§ Earl Grosvenor moved for a return of the persons confined under the Habeas Corpus suspension act, their names, numbers, descriptions, and ages. It was material that the ages and descriptions should be given, because he was persuaded, that 973 from these it would appear that the persons in question had not been supported in whatever designs they might have entertained against the constitution of their country, by people of any great consequence or consideration, or such as could afford to furnish them with pecuniary or any other assistance to any great extent. Without giving any opinion whether the prisoners now on trial at Westminster were or were not guilty, he might take upon him to say, having attended during the whole of the trial as far as it had hitherto gone, that the prisoners had no connexions of any consequence.
adverting to the observation of earl Grosvenor, that the disaffected were not supported by persons of any consequence, stated, that he was of a different opinion; for the speeches of certain noble lords in that House gave a spirit and encouragement to their designs. He had supported the ministers in these measures, which, as he contended, were necessary and expedient; and would always support them as long as they continued to promote the best interests of the country. His support was perfectly independent, for he had nothing to ask and nothing to fear. He had the fullest confidence in them, and was willing to trust them with these powers for the advantage of the country.
§ Earl Grey
said, that there was one part of the noble lord's speech which he could not suffer to pass without observation. His noble friend had said, that the miserable individuals now standing in court for their deliverance, were not connected with persons of any consequence. He (earl Grey) having also attended during the greater part of the trial, was of the same opinion; and could safely say, that nothing could be more extravagant than the plans of the prisoners, if plans they had; that nothing could be more contemptible or hopeless than their means for carrying the plans into execution; and that the prisoners had not been connected with any persons capable of giving them any serious assistance. But the noble lord who spoke last had said, that the disaffected had been connected with persons of consequence in secret plots and conspiracies: and when the noble lord ought, as he expected he would have done, to have named the persons of consequence engaged with them in these plots and conspiracies, instead of doing that, the noble lord had, in a manner which was disor- 974 derly and incompatible with and destructive of the freedom of debate, dared to assert that he (earl Grey) and those in that House who concurred with him, had, by the observations which in the discharge of their duty they thought it proper to make, given countenance to traitorous plots and conspiracies—an accusation which he declared to be utterly unfounded. He stated in the noble lord's face, and to his teeth, that the charge was totally unfounded; and he called upon the noble lord to specify particulars, and to prove his charge; otherwise he trusted the House would think it necessary to call upon the noble lord to retract what he had said, or to make some apology. The noble lord talked of his independence, and of the boldness with which he would oppose his majesty's ministers, if, in his opinion, they happened to be in the wrong. The boldness of the noble lord, however, happened to be of this character—that it had always been exerted in support of the persons in power. During a period of 30 years, with all the multifarious concerns which had constituted the business of parliament in the course of these eventful times, never had the occasion arisen on which the noble lord found himself called upon to exercise this boldness and independence. There he left the noble lord, again asserting, that the charge against himself and his friends, of giving countenance and encouragement to traitorous plots and conspiracies, was disorderly, inconsistent with the freedom of debate, and utterly groundless.
said, that the noble earl had certainly misquoted and misunderstood what he had said. He had not charged the noble earl and his friends with giving countenance to traitorous plots and conspiracies. He had only said that the speeches of certain noble lords in that House had, not intentionally, but in their consequences, given spirit to the disaffected.
having objected, that earl Grosvenor had given no notice of his motion, it was withdrawn for that time.