§ EARL GREY rose to present a petition from Mr. W. P. R. Shedden, complaining, that by a Decision of the Court of Session in Scotland in 1803, and of this House in 1808, obtained in his infancy, he has been deprived of his Status of a natural-born Subject of this Realm, and as the legitimate child of his parents, and of the means of duly investigating in any Court of Law the Question of such Status, and causing the same to be recognized, and praying for such Relief and Redress as to this House may seem meet. The noble Earl said that it was with no ordinary anxiety that he asked their Lordships' attention to the petition which he was about to present. He was persuaded that if he obtained that attention their Lordships would be convinced that the petitioner had the strongest claim, not merely on their compassion and sympathy, but also on their sense of right and justice. The petitioner complained that by an iniquitous fraud on the part of those relations to whose care he was intrusted as an infant on the death of his father he had been unjustly stigmatized as an alien, and as the illegitimate son of his parents, and had thereby been deprived both of his rights as 1277 a British subject, and of the inheritance to which he was lawfully entitled. He further complained that by a cunning abuse of the technicalities of the law on the part of those by whom this wrong was perpetrated he had been shut out from ever obtaining a fair hearing of his case on its own merits. He asked their Lordships to take this statement into their consideration, and if they found it to be well founded, that they would obtain for him a fair investigation—for that was all he asked—either by their Lordships or in some court of law. The statement made in the petition he was about to present to their Lordships in support of these allegations was one of so extraordinary a nature that it might well be termed almost incredible. But nevertheless he was persuaded that if their Lordships would grant an inquiry they would find that every word of that which the petitioner asserted could be substantiated. The case afforded another example of that oft repeated saying, "Truth is stranger than fiction." His chief difficulty in bringing this case before their Lordships was the enormous complexity of the materials with which he had to deal, because the credibility of the petitioner's statement depended in a great degree upon the manner in which different converging lines of narrative were brought together to support his conclusion, and in which many circumstances apparently immaterial were, by their connexion with each other, made to form unanswerable evidence in support of the petitioner's case. It would be difficult even for the noble and learned Lord on the cross-bench (Lord Lyndhurst), on whose support he greatly depended that evening, with all his marvellous power of lucid arrangement and of stating complicated details with unrivalled terseness and clearness, to give their Lordships even a faint sketch of this most intricate narrative; but for himself, with his far weaker powers it would be madness to attempt to enter into all the circumstance of the case. He should be compelled, therefore, to pass by many important series of events, and give merely an outline of the main case, and a specimen of some of the proofs by which that case was supported. He had been most reluctant to undertake to bring this case before their Lordships, not only because he felt unequal to the adequate exposition of it, but still more because he should be compelled to bring charges of the gravest description against those persons by whom Mr. Shedden asserted that 1278 he had been wronged. The chief actor in these iniquitous transactions, as he deemed them to be, was a Mr. Patrick, a gentleman of great age, who had always held a high position in society, and in the honourable profession to which he belonged. It was painful to have to charge a gentleman of Mr. Patrick's age and station with such conduct as be should be obliged to impute to him; but if he really had been guilty of such conduct, it was due not merely to the petitioner, but to the highest interests of society, that that conduct should be exposed. He did not bring this case forward without having studied it to the utmost of his power. He had devoted great labour to it, and he had gone carefully through the case of the petitioner and the evidence by which it was supported, and he had also read the printed answer to that case which had been put forward on the part of Mr. Patrick, and he had heard the observations which that gentleman's agent had addressed to him on the subject. He was bound to say that his conviction of the truth of those allegations was not less founded upon the clear evidence brought forward by the petitioner, than on what he was reluctantly compelled to call the obvious want of ingenuousness and candour displayed by Mr. Patrick in meeting the charges made against him, and the palpable misrepresentation and misstatements, as he conceived them to be, which he detected in that gentleman's answer. But to proceed without further comment to the petitioner's case. The petitioner's father Mr. William Shedden, left Scotland, as a young man of twenty-two, in the year 1770, to take the management of a mercantile house into which he had entered in Virginia. He carried on the business of this house prosperously for five years, until the commencement of the troubles of the American Revolution; when having espoused the Royalist cause he was, in the year 1777, compelled to fly for his life on board one of Lord Howe's frigates, and an Act was passed by the Legislature of Virginia confiscating his property and declaring him an alien enemy. In 1778 he went to Bermuda, and there established a mercantile house under the title of William Shedden and Co., a first cousin of his own, Mr. Robert Shedden, and a brother-in-law of this gentleman, being partners with him in the firm. This house was successfully carried on until the year 1783, when its affairs were brought to a close, Robert Shedden going to London and William Shedden to 1279 New York. His going to New York arose out of this circumstance:—By the treaty of peace with the United States it was agreed that compensation should be made to all British subjects who had lost property by reason of their loyalty to the British Crown, and in 1783 an Act of Parliament was passed appointing a Commission to arrange these compensations. Mr. Shedden accordingly went to New York for the purpose of bringing his claim before this Commission. It appeared from the correspondence that when he went his intention was to remain there only a short time; but the business of arrangement and compensation proved to be tedious and embarrassing—in point of fact, it was not settled until the year 1802, four years after Mr. Shedden's death. Shortly after his arrival in America the war of the French Revolution broke out, and he was largely employed by the British Government in affairs of the greatest importance and of the greatest delicacy. He had to purchase supplies for the British army and navy in the West Indies, and to make arrangements for their transmission under the neutral flag of America. Being thus detained at New York, he formed a new commercial house, the partners in which were himself, Robert Shedden (who had been previously his partner in Bermuda), and William Patrick the nephew of Robert Shedden. He ought to have mentioned earlier that soon after leaving Scotland for America Mr. Shedden had succeeded, by the death of his father, to an estate called Roughwood, in the county of Ayr. Upon succeeding to this estate he appointed as his factor Mr. John Patrick, his brother-in-law—the husband of his sister, to whom he gave a power of attorney, in conjunction with two other persons, to act for him in his absence. It appears that in establishing the house at New York, of which himself, Robert Shedden, and William Patrick (who was a near relation of John Patrick), the chief object was to launch William Patrick into business. In 1785 Mr. Shedden married in New York, a Miss Rachel Kennedy, who died in a very short time, leaving him one daughter only. In 1790 he married again, by civil contract, a lady named Ann Wilson, and by this marriage had two children—a daughter born in 1792, and a son, the petitioner, Mr. W. P. R. Shedden, born in 1794. The estate in Scotland had been left in the hands of John Patrick, who had three sons. The eldest of these was Robert, a doctor of 1280 medicine and a surgeon in the army; the second, John, a merchant trading in New York; and the third, William, who was admitted as a writer to the Signet in Edinburgh in 1793. This last-named person, whose conduct was implicated in this transaction, was still alive. In 1795 Patrick, senior, died, and his son William got into his own hands the entire management of the Scotch estates, which, indeed, he had managed for two years before. It was now necessary that he should call their Lordships' attention to the position in which the several parties stood at this time. In 1798 Mr. Shedden was living at New York as a highly respectable citizen, with his wife, Mrs. Shedden. Mrs. Shedden was received as his wife in the best society of New York, and was engaged with ladies of the highest character in the charities and other engagements of the place. Robert Patrick, the eldest son of Patrick, senior, was serving as a surgeon in the Mediterranean, John Patrick was trading on his own account as a merchant in New York, but mainly depending on the credit of his uncle, Mr. Shedden; and William Patrick, as he had already stated, was carrying on business in Scotland as a writer to the Signet, and managing Mr. Shedden's estates. He had omitted to mention that before his father's death William Patrick wrote to John at New York, urging him to obtain a transfer of the powers possessed by his father with reference to the estates to himself and his brother Robert. There was some difficulty about this at first, but ultimately Mr. Shedden consented, and the power required was sent over to Scotland. It would be clearly proved that at this time the three brothers Patrick possessed very small pecuniary means—John was desirous of entering into various speculations with a gentleman of Greenock, named Hugh Crawfurd, but was unable to do so from the want of means. In 1798 Mr. Shedden was taken dangerously ill, and, after a long and severe illness, died on the 13th of November of that year. Previously to his death he executed a deed of entail on his Scotch property, by which it was directed that the rental of the property should be allowed to accumulate for the use of his son when he came of age. What became of that deed of entail was not accurately known. It was the belief of the petitioner that it came into the hands of William Patrick; but he must frankly admit that this was merely his be 1281 lief, and that there was no evidence of the fact. Still more nearly before his death—on the 7th of November—he also executed a will by which he directed that his whole property in America should be taken possession of by his executors, of whom John Patrick, his nephew, was one. They were charged, after paying his debts, which were very few, to pay to his widow an annuity of 400 dollars, and such further sums as might be necessary for the support and education of his daughters, He then directed that subject to these, charges his property was to remain in the hands of the executors, and that when his children attained their majority it was to be divided equally among them. His son he directed to be sent to Scotland, and William Patrick he appointed his guardian. It was necessary to state another event on which much turned. Before his death Mr. Shedden thought fit to have another marriage between himself and his wife. The first marriage had been merely one by civil contract, performed in the presence of witnesses. That form of marriage was perfectly valid by the law of New York, and it was then, as now also, perfectly valid by the law of Scotland; but there was no registry, and it was supposed by Mr. Shedden that there might be some difficulty in proving his marriage in Scotland. He believed that the legitimacy of his children would be better established if he was married according to the forms of the Episcopal Church, and that thereby his son's succession to his Scotch estates would be made more safe and more certain. Unfortunately this step, coupled with the choice Mr. Shedden had made of the Patricks as the persons to whom the interests of his widow and children should be committed, had precisely the opposite effect to that which was intended. The petitioner stated that a deep-laid conspiracy was entered into between the Patricks for the purpose of getting possession of their uncle's property, and affixing to his children the stain of illegitimacy. The nature of the plot he would state to their Lordships on the allegations of the petitioner. The very existence of the petitioner, the son of Mr. Shedden, was, in the first place, to be concealed in Scotland till William Patrick placed his brother Robert, the eldest of the Patricks, who would have been heir at law in the event of Mr. Shedden dying without issue, in possession of the estates. Then the petitioner and his sister were to be shown to be illegitimate, and the 1282 annuity to the widow, given under the husband's will, was to be refused. John Patrick was to avail himself of his power as an executor, and of his knowledge of his uncle's mercantile affairs, to make it appear that there were not any funds in America for the payment of the annuity, and at the same time all about the Scotch estates was to be concealed from the widow, as well as the claims which, under the Scotch law, she would have to a dower from those estates. He would now show what great facilities the parties had for carrying out their plans. In the first place William Patrick was the factor for Mr. Shedden, and had the complete management of the Scotch estate, and possession of all the accounts relating thereto. Singularly enough, it happened that William Patrick in Scotland was in possession, not only of those accounts which would naturally come to him as factor, but of those papers which ought to have been a check upon him, and which should have been in the possession of Mr. Shedden. It would be remembered that when Mr. Shedden first went to New York he had joined in the power of attorney with William Patrick two other persons—their names were Fullarton and M'Clellan. The first named never acted, but the latter did to some extent, and had possession of the papers proving the payments made on account of the estate, and also those from Mr. Shedden to William Patrick as factor. Mr. M'Clellan, however, died before 1798, and by a will which, singularly enough, was written by William Patrick, he made the elder Patrick his executor, and thus, through Robert Patrick, William Patrick came into possession of all those important papers. Mr. Shedden had not been in Scotland for twenty-eight years; very few persons there knew anything of him, and their Lordships were aware of the difficulty of communication between America and Scotland at the time, especially during a period of war. Then, again, John Patrick, the brother and associate in this conspiracy of William Patrick, was the executor, and in possession of all Mr. Shedden's papers in America. It was true that two other gentlemen had been associated with him in that trust; but if it could he shown that the moment Mr. Shedden was dead, John Patrick, without waiting for the will to be proved, without waiting for the company of the other executors, went immediately to his uncle's house, and in the character 1283 of representative of the family ransacked all the repositories, carried off, as was believed, many important papers, and also, as was believed, a considerable sum of money; the fact of their being co-executors would be admitted to have been no bar to these plans. The evidence to prove these facts could only be slightly alluded to, as it consisted mainly of a most curious correspondence, which only came to light a few years since, and it would be impossible to do more than briefly allude to it. Those letters were so voluminous, and facts could only be ascertained by a careful comparison of different passages, that it would be impossible and useless to read them all. He was, therefore, compelled to state merely what he conceived to be the substance of those letters, which, if the House thought fit, could afterwards be more closely examined before a Committee. He found the correspondence bore a double character—some letters being obviously written for the purpose of being publicly seen, which were of the fairest character. There were other letters, which appeared to have been written for the private information of the brothers to whom they were respectively addressed. There were others of a mixed character, which, while giving no information to strangers, were couched in terms which were quite intelligible to those who possessed the key to them. In, that correspondence were to be found instructions that the widow "must be cut down;" the actual expression used by William Patrick. "She must not receive her annuity:" "You must exhaust the funds in America." Hints were thrown out to raise fictitious claims against the estate to excite alarm in the minds of the other executors, so that they might be led to decline interfering in the matter. Then it was said, "You must get the widow to ratify the will, without hinting anything about the Scotch property—the object being to bar her dower." Such was the construction which he (Earl Grey) had been compelled, after a careful perusal of the major portion of the documents, to arrive at. In the course of that correspondence, William Patrick suggested that the widow should be prevented from coming to Scotland, as she might there be exceedingly troublesome. These schemes were to a great degree successful. The widow was prevented from receiving her annuity; a portion was dealt out to her in small sums, and she was utterly unable to take any effective measures to assert her son's 1284 rights. She did, however, make an attempt to assert those rights, for she transmitted to a respectable solicitor in Scotland a certificate of her marriage with Mr. Shedden on his death-bed, together with affidavits alleging the fact of a prior marriage by civil contract, and also alleging that the object of the second marriage was to render the proof of her son's legitimacy more easy in Scotland. When William Patrick found that in spite of all his efforts to prevent the widow from bringing forward her son's claims, she was yet doing so, he proceeded to take measures on his part to establish the claim of his brother, Dr. Robert Patrick. With that view he took certain proceedings called in Scotland serving a person "heir." The nature of that proceeding was that the sheriff of the county held an inquest, upon which a jury was empanelled to try the title of the claimant. In cases where I the opponents of a claim were represented the proceeding was fair enough; but where there was no opposition, the jury, as a matter of course, accepted the claimant's story as true, and finds him entitled to the character he claims. That state of things, however, had been found to open the door to such great frauds, that the law had, a few years since, been altered by Parliament, and the old proceeding was no longer followed. As there was no one, of course, to oppose the pretended claimant, William Patrick succeeded in serving his brother heir to the estate. Who was to appear against him? There was probably no man in Scotland at that time aware of the existence of the petitioner, or of any person who had a claim to the estate, except William Patrick; and he, the confidential agent of his uncle, the guardian of the son of the person from whom he and his family had received the greatest kindness through their lives, and the interests of whose child he was bound by every principle of duty and of honour to protect, was the man who swore to the inquest at Ayr that Mr. Shedden had died in America without issue, having made a settlement of his estate in favour of certain persons, not mentioning who those persons were, though he well knew they were those whom Mr. Shedden, at all events, considered to be his lawful wife and children, and that Robert Patrick, as nephew to the deceased, was heir-at-law. That statement, coming from such a quarter, necessarily obtained credit; and it was one of the most remarkable facts, in the present 1285 remarkable case, that when it was last brought before the Court of Session, a few years ago, the Lord President at the time —Lord President Boyle—had been the chancellor of the jury by whom the inquest was held at Ayr, and he distinctly recollected that no mention was made of any child of Mr. Shedden. But William Patrick was not only the agent of his uncle and the guardian of the petitioner, but also the judicial factor appointed to manage the estate for the benefit of all concerned, and in that capacity likewise it was his duty to take care that no injustice was done. Another circumstance showing the animus with which he acted was, that when he swore that his uncle and benefactor had died without leaving issue, he knew, whatever might be the case with respect to the petitioner, that there was a daughter by a prior marriage. It was true that Mr. Patrick, for his own purposes, represented that daughter to be illegitimate also, implying that his uncle, who bore a high character in New York, had lived first with one mistress and then with another; but he knew well, though he put forward that statement, that the first daughter was legitimate—that the first Mrs. Shedden, like the second, had been received universally in Now York as the lawful wife of her husband—and he knew also that their infant daughter had been registered in the principal church of the Protestant Episcopal communion in New York as the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Shedden. It might be said that Mr. Patrick was bound to support the interests of his brother in preference to those of his cousin. That was true; and if he had endeavoured by fair and legitimate means to show that the child was not entitled to the estate, but that it belonged to his brother, there would not he a word to say against him. What, however, in that case was the line of conduct which he should have pursued? He ought to have written at once to Mrs. Shedden and the executors that he had interests opposed to theirs, that he could not support the claim of the infant to the estate, and that he felt it his duty to assist his brother. But he proceeded far otherwise. He no doubt declined to act as the guardian of his nephew, but not until six months after he had served his brother as heir-at-law, and, during the whole time that he found it for his advantage to do so, be, without accepting the guardianship, exercised the powers of that office in such a manner as to pre- 1286 vent any other person from watching over the interests of the child. He also managed to keep the child out of Scotland where his presence would have been troublesome, and so dealt with the money, which by his own showing he had received for the benefit of his cousin, as to deprive the solicitors, to whom Mrs. Shedden had applied, of the means of supporting the suit they had raised. At a subsequent period Mrs. Shedden was re-married to a certain Captain Vincent, the re-marriage taking place by the advice of her friends, as the only means of obtaining protection in her almost destitute condition, and as Mrs. Vincent she followed up, as far as she was able, the claims of her son. But, what with the difficulties of communication with Scotland, the circumstance of her being entirely unknown, while Mr. Patrick was a man of some influence, and the fact that Mr. Patrick represented her as a woman of bad character entirely unworthy of credit, the proceedings which she took were altogether ineffectual, and she died about the end of 1802. Afterwards, though nothing was done by the mother, legal proceedings were instituted by other persons. But the petitioner stated that those proceedings were not to promote his interests. They were instituted, he stated, with the deliberate purpose of barring his claim to the property when he came of age; and their Lordships would presently see that there was good ground for that allegation. The proceedings originated in a letter from Mr. William Patrick to the executors in New York, suggesting that somebody should bring forward a claim to the estate on behalf of his cousin, but leading the executors to infer that whoever did so would incur great pecuniary responsibility. That letter, of course, led to nothing. Mr. Patrick then put forward certain parties in Scotland, who made an application to the Court of Session, stating that Mr. Patrick had declined to act as guardian, and that it was for the interest of the child that his right to the estate should be tried as soon as possible, and recommending that Mr. Crawfurd, a merchant, should be appointed to take charge of his affairs. The persons who made the application were entire strangers to Mr. Shedden and his father, but were all clients of Mr. W. Patrick and under his immediate control—in fact, his mere puppets. In consequence of the application, the Court of Session appointed Mr. Hugh Crawfurd factor loco 1287 tutoris, and it became his duty to endeavour to set aside the "retour" by which Mr. Robert Patrick was declared heir at law. Mr. Hugh Crawfurd was a merchant at Greenock, and had carried on speculations jointly with Mr. John Patrick in America. It could be shown that during the whole time of those proceedings Mr. Hugh Crawfurd was in great pecuniary difficulties and was constantly applying to Mr. William Patrick for money, pending the suit which he brought on behalf of the child. He thought their Lordships would admit that such an appointment as that of Mr. Hugh Crawfurd to take care of the interests of the child was one of most damning suspicion; but the manner in which the case was conducted by Mr. Crawfurd made it far stronger than the original appointment. If there had been any boná fide intention to support the real interests of the child, would not Mr. Crawfurd at once have gone to the very respectable solicitors in Edinburgh to whom the widow had sent her own case, or would he not have made some application to persons in America, in order to obtain information? He did nothing of the kind. Instead of employing those very respectable solicitors, who were at the time in possession of the widow's papers, he employed another man—a certain Mr. Millar, a friend of Mr. Patrick—against whom there was nothing to impute, save that he had no means of knowing anything about the subject except what Mr. Patrick thought fit to tell him. As another proof of want of good faith, when Mr. Crawfurd came to draw up the case for counsel, and to bring the subject before the courts of law, he rested the sole claim of the infant upon the ecclesiastical marriage which was solemnized on Mr. Shedden's death bed, and said not a word about the prior marriage, although the certificate which was put in to prove the ecclesiastical marriage was the identical certificate which was sent over from America, having annexed to it affidavits as to the prior marriage. It could be clearly demonstrated that the certificate used was the same certificate separated from the important documents to which it belonged. That was not all. While the claim was vested upon the ecclesiastical marriage, and not upon the prior marriage, the ostensible promoter of the interests of the child stated that marriage not accompanied by a religious ceremony was not valid by the law of New York. He was enabled to state to their Lordships, upon the highest authority, that at 1288 that time, at all events, if not now, the law of New York was precisely the same as the law of Scotland—that declaration before witnesses constituted a perfectly valid marriage, that there was no registration, and that nine-tenths of the most perfect marriages in New York could be established on no other kind of evidence than Mrs. Shedden could produce in favour of her own marriage; but he who called himself the guardian of the child put gratuitously into the case the false assertion, that marriage not accompanied by a religious ceremony by the law of New York was not valid. But, further, upon the question of domicile, it was of importance to show whether Mr. Shedden intended to come back to Scotland, or to remain in America, and the guardian of the child said, in the case which went to counsel, that Mr. Shedden never intended to come back, the fact being that Mr. Patrick was in possession of many letters from Mr. Shedden, expressing his full expectation of coming home, ordering a pipe of Madeira for his use, and giving directions not to grant leases, because, on his return, he wished to have the power in his own hands. Counsel had no reason to doubt the case put into their hands. They had no reason to suspect entire collusion from first to last—that it was meant and wished they should fail. They could have no such suspicion; but the procedure was a gross imposture, and under such circumstances the case failed, and the Court of Sessions, by decree in 1803, affirmed the right of Mr. Robert Patrick to the estate. But the case did not stop there. An appeal was brought to their Lordships' House, but with the same want of good faith as had marked the whole proceedings. In a letter written in December, 1803, by Mr. H. Crawfurd to Mr. W. Patrick, the writer, alluding to the decision of the Court of Session, said the decision was very strong, and not likely to be set aside; but, as he understood that, without appeal, a challenge on the part of Mr. W. Shedden would be open, he thought his duty would be best discharged by appealing to the determination of the House of Lords. The person who suggested the appeal would not allow matters to rest until the child had grown up and could judge for himself, but advised an appeal, because "he understood that without it, a challenge on the part of Mr. W. Shedden would be open." Their Lordships could judge from that with what degree of good faith the appeal was prosecuted. 1289 Now, there was this remarkable circumstance, that pending the appeal the estate was sold by Robert Patrick to William Patrick. By his own showing, William Patrick purchased it before the appeal was decided; therefore, what did their Lordships find? Why, that those three brothers Patrick were all notoriously in low pecuniary circumstances, before Mr. Shedden's death—that, in a very short time afterwards, Mr. Shedden's estate entirely disappeared, and the three Patricks were converted into wealthy men, Mr. William Patrick being put into possession of the estate which, a short time previously, it was notorious he had no means of purchasing. There the case ended for some years. The petitioner, Mr. Shedden, was sent for from America by the executors. He arrived in this country in 1800, and in 1810 he entered the Royal Navy. His ship, however, was paid off in 1815, and he then wished to enter the profession of the law, but his uncle, William Patrick—and that was a significant circumstance when taken in connection with others—decidedly objected to his doing that, on the ground that it would he a dangerous thing for him to study the law. The result was that he went to India, Where he entered into trade, and eventually realizing considerable property, returned to this country in 1833, having previously paid two short visits to Scotland. Soon after he returned, in 1833, he entered into negotiations with his cousin, William Patrick, with respect to the purchase of his father's estate, Those negotiations, however, went off, but in the course of them the petitioner, Mr. Shedden, for the first time, was made to entertain a suspicion of the fairness with which he had been treated. Those suspicions being once raised, he eventually obtained such information as induced him to believe that he had been wronged by his cousin, and in 1847, under the advice of counsel, he commenced proceedings for the recovery of the estate, He also entered what was called in the law of Scotland a declarator of legitimacy, the object of which was to prove his legitimacy. At that time the petitioner had no suspicion of his mother's prior marriage, nor any doubt as to the domicile of his father. In answer to the first suit a preliminary defence was put in by Mr. Patrick; but before that came on to be argued some additional information was obtained which led to the petitioner, Mr. Shedden, being advised to put in a supplemental 1290 summons. He received, at the same time, certain information from America, which resulted in a commission being sent out to that country, at his instance, to obtain evidence on the question of his legitimacy, and Mr. Shedden himself accompanied the commission to New York for the purpose of being present at the inquiry. Almost the first thing they did was to examine certain papers in the possession of a Mr. Van Hook, a lawyer in that city, and he (Earl Grey) should call their Lordships' attention to a remarkable circumstance by which the whole iniquity of this complex fraud was brought out. When proceedings were instituted in Scotland, Mr. William Patrick wrote to Mr. Van Hook for all the papers in his possession relating to the affairs of his brother; but Mr. Van Hook, to his great credit, having heard something of the proceedings in Scotland, wrote in reply that it was not for the interests of justice that the papers in question should be placed in the hands of one of the parties to the suit, and he would therefore not part with them. It was in consequence of that most correct decision that the papers were retained by Mr. Van Hook in New York, and that the commission was sent there to take evidence. It was also in consequence of the course which Mr. Van Hook, to his infinite honour, took on that occasion, that the transactions on which the petitioner grounded his case were brought to light. When the commission arrived in New York, Mr. Patrick's agents declined attending, and they therefore proceeded to examine the documents in the possession of Mr. Van Hook; and among other important papers they found a letter from Mr. William Patrick, in his own handwriting, dated in April, 1800, and enclosing, in the handwriting of his clerk, copies of the notarial certificates of the certificate of the ecclesiastical marriage, and of the important affidavits annexed to them, referring to the civil marriage, which was anterior to the ecclesiastical. Therefore their Lordships had it in the handwriting of Mr. William Patrick himself, who had previously professed to the petitioner to have acted towards him with the utmost fairness and justice, and to have given him all the information in his power touching the matters in dispute that before commencing those proceedings at all he was in possession of those affidavits which Mr. Van Hook, a lawyer in New York, had deemed amply sufficient to prove the prior marriage. Mr. Commissioner 1291 Kay's evidence proved conclusively that the connection, between Mr. and Mrs. Shedden was a real and valid marriage, which ensured their admission to the best society in New York, and that she was universally received as a married woman. Various technical proceedings, which it was unnecessary for him to describe, took place in the Scotch courts, and in 1852 the Court of Session was called upon to determine whether Mr. Shedden should have the opportunity of proving facts which, he alleged, showed that the whole of the legal proceedings were fraudulent, and ought to be set aside. Hereon, Mr. Richard Patrick took steps which were similar to a demurrer in the British courts. Mr. Shedden contended that the decree of the Court of Session in 1803, and the judgment of the House of Lords in 1808, affirming that decree, had been fraudulently obtained, and ought to be set aside; and he alleged that the executors of his father were parties to the fraud, and that Mr. Crawfurd, who had brought an action in his name, was really in the interest of his opponents, and had brought the action, not with the view of establishing his (Mr. Shedden's) right to the estate, but really in order to bar his claim. The Court held, however, that, even if all the facts alleged could be proved—if Mr. Shedden was incontestably legitimate, and ought to be declared the heir to the estate,—and if it could be proved that the Patricks had used their power to prevent the facts from coming before the Court below or their Lordships' House—these facts were in the terms of the Scotch law "irrelevant," or insufficient grounds for setting aside the final judgment of a legal tribunal, because it was not shown that Mr. Crawford was acting collusively, or that he was really in the interest of the petitioner's opponents. Upon appeal to their Lordships' House this decision of the Scotch Court was confirmed. The result was that not only was Mr. Shedden debarred from attempting to recover the estate of his father, which was left in, the tranquil possession of Mr. Patrick, but he was completely shut out from the opportunity of establishing his legitimacy, upon which his character in this country depended. If he was legitimate, he was a British subject. [The LORD CHANCELLOR was understood to observe that if Mr. Shedden was born after marriage he would be a British subject.] His (Earl Grey's) argument was that the prior marriage, which constituted the 1292 ground of claim, had never been inquired into by any British court of justice; and that, if such prior marriage were established, Mr. Shedden was undoubtedly legitimate and a British subject. Mr. Shedden was, however, debarred from bringing the question before any court of justice in this country. He (Earl Grey) maintained that the legitimacy of Mr. Shedden had been fully established. The subject had been brought before an American court. Since the appeal to their Lordships' House, Mr. Shedden had discovered that there was certain landed property in the State of New York which had belonged to his father, which had subsequently been occupied by one of the Patricks, but the greater portion of which had eventually fallen into the hands of squatters, who had gained a legal right to it by more than twenty years' possession. There was, however, one of the squatters who had not held his portion of the estate for so long a period as twenty years. Against him Mr. Shedden brought an action, which was substantially contested. On the trial of that action witnesses were called who were well known to the present and the late American Ministers as persons of unexceptionable character, and they one and all declared that Mr. and Mrs. Shedden were man and wife, and had always been considered to be so. That evidence was considered to be so irresistible that the jury, without hesitation, returned a verdict for Mr. Shedden, and in that verdict the judge expressed his unqualified concurrence. Two of the persons who were examined stated that nothing was ever said against the character of Mrs. Shedden, and that if she had been only Mr. Shedden's mistress, it must have been known all over the town, and Mr. Shedden would have been scouted by every man in the city. New York was at that time but a comparatively small town. The manners of its inhabitants were characterized by something of puritanical strictness, and it was inconceivable that, if not married, Mr. and Mrs. Shedden should have been admitted into the best society, and that her name should, among the ladies, have been quoted as that of a person whose assistance might always be depended upon in all cases of charity. It was not too much to assert that if this evidence did not prove the legitimacy of Mr. Shedden, he knew not what evidence could be sufficient to prove the legitimacy of any one of their Lordships. Under these circumstances he 1293 asked, was not Mr. Shedden entitled to claim, not from their compassion, but from their sense of justice, relief at least from the hardship of being branded as illegitimate and being deprived of his status as a British subject? Was it unnatural that the descendant of an ancient Royalist of the American war should attach value to the character of a natural-born English subject? Was it unnatural that the bearer of an honourable name descended from a long line of ancestors should be anxious to prove that he was legitimately entitled to bear that name? Above all, was it unnatural that a man whoso parents had been vilely slandered should be anxious, even after an interval of half a century from their deaths, to rescue their characters from the calumnies which had been heaped upon them, and to prove that his mother was from the first, not the mistress, but the wife of his father? Even this scanty measure of justice Mr. Shedden could not obtain unless their Lordships did something to open the doors of the courts which were shut against him. He (Earl Grey) was not asking them to reverse by a legislative measure a decision solemnly pronounced in their judicial capacity, He was not contesting the correctness in point of law of that decision. Considering the eminence of the Judges by whom it was pronounced, and his own utter want of legal knowledge, it would be worse than presumption in him to do so. He did not even say that the law which made that decision right ought to be altered. Difficult as it was to reconcile the operation of that law in the present instance with the principles of justice, he was still, in deference to authority, ready to believe that, in order to avert the great evils of protracted litigation, and to protect the holders of property from vexatious suits, it was proper to maintain that state of law. But, granting that that, must not be disturbed, he asked again, was the fact that Mr. Shedden had, under these unexampled circumstances, been by a cruel and heartless fraud stripped of his property any reason for refusing him the opportunity of proving that he was the legitimate son of his father, and was entitled to be considered a British subject? That question bad never to this moment undergone any investigation whatever, and he claimed from their Lordships that there might be a proper and due inquiry into the fact of the prior marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Shedden. That was the object of the Motion which 1294 he was about to make. When he had presented this petition, he should move that it be referred to a Select Committee. He should take that course because, while be was quite certain that some relief ought to be given to Mr. Shedden, he was not prepared to say in what form it would best be afforded. The Committee might recommend either that a private Bill should be passed declaring Mr. Shedden to be legitimate, or, which he thought more probable, that there should be some general legislation providing that where the right of a person to be considered a British subject was at stake, he should be entitled to bring before a court the question of his legitimacy, although no property might be involved in the question. It might he that some other and better course than either of these would be adopted; but whatever else might be done, he maintained that their Lordships were, upon all principles of justice, bound to inquire whether the statement which be had made could be substantiated, and in what manner relief could be afforded. He earnestly hoped that his noble and learned Friend upon the woolsack would not resist the appointment of a Select Committee; and, above all, he trusted that no opposition would be offered to his Motion on the part of Mr. Patrick, or by those who called themselves his friends; because, if there was any one who was deeply interested in having this inquiry, it was Mr. Patrick himself. The charges which he had brought against Mr. Patrick were of the gravest description; and he thought he might venture to say that he had made out a primâ facie case of suspicion against that gentleman. If, therefore, he shrank from inquiry,—if, by the mouth of any friend of his in that House he should object to inquiry—he would at once convert that which was now suspicion into conviction in the mind of every impartial man. If he felt himself innocent, he must necessarily court inquiry, for the feeling of an innocent man would be to take every means to set himself right in the estimation of his fellow countrymen. He understood that Mr. Patrick had intimated to some of their Lordships that if Mr. Shedden could be subjected to cross examination, evidence must be drawn from his own mouth which would explain away a great part of the statement just made. But on the part of Mr. Shedden he was authorized to say that there was nothing which he so ardently desired as to be subjected to the ordeal of the most searching 1295 cross-examination. His wish was that every document, every paper which bore upon these transactions should lie laid before their Lordships, that every witness who knew anything of them should be thoroughly examined, and he was persuaded that the result would be to prove beyond all doubt the accuracy of that statement which he (Earl Grey) had now so imperfectly laid before their Lordships. The noble Earl then presented the petition, which was read, and the noble Earl then moved to refer the said petition to a Select Committee to consider and report.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, that though this Motion, as far as regarded its immediate purport, was one relating exclusively to the private interests of two individuals, yet in the principle which it involved it was, in his opinion, one of the greatest social questions which had ever been laid before their Lordships. He could well conceive why they might refer the conduct of public men, or of any men in connection with public transactions, to a Select Committee; but it was, he believed, absolutely unprecedented that their Lordships should be asked, even after there had been almost interminable litigation upon the matter, to refer it to a Select Committee to inquire whether the petitioner had any legal ground of complaint-and asked, too, after a speech in which absent persons were charged with an unmitigated system of fraud—a speech which would be circulated throughout the country, and to which it was impossible that any answer satisfactory to the feelings of the gentleman who had been accused should he at once given. If this individual had any legal ground of complaint the courts were open to him; if not, a Committee of their Lordships' House was not the proper tribunal to give him redress. Let their Lordships observe how greatly this case differed from the ordinary course of a legal proceeding. In a legal proceeding a party might advance gross charges against an opponent; but those charges could only come before the world at the same moment with the answers which were made to them. The bane and the antidote were, in fact, brought together under the notice of the public. But the speech of his noble Friend would circulate through every county to which the British press penetrated before any opportunity of giving an answer to that speech could be afforded to the person against whom it was directed. On public grounds alone that was an all-sufficient reason for 1296 resisting the inquiry, and he should have hesitated to say another word were it not that he felt it due to the gentleman accused in some slight degree to show how a portion of the charge made against him could be explained away. The facts of the case had been pretty correctly stated. Mr. Shedden was a Scotchman, who went to America in the year 1764, when only seventeen years of age. There he lived the remainder of his life, except for a year and a half, which he passed in Scotland in his father's house—with the exception of that time, and of another period which he spent at Bermuda during the American war, he passed all his life, from his seventeenth year, in America, and in America he died. He was engaged in commerce, and made a fortune more or less large—that was a matter of question—and he had a small estate in Scotland, to which he succeeded on the death of his father, which his brother-in-law, and after his death his brother-in-law's brother, managed in his absence. Mr. Shedden died in November, 1798, and at that time Mr. William Patrick was in the management of his property. With regard to this gentleman, of whom he knew nothing except what he had gathered from the papers in the case, he felt bound to say that, after having made himself thoroughly master of these papers, his impression was that he was an upright, honest man; and he was informed by several noble Lords who came from that part of the country that that was the character which he had borne through life, and which at the age of eighty-seven he had hoped to retain without further molestation. A very short time before his death, Mr. Shedden married a woman named Ann Wilson, and on the same day he made his will. All that the Patricks knew of this part of the case was derived from correspondence which they received from America. It was now suggested by the Sheddens that this correspondence was forged; but it was remarkable that it was all stated by them as part of their own case. The first intimation which the Patricks received of Mr. Shedden's marriage was by a letter written by Mr. Robert Patrick, who had formerly been engaged in business in New York with Mr. Shedden, to Mr. William Patrick in Scotland, in which he states that Mr. Shedden's illness was rapidly hurrying him to his grave, and that he had just married a woman who had been long living with him as his mistress, for the purpose of conferring 1297 the rights of legitimacy on his children by her. About the same time a letter was written by John Patrick to Robert Shedden, a merchant in London, in which he spoke of his uncle having married just before his death a woman "with whom he had long lived in another relation." On the 12th of November, 1798, William Shedden himself wrote a letter to his nephew, William Patrick, in which he stated that he had "married Ann Wilson," a thing "which was approved of" by his friends in New York, and which "restored her and the two fine children she had had by him to honour and credit." Was it possible that a man could have written in such language of his marriage if he believed that the woman was really his wife by a civil marriage that had previously taken place? The letter proceeded to say that his son was to be sent to Scotland to his nephew to be educated; that he had granted a sum for that purpose; and that he wished his son to be put to a profession suited to his position. A letter was also received by William Patrick from his brother John, stating the above particulars, and informing him that the boy had been left by his father to his (William's) guardianship. These letters, and many others which might be quoted, went to show the estimate which all parties at the time had of the connection that existed between William Shedden and this woman. As soon as these matters came to the knowledge of William Patrick, he felt himself placed in a delicate position; he had been entrusted by Mr. Shedden with the duty of educating his son; but if the marriage was a valid one, the question arose whether the law of Scotland applied to persons married in America; and if the marriage was valid, then according to the law of Scotland the son of William Shedden was entitled to the Scotch estate; but if not, then his brother Robert, as the heir at law, was entitled to take possession, inasmuch as the marriage of Mr. Shedden, under these circumstances, would not legitimate his offspring. The correspondence that took place between William Patrick and the executors at New York clearly showed the embarrassment he felt, and that he was most explicit in pointing out the propriety of some other person than himself taking up the case of the boy Shedden. An application was made to the Court of Session, and the result was the appointment of Mr. Hugh Crawfurd in loco tutoris. 1298 It was very easy to talk of conspiracy now; but what proof was there? William Patrick wrote to America to say that he was embarrassed by the guardianship imposed upon him, as his own brother's interests were involved in it, and recommending that an independent person should be appointed. A more natural course than this could not possibly have been, taken by him under the circumstances of the case. Shortly after the death of her husband the widow married a person named Vincent, and on the 3rd of September, 1799, she wrote a letter to Robert Patrick, asking him to interest himself in the case of her children. Before stating the contents of this letter he would remind the House that the relations of Mr. Shedden never at any time looked upon her as a trustworthy woman, but, on the contrary, regarded her as a disreputable person. In the letter to which he had referred she stated that her late husband had made his last will and testament a short time before his death; that he had in the most affectionate terms recommended his son to the guardianship of William Patrick; that the small property in Scotland would be required for his support; and that she trusted he would stand forward as his protector; that she had heard a report that her late husband's relations meant to claim the estate on the pretence of the illegitimacy of the child, but that the fact was "the marriage was solemnly performed and the will as regularly executed as any two acts of this nature could be." Now, he called their Lordships' attention to the circumstance that no reference was here made to any previous marriage. Could any human being suppose that if this woman believed she had been married eight years before she would have kept it concealed on an occasion of this kind? She added that she could give the most ample testimony to the facts she had furnished. Of course all the evidence adduced in the case would become utterly worthless if it could be proved that that evidence had been fraudulently concocted. But he believed that any person who carefully read these documents would come to the conclusion that they bore irresistible marks of authenticity, and that it was impossible they could be mere forgeries. There was furnished a certificate by the officiating clergyman of Trinity Church, Now York, setting forth that W. Shedden and Ann Wilson were regularly married by him on 1299 the 7th of March, 1798, and on that certificate Ann Wilson relied for its being a valid marriage. There were two affidavits in proof of the marriage, in which the deponents stated that Mr. Shedden and Ann Wilson had previously lived together as man and wife; but, in fact, although it might be true that Ann Wilson had borne Mr. Shedden's name, yet it was impossible there could have been any prior marriage, for had there been she would not have been married again in the name of Ann Wilson. That being the case, many opinions were taken both in the United States and Scotland as to the effect of the subsequent marriage upon the children. Mr. Patrick then suggested that a factor loco tutoris should be appointed by the Court of Session to protect the interests of the infant. That was done, and the question was elaborately argued before the Court of Session as to what was the effect of the marriage subsequent to the birth of the infant, such marriage being contracted abroad, and not in Scotland. The question turned upon the point whether the person so marrying abroad was domiciled there, or only temporarily resident cum animo revertendi. The conclusion of the Court of Session was that Mr. Shedden's marriage did not make the children legitimate, and was incapable of doing so. The noble Earl had put forward as a mark of great fraud the fact that it was at the instance of Mr. Patrick that an appeal was prosecuted to their Lordships' House. Assuming that to be the case, he (the Lord Chancellor) could see no fraud at all in such a proceeding, which was a common and unobjectionable one, and was intended to obtain a confirmation of the judgment of the Court of Session. When the case came before the House of Lords, Lord Eldon and Lord Redesdale, after having carefully considered the point in dispute, which they felt to be one of great difficulty, confirmed the judgment of the Court of Session, and decided that the estate belonged to Robert Patrick. If there had been any fraud at all it was impossible to conceive how that gentleman could have been mixed up in it, seeing that he was serving abroad the whole time. It was true that he subsequently sold the estate to William Patrick, but that did not alter the fact that the person benefited by the judgment of the Court of Session was Mr. Robert Patrick, then in the Mediterranean. 1300 The matter might have been supposed to have terminated. The boy was educated, the money properly applied, and he went to sea. It had been stated that the lad was urged by his uncle, William Patrick, not to become a lawyer. That perhaps was very good advice, and was the advice which he (the Lord Chancellor) frequently gave to persons who consulted him on the subject; and to charge fraud upon a person for giving such a recommendation to a lad, who was perhaps ill-adapted for the profession, was absurd and unjust. The lad, however, went to sea, came home, and went out several times, and made a considerable fortune in India; but it was not until 1848 that he was advised by some person to reopen the whole case which had been concluded forty years previously. Mr. Shedden instituted a proceeding in the Court of Session, and, in order to give himself a locus standi, he alleged that the former proceedings in 1803 had been fraudulent, and that documents bearing upon his case had been intentionally kept from the Court, which would have shown that although the deceased Mr. Shedden had been resident in America he had always retained a domicile as a Scotchman; but there was no suggestion of a former marriage. In the first summons fraud was alleged against the Patricks only, but afterwards when it was found that such a fact even if it could be established would not suffice to set aside the judgment, there came a supplemental summons of eighty pages, in which it was for the first time alleged that Mr. Crawfurd had been a party to the fraud practised upon the petitioner. That was a very gross charge to make against, a man for the first time twenty-six years after his death, and, moreover, when, as far as he (the Lord Chancellor) could see, there was not one title of evidence to support it. At the end of 1850, just as the record was about being closed and all further evidence excluded, it was alleged that the petitioner had discovered that Mr. and Mrs. Shedden had been previously married by civil contract, and was allowed by the Court of Session to amend his summons in that respect. With all deference for the Court of Session, it appeared to him (the Lord Chancellor) an absurdity to call that an amendment. The suit had been instituted fur the purpose of setting aside all the former proceedings on the ground of fraud; while 1301 in the altered summons it was contended that there had been a prior marriage which rendered the birth of the children legitimate. It was an averment that prior to the birth of the children Mr. and Mrs. Shedden had been married according to what was called in Scotland habit and repute. It was the law in Scotland that if two persons lived together as man and wife, and were generally received as such, that afforded pregnant evidence that they had been married, but it did not constitute marriage, because it could he rebutted by evidence that they had not been married. Such was the opinion of Stair, Erskine, and other authorities on Scotch law into which he had looked. The object of the suit was to get rid of everything that had been done, and, inter alia, a final decree of the House of Lords. The Court of Session, after much deliberation, decided that there was no ground for the reduction of the proceedings, and the case was again brought before their Lordships. The argument lasted a month; he (the Lord Chancellor) had done his best to make himself master of the facts, and then felt it to be his duty to move their Lordships to dismiss the appeal on the ground that the decision appealed against was correct. As to the grievance that the boy had been declared an alien and incapable of succeeding to property in this country, that question did not call for consideration. During all these proceedings not a word was said of a prior marriage in the sense in which the term was used now. The statement made then was quite consistent with the bastardy of the child—namely, that people understood them to be married because they always passed as man and wife; but the fact that they were not married was proved by the clearest evidence, and if the child at the moment of birth was a bastard he was also an alien, and no subsequent act of his parents could invest him with any other character. It would be a most dangerous precedent if, after a case had been litigated with a degree of pertinacity without example in any court of justice, a person was to be allowed, through the instrumentality of the great talents and high influence of his noble Friend, to attack the character of a man sinking into the grave at the age of eighty-seven, after a life of reputation and honour, inviting him to a new course of litigation which might involve him in ruin, and which probably could not be terminated before his death. As to the 1302 notable suggestion to pass a Bill to declare the petitioner a natural-born subject on account of the prior marriage. Now, supposing there was a prior marriage, there was nothing in the decision of their Lordships' House to make the petitioner other than a natural-born subject. All that their Lordships had decided they had decided upon the facts there stated; and the facts did not include the marriage of 1790, according to the laws of Now York, before witnesses. If, then, the fact of that marriage could be proved, the petitioner wanted no Act of Parliament to enable him to assert his rights. Not as the advocate of Mr. Patrick, but as the advocate of the people of England, and as the advocate of every one to whom property and character were sacred, he trusted he had succeeded in inducing their Lordships to resist this attempt, which was entirely unprecedented, and likely to lead to consequences impossible for their Lordships to foresee.
agreed that they had engaged in a difficult and painful inquiry, but he believed that no person could have done more ample and entire justice to a case so complicated than had been done in the clear, elaborate, and lucid statement of the noble Earl who opened the debate. Two matters were now before their Lordships for consideration—first, whether an error of fact was committed, and an erroneous decision come to in consequence of that error of fact—namely, ignorance of the marriage of 1790; and, secondly, whether, supposing an erroneous judgment to have been come to, after long adverse possession and several judgments, they had the means of redressing the grievance of the party injured. His opinion was, that there was a marriage in 1790, and that the children were born in Lawful wedlock—lawful, not by the second marriage, but according to the law of the country in which they were born—America. The noble and learned Lord on the woolsack had taken no notice of the most material point in the petitioner's case—that decisions of competent courts of America were in his favour. Those cases were strongly contested, and the decisions established legitimacy by force of the marriage of 1790. It was argued that the ecclesiastical marriage of 1798 threw doubt upon the former marriage. When engaged in Solly's case, before the twelve Judges in Westminster Hall, he remembered stating, in answer to an observation upon irregular Scotch marriages, 1303 that at the time the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor, and the Lord Privy Seal, were amenable to censure, if censure upon such a ground were due. All those three noble persons had been married in Scotland, but they went through the form of a second marriage in England, though validly married according to the law of Scotland; their wives, no doubt, being remarried in their maiden names, because it would be very difficult to get a clergyman to solemnize marriage between a man and a married woman; they were therefore married in England as bachelors and spinsters. It was precisely the same case here—the marriage of 1790 followed by the marriage of 1798. If they believed in the marriage of 1790, that disposed of the question of alienage. Then came the question whether, after such a lapse of time and so many decisions, they ought not to require fraud to be proved before granting relief. As to the question of fraud, if he was illegitimate he was therefore an alien, not having been naturalized by the naturalizing statutes. But there was never an inquiry, either in their Lordships' House or in the Court below, as to the validity of the original marriage, or touching the question of fraud. He (Lord Brougham) was therefore, on the whole, strongly inclined to think that it would be an advisable course for their Lordships now to undertake the inquiry in the manner proposed by his noble Friend (Earl Grey). He (Lord Brougham), indeed, did not sec how they could get rid of an inquiry of that sort. His noble Friend (Earl Grey) might, indeed, present a Bill, as he had a right to do as a Peer, and by the courtesy of their Lordships' House, alleging the legitimacy of the petitioner, and the rights springing from that legitimacy, and reversing the judgment with the view of letting in the party to a new trial of his claim. That Bill would probably be read a first time as a matter of course; and on its second reading, he (Lord Brougham) was inclined to think their Lordships would hear the parties on either side on the merits of the case. He threw out that suggestion, but on the whole he thought his noble Friend (Earl Grey) had taken the proper course in bringing the case before their Lordships in the way he had done.
§ LORD ST. LEONARDS
said, remembering that he assisted his noble and learned Friend on the woolsack for eighteen days in deliberating on this case when it was last before that House, he could not 1304 withdraw from the duty which he felt incumbent upon him of addressing their Lordships on the present occasion. Voluminous as the papers relating to the case immensely were, he could conscientiously say there was not a single document among them that he did not read with the deepest attention when the appeal came before their Lordships' House; he believed he had made himself perfectly master of the facts of the case; and after the most deliberate investigation he came to the clear conviction that—first, in point of law this gentleman was illegitimate, and therefore an alien; secondly, that there was no fraud on which the Court could act; and, thirdly, that there was no marriage in 1790, such as was now spoken of as an absolute fact. It was important that their Lordships should see how the matter stood, because it went by steps. When the marriage took place on the 7th of November, 1798, Mr. Shedden was on his death-bed, and the marriage was solemnized when he was in bed, but it was duly solemnized. It was a marriage well calculated to excite much observation, from the very circumstance that the clergyman who performed the ceremony knew when he was called on to do so that Mr. Shedden was on his death-bed. Besides, Mr. Shedden wrote a letter which, if words could express any clear notion of a man's mind, deserved to be received with the most implicit faith, and in which he stated that he then married Ann Wilson, in order to give his children the status to which they were entitled. The case of the petitioner in every different stage had been always represented in a different manner, so as to meet the particular difficulty with which it was beset. The petitioner himself at one time relied on that letter to show that the deceased believed that he was domiciled in Scotland and a Scotchman, and that his marriage would make the children legitimate from their birth; but when the petitioner and his advisers found that that letter did not answer their purpose they declared that the letter was a forgery from beginning to end. He stated, without hesitation, that there was no more doubt of the truth of that letter than there could be of the fact that he was addressing the House at that moment. Beyond the general allegation that a marriage by civil contract had taken place in 1790, and a statement in support of it put forward for the first time, sixty years afterwards there was no evidence that such marriage had 1305 taken place—no document or writing of the period had been produced in corroboration of the general allegation. He (Lord St. Leonards) was of opinion that the former judgment of the Court was a sound judgment, as one marriage, and one marriage only, had been put forward and proved. If a marriage took place in 1790 between Mr. Shedden and Miss Wilson, was it not natural to suppose, when she found that the legitimacy of her son was to be contested, that she would have said— "Although I was married to my husband upon his death-bed in a proper and regular manner, I had been previously married to him by civil contract, and before witnesses, in 1790?" Miss Wilson was represented to have been the daughter of a gentleman of good position in society, who objected to her marriage with Mr. Shedden on the ground of her youth; and was it likely that a man in such a station of life would have allowed his daughter to be married in his drawing room by what was called a civil contract, without the existence of any document which would show that such a ceremony had taken place? The difference between the law of Scotland and that of America was this—that in Scotland there was an assumption of marriage, although no marriage had actually taken place, while by the American law there must be a marriage either by civil contract or regularly by the Church. When the case came by appeal to this House, no mention was made of the marriage in 1790. Nothing was said of that marriage as a civil marriage until it was alleged in this petition. More than that, when Mr. Shedden himself commenced proceedings in the Court of Session in 1848, after he had had plenty of time to make inquiries, he set forth in his statement that "during Mr. Shedden's last residence at New York he formed an intimacy and connection with Miss Ann Wilson, the mother of the pursuer, of which connection there were born the pursuer and a daughter, and with the avowed purpose of legitimating the pursuer and his sister he married the said Ann Wilson at New York on or about the 7th of November, 1798." He died at New York on the 13th of November, of that year. It was admitted that a civil marriage would in America have been perfectly binding, but no such marriage was alleged either in 1808 or in 1848. After this Mr. Shedden obtained leave from the Court of Session to put in a new statement—in fact, a new 1306 case; and in that he set up a marriage, not by civil contract, but by habit and repute, cohabitation, their living as man and wife, and people believing them to be so. Such a marriage would satisfy the law of Scotland, but it would not hold good in America. The Court of Session was of opinion that it had not jurisdiction, and the matter came by appeal to their Lordships' House. The course there taken was, that they first heard arguments as to whether the case could be reopened, and then came to the conclusion that they could not decide that point of law without hearing the facts. In no case that had come before their Lordships' was there a greater multitude of facts than in this; and after hearing them he (Lord St. Leonards) came to the clear and decided opinion that upon the facts the plaintiff was not entitled to relief, and that had he been so he was wrong in the course which he had taken; and therefore he should, so far as his vote went, have decided against him. If the House agreed to the suggestion of the noble Earl, every man who could make out a new case would come to their Lordships, and upon an ex parte statement ask for a new trial. In every other court of justice, when a man alleged that he had found out new facts, and asked thereon for a new trial, the answer he got was, that he ought to have found them out in time; and there was nothing to show here that the petitioner had been taken by surprise, or that he had not all along known of the new facts which he now brought forward. What was to be done if the petition were referred to a Select Committee? Surely it was not intended that a Select Committee of their Lordships' House was to re-try a question which had already been decided twice in the Scotch Courts and once in their Lordships' House. It I was remarkable how the petitioners had shifted their ground. At first they rested on the marriage of 1798, then on the cohabitation merely, and now the marriage of 1790 was brought forward. What was now attempted to be set up ought to have been brought forward in 1848. It was quite impossible to accede to the proposition of the noble Earl without striking a fatal blow at the administration of justice and at the jurisdiction of their Lordships' House as a Court of Appeal. With regard to Mr. Patrick—though it was no business of his to defend him—he was bound to say that he was of opinion that the case had not been 1307 made out against that gentleman which it had been attempted to make out. He was a gentleman of advanced age, and it was rather hard that he should be exposed to such a powerful attack as that which the noble Earl had made upon him without having a single voice raised to say a word in his favour.
said, that after the very able and searching speech of the noble Earl who had introduced this Motion, and the discussion which had ensued upon it, it would not be necessary for him to trouble their Lordships at any great length. It would, no doubt, be great presumption in him to question the correctness of the judgment, either in the Court below or in their Lordships' House, as he was not present, and did not hear any of the arguments; but he felt it due to the petitioner, who had laid some papers in the case before him, to express his opinion of it. He should begin by stating to their Lordships what he conceived to be the position of the petitioner, because that was most material to a proper understanding of the case. In its first shape when it came before their Lordships' House, the question was one of law only—for it was never supposed that there was any other marriage than the second regular marriage. The petitioner supposed that that marriage would have had a retrospective effect, as it would have in Scotland,—but it had no such effect, and the consequence was that, being born in a foreign country and illegitimate, he was pronounced an alien and incapable of recovering the estate. But where was the petitioner all this time? He was a boy at school, of six years of age, and the present defendant, William Patrick, was his guardian, and had the charge of him. He was in a state of pupilage during the whole time of the trial, and was wholly ignorant of what was taking place. On arriving at the age of twelve he was put into the navy. It was not convenient that he should remain in England, and still less that he should be brought up to the profession of the law, as he might have been led to examine the facts, and bring the whole transaction to light. Having no knowledge whatever of the case, being entirely ignorant of the facts, it was not till 1833, on his arrival in this country, and on going down to Scotland, that he was led to take up the case. He took advice, and instituted new proceedings to set aside the former proceedings on the 1308 ground of fraud. The case in due course came to that House, when, as his noble and learned Friend on the woolsack knew, it was held insufficient to allege general fraud; the nature of the fraud, it was said, must be specifically stated, in order to justify the House in setting aside the former proceedings. The Court were of opinion that the allegation of fraud was not proved, and it was on that ground the appeal was dismissed. But in the progress of the case some light broke in upon the mind of the petitioner as to the first marriage of his parents, and he began to have reason to believe that it was a perfectly regular marriage. Up to that time it had been assumed by all parties that there was only one marriage—that of 1798 on the deathbed of his father, but William Patrick knew otherwise. A certificate of the first marriage had been handed over to him as well as the certificate of the second marriage. He therefore knew it, but suppressed it—he brought forward the evidence of the second marriage only. On inquiry the petitioner found that his father and mother had boon previously married by civil contract in a manner perfectly valid by the law of New York. Chancellor Kent said that it was not necessary that a clergyman should be present in order to make a marriage valid, though doubtless it was a very becoming practice and suitable to the solemnity of the occasion; that the consent of the parties only was necessary before witnesses, or a subsequent acknowledgment of the fact; and that a marriage might even be inferred from continual cohabitation, except in cases where there might be a civil action for adultery, &c. In addition to this definition of the law by Chancellor Kent he had the certificates of four lawyers of the highest eminence in New York to the same effect. This gentleman, then, finding he had reason to believe that his parents had been married before the ceremony took place to which alone reference had been made in the case, applied to the Court of Session for a Commission, which was granted. That Commission examined witnesses in America, whose evidence proved the marriage beyond a doubt, and having discharged its duty returned to this country. But was the evidence taken before that Commission produced? No; it was held in retentis; it was said you cannot prove this marriage till the question of fraud is disposed of; when that is done then the evidence may 1309 be read. The fraud was not disposed of, and in so far, therefore, all the evidence has never been produced, though it would most satisfactorily prove the reality of the marriage. But that was far from being the whole evidence of the marriage. The lady who was the mother of the petitioner was the daughter of a British officer who had distinguished himself very much in the war, and she was living in the immediate neighbourhood of her father. Was it likely that a British officer would surfer his daughter to be living in a state of concubinage with a merchant in his neighbourhood. The whole probability of the case was against such a thing. Again, the entire evidence went to show that this merchant was a man of respectability and of excellent character, living in the best society, and that his lady moved also in the best society of the place. That society consisted in great part of Presbyterians, persons of strictly religious and moral character, and the House might be assured that they would never have received the lady unless they were satisfied that she was the wife of Mr. Shedden. His noble and learned Friend on the woolsack suggested that all these things look place after the decision in their Lordships' House. This was by no means so; they were discovered while the case was in progress. After the decision the petitioner went to New York to make further inquiry, and ascertained from a gentleman named Wood—a lawyer of great eminence and for whose respectability Mr. Dallas vouched—that he was now in a condition to prove his status and bring an action of ejectment for a property at New York. He accordingly brought an action of ejectment, which was tried in the Supreme Court before a jury; a great number of witnesses were examined, and the evidence was so conclusive that, after a few minutes' consideration, a verdict was found in the petitioner's favour, and that verdict was approved of by the presiding Judge.
§ LORD LYNDHURST
The sole question was the consideration of the marriage. The point was whether the marriage was according to the law of New York, and the Judge decided that it was. What facts were necessary beyond proving that? When he adverted to the character of Mr. Wood, it was sufficient to show that the ease must have, been conducted in a perfectly 1310 fair and honourable manner. The case proved that there was a previous marriage, quite valid, according to the law of New York, and that the legitimacy of the children was established. His noble Friend had alluded to a document of great importance—a notarial certificate made immediately after the death of Mr. Shedden, which was sent over by the mother, and which contained upon one paper the certificate of the second as well as the certificate of the previous marriage. What did William Patrick do? What would their Lordships say of a man who cut off the evidence of the previous marriage, and produced in court only the evidence of the second? It might be asked how was that known? Mr. Van Hook, who was the administrator of William Patrick, was in possession of all his papers, and upon a search being made copies of those certificates were found in William Patrick's handwriting. It was therefore clear that he did cut off literally the evidence of the first marriage, and made use only of the evidence of the second marriage, he being at the time the guardian of the orphan boy who was thus disinherited, hound to protect the interests of the widow and children. The noble and learned Lord upon the woolsack had made a point of the questions—why was the second marriage in the name of Ann Wilson when, if the statement of a previous marriage was true, the lady's name was, not Wilson, but Shedden; and why was there a second marriage at all if the second was not bad? The reason for the second marriage was, that it would have been attended with great expense and difficulty to have proved the first marriage, and therefore a course was adopted which was not an unusual one to establish the fact more easily. As to the re-marriage in the name of Ann Wilson, it must be remembered that she could not have been married in any other name, and of that fact there was a remarkable instance in their Lordships' House. Lord Eldon, who had married Miss Surtees in Scotland, was afterwards again married to the lady in England, not as Mrs. Scott, but as Miss Surtees. Then came another document, which, if a true document, was decisive. He referred to the letter of the 12th of November, which was supposed to have been written by Mr. Shedden upon his deathbed, acknowledging the fact that he had not been previously married. If that letter was a genuine document, it destroyed the petitioner's case, but if it 1311 were a fabricated letter, then it was equally destructive of his opponent's. The noble and learned Lord on the woolsack said the petitioner made that letter a part of his case. That was true; but what were the circumstances? He used it in support of the averment of the second marriage, and, indeed, as such it was forced upon him. But he afterwards denounced it as a fabrication, and called upon his opponents to prove it. They retorted that the document had been handed to the petitioner, who denied that he had ever received it, and invited the other side to prove that it had ever been given to him, at the same time challenging proof that it had ever been shown to or had been seen by any person. That challenge had been declined, and up to the present moment no proof of that letter had been given. Was it likely that a skilled lawyer like Mr. Patrick would have given up an original document so important in its nature without taking some receipt, or having the presence of some witness to prove the fact? Then, again, looking at that letter itself as put forth in evidence, its contents were in contradiction of the great mass of evidence which had been referred to—discarding that letter, the evidence of the first marriage was overwhelming. Moreover, the letter was dated the 12th of November, Mr. Shedden's death taking place on the 13th, while on the 10th it was stated that he could not turn in his bed, would never be able to transact business again, nor to open a single letter. Then, again, the contents of the letter were false. It stated that it contained two bills of exchange for £417, to be applied for the education of the boy; but it appeared from entries in Mr. Shedden's ledger that the £417 was not remitted for any such purpose, but was intended to discharge a mercantile debt. Again, the bills were stated to be sent by the Fairy—then they could not have arrived at the time pretended. More than that, the original of those bills never arrived, and the papers produced were only copies, not signed by the deceased. That evidence had not been heard by that House or in the court below; and if the petitioner's legitimacy were established, beyond doubt he had been unjustly deprived of his estate. He contended that a Committee should be appointed to inquire whether any relief could be given, and what that relief should be. If after inquiring they found that they could give no relief they would so report 1312 to the House; but if, on the other hand, they found that without infringing any rule of justice they could afford relief, they would not only be ready, but be happy and most anxious to grant it. For these reasons he would support the Motion of his noble Friend.
said, he was sure that their Lordships must have heard with pleasure the able speech of his noble and learned Friend, and would not be surprized if, with the deference which they felt for such high authority, they should agree to the appointment of a Select Committee. But he felt it his duty to enter his solemn protest against a proceeding which was wholly unprecedented, and which he was satisfied would lead to the most serious results. He was not an advocate for Mr. Patrick; he never saw that gentleman in his life; and he knew nothing of the case except what he heard during the hearing of the last appeal, and then only for a day or two. In what state, then, was the case now? In his opinion it was res judicata, and if injustice had unfortunately been done it was irremediable. The Court of Session in 1803 decreed that the estate in dispute belonged to Robert Patrick, and not to the petitioner. That decree was confirmed by the House of Lords, the Court of last resort, in 1808. His noble and learned Friend who spoke last said that he concurred in the decision of their Lordships in 1808, and also in that of 1852. [Lord LYNDHURST: I was not there.] His noble and learned Friend said that if he had been present he should have concurred. But if there was fraud—if Mr. Patrick forged and suppressed, being the guardian of young Shedden, and an infamous man, surely his noble and learned Friend would not concur. Nothing could be easier than to demonstrate from those concessions that a Committee ought not to be appointed. The decisions of the House of Lords were to the effect that the suit had been conducted without fraud, and that the judgment of the Court below could not be impeached, but must stand as a lawful and rightful judgment. By that judgment, so confirmed by the House of Lords, under the advice of Lord Eldon and Lord Redesdale, the estate was declared to be the property of Robert Patrick. It was plain, therefore, that the decision of 1808 could not be reopened. The main argument in the subsequent suit was that what was called the second marriage had a retrospective effect and rendered the 1313 children legitimate; but he maintained that even supposing the second marriage had been proved it would have been impossible to set aside the former decision. After a solemn decision the discovery of fresh evidence was unavailable, and there could be no redress. What did they now propose to do? The present was not a judicial proceeding. There were no parties; no new suit had been commenced; there was no appeal before their Lordships, and they could not originate a cause. Supposing it had been a judgment of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. What mischief would follow such a proceeding! His noble and learned Friend said that he had communicated with the petitioner, and evidence had been laid before him; but that was not a course that could be followed. He had a sincere respect for their Lordships, but he could not contemplate without alarm the consequences which would follow if, at the instance of parties who had adopted the reprehensible system of personal solicitation, they proceeded to disturb a solemn decision of the court of last resort by the appointment of a Select Committee. It was impossible to take the estate from Robert Patrick; it was his by the law of England; and if Mr. Shedden could establish the prior marriage, for which a Parliamentary inquiry was not necessary, every privilege of legitimacy would belong to him, and he did not profess to want more. He would not be liable to the alien laws, he might sit in Parliament, and even hold the office of Chancellor; but he could not get the estate which belonged to another. The comparison of Mr. Shedden's marriage with Lord Eldon's was perfectly preposterous. There was no letter from the distinguished lady whom Lord Eldon married, stating that the second marriage was contracted to make her an honest woman and her children legitimate; but the letters of Mr. and Mrs. Shedden proved that they had only cohabited together, and that they knew their children were illegitimate. If he were to enter upon the merits, he might show that the merits were against the petitioner; but he had said enough to satisfy their Lordships that the law of the land had irrevocably given the estate to Mr. Patrick, and that no good whatever could arise from yielding to the prayer of the petition.
§ THE EARL OF EGLINTON
said, he wished to touch only on that part of the case which concerned Mr. William Patrick, 1314 with whom he was acquainted, and whom he knew to be a man of irreproachable character. It appeared to him that his character had been most unfairly and cruelly attacked. The three brothers were charged with fraud. Of John he knew nothing. Of Dr. Robert he only knew that he was very much respected in his profession, that he was a surgeon in the army, and that he was afterwards appointed Surveyor General of Hospitals. Looking at the whole case, he could see no grounds for imputation upon Mr. William Patrick. Mr. William Patrick could do no otherwise than he did. Believing that Mr. Shedden had been living with a woman, and had had two children by her, and on his deathbed had married her, be took steps to raise the question whether such a marriage contracted in America would hold good in Scotland. It was decided by the Court of Session that the marriage did not legitimatize the children, and the decision was confirmed by appeal to the House of Lords. As it seemed to him, Mr. Patrick had done everything that an honourable man could do. Great stress was laid upon the affidavits of the prior marriage having been cut off from the certificate of the ecclesiastical marriage; but he had been informed by a noble Lord within the last few minutes that the affidavits were not cut off by Mr. William Patrick; that they were sent from America by Mrs. Vincent; that Mr. William Patrick sent them to his brother in America, stating his opinion that such documents must be forged. When such a fact was capable of being clearly and easily explained, it proved how unfair it was to asperse the character of a man of eighty-seven upon transactions which occurred many years ago. He was ready to admit that the position of Mr. Shedden was now very different from that which he occupied when the appeal was brought, and to give the benefit of his conviction that Mr. Shedden might consider himself legitimate.
§ THE EARL OF ALBEMARLE
did not see how the Patrick family could be justified, except at the expense of the Shedden family, who, he thought, had been most cruelly treated. The witnesses in America swore that Mr. John Patrick was one of the greatest rogues that ever came from Scotland.
§ THE EARL OF ALBEMARLE
He was 1315 the associate of William in the conspiracy. But he would turn to transactions of William, which extended over a period of three years, when the Patricks were in the greatest state of poverty. The assistant surgeon had cost his father £500. The second son had drawn on his father for £600. The two demands together had such an effect on John Patrick, the father, that he was driven into a state of imbecility, and in that state he died. William, the subject of such eulogy, became the agent in the place of his father. In 1795 he (the Earl of Albemarle) found him agent to two young women named King for an estate in Ayrshire. The noble Earl was proceeding in his remarks—when
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, he would put it to their Lordships whether the noble Earl could pursue the course he was taking. He (the Lord Chancellor) would be the last man in their Lordships' House to attempt to interrupt the course of a debate properly conducted; but he must say the licence in which some noble Lords had indulged that evening—charging as they did the grossest fraud in the most unmeasured language to persons who had no opportunity of answering them—would leave room to doubt the propriety of the attempt recently made in their Lordships' House to legalise the privilege of reporting their debates.
§ THE EARL OF ALBEMARLE
said, he bowed to the correction of the noble and learned Lord on the woolsack, and would only further say that, after looking through the whole of the papers bearing on the subject under discussion, he thought it impossible for any one to read that evidence and not see that a great wrong had been committed. He had always understood that it was a maxim of our law that there was no wrong without a remedy; and, as he believed, that this was a wrong without a parallel, he hoped their Lordships would adopt the Motion of his noble Friend as a means of repairing it.
§ LORD LYTTELTON
said, he was prepared to support the Motion of his noble Friend (Earl Grey), but he confessed the case was so complicated and was involved, not only in law, but also in Scotch law, that he could not hope to address the House with any confidence upon its merits. He would only, therefore, say that, as it had all along appeared to him, not on the general merits of the case, but on the single question whether their Lordships' House was misled and misinformed by 1316 fraudulent means, that there was a primaâ facie case for inquiry, he thought that inquiry should be conducted by a Select Committee, as was now proposed.
§ LORD REDESDALE
said, he had had the whole of this case brought before him in the strongest manner by the parties concerned, but he had kept himself free from expressing any opinion upon it. Having now, however, heard that night all that could be said on both sides, he confessed he could not but come to the conclusion that there was so much danger in opening a case of this sort, he did not feel justified in voting for the Motion of the noble Earl. At the same time, if it was true that there was no remedy for a party placed in the position of the petitioner in this case, and as other persons might hereafter be put in a similar position, he thought it was desirable that a remedy should be supplied, not by special, but by some general legislation.
§ EARL GREY
, in reply, said, the noble and learned Lord on the woolsack, in calling his noble Friend (the Earl of Albemarle) to order, had expressed himself in a manner which he (Earl Grey) confessed had surprised him. The noble and learned Lord said, the turn which this debate had taken made him almost doubt the propriety of protecting the publication of their Lordships' debates, as had been recently suggested by a Member of their Lordships' House. As, however, his noble Friend (the Earl of Albemarle) was stopped before he got into the matter which the noble and learned Lord on the woolsack thought objectionable, he (Earl Grey) was bound to say he thought the interruption was made before occasion had been given for it. He must further say that when he was asked to state to their Lordships a case fraught with such great grievances as this, he felt himself bound to undertake the duty, and he still thought he had taken the right course in bringing it under the consideration of the House in the way he had done. If Mr. Patrick should suffer any damage from the accusations which had been made against him, let him meet the petitioner before a Select Committee, where his answer would be heard, and produce the documents which were at this moment in his custody. He (Earl Grey) could not help adverting to the manner in which the letter of Mr. John Patrick had been brought under the consideration of the House, in which he spoke of the petitioner's mother as a woman cohabiting with the petitioner's father, and 1317 so forth. Undoubtedly, if, as the petitioner alleged, this was a conspiracy against him, that was exactly the sort of letter which Mr. Patrick would have written; and if the petitioner could establish that what Mr. Patrick had stated with reference to his mother and to the relation in which he stood to his father was directly at variance with the testimony of witnesses of unimpeachable character, he (Earl Grey) thought that would be one of the strongest proofs of a conspiracy that their Lordships could have. On that point it so happened that the petitioner could produce the evidence of persons of the most respectable character, who were vouched for by the President of the United States, by the present American Minister in this country, and by the Protestant Bishop of New York; and those witnesses one and all said that of their own personal knowledge Mrs. Shedden lived as the wife of her husband, respected by all who knew her, and that there was never, so far as they knew, the slightest imputation cast upon her character, or upon her relations with her husband. His noble and learned Friend (Lord St. Leonards) had urged that the widow had not brought forward evidence of the prior marriage; but the fact was that her first communication to two respectable solicitors in Scotland enclosed affidavits with reference to both marriages. Those affidavits, however, were subsequently separated, and only that which related to the second marriage was adduced before the Court. He would venture to offer a few observations with respect to the mode of proceeding which, in his opinion, ought to be adopted. His noble Friend who had just spoken said that while he was not prepared to support the motion for the Committee he thought primâ facie grounds had been established for some redress, which, however, ought rather to be afforded by general legislation than by legislation applicable to the particular case of Mr. Shedden. He (Earl Grey) had, at the outset, expressed his opinion that the proper mode of redress would be by general legislation; and he asked for the appointment of a Committee as the only practicable means of obtaining such legislation. He admitted the practical difficulties of re-opening a case which had been judicially decided; but, although Mr. Shedden had been deprived of his estates, that was no reason why some steps should not be taken for removing the 1318 stigma affixed to the origin of Mr. Shedden, who was more anxious for the reputation than for the recovery of the state of his family.
inquired whether the noble Earl proposed to call witnesses and to inquire into the question of fraud before the Select Committee?
§ EARL GREY
said, the course he would suggest was, that the Committee should examine the documents carefully and ascertain whether there was a primâ facie case of fraud; that they should call for certain very important papers which were in existence, but which the petitioner had not yet been able to obtain; and that if they thought those documents afforded primâ facie ground for the investigation of the matter by a court of justice they should recommend a measure which was calculated to open the doors of some court of law to Mr. Shedden.
observed that, from his recollection of the case, the question of fraud had been considered immaterial, for there was another ground which rendered any decision upon that point unnecessary.
§ On Question, that the said Petition be referred to a Select Committee, their Lordships divided:—Contents 11; Not-Contents 19: Majority 8.
§ Resolved in the negative.
§ Then the said Petition was ordered to lie on the table.
|Manchester, D.||Calthorpe, L,|
|Albemarle, E. [Teller.]||Lyndhurst, L|
|Grey E. [Teller.]||Lyttelton, L|
|Talbot, E||Sondes, L|
|Dungannon, V||Truro, L|
|Cranworth, L. (L. Chancellor]||Churchill, L.|
|Clements, L. (E. Leitrim.)|
|Ailesbury, M.||Foley, L. [Teller.]|
|Derby, E.||Leigh, L.|
|Fortescue, E.||Monteagle of Brandon, L.|
|Eversley, V.||Polwarth, L.|
|Ardrossan, L. (E. Eg-)||Rossie, L. (L. Kinnaird.)|
|Campbell, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
§ House adjourned at a quarter past Eleven o'clock, till To-morrow, half-past Ten o'clock