherton, J.||Heathcoat, J.|
|Browne, Hon. W.||Heathcote, G. J.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Heathcote, Sir W.|
|Bruce, C. L. C.||Henley, J. W.|
|Buller, C.||Herbert, rt. hon. S.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Hildyard, T. B. T.|
|Cardwell, E.||Hill, Lord M.|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Chandos, Marquess of||Hodgson, F.|
|Chichester, Lord J. L.||Hodgson, R.|
|Cholmondeley, hon. H.||Hogg, J. W.|
|Christie, W. D.||Hope, Sir J.|
|Christopher, R. A.||Hope, G. W.|
|Churchill, Lord A. S.||Hornby, J.|
|Clayton, R. R.||Hotham, Lord|
|Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.||Howard, hon. C. W. G.|
|Clifton, J. T.||Howard, P. H.|
|Cockburn, rt. hon. Sir G.||Hudson, G.|
|Cole, hon. H. A.||Hughes, W. B.|
|Coote, Sir C. H.||Ingestre, Visct.|
|Copeland, Ald.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H.||James, Sir W. C.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Jermyn, Earl|
|Craig, W. G.||Joscelyn, Visct.|
|Cripps, W.||Johnstone, Sir J.|
|Deedes, W.||Jones, Capt.|
|Dickinson, F. H.||Kelly, Sir F.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Knight, F. W.|
|Drummond, H. H.||Lambton, H.|
|Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.||Lennox, Lord G. H. G.|
|Duke, Sir J.||Liddell, hon. H. T.|
|Duncombe, hon. A.||Lockhart, A. E.|
|Du Pre, C. G.||Lockhart, W.|
|Eastnor, Visct.||Lowther, hon. Col.|
|Ebrington, Visct.||Macaulay, rt. hn. T. B.|
|McGeachy, F. A.||Sandon, Visct.|
|Mackenzie, W. F.||Scott, R.|
|Mackinnon, W. A.||Seymer, H. K.|
|Mahon, Visct.||Seymour, Lord|
|Manners, Lord J.||Smythe, hon. G.|
|March, Earl of||Smollett, A.|
|Masterman, J.||Somerton Visc.|
|Maxwell, hon. J. B.||Sotheron, T. H. S.|
|Meynell, Capt.||Spooner, R.|
|Miles, W.||Stanton, W. H.|
|Mitcalfe, H.||Stewart, J.|
|Mitchell, T. A.||Strutt, E.|
|Molesworth, Sir W.||Taylor, J. A.|
|Morgan, O.||Thompson, Ald.|
|Morpeth, Visct.||Thornely, T.|
|Mundy, E. M.||Tollemache, J.|
|Napier, Sir C.||Tower, C.|
|Newdegate, C. N.||Trelawny, J. S.|
|O'Brien, A. S.||Trench, Sir F. W.|
|Packe, C. W.||Tyrrell, Sir J. T.|
|Pakington, J. S.||Vane, Lord H.|
|Palmer, R.||Vivian, J. E.|
|Palmer, G.||Vyse, R. H. R. H.|
|Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Peel, J.||Walpole, S. H.|
|Philips, M.||Walsh, Sir J. B.|
|Polhill, F.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Protheroe, E.||Wellesley, Lord C.|
|Rashleigh, W.||White, S.|
|Reid, Sir J. R.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Reid, Col.||Wood, Col. T.|
|Richards, R.||Wortley, hon. J. S.|
|Round, J.||Young, J.|
|Russell, Lord J.||Baring, H.|