§ The adjourned debate being resumed, the question was again put, "That this House will resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to inquire into the Transactions which took place at Manchester on the 16th of August 1819."
§ Sir Robert Wilson
rose. He said, it was perfectly consistent with the official duty of the hon. and learned member who had spoken last but one on this subject—he meant his majesty's solicitor-general—to do the ministers all the service he could, by vindicating the magistrates and yeomanry from the heavy charges which had been brought against them. It was natural for that hon. and learned gentleman, in the view which he took of the events of the 16th of August, and of those immediately preceding them, to describe the conduct of the magistrates as upon all occasions temperate and judicious, and that of the people as irregular and criminal—or, if not criminal, as very little short of it in intention. But, notwithstanding his talent and his ingenuity, he had not succeeded in disguising the hideous deformity of the Manchester massacre. It was unnecessary for him to analyze all the arguments which that hon. and learned gentleman had used; it would be enough for him to show that sufficient grounds were laid for an inquiry. It was not necessary for him to refute all the statements of the other side; it would be enough for him to show that there were counter statements. At the same time, he could not help noticing the attempt which had been made to introduce into the discussion evidence which the other side had not dared to offer to a court of justice. The solicitor-general had formerly told them, that the best way of obtaining a fit decision upon the question would be by bringing all the evidence which bore upon it into a court of justice. The solicitor-general now disdained to follow his own advice, and brought forward testimony which his employers had carefully withheld from the proper tribunals. Those employers on a former occasion had triumphantly taunted the friends of the people with being 10th to enter the courts of justice, and had said, that whenever they did so, the emptiness of their accusations would 776 be made apparent to the world. As a proof of this, they referred to the bills which had been rejected by the grand jury of the county of Lancaster. The solicitor-general had even said in distinct terms, "Surely no attempt will be made to impugn the grand jury of the county of Lancaster, of which so respectable an individual as my lord Stanley was chairman." He certainly had no intention to impugn either the conduct or the character or that noble personage; on the contrary, there was not a man in the House to whose honour he should be more ready to intrust his fortune or his life. But he must observe, in the first place, that it was extremely hard to throw the responsibility of the grand jury upon that noble lord, as it did not follow that he approved of all its proceedings, though he formed a part of it. It was possible that the grand jury, without any criminal intention, might have taken an erroneous view of the law of the case. They might have supposed that the bills for murder could not be sustained against the yeomanry, because they had acted under the command of a superior authority. Indeed, something had; fallen from the noble lord when he (sir R. W.) had presented a petition to the House yesterday, that confirmed him in the idea that something of that nature had actually taken place. When the petitioner had offered to show the noble lord the wound which he had received, and the blood which had flowed upon his coat, the noble lord had declined to examine into that circumstantial evidence, because those appearances were not at all connected with the circumstances which had determined the grand jury to reject the bill. Now, he would contend that, if the merits of that bill rested solely on the treatment received by the complaining party, the grand jury were bound to examine into those circumstances. Their refusing to do so convinced him that the grand jury had thrown it out, more upon political than upon strictly legal views. Again: they had been asked, if the facts which they stated had occurred and murder had been committed, why had no coroner's inquest given a verdict of murder against either the magistrates or the yeomanry? The House, he was certain, would recollect that a majority of the persons who sat upon the inquest at Oldham, had declared that, if they had been allowed to give in their verdict, they would have given a 777 verdict of murder against the yeomanry. It was hard upon them to be told that they had not established their case, when the coroner had prevented a verdict from being given in favour of it. Could any man believe that that officer, in so doing, had acted upon his own responsibility alone? Would he have dared to have adjourned the inquest to so late a period as he did, unless be had known that he was to be shielded by ministerial influence i—But then they were told that a civil action might have been brought by the injured parties, and that the question might thus have been determined. Gentlemen talked about these poor people going to law, as if law were a cheap article! What was the fact? A subscription had been opened to relieve the sufferers at Manchester, and also to obtain redress for their grievances; which subscription produced the sum of 3,408l. The law expenses for the conduct of the Oldham inquest amounted to 1,077l. and the trial at York cost 710l. without including any remuneration for Mr. Harmer, who had acted gratuitously. The small remainder, therefore, was to be divided among the 620 sufferers on that memorable day. The hon. member for Newcastle had observed, that if only one or two convictions had been obtained, there might have been some ground for the present motion; but if the parties injured had proceeded and had succeeded in a single case against the military or the magistrates, the answer would have been, "the courts of law, you see, are open to you, and the House never interferes in cases that can be remedied there." The gallant member then touched upon the law with regard to the dispersion of the meeting of the 16th August, admitting that the lowest parish officer might disturb any illegal assembly, but he must do so by legal means. No unnecessary violence or precipitation must be used; the law always required the exercise of a sound discretion, not only in magistrates, but in sheriffs, and in every person placed in any degree of authority. In every case, whether it were the arrest of a criminal or otherwise, only the quantum of force required might be used, under a responsibility for the consequences. The same discretion was required even in soldiers: they could not obey positive orders to do what was unlawful. Why was captain Porteus convicted? Not because he fired on the populace, but because he perse- 778 vered, and showed a disposition to destroy, not to preserve the lives of his fellow-citizens. He then vindicated the commission appointed by the committee in London to distribute the subscriptions for the sufferers at Manchester; He maintained that it was composed of men of the highest character and honour who had acted with the utmost zeal and integrity. It had been said that they went to Manchester for the purpose of inflaming the public mind In opposition to this assertion, he begged leave to read the instruction given to the commissioners by the committee in London, of which body he was one.—The committee particularly enjoined them to abstain from giving any opinion as to the culpability of any of the parties who inflicted on the sufferers their misfortunes; and they added, that the business of the commissioners was merely: to ascertain the circumstances and claims of the individuals requiring relief. With regard to the documents read to the House by the hon. member for Dover, confirmed, as was said, by voluntary oaths, he had caught among the names that of Burley; and he begged to ask, what reliance could be placed on the assertion of one of the parties accused of having acted most unjustifiably in the course of the transactions? The statement, that stones were seen in the air was equally incredible especially as it was directly contradicted by the evidence of the rev. Mr. Stanley, to whose narrative an hon. gentleman had last night referred, but perhaps without producing the impression it deserved. He therefore, begged to call the attention of the House to a few passages in that narrative. It appeared that Mr. Stanley was in a room above the magistrates, and he spoke to the fact of a line of constables being established between the magistrates House and the hustings. Even Mr. Hay, in one of his despatches, admitted this fact. A few minutes after Mr. Hunt arrived, there was a cry of "the soldiers are coming," and the yeomanry arrived at full gallop. The reverend gentleman then proceeded thus:—"For a few paces as they advanced, their movement was not rapid, and it seemed to show an attempt to follow the officers in regular succession, five or six abreast; but they soon increased their speed, and with a zeal and ardour that might naturally be expected from men acting with a delegated power against a foe, by whom they had been long insulted with taunts of cowardice, 779 they continued their course, seeming individually to vie with each other, who should be first." This at least showed the animus of the yeomanry. The rev. gentleman then went on to speak of the situation and case of a woman who had been rode over in the field, and in whom he saw no signs of life. After describing the scene of terror and confusion that took place, on the attack of the military, he added, "I saw nothing that gave me the idea of resistance, excepting on one or two spots, where the people seemed disposed not to abandon their banners." Before the meeting he had seen no symptoms of disturbance, or of an intention to break the peace; but after the dispersion, the feelings of the people were entirely changed. Then he heard the expressions "to-day you surprised us; but another day will come, and that shall be ours." The last paragraph in this statement to which he would draw the attention of the House was the subsequent:—"I have heard that the cavalry was assailed, upon respectable authority, by stones thrown during the short time they halted before their charge. What a person says he saw, must be true; but I saw nothing of the sort, though my eyes were fixed steadily on the yeomanry, and I think I must have seen any stone larger than a pebble. Indeed I saw no missile weapon during the whole of the transaction." The hon. member for Dover did not venture to say when the cavalry were attacked: if after the charge, it was a measure of justifiable self-defence; but he should always maintain, that the populace had not done their duty as British citizens in not resisting the aggression of the military. With respect to the motion, the people of England called loudly for inquiry: all Europe had witnessed with astonishment that in this land, so jealous of the lives of its citizens, so jealous of the interference of the military, no investigation had yet taken place. The solicitor-general had kindly proposed to pass an act of oblivion over the whole transaction; ministers were willing to forget and forgive—to forget and forgive the offences of the 620 wounded and maimed wretches who had suffered beneath the sabre and the hoof on the 16th of August—to forget and forgive those who had approached parliament with their complaints. This was indeed a climax of benevolence and generosity. Was it possible to cover the whole with the veil of 780 oblivion? The law of Moses, "a tooth, for a tooth, and an eye for an eye," had been spoken of; but the hon. baronet did not by his proposal require blood for blood, but merely that inquiry should be made where the blame ought to rest. If it was rejected, it would be a decisive proof of the contempt in which ministers held public opinion—a memorable and scandalous proof of the degraded state to which the country was reduced, when such contempt was allowed to be evinced. He trusted that this House would not involve itself in the infamy of the last parliament by rejecting this motion: it had now an opportunity of restoring the government of the laws—of restoring confidence in the law: if it neglected it, submission, might be obtained; but it would be the submission of prudence and apprehension, not of affection and allegiance.
§ Sir W. De Crespigny
said, he felt for the sufferers at Manchester; but he felt also for the British parliament, which, he hoped, would not go down to posterity with the stigma of having passed over this disgraceful transaction without inquiry. The hon. baronet proceeded to read a narrative of the events of the 16th of August, which he had obtained from an individual of the highest respectability who was present. It corroborated, in the chief points, statements which have already appeared, describing the meeting as of a most peaceable description, until the violent attack of the yeomanry produced the disorder which led to the fatal events of that day. The paper was from a gentleman in orders, named Wimbush, who had been an hour and a half on the ground, and gave a frightful description of the havoc committed on the multitude, whom he compared to a flock of sheep devoted to the slaughter. He also stated, that the avenues through which the people attempted to fly were closed by the military, who, in a threatening attitude drove them back, and he fled for refuge into the House of a friend. The allegations contained in this paper, would, if necessary be supported at the bar by the gentleman who had written it. Sir William said, he had himself been at Manchester a few days after the 16th of August, and had, from his inquiries, every reason to believe the statement in the narrative correct.
rose to eulogise the yeomanry as a most valuable and peculiarly constitutional force. He was himself a 781 yeomanry officer, and in the county in which lie resided, there having been, some time ago, an apprehension of popular tumults, he had received an order from the secretary of state's office to put himself under the orders of the magistracy. He believed the yeomanry, therefore, to have acted under a sense of duty which was imperative on them, and he believed them to be the only party that Could be entirely exculpated. It was his opinion that the mob, the magistrates, and even the government, had been on that occasion misled.
said, he had hitherto given a silent vote in favour of every motion for inquiring into the unfortunate affair at Manchester, and he should have still preserved the same silent manner of recording his opinion, were it not that, both within and without the walls of parliament, the motives of gentlemen who thought as he did had been misrepresented. It was insinuated, but most erroneously, that those who disapproved of the dispersion' of the Manchester meeting, necessarily approved of the principles of those who had convened the people on that occasion. Now, no person felt less disposed than he did to countenance the extravagant notions of reform entertained by some of those who had called that meeting together, or to sanction many parts of the conduct of the leader who presided on that day. No person felt more disposed to invest the magistracy of the country with every proper discretion for the maintenance of the public peace, to give them every proper support, and enforce the utility and respectability of their functions; but the more he reflected upon the occurrence at Manchester, the greater and more decided was his conviction, that no line of conduct was more calculated to check the growth of that respect which, was due to the magistracy from the people, and to weaken that bond of union which held the different classes of society together, than a refusal to concede such an inquiry as this to the general voice of the country. Me knew it was said, that if this particular inquiry were permitted, it would be impossible to shut out others from the same mode of examination; so that a new principle, of a most impolitic and injurious nature, would be established. The line of distinction between what ought and what ought not to be done, might, he thought, be rendered sufficiently obvious. Where 782 a great public calamity had occurred1, where a gross violation of constitutional privilege had been committed, where a great number of British subjects had been killed and wounded in a time of profound peace—where any of these occurrences had taken place, he thought the House might, without any great impropriety, concede an inquiry. To all such applications he wished the doors of the House to be thrown open as wide as possible. The House ought not to be less ready to vindicate the privileges of the people than their own; towards which they generaly showed an attachment more creditable to their zeal than to their discretion. It was quite sufficient to show, in support of the inquiry, some main facts which were indisputable. It was clear the meeting had been violently dispersed by a military force, and that a number of people had been killed and wounded. It was equally clear, that the parties representing themselves as aggrieved, had in vain sought inquiry through a variety of channels. It. was clear that the coroner had terminated his inquest in a very extraordinary manner; that technical difficulties were interposed by grand juries, which prevented bills of indictment from being received. All these were grounds sufficient to warrant the inquiry called for, with so much ability, by the hon. baronet.
§ Mr. Egerton
said, lie thought the measures pursued by the magistrates on the 16th of August had saved the town of Manchester from the greatest disturbance and riot. Let the House look at the state of the county at that period, the organized system of communication which was going on, and the drillings, together with the assembling with banners—let them look at all these circumstances, and then calmly say whether the magistrates acted imprudently in issuing the warrant to apprehend Mr. Hunt and the other leaders of that meeting. From the state in which the hustings were, it was impossible that the warrant could be executed without the aid of the military. The magistrates had a great duty to perform; they did it to the best of their power, and they took the responsibility on themselves. They were called upon to decide on a sudden emergency, what was best for the safety of the town; and if they had erred, their conduct was open to be inquired into by a court of law. With regard to the people, it was notorious that the 783 way in which they came into the town alarmed all the respectable inhabitants.
observed, that on this question he differed in opinion from most of those with whom he usually acted, and from whom he never differed but with regret. He took that opportunity of stating his opinion with regard to the measures which the legislature had adopted, in consequence of the events at Manchester to August 1819. It would be unbecoming in him to enter into the discussion of the general subject; for even in the hands of those who had greater claims on the attention of the House than he could pretend to, that subject no longer excited interest and attention. The reasons which had influenced him in giving his vote in 1819, with reference to this subject, remained unshaken; and there was no act of his public life to which he looked back with greater satisfaction or a more self-approving conscience.
denied that his hon. friend was correct in stating that the subject before the House had lost its interest. If, indeed, he looked at the question in the most limited point of view, he would concede it to him; but, in its broad and constitutional point of view, it had not and could not lose a particle of the interest which had at any time attached to it. He begged to deny the correctness of the solicitor-general's statement last night, that a court of law had pronounced that the meeting at Manchester was an unlawful assembly. The verdict at York had established no such fact. The indictment, if he was rightly informed, consisted of eight counts. In the fourth it charged Mr. Hunt and others with having been engaged in a conspiracy to bring together an illegal meeting for the disturbance of the public peace. Other counts charged them with joining in an unlawful assembly; but they were acquitted upon all except the fourth count, which by no means involved the question of the legality of the meeting. If the meeting, then, were not illegal the interference of the military was unnecessary, and the magistrates had no authority to order a single soldier to advance against the people. It was true that an eminent lawyer (Mr. Plunkett) had pronounced the meeting at Manchester illegal; he however never concurred in that opinion; but even if the meeting were illegal, the learned judge who tried the case at York 784 had drawn a just distinction between the guilt or innocence of the parties present. It did not follow, because some attended for an illegal purpose, that others participated in their guilt. Besides, on the trial no evidence whatever had been offered to show the necessity there was to employ the military to assist the civil power. Mr. Hulton was very properly stopped by Mr. Justice Bayley, when he was stating the hearsay evidence of Nadin the constable. The hon. gentleman then referred to the depositions read last night by the hot), member for Dover, and adverted to the former statement of a noble lord, that a constable had been stoned to death by the people. Last night, when the hon. member for Dover was reading depositions and affidavits to the House, it struck him that he had fallen into an error on one point. He had stated, that one Campbell, a pensioner—and a constable of Manchester, was, on the 16th of August, dragged from his home, and so savagely treated by the people that death ensued. Now, it so happened, that, on the coroner's inquest, which took place after the death of Campbell, it turned out that this constable had fired pistols, loaded with ball, at different persons in the streets of Manchester; and three of the individuals who were on the coroner's jury testified that such was the fact. They further stated, that the mob, who were irritated by the previous conduct, as well as by the wanton firing of Campbell, did inflict severe vengeance on him. This, however, was not on the 16th, but on the 17th of August, the day after the meeting. No such thing as the alleged stoning of this constable therefore took place on the former day. But, if it had occurred on the 16th, if the people, smarting under the wounds inflicted on them by the sabres of the cavalry and by the staves of the constables of Manchester, had met with one of the latter, who had been firing loaded pistols, he could not wonder at their proceeding, under circumstances of such aggravation, to visit the obnoxious person with summary chastisement, air, though he did not mean to justify the act. Many of the statements were, he believed, as incorrect as that which he had noticed. There appeared to be a willingness to believe every thing which tended to extenuate the violence that had been used. The old adage—"libenter homines quod, volunt credunt"—was perfectly applicable to this case. He did not mean to accuse the 785 hon. member for Dover with participating in such a feeling; but they all knew, that people were very apt to rely on any statement which favoured their particular views of aquestion. When, however, grievous complaints were made, and when they were met by assertions of this nature, why should that House remain inactive spectators, knowing that ministers would not yield one point of what was demanded from them? He should be satisfied if a disposition were shown to send a parliamentary commission to Manchester to inquire into the facts. He saw a smile on the faces of the gentlemen opposite, but there was nothing absurd in such a proposition. It was only the other day that a parliamentary commission was appointed to inquire into some supposed abuses in Ilchester gaol. If a commission were appointed in that case, why should it be refused on a matter of so much importance as that now under consideration? He feared, however, that a parliamentary commission would be no longer useful, ministers having so completely mixed themselves up with the business of the 16th of August. That they had done so, was clear from the thanks which were prematurely given to the Manchester magistrates, as well as from his majesty's answer to the city address. Such being the situation in which they were placed, no member wishing to discharge his duty on this momentous occasion could, he thought, refuse his most decided support to the motion.
Mr. B. Wilbraham
said, he did not state that the outrage committed on Campbell had taken place on the 16th of August. He had merely observed, that because Campbell was a constable, he had been pursued into a hbuse—that he had been severely treated, and that, in consequence of the injuries he had received, he died in the infirmary.
§ Mr. Horace Twiss
spoke as follows:—Sir; I should not have expected to hear from my hon. and learned friend a complaint about the employment of depositions in this debate; since, where one of the speakers on this side has resorted to these narratives on oath, not fewer than three or four among the hon. gentlemen opposite have relied on private statements, to which the sanction of an oath is wanting. The balance, therefore, is not a little against those who complain of a departure from the evidence produced by the trial at York. The 786 opinion expressed in last night's debate, that, independently of the evidence offered for the defence on that trial, there is enough in the testimony advanced for the prosecution to support the hon. baronet's proposal, has led me to refer to a printed report of that trial, which I hold in my hand for the purpose of ascertaining the grounds of such ah opinion; and I must say, the result of my examination has been, that, on the contrary, there is reason enough to reject the motion, almost on the mere admissions extracted by the cross-examinations of the defendant's own witnesses. These admissions, indeed, having embraced no details beyond the moment of the actual seizure of Mr. Hunt and the flags, do not afford so complete a body of information as that presented to the House by the hon. member for Dover, but as far as they do extend, they are highly important, and, I think, will satisfy the House that there is no more pretext now for the motion, than there was when the same proposal was solemnly rejected by the last parliament.
It stands admitted then, by the witnesses against the Crown, that the memorable field at Manchester was entered, not by tens, nor by hundreds, nor even by thousands only,—-but by myriads of men, in lines of two, three, and four abreast, marched by commanders or serjeants, and in a movement which, whether military or not, was such as the military employ; and, according to the computation of Mr. Tyas, the reporter for The Times, the most important, and, notwithstanding the strong bias of his politics, the most intelligent and accurate of the witnesses in Mr. Hunt's behalf, their body amounted to about 80,000,—an assembly, whose prodigious numbers as much unfitted it for deliberation, as they fitted it forviolence—an assembly, indeed, never so justly characterrized as by Hunt himself, with the epithet, "tremendous." Most of the parties, says Mr. Tyas, came provided with sticks; he describes them to have been "walking-sticks only;" but whether in the hands of a class of people whom we do not usually see carrying such appendages they were meant to be used only as walking-sticks, may, perhaps, best be inferred from their other accompaniments, and especially from their flags, with inscriptions exhorting them to equal representation or death to die like men and not be sold as slaves—inscriptions just as demonstrative of the sort of resolution with which they were assembled, 787 as if they had vented the same resolves in living shouts. Such being the meeting, juts array, the sentiments and objects proclaimed by it, and, the numerical strength by which these sentiments, and objects might be summarily enforced upon the spot, I want no additional evidence to tell me whether there was terror among peaceable, subjects; whether there was ground for, the interposition of authority. Then, how, did authority interpose? By a charge of cavalry upon a peaceable congregation of defenceless people?—by a cold-blooded messacre of men women and children? No! been by repeating a measure which had been found successful at the Smithfield and other meetings; by taking the ringleader into custody, which they did in the outset; of his harangue, just as he had desired the multitude (these were his words) "to exercise in an orderly manner the, all-powerful right of the people." The witnesses for the defence say, that the people opened in the most peaceable manner for, the yeomanry; and as to the allegation on the part of the Crown, that the populace assailed them as they came up, with brickbats and bludgeons, and closed in with a rush to cut them off, Mr. Tyas says, "This was, I suppose, not a voluntary rush, but a rush occasioned by, the pressure. If brickbats, stones, cudgels, and bludgeons had been hurled in the air in any great quantity, I must have seen them." Mr. Nicholson, another of the defendant's witnesses, who acknowledges that sticks were thrown, says, however, that this was after the arrest; and none of the witnesses for the defence admit any assault before that seizure. But this they admit, that though there was no actual assault, yet on the first approach of the yeomanry, this vast multitude set up a shout, called by the name of a cheer, but given, as Mr. Tyas himself very candidly interprets it, to show the military "that they were not daunted by their unwelcome presence." To this shout the only answer of the yeomanry was, a flourish of their swords; so that, up to the moment of the assault, not a hair, of any. human head was hurt on either, side. But the demonstration conveyed by that shout, together with the rush of the populace closing in upon the military, and which might well appear intentional, though the witnesses for the defence explain it as "really accidental," the avowed scuffle on the seizure of the flags, and the resistance, which followed 788 by missile and other weapons—these circumstances, I say, which I take from Mr. Hunt's own witnesses, and which are the facts most material to a due understanding of the dispersion which ensued, were such as must irresistibly have struck the magistrates with the liveliest impression as to the danger of the yeomanry, and as to the necessity of rescuing them by the additional force, which was now accordingly sent forward under colonel L' Estrange. Sir, I beg to say, that in attempting, as I shall now do very shortly, to answer the hon. members on the other side, without relying on any other materials than those collected thus from Mr. Hunt's own witnesses, I do not mean to have it inferred, that I myself think nothing true but what those witnesses have admitted; on the contrary, my own mind has been most strongly impressed with the important and decisive facts communicated by the hon. member for Dover, and by several of the witnesses for the prosecution at York; but my object in limiting myself to the admissions of Mr. Hunt's own witnesses, is, that those who will acknowledge nothing for truth but what comes from their own side, may see how little ground, even on the reformers' own showing, has been laid for the proposed enquiry by that trial at York, which has been so much and so triumphantly insisted on.
One would almost have supposed, from the tone which has been taken about this trial, that the verdict had been an acquittal instead of a conviction; that a jury, instead of finding upon their oaths that the defendants convened an unlawful meeting, and incited it against the government and constitution, had declared those defendants and that meeting to be absolutely innocent. Suppose that, as to some of the statements made in the debate of 1819, the proof, instead of being substantiated as it has been, had failed altogether: that would make no difference as I have now viewed the case, because I have viewed it without reference to that information, but solely upon the testimony of the reformers themselves. At the same time I feel, that it ought not to have been matter either of surprise or of blame, if mistakes had really been made on this side: just as, on the other, it was at, first asserted, that the acting magistrates were all stipendiaries, and that the sabres of the yeomanry had been sharpened purposely to cut down the people. Why, then, how stands the argument taken thus on the 789 statements of the adverse witnesses? I will say but very few words oh the old question, revived by my hon. friend who spoke last, as to the legality of the meeting. At first, indeed, it was pretty generally contended by those who were not lawyers, that all interference, whether military or civil, was unwarrantable, because the meeting itself was a perfectly legal one, assembled for the removal of grievances. Now, one objectionable peculiarity of it was, that the grievance whose removal it chiefly aimed at, was that very inveterate one, the English constitution; but I say nothing about that, because, independently of the object Itself, and of the sanguinary threats declared by the witnesses for the prosecution to have been thrown out by individuals of the mob in their march to the field, it is clear, as was ruled by Mr. Justice Bayley on the trial, that if a meeting endangered the public peace, and tended to raise fears and jealousies among his majesty's subjects, it was an unlawful assembly, though the people did not appear armed; and with reference to this particular case, he told the jury it must be clear, that the manner, the numbers, the banners, the apparent military steps, had an evident tendency to produce terror.—The meeting being thus clearly illegal in its character, was dissolvable, of course, by the legal authorities; and it seems strange indeed to hold that the same step, the seizure of the ring-leader, which had been so successful at the Smithfield meeting so lately before, and again within the foregoing week at the Leigh meeting, must have been a crime and a folly at the Manchester assembly.
But the warrant, you say, might have been executed by the constables alone. I do not rest on the evidence of Mr. Hulton and Mr. Phillips, or the opinion of the borough-reeve, Mr. Clayton, who all decidedly declare that "the civil power alone could not have executed this warrant"; nor even upon the positive refusal of Nadin, the deputy constable, to attempt its execution without military assistance, because these witnesses were called for the Crown; but I presume the hon. baronet can hardly mean to say, that the yeomen, when they put on the uniform of volunteers, did thereby put off the character of citizens, and become incapable to act in assistance of the civil power. Lord Mansfield used to hold, that the soldiers on these occasions ought to act as Citizens. What then is meant? That the 790 appearance of military was sure to irritate? It should seem that it was not, if we believe the unanimous statement of all the witnesses for the defence, that no symptoms of irritation were manifested at al till after the seizure, but that the people most peaceably made way for the cavalry. But even if it had been otherwise—and however objectionable it may be to employ military assistance where no powerful' Opposition is to be apprehended, yet this was peculiarly a case where the public peace required an exhibition of that sort of strength which would most tend to discourage all attempt at resistance to the law. The crowd were less likely to think themselves a match for the yeomanry than for common constables, of no imposing appearance, attired like themselves, and like themselves armed only with sticks; and, therefore, the employment of military diminished the chance of any attempt to prevent the peaceable execution of the warrant.
Then, as to the sending up of the second party of soldiers to the assistance of the first. It may -be, that the multitude intended no violence, when they received the yeomanry with a braving cheer, and closed in with a rush upon their ranks; but where is the magistrate, who, perceiving such demonstrations on the part of so vast an assembly, so armed and Organized, and professing upon their very banners that they were met to obtain their objects or death—where is the magistrate who, under such circumstances, would have felt otherwise than that to leave those yeomen unprotected, would be a cowardly desertion and a probable sacrifice of their lives—of lives, let me say, not less valuable to their country than those of which we now concur in deploring the loss.—Therefore this is not, as it has been subtilly suggested, a question whether the general objects of the meeting were such as to justify its dispersion by an armed force for the mere sake of dispersion, bat: whether the apparent danger of the yeomanry was not such as to justify an armed rescue of which the dispersion of; the meeting was the probable consequence, if not the only means.—It is alleged, that only one magistrate was called at the trial to justify the employment and conduct of the yeomanry. It was conceded' lasts night, that at the trial any general evidence on the conduct of the yeomanry would have been inadmissible; and the judge himself most properly prevence 791 all interrogations which went merely to this matter. That interdict operated very favourably for the rioters; for it left un-refuted not a few of their calumnies against the soldiery; but it is a little too much that after having had the benefit of the judge's exclusion of the evidence concerning the soldiers, they should now turn round and say, that the prosecutors were afraid to risk it. The question is not so much what the actual danger was (though on that point the case of the magistrates is sufficiently strong as what the danger must have appeared to those magistrates, to be: how it must have presented itself to their eyes. "Good God," said Mr. Hulton to colonel L'Estrange, don't you see how they are attacking the yeomanry?" and, in the same breath, was giving the order to advance. It was no deliberate act; it was no preconcerted plan; it was the impulse of the moment, when but that moment was given to think and to act, and when the loss of that moment seemed to threaten the destruction not of the yeomanry alone, but perhaps of Manchester itself, and the peace of the whole kingdom. Men in authority may sometimes act most unwisely, and yet not be guilty of exceeding their jurisdiction; they may sometimes exceed their strict jurisdiction, and be guilty—of saving their country. I believe, in my conscience, that here was no excess of jurisdiction; but let the order have been more or let it have been less prudent, I, for one, can never consent to put men of humane and honourable characters upon their trials as criminals, for having exercised their best discretion in circumstances of such difficulty and such danger, such doubt and such alarm. You harp upon the supposed violation of the law; but if you were to go to a court of law, the judges of the land would tell you that you must prove; something wilful or malicious in order to Warrant a proceeding against the magistrates. That hard measure which a court of law would refuse, you call upon parliament, as a court of equity, to award—you call upon parliament, to interfere with the common law, not to aid, but to contravene its prinples—not to temper, but to aggrevate—not for the sake of judicial mitigation, but professedly for the purposes of popular anger and revenge. Hard indeed is thus the lot of any magistrate who is compelled to exercise a discretion in matters, of a political, nature. If he wait till some offence have been actually 792 committed, you arraign him for negligence, perhaps for a malicious design of drawing matters to extremes; if, on the other, hand he apply any measure of precaution, then you ask how he could presume so prematurely to interfere before the commission of any actual offence.
But then the yeomanry—did they not cause the bloodshed by their needless seizure of the banners? Sir, if the meeting was illegal and mischievous, as the trial decided that it was, the first duty of the regular authorities was, surely, to suppress those banners, which were the main ingredients of that illegality, the very core of that mischief. But when, upon the seizure of those banners, the people did resist, as the witnesses for the defence themselves admit they did, what, under threats of such an appalling nature from so immense a multitude, what was the crime of the yeomanry? That of turning round to defend their own lives.—No man can blame the sympathy which has been evinced on the part of the people, however illegally assembled; but surely a similar consideration ought not to be refused to the legally assembled soldiers—to those who were struggling for their own as well as for our deliverance. It is not pretended that a life was lost till after the resistance on the seizure of the flags; and from the beginning of that resistance, every individual who concurred in it was a rioter; and his death, except in case of some unnecessary cruelty, would be deemed by the law to rest on his own head solely, instead of furnishing ground for an avenging inquisition.
If in so vast and dense a crowd the yeomanry had used any force beyond the strictest necessity, the deaths, by actual wounds, to say nothing of accidents from pressure, must have been counted not by a unit only, but by hundreds. I do not say that there may not have been two, or three, or four yeomen, the irritation of whose blood may have hurried them into acts of greater violence than self-preservation absolutely required; nor, surely, do I mean to justify or even palliate such violence; but, since a violence, committed under that sort of irritation, even though it unhappily cause the loss of life, will not in law, any more than in sound reason, support a charge of any thing beyond mere manslaughter, still less can it amount to an inducement for a solemn inquiry by the House of Commons. And at all events, the acts alleged were but 793 the unauthorized deeds of individuals, committed in excess, not in execution of the orders given them; although the representation to the public has injuriously been, that there was an authorized and indiscriminate carnage. And here, if I may mention the testimony of a witness not adverse to the soldiery, I would just remind the House of what was said by colonel L'Estrange in his official dispatch. "The infantry," says he, "were in readiness; but I determined not to bring them in contact with the people, unless compelled by urgent necessity. Not a shot therefore had been fired by any of the military, though several have been fired by the populace against the troops. So much for the blood-thirsty soldiers, and the merciless massacre of the unoffending people. Gentlemen seem to suppose that because the House of Commons has been called the grand inquest of the country, therefore it is bound to interfere in every case in which the country is interested: whereas the only case in which this House is ever properly likened to an inquest at nil, is that where it prefers an impeachment. However, without dwelling on misapplications, of technical terms, we may admit that there are precedents of inquiry by this House; but then that is where some legislative remedy is to be introduced, or some epidemic rage is to be checked, or some participation in the blame is to be laid upon the government. But how do these principles apply here? Here is no proposal for any legislative remedy; the complaint made is not that new laws are wanted, but that the old ones are broken. Nor, I suppose, will it be pretended, that any sanguinary mania is raging among magistrates in general, which requires the sudden interference of parliament to arrest it. None of this; but it seems that government, to use the phrase of my learned friend opposite, have so mixed themselves up with the present transaction, as to render the wrong no longer private but political. What share then had the government? what did they do? nothing, themselves; but it being necessary to give an opinion about what somebody else had done, they did give such opinion as they had been enabled to form from the information then before them. We were told last night that they expressed their unalloyed satisfaction, their cordial thanks, for the blood which had been shed. For the blood which had been shed? No, Sir, but for the blood which 794 had been saved; for the blood which the magistrates on that day redeemed the country from the fatal necessity of shedding. It is assumed that the government made themselves parties to the dispersion, by their letter of thanks; but I contend they no more, by that expression made themselves parties, by relation backward, to the dispersion of the meeting, than the honourable gentlemen opposite by their opinions and speeches in this debate have made themselves parties to its assemblage. But at least, you say, ministers ought to have had accurate information. I beg leave to observe, that the information which was contained in the letter of the rev. Mr. Hay, written on the evening of the transaction, the information upon which ministers acted, stands, at this very hour, unimpeachable in any one material particular. Besides, when information came from a magistrate in his official capacity, ministers were bound to accept it as true, unless its untruth were apparent. That is the authenticity which the law attaches to all acts of its intrusted authorities. Try this rule by its consequences. If the report on which the ministers grounded their answer, had turned out to be untrue, the effect, at worst, would have been little unpopularity, and a few superfluous precautions; but if, on the contrary, they had chosen to treat the report as incredible and it had turned out to be true, what then would have been the situation of the disturbed districts, and the deep responsibility of the government? I do hot presume to vie with the hon. baronet opposite in his fertility of illustration; but every body remembers the just and wise retort made by the priest on a much higher occasion, when the jester said to him, "How foolish will you have been if the tidings which you believe and sacrifice so much for, turn out at last to be false!" "But what," answered the priest, "will your foolishness have been, if those tidings turn out to be true" In this case of Manchester, what was to happen meanwhile, pending that inquiry which we are told the ministers ought to have made? The mere question at York, upon the character of the meeting, occupied ten long days. To have inquired into all the alleged circumstances of individual misconduct on each side, would have occupied ten times ten. It was the ridiculous boast of Hunt to the Smithfield meeting, that he could contrive, by calling 30 witnesses a day, to make his single trial last for three years 795 and a half. But it appears, according to the reformers doctrine, that while ministers were thus inquiring, the magistrates ought to have been left without so much as a hint from the Home-department in what manner they were to cope with the malcontent population. Instead of supporting the constituted authorities, for the support of the country itself, the ministers, it seems, ought to have said to the magistrates and yeomen" Rash men, we can pay no regard to your accounts. True, you were called to the exercise of a most difficult discretion—true, you exposed your lives in proof of your own sincerity, and in defence of our laws and safeties; but those from whose machinations you have saved your country, may have some fault to find with you for it, and it is our duty to put you at once upon your trial—no doubt the investigation will take time—perhaps indeed your lives may be lost, and your city burnt down, before we can interrogate a witness; but at least we, the ministers, shall have evaded committing ourselves; and if, unluckily, your throats should be cut, be it your comfort that full investigation shall be made how it happened, that the smoke of your city's ashes shall not rise to parliament in vain; and that posthumous inquiry shall hold a session on your graves!" Sir, if this country had been governed by an administration timid and selfish, and thinking only of what people might say about them, that might have been the sort of language such pusillanimous administration would have held. But it was the part of an honest and courageous government to act for the country, and not to hesitate for themselves. It was their duty to make instant communication to the magistrates, on which that body might be sanctioned in proceeding for the fescue of the public—to suppress the insurrectionary spirit promptly and at all hazards, and trust to the good sense and liberality of thinking men, and, above all, of parliament, for their indemnity in any casual excess of jurisdiction. That seems to me to have been the duty of government, and they are now a second time arraigned for having manfully and steadily performed it.
Sir, the reformers undoubtedly fight this question with very considerable advantage. If the House accede to their demand of inquiry then they have the sanction of parliament to colour their as- 796 sertions; if the inquiry be refused, better still, for then they may tell the crowd that the refusal results from the corruption of parliament. Their views, however, as to the necessity of inquiry seem to have changed not a little since the time of the transaction itself. Hardly more than a fortnight after the events, a meeting was held in Westminster for the purpose of expressing an opinion upon it; and though certain parties now insist on the necessity of further investigation, this being now the only way of stirring up the public mind again, yet, at that time, when the object was, to obtain an immediate summary condemnation, in other words, a prejudication of the conduct of the parties concerned, then the notion of all such ulterior inquiry was treated as nugatory and absurd. On that occasion a speech appears to have been made with great applause and effect upon the audience, in which, after adverting to the objection made by some people, that until more evidence had been obtained these Westminster proceedings would be premature, the distinguished individual delivering that address vehemently exclaimed, "I say there is evidence enough before us. Are not the facts before us?" The crowd shouted, "They are;" and he proceeded, "the scandalous, the shameful, the undeniable facts." Sir, I beg pardon if I am misinformed; but unless a record, generally very accurate and faithful on such subjects, (I mean "The Times" news-paper) were unusually incorrect on this occasion, that speech, so insisting on the total inutility of further evidence to warrant resolutions reflecting on the integrity and character of the many respectable persons concerned, was uttered by no less an authority than the same hon. baronet who now comes forward to tell us that further and fuller investigation is indispensable to make up our minds on the merits of a question, so long ago determined without any such light, by his own constituents on his own impassioned exhortation.
That since that speech, the grand jury have thrown out bills against the accused individuals, makes no difference either in explaining this apparent inconsistency, or in sanctioning the present motion; on the contrary, the dismission of those bills is a circumstance adverse to the hon. baronet's proposal; for, in order to justify the present motion, a primâ facie case ought to be made out against the parties accused: whereas the rejection of the bills is a pri- 797 má facie case in their favour. The argument is, that unless this House interfere, there is no appeal whatever from the grand jury. Why, Sir, the constitution never meant there should be. When a grand jury has decided in favour of the party charged, there can hardly be a case imagined in which any other jurisdiction ought to be capable of re-opening their merciful conclusion. A grand jury, it is true, decides on evidence ex-parte, on one side only. No doubt; but on which side? On the side of the accuser. If, therefore, when the evidence produced was all on that side, the accusers failed to make out their primâ facie case before a grand jury, what right have we to presume that the charge will be clearer against the accused when the defence shall also have been heard? We have been told a good deal in other cases, about the propriety of leaning towards presumptions of innocence; but this argument proceeds on a presumption of guilt. Deaths have occurred: certain persons have been charged with the crime of those deaths: a grand inquest has resolved that the charges do not warrant a trial by a common jury of the country: and then this House is to institute a special indictment of its own, because the parties accused must be presumed to be guilty until they are proved to be innocent. That is the law as now laid down. Shall it be said that the grand jury were objectionable, because they lived in the neighbourhood of the disturbed districts? What does the common law of the land say about trials by the neighbourhood? Has it made any difference between offences tending to excite political feelings, and offences of a more private interest? None. The principle of our law, whether in times of more or of less political liberty, has always been, that a man shall be tried, except in some special cases under express statutes, by his neighbours—by people de vicineto—toy those who are supposed to have the best means of knowing the scene of his alleged acts, with its distances and its bearings—of knowing the character of the accused, the character of the accuser, and, above all, the characters of the witnesses. In a word, the very principle of trial in this country is a local principle.
Suppose the converse of this case; suppose that in the execution of the warrant, instead of yeomen, the constables alone had been employed, and that none of the auditors, but only these constables had lost their lives or limbs in. the chance- 798 medley of that day: that the government, anxious to avoid all imputation of arbitrary proceedings, had simply referred the complainants to the grand jury of their country at the assizes; and that such, a grand jury, attributing the calamity, to the pressing necessity of self-defence, or to the inevitable confusion of so mighty a concourse (for the waves will run highest in the widest waters) had thrown out the bills against the popular disturbers by whom those constables had so been slain. Thus far all would have been satisfactory to the hon. baronet and his friends. But, suppose that, amidst their joy at the escape of their accused allies, intelligence should reach them that government, dissatisfied with the grand jury's dismission of the bills, had resolved to propose a parliamentary investigation into the conduct of those by whom the constables had been killed, what then would be the language of those who support the present motion? What then would be the course of the hon. baronet in this House? Would he not tell us, that our liberties were gone, with that last hope of a once free country, the trial by jury; and that, for the ancient authorized constitutional jurisdiction of our forefathers, a ministerial majority had been tyrannically substituted, as the arbiter of our lives and deaths? In what manner of phrase the honourable baronet would characterize that majority, it would ill become me to surmise; but I trust he will forgive me if I remind him, that whatever he has at any time described the majorities of this House to be, to those majorities he, of all men, now proposes the surrender of what we, with him, acknowledge to be the strongest, the oldest, and the best bulwark of general freedom and of individual security, the trial by the juries of our country. I need not say, that my objection is grounded on no distrust of this House in any of the functions it may assume; but I do entertain the general persuasion, that the less it needlessly interferes with the administration of the law, the better it preserves the constitution. And whatever the feeling may have been when the first inflamed representations went abroad; yet, that disquiet having been allayed by time, I am quite sure that at this day there is nothing less wished for by the people of England than to: revive it. There might have been some colour, though perhaps not much sterling weight, in the argument, that while, the public 799 mind was yet fevered, an inquiry was requisite to calm it. But now, when the irritation has passed away, without danger of revival except from such discussions as these, arid when the quiet of the country is an object of such high importance, it surely, is not reasonable to argue, that, even granting it to have been fitting for this House to direct investigations in 1819, in order that the ferment might be allayed, must therefore befit us to direct them in 1821, in order that the ferment may be renewed.
rose, and spoke in substance as follows:
I rise, Sir, under very peculiar disadvantages, to deliver my sentiments on this important question. In the first place, because so much labour and ingenuity have been brought to bear upon the subject before us; and secondly, because I have to discuss a legal point, as it has been called, immediately after a gentleman of the legal profession. The first of these difficulties I know not how to remove; but I confess that as to the second, it is somewhat diminished by the circumstance, that the law which the hon. and learned gentleman who has just sat down, has wished to establish, is not drawn from any very deep source—is not a part of that ancient system which, to know it in all its bearings, must require much time and experience—but is in fact a mere modern addition to, or rather alteration of, that old and venerable code under which it has been supposed that this nation enjoyed, for so many ages., happiness and freedom. And what I say of that learned gentleman's speech, I must say also of all the speeches made on the same side, namely, that if they teach us any thing, they teach us, not what the law of England is, but in what manner and under what pretexts it may be safely violated. Sir, I regret, not to see the learned gentleman in his place—he has made his speech, and is gone—"Sublatam ex oculis quærimus invidi"—For I have a Word or two to address more particularly to him and to his statements [Mr. Twiss here came in.] I am glad he is returned to hear them. In the first place, then, I trust he will for the future have influence enough to persuade the ministers below him (whom he seems so much to admire, and who, I trust, will repay his early attachment in the usual coin) to give to every subject of this country the advantage of that trial which he has just pane- 800 gyrized so highly—I mean a trial by a jury, composed "de vicineto," of impartial men, chosen in the neighbourhood where the alleged offence was committed. It is a pity that this maxim, so agreeable in the mouth of the learned gentleman, was not carried into practice by the learned gentleman's friends when they prosecuted my honourable colleague, for complaining of that transaction which is now the subject of discussion. Had he a jury "de vicineto?" Was he tried by those who might be supposed the best, the only judges of the nature and extent of his presumed offence? The learned gentleman knows that his friends below him took a very different course from that which he now recommends, and which he now, says was the only course to be taken by the Manchester sufferers, namely, trying the Manchester outrage by a Manchester jury.—Sir, the learned gentleman has read an extract from my honourable colleague's speech in Palace-yard in 1819, by which it appears that my colleague had then made up his mind as to the atrocity of the proceedings at Manchester, and as to the real nature and character of the acts there committed. From this the learned gentleman deduces, that having made up his mind then, the hon. baronet need not move for inquiry now. He cannot add to his former conviction, nor will it be of use to him to know more when he has been already contented with less. So says the learned gentleman; but docs it follow, that because my hon. colleague was convinced himself, he should not try to convince others? Does it follow, that because the events with which he was acquainted seemed all, to point one way, he should not be anxious for an investigation which would increase the number of known facts? Does it follow that he should not be willing to have an inquiry, even were it only for the: sake of changing his opinion, supposing that the materials furnished by inquiry should have a fair tendency to produce, such a change? Let me ask also, whether nothing has occurred since 1819, to make an inquiry now more necessary even than it was in that year? Have we not had the trial at York? and has not, that trial totally disproved the allegations made by the abettors of the aggression at Manchester? At that trial the defendants were acquitted on all but the fourth count of the indictment, that is to say, they were acquitted of conspiracy—they 801 were acquitted of riot—they were acquitted of tumultuous and seditious assemblage; and they were found guilty only of that vague and indistinct offence, the attempt to bring the king and the government into contempt. The learned gentleman should have remembered this when he taunted my hon. colleague with asking for inquiry in 1821, when he had made up his mind in 1819. Above all, he should have borne in mind what occurred but last night, and have remembered that the solicitor-general said—"Don't tell me of this deposition, or of that statement; let us look only at the verdict of the jury." But instead of looking to the verdict of the jury, the learned gentleman has done nothing but refer to the evidence; he has tried to make what was said by this witness explain what was said by that witness. In short, he has favoured us with a sort of summing-up, forgetting that this had been done before by Mr. Justice Bayley; and forgetting also that a jury had pronounced upon the said evidence, before it had been illustrated by the commentaries of the learned gentleman. And here I must remark, that when the learned gentleman attempts to set off the depositions read by the member for Dover against the statements given on this side of the House, he has fallen into a most unpardonable unfairness. Those depositions are worth nothing; they are as little to be regarded as any other scraps of paper which the member for Dover might have found amongst the sweepings of his library, for this plain reason—they were in the possession of the prosecutors at York, they would have contradicted all that was established at that trial, and they were not made use of at York. The inference is inevitable; they were not adduced; that is to say, the deponents who swore to them, were not adduced, because it was felt their allegations would not have been borne out, nor have stood the test of cross-examination. I say, therefore, that they are worth nothing here; they are worth nothing now. This trial at York, these witnesses on both sides, this verdict, totally and entirely stultify the whole of these precious depositions, which, be it also remarked, almost stultify themselves; for the deponents, many of them, swear that they were under the influence of the most blind of all passions—fear; and this can be hardly quoted in support of any fact 802 depending upon the evidence of the senses.
But, to return to the learned gentleman against whose speech I have to make the objection, which I think applies to all that has been advanced on the other side of the House. He has taken for granted all the most important facts. He assumes a fiction to be true, and then argues upon it. He tells us that lord Mansfield declared soldiers not to lose their rights of citizenship—and then asks "Would you not have soldiers defend themselves when attacked, as well as citizens." To this I answer—to be sure; defend themselves when attacked. But they were not attacked. I defy the learned gentleman—I defy all those around, above, and beneath him, to prove that they were attacked. I defy them to show that any single proof can be given of an attack, previously to the horrid assault made by the soldiers on the citizens. That resistance—at least some little resistance, too faint indeed and ineffectual, was made after the slaughter began, I am ready to admit. That the people should defend themselves was to be expected. The very instincts of human nature made such defence not only justifiable, but inevitable. Poor creatures, they did, no doubt, defend themselves, as well as a vast assemblage, unarmed, surprised, terrified, mixed with their wives and children, could be supposed capable of doing. Brasidas the Spartan said, when bit by a mouse, that the most contemptible of animals will turn when assaulted. And were the people—the people of England—at no time that I have heard of infamous for cowardice or base submission to tyranny—were they, when in the quiet exercise of their undoubted privilege—were they to be bayoneted, sabred, trampled upon, without raising a hand against their furious and wanton assailants? Was resistance culpable under such circumstances? Who will dare to say that he would not resist when thus wantonly attacked?
But, it seems that the gentlemen opposite are still resolved to believe that some attack was made by the people on the military, previously to the charge of the yeomanry upon the crowd. I will take this opportunity to observe, that the abettors of this outrage (for so I must call it) have not replied in that manly and candid manner to the appeal of my honourable colleague, which would have 803 done honour to their understandings and to their hearts. On the Contrary, though charged with the mis-statements made in 1819, though called upon to give up those misstatements, or to show why they should not- abandon those refuted errors, they have not been honest enough to retract, nor bold enough to confirm the extraordinary assertions, on which alone the legislative enactments of 1819 were confessedly founded. Something like a struggle is, however, still made to prove the existence of those famous stones and brickbats which figured so notably in the speech of the noble secretary of state for foreign affairs. Not only the depositions, but Mr. Hulton is adduced to prove this fifty-times-refuted fiction.—Now a word or two as to Mr. Hulton. It seems this gentleman is to be raised into a most dignified character, conspicuous for every thing that can adorn a British magistrate, especially humanity; and then, in opposition to this highly-gifted person, we have arrayed on the other side, the Hunts, the Carliles, the Pearsons, and all other names which sound odious to the ears of honourable gentlemen in this House. I must be permitted to remark that this is a common parliamentary trick;—talk of some bad thing which has been done, and we are always sure to hear of the good character of the accused, and of the bad character of the complainant. Fifty vouchers for the worthy person start up in their places, and tear you down by the weight of authority—so that the question always is, not what has been done, but who has done it. Such has been the case in this debate, which has degenerated from an argument as to the necessity of inquiring into a monstrous and unparalleled transaction, into a dissertation on the character of Mr. Hulton.
Sir; Mr. Hulton may be all that he is said to be by his friends opposite; but I must be allowed to say, that the aspect under which he is presented by the trial at York, is somewhat different from the picture now drawn of him. Gentlemen will recollect that the testimony of Mr. Hulton at York drew down from the great audience at the trial tokens dissimilar from those which have been now given to his character. So much so, that the learned member for Peterborough, the conductor of the prosecution, absolutely thought it necessary to make a sort of apology for the statements made by this his own witness. What did the 804 learned gentleman say on that occasion? These were his words: "That the evidence of Mr. Hulton was quite natural, standing where he did." Now, this is as much as to say, that it had not appeared "quite natural" to the Court. Indeed, all those who have read the trial, must be aware that Mr. Hulton's evidence stood almost, if not quite alone, and quite contradicted by a cloud of witnesses. And yet, supposing Mr. Hulton to have deposed to nothing but actual facts, to what did he depose? Did he depose to this previous assault on the military? No such thing. The learned member for Peterborough found it necessary to exculpate Mr. Hulton from having so deposed, contrary as it was to all the other witnesses; for he said, "Mr. Hulton had not sworn that sticks and stones were thrown at the cavalry, but that it appeared to him they were raised up." So that, after all, Mr. Hulton's evidence is good for little or nothing to the gentlemen opposite.
§ Mr. Stanley
, in the narrative quoted by the gallant member for Southwark, and who saw, let it be recollected, the whole transaction from the room above that in which the magistrates were assembled, distinctly says, "I saw no missile used throughout the whole transaction." That their walking-sticks were used by the people when attacked, is likely enough. Mr. Stanley says, "No doubt the people defended themselves to the best of their power, as it was absolutely impossible for them to get away, and give the cavalry a clear passage, until the outer part of the mob had fallen back." Yet, what the ministers of the Crown, with all their power, have been unable to allege—what the magistrates of Lancashire, with all their local information, were unable to adduce—what the learned counsel for the prosecution, with all his talent and address, was unable to prove—namely, that the first aggression came from the people—this discovery was reserved for the learned gentleman opposite, who boldly assumes that all-important fact as a thing notorious and admitted on all sides. Sir, I repeat the direct contrary is the fact; the yeomanry attacked the people without warning, without provocation.
An hon. gentleman near me (Mr. Tynte) has thought fit to become the advocate of the yeomanry corps throughout the kingdom. Sir, nobody has attacked the yeomanry corps throughout 805 the kingdom—nobody doubts their loyalty, their patriotism, their general sympathy with their fellow-countrymen. The complaint made now is against the yeomanry cavalry of Manchester, a body constructed upon very different principles than those on which other yeomanry corps are, I believe, formed. There are local circumstances which make them a distinct body of men, unhappily opposed in interests and in political feeling to the great mass of their fellow-townsmen; and nothing which is said against them, need arouse the indignation of any other yeomanry corps in this country.—Since there are some gentlemen here who still uphold the statements, or, at least, found their arguments upon the statements made in 1819, it may be as well to see what some of those statements were. My hon. colleague has rehearsed some of the wonderful fables which adorned she speeches of ministers in the session of 1819; and perhaps I may be allowed to recall gentlemen's attention to some others of those unaccountable fictions. This belongs to the present debate; for we have been taunted with parliament having already refused to investigate the Manchester outrage; and it is of importance to show on what grounds that refusal was given. My hon. colleague has told us what was said by the noble member for Lancashire, by the member for Dover, by the solicitor-general, and, above all, by the secretary of state for foreign affairs. Their assertions were tolerably strange; but I think I can add others equally strange. For example, the chief justice of Chester (Mr. Warren) said, "Let hon. gentlemen consider what the banners were which were used on this occasion, and how they were inscribed."
§ Mr. Serjeant Onslow.
—I rise to order. My hon. friend will forgive me; but it is irregular to allude to a former debate [Order, order!].
resumed. My learned friend forgets that I allude to the debates of a former parliament; but I beg to say, that I am always obliged to any gentleman who recalls me from any improper course of argument, especially when he does it with the politeness of my learned friend. But to return—the words of the chief justice of Chester were, "Let hon. gentlemen consider next what the banners were; one of them had a female figure, with a bloody dagger in her hand; that was necessarily connected with an altera- 806 tion of the law." I cannot, for the life of me, see the "necessary connexion," even had there been such a banner, and should have been tempted to exclaim with the learned Partridge, "this is a non-sequitur, Mr. Serjeant." But it seems that no such banner appeared at Manchester; the dagger and the lady too were "air-drawn;" nothing of the kind existed, except perhaps in the terrified imaginations of some of the hon. member for Dover's deponents. Besides the stories told to the Commons, the Lords were regaled with similar prodigies. My lord Sid mouth informed the Peers, that the reformers marched into Petersfield "with pikes." This was pretty well; but this was not enough: he added, "with pikes having the appearance of being dipped in blood." Where were the pikes? Were they even at the trial at York? Were they ever seen? and the blood too! Whence were these gross and monstrous fabrications? We know not—we know not whence they came; but we do know whither they went, and to what purpose they were applied. The pikes, like the chief justice's "bloody dagger," have long since vanished into thin air; but I trust that the memory of them will survive as a warning to future statesmen, or at least to future parliaments. The noble lord, the secretary for the home department, amidst other strange statements, all having the same tendency, told the peers, that "not a single life was lost in consequence of the blows inflicted." Sir, I will not shock the House by referring minutely to the bloody catalogue which I hold in my hand; but here it is—the House may see it; here are the names, the residences, the particulars of the wounds, the fatal adventures of all those unhappy creatures the victims of that day, on which the noble lord said that not a life was lost. I believe he added, that not a sabre cut was given. The melancholy list occupies no less than 37 pages. And here I must advert to what was said in this debate by the solicitor-general: he told us, that the committee, who distributed the funds collected for the sufferers at Manchester, advertised for grievances, and chose to delude the public, they being themselves deluded by the representations, or, as he calls them, misrepresentations, of Mr. Charles Pearson, against whom he then took care to indulge in a vein of sarcasm and obloquy; all this is totally untrue and; unfounded. The Manchester committee 807 in the distribution of tire funds subscribed by the nobility arid gentry and others on that occasion, did not advertise for grievances on, the contrary, they sent down a deputation to the spot, consisting of two most respectable tradesmen of London, accompanied by the secretary of the committee; and I defy the learned solicitor-general, and all the myrmidons of office, to produce a single instance in which those individuals may be fairly said to have neglected or betrayed their important trust. The member for Dover has only been able to bring one case, out of 628, in which there is the least appearance of any delusion having been practised upon the deputation; and who knows whether that case has any more foundation than the depositions with which he has so liberally favoured us? The deputation had no interest whatever in exaggerating the calamities of the 16th of August; On the contrary, they were, if any thing, interested to find as few victims as possible, in order to economize the funds with which they were entrusted. As to Mr. Pearson, the learned solicitor-general best knows why he introduced that name. Mr. Pearson was not trusted by the committee; he was not employed by the committee to relieve the sufferers; be was employed upon the trial because Mr. Hunt desired it; and being one of the defendants, it was thought: right to comply with his inclinations in that respect. The truth is, that in order to bolster up former misrepresentations, we are compelled to listen to other misrepresentations now.—The hon. gentlemen opposite either do not or will not know any thing as it really occurred. Does not the House recollect the wonderful tales told to parliament in 1819, not only by ministers, but by their, adherents? First, there were 100,000 men in arms between the Weir and the Tyne. Then, when it was discovered that there were not so many men capable of bearing arms between the Weir and the Tyne, it was asserted that there had been some mistake in the numbers, and that the precise amount was 16,500! When these 16,500 were not forthcoming, it was then asserted, that if they were not above ground, they were under ground; they were in the collieries. In this way was parliament gulled; then; and I think we may discover a wish to deceive parliament even now, when all the facets are known, and when all further delusion might seem hopeless.
808 My hon. colleague demands inquiry: he thinks he knows the case of the people—he now demands the case of the ministers, and he has a right so to do. They said in 1819, that they had a case. Lord Sidmouth distinctly asserted that government had other documents besides those laid before parliament; the noble lord opposite said the same thing in this House. We have a right to know what these documents are. We have a right to know what induced his majesty's ministers to bestow the thanks of their sovereign, the highest distinction, with the exception of well-merited popular applause, which it is in the power of an Englishman to obtain. What, I say, induced his majesty's ministers to bestow those thanks upon the perpetrators of all the horrors at Manchester? We have a right to believe that the government being prosecutors at York, would on that occasion come boldly forward with their case, and show the grounds upon which they proceeded so decisively in that lamentable affair. Did any such grounds appear on that trial? None whatever. Where, then, are the reasons? what are the grounds? Nay, we have a right to assert, that the reasons and the grounds are no other than the precious documents presented to us this night by the member for Dover. If the ministers continue their silence now, we have a light to charge them with having no other cause for those fatal thanks than the affidavits of the terrified deponents now for the first time produced in parliament, having been rejected by the able conductor of the prosecution at York. The learned member who preceded me, has attempted to exculpate ministers, upon the ground, that they had Mr. Hay's letter as a voucher for the facts which occurred on the 16th of August; and he asserted that the king's ministers proceeded on that letter. Sir, the learned member is again I wrong in his facts. When lord Sidmouth was charged with having given these thanks merely upon Mr. Hay's letter, he denied the truth of that statement, and he disclosed the extraordinary fact, that ministers, in their profound wisdom and caution, did not trust to Mr. Hay's letter alone. No: prudent men as they were, they would not trust the letter, until confirmed by—whom? Could the House guess by whom? Why by the writer of the letter. Here is a knowledge of the laws and logic of evi- 809 dence! The ministers hesitate to believe the letter, until the writer of the letter comes up to London, accompanied by a friend, and gives his assurance that his own letter is true. Such was the story told by lord Sidmouth to the House of Peers in November 1819!
Now for another blunder of the learned gentleman, whose brief has not been got up with the requisite precision. He praises Mr. Hay's letter—he tells us that it was a document upon which the sovereign might safely proceed to thank his soldiers for shedding the blood of their fellow-subjects. And adds—"for the said letter has not been disproved in any material point; it has not even been contradicted." Why, Sir, the learned gentleman could not have been present when my hon. colleague made his statement. Not disproved! What does he say to the assertion in the letter, that Nadin preceded the Yeomanry in their advance, whereas Nadin himself swore at the Oldham inquest, that he followed the Yeomanry. There is all the difference in the world between the two facts; and yet the learned gentleman gets up at this time of day to eulogize Mr. Hay's letter, and to note the extreme accuracy and attention to facts with which it was penned. The letter has mis-stated other points; but the one I have mentioned is quite enough for my object.
I cannot pass by what the hon. member for Dover calls his plain facts. But perhaps the best answer will be, to recall to the House the "plain facts" stated by the the same hon. member in 1819. The hon. member then said, that "not a blow was struck till the Yeomanry were assailed with stones, brickbats, and other missiles, brought to the spot for that express purpose." Need I say a word more on this assertion, totally contradicted as it has been by the whole course of the evidence given at York? The hon. member also said, that "in fact more forbearance was shown by the yeomanry than could have been expected under all circumstances—that he did not know on which side of their swords they struck the people—but it was a subject of admiration to many who witnessed the scene, that so large a multitude should be dispersed with so few injuries." This is hardly credible—yet it is strictly true that the hon. gentleman did describe the events of the 16th of 810 August in the way I have mentioned. The "forbearance of the yeomanry." Forbearance! Did they forbear? An indiscriminate sabring? and trampling down of their defenceless fellow citizens, men, women, and children without warning, without mercy—call this forbearance! Why! they boasted they had; not forborne. They dwelt with delight upon their gallant exploits—or, to use the words of Mr. Stanley, "they vied faiths each other in eagerness to show that they were not the cowards they had been represented to be."—"Not know On which side of their swords they struck the people"! Did not the blood and the gashes "of the flying multitude explain and settle this doubtful point to the satisfaction of his sceptical gentleman? Then "the admiration that so large a multitude should be dispersed with so few injuries. Good God! so few injuries Why, what injuries did the hon. gentleman and his admiring friends expect would ensue? Did they want their thousands or tens of thousands slain? We, it is true, can show only our paltry hundreds of killed and wounded. This bloody catalogue records only 628. Let me however say, that it was a wonder that more were not added to the list. A gentleman who acted as special constable on that occasion told me that he was persuaded, when the first charge of the yeomanry commenced, that he saw no less than two thousand persons on the ground at once. [Here some member laughed] What is there any thing ridiculous in the statement? any thing to laugh at? Whether the story be a fiction or a fact, I own I see nothing ludicrous in the image presented by such a scene of slaughter and dismay. The hon. member for Dover stated, in 1819, that the hospital returns, on the authenticity of which he dwelt with much satisfaction, presented only twenty-six in-patients and thirty-eight out-patients. Now, I say with the noble member for Yorkshire, that if only one man had been killed, and only one wounded on that day, and no redress had been already obtained it would be the business of parliament still to inquire how the laws had been broken with impunity. But the truth is, the hospital returns were little or nothing to the purpose. The wounded did not like to show they had been at the meeting. They slunk to their homes in the neighbouring villages, where they were after- 811 wards discovered by the deputation sent from London; and on my hon. colleague's trial, he had the affidavits of no less than 119 persons who were struck by the yeomanry with that doubtful side of the sabre, which, however, left gashes and scars to bear testimony to the depositions of the sufferers.
So much for the "few injuries" inflicted by the soldiery on the people. It seems, however, that a struggle is still to be made for the existence of those stones which we may now trace to the depositions of the member for Dover. That hon. member will not willingly surrender that warlike weapon; and as if the wonder were not already sufficiently surprising, he now tells us, that the stones collected on the ground after the day of the meeting, were "polished, as if they had been carried in men's pockets." Can this have been seriously said? Did the hon. member for Dover mean that it should be seriously listened to? Such a preparation for battle was never, I imagine, before heard of, since the days of Holy Writ, when, if I may allude to it without indecency, the champion of Israel chose two small pebbles from the brook as the only weapons he would carry to battle. But the Manchester reformers improved upon the example. They, it seems, loaded their pockets with stones; and marched to the combat more heavily laden than the old Roman legionary, who when "impeditus," as I think it was called, carried some four-score pounds upon his back. Let the House picture to itself this novel kind of heavy armed troops, carrying weight, and eager to meet the enemy, were it only to get rid of their load. Conceive them crossing a ford; how well provided for buoyancy! Then look at them rushing to battle with their hands in their pockets, against bayonets, and sabres, and cannon, and musquetry; many of them too with their wives and children under their arms—I suppose to pick up more stones for them when their pockets were emptied. Yet this picture, ludicrous as it is, is actually still presented to an English House of Commons as a fair representation of facts actually occurring in the heart of this kingdom.
It appears also that the members opposite still stickle for the reading of the Riot act. It was not read. The member for Dover says it was read by a magistrate. He is called upon to name by 812 what magistrate; he reluctantly pronounces the name of Ethelstone. Indeed! What no better evidence? This is the person who sent his servant to tell the coroner at Oldham, that he would bring a person to prove the Riot act was read. Did he bring a person to prove it? He did not. Did he come to York to prove it? He did not. I am astonished, then, that the hon. member thinks this person worth quoting. We have the best evidence that the Riot act was not read. There is the silence of the prosecutors at York—there is more-there is the negative evidence of the man who deposed that the Riot act never was read. There is more still—for Mr. Hulton, at York, positively swore that neither he nor his brother magistrates attempted to persuade the people to disperse previously to the attack of the yeomanry. It is morally impossible therefore that the Riot act should have been read. Who read it? who heard it?—No one, Ethelstone said he could prove it. Did he do so? Did he try to do so? No. The noble lord, in 1819, said it was read three times. The member for Dover stands out for twice now. But we will not allow it to have been read once. It was not read at all. I repeat it was not read.
The depositions of the member for Dover give us nothing but refuted rumours. There we find the Oliver, long since vanished. There we find the Riotact abandoned by all former evidence. In these same documents also we have heard that a colonel or major, I forget which, of the 88th regiment, deposed that only one person was wounded by his soldiers. Another misstatement. There were eight. I say again that the wonder is, that more blood was not spilt on that dreadful day.—Mr. Stanley tells us, that he saw "the cavalry hurrying about in all directions completing the work of dispersion." Be it always recollected, that there was only one avenue perfectly free, through which the flying multitude could escape. What was the consequence? The very walls and iron rails gave way from the pressure of the crowds. Mr. Stanley's picture is truly awful—"During the whole of this confusion," says he, "heightened at its close by the rattle of some artillery crossing the square, shrieks were heard in all directions; and as the crowd of people dispersed, the effect of the conflict became 813 visible—some were bleeding on the ground and unable to rise; others, less seriously injured, but faint with loss of blood, were retiring slowly or leaning on others for their support." And this is what the hon. member for Newcastle (Mr. Wilmot) calls "justice on an extended scale." This is what he calls using "the sword of justice." What a phrase! I know that we should not weigh words too nicely here; I know that many things escape us in the heat of debate, which we would not wish to see recorded against us; and I cannot but think the hon. member himself must regret the use of such terms applied to this butchery. I will therefore dwell on them no longer; but I must be allowed to say, that all that fell from that hon. member was just assertion without proof—nothing whatever but assumptions of disproved facts. He told us in the beginning of his speech, that he could very much reduce the compass of the question—that he could give it to us as it were in a nutshell. But, so far from this compression of the question, he enlarged it beyond all the preceding debaters—and ran into a general discussion, not only as to the general character of all the transactions connected with the Manchester affair, but also as to the merits and motives of the individuals concerned in that unhappy event. So far from confining himself to the 16th of August, he travelled over much time as well as space to show the sort of men with whom the magistrates of Manchester had to deal. He favoured us with the usual charges against the reformers, and the favourite phrases of office rang through all his declamatory periods. I noted some of them: here they are—"measures of overt violence,"—"crisis of disaffection,"—"apparatus of republicanism and sedition,"— and lastly, "overthrow of government." Sir, these are all mere words, meaning nothing and good for nothing. It is an insult to our understandings to suppose that we will accept them as an indemnification for the blood of our fellow-citizens, poured out like water. Can the hon. gentleman offer any thing in proof of what he has said? He cannot. He has only been the echo of the persecutors of the people, who, for many years, have habitually insulted the people with these indefinite criminations. What does he mean by the "overthrow of government"? If he means of the old English government—of checks and controls—of the 814 monarchy limited by the aristocracy in the one House, and by the fairly chosen representatives of the people in the other House—if he means of the government by law—then, Sir, as an humble individual, in behalf of that much injured people, I deny his assertion. I dare him to the proof of what he has said. The people never have talked of the overthrow of the government. It is true they have talked of the overthrow of the borough mongering domination, which they contend has swallowed up all the power of the Crown, and the privileges of the people. If this be guilt—I am as guilty as they are. We have a right to put down this usurpation; and I, for one, will never desist from this, which I consider the first duty of every Englishman.
The hon. member for Newcastle, not content with the terror inspired by these words, has had recourse to the more material symbols of disaffection. "There were," said he, "to be seen on this occasion no less than eighteen flags, and (oh, monstrous!) five caps of liberty!" Atrocious indeed! five caps of liberty! Englishmen dare to carry caps of liberty! Sir, I wonder whether the hon. gentleman ever saw an old halfpenny. Did he ever see a picture or representation of one of those processions which we shall soon have the good fortune to see in reality? In former days our kings thought the cap of liberty a symbol not unworthy of gracing the day of their coronation. Perhaps new lights may have burst upon the regulators of this important ceremony, and the unlucky ensign may be banished from the approaching spectacle. As yet, however, there is nothing criminal in raising this truly British standard; and, admitting there were five or five hundred caps of liberty at the Manchester meeting, that, at least, was no excuse for military execution.—The hon. member alluded also to the frequent meetings preceding that of the 16th of August. Well; and why not frequent meetings? Government has no objection to frequent meetings, if convened to gull the people out of their money for loyal associations, or for loyal addresses, or for loyal loans. Government had no objection to the great meeting of the twenty-four townships, which took place at Manchester in 1812, for some such holy purpose; as I have just described. In one word, meetings, whether in quick or slow succession, whether small or great, were not illegal 815 before the hon. member helped to make them so in the session of November 1819. They are like his imputed designs—his flags—his caps of liberty—namely, they are no excuse for cutting throats and mangling limbs—they are no excuse for the horrors at Manchester.
But the hon. member, as well as the solicitor-general, has alluded to the Smithfield resolutions as a proof of what the character of the Manchester meeting must have been. This is to me surprising. The Smithfield resolutions were not passed at the Manchester meeting; but they were intended to have been passed. How do you know it? Is it in evidence at York? No, it is not. But granted they were to have been passed at Manchester, what then? The argument, to my mind, is just the other way. The resolutions passed at Smithfield were, it is asserted, treasonable.—Well, was the Smithfield meeting dispersed at the point of the bayonet?—was any prosecution instituted against those who attended or conducted that meeting? No, none whatever. What is the conclusion? Why, that although the resolutions themselves, when passed, were innocent—although the meeting at which they were passed was innocent—yet the mere intention of passing the same resolutions at another meeting, made those resolutions and made that meeting of such a character, as to require instant putting down, not by the law, but by the sword! Can any thing be more absurd? The hon. member for Newcastle has, it seems, much confidence in gentlemen connected with the Lancashire magistracy. He will scarcely permit a breath to taint their unsullied character. He admires Mr. Hulton—he gives credit to Mr. Nadin— he has faith and charity for the whole bench of quarter-sessions. Their motives must be good.—their actions must be justifiable—must be wise—and must be defended. Not so my hon. colleague. The case is and must be far different with respect to him. The member for Newcastle, of course, can see nothing tolerable in his motives—nay, he can see nothing intelligible in them. On the contrary, he can impute the present motion to nothing short of imbecillity. Sir, when that word caught my ear as applied to my hon. colleague by the member for Newcastle: I think I could perceive a smile in the House; and I know not whether it may be thought worth my while 816 to pay any attention to such a charge. For my own part, it never has been, and never will be, my habit to set up an idol either for my private or public worship; but I think I may say of my hon. colleague, that the wreath which he has so fairly won and so modestly worn may protect his head at least from the lightning of the eloquence even of the member for Newcastle-under-Lyne. If, after all, the charges made against my hon. colleague, it should turn out that, instead of being the accomplice of some dark well-laid design, he is guilty of nothing but imbecillity in the bringing forward of this motion, then, indeed, I shall only speak of his fate in the words of Dryden.To die for treason is a common evil,But to be hanged for nonsense is the devil.The hon. member has adverted to the late period at which this inquiry is proposed. And he had said something of a statute of limitation for grievances. Sir, there was some such effort made to limit the period of inquiry, or rather to crush all chance of redress by the famous Six-acts-parliament. Thank heaven, however, those nefarious acts were as clumsily contrived as they were mischievously intended. The voice of the people has not been altogether suppressed. They have found means to keep alive, at least, the memory of these horrid transactions; but why do I say the memory—was this deed done ages ago? was it done at a time so distant as to leave only a faint indistinct trace visible at this moment? We have a maxim, nullum tempus occurritregi—No lapse of time can be pleaded against the king;—and are we to think it so very hard that the people should ask redress for what passed something between 18 months and two years ago? And what a transaction to be forgotten and forgiven! Surely the people may be permitted to think of it even although two whole years should have passed before they obtained their demand. However, let us look at this complaint of delay. It comes with a very bad grace from the hon. gentleman opposite. Sir; the people did not delay an instant to ask for redress. They met in all parts of the kingdom immediately after the 16th of August, and took every measure in their power to procure justice. Then, was not every effort made in this House in the session of 1819? The gentlemen oppo 817 site stopt all inquiry. They passed their six acts as a sufficient answer to all the demands made for redress. As to the question, why my hon. colleague did not make this motion before, that question is easily answered. Parliament was dissolved early in 1820, and did not meet again until the end of April. My hon. colleague gave notice of his motion the moment he heard of the final event of Mr. Hunt's trial—I mean of the cruel sentence passed on that person. He fixed his motion for some day in June, after the day fixed for the motion on reform by the hon. member for Durham. We all recollect that the motion for reform was stopt on the very day fixed for its discussion, by the arrival of the Queen. That arrival put the same stop to every other discussion. The mad and unaccountable conduct of ministers towards her majesty caused that delay and now these same ministers charge the delay upon my hon. colleague. They know very well that it would not have given the question fair play to discuss it when the whole soul of the nation was wrapt up in the cause of the Queen. This House did meet from time to time; but it met only to adjourn. But the most ludicrous part of the accusation is, "Why did not the hon. baronet bring it forward early in this session?" Need I ask the House where my colleague has been during the early part of this session? Need I ask the hon. solicitor-general, who made the complaint of delay, who it was secured my colleague's absence from this House? Upon my word, Sir, this is dealing a little too hard with the complaisance of parliament. Ministers send a member of parliament to prison, and then complain that he is not attending his duty in the House of Commons. Granting, however, there has been a delay on the part of the mover, what has that to do with the right of redress? The mover may have been neglectful, but does his error stultify the claims of the people to have these murders inquired into?
Sir, I paid, as in duty bound, particular attention to the arguments of the Solicitor-general, but I must say that I heard nothing from him a whit more satisfactory than from the less learned advocate for the Lancashire magistracy and yeomanry. He, also, talked about "apprehensions," about "drilling," about "arming," about "counteracting wicked designs," about "Smithfield re- 818 solutions," about "government knowing this," and "the magistrates knowing that." But, I say, Sir, he never touched the question of the meeting itself. He knew he could not touch it; he has left it where he found it, and the House has learnt nothing from him on this, the only really important point of debate. He did, to be sure, say something of the communication between the hustings and the magistrates being cut off. He might as well have tried some other fact; for this is totally disproved by every respect table evidence; indeed, judge Bayley declared that fact not proved by evidence; for he said, "it did not appear that Nadin could not have served the warrant himself." The solicitor-general, leaving the meeting and the magistrates and the yeomanry to shift for themselves, has tried to exculpate his majesty's ministers. The ministers, says he, positively knew nothing and planned nothing previously to the meeting. They were, then, not accessaries before the fact; but I ask the House whether or not their thanks, given without inquiry to the magistrates and the yeomanry, do not make them accessaries after the fact? The approval of these atrocities could not but go far to ensure a repetition of them; I say the ministers are partakers of this crime, and must be content to bear the guilt, until they are exculpated by some verdict which exculpates the perpetrators of the deed itself. The solicitor-general and others, do indeed say that this verdict has been given. It has not been given; no verdict has declared the meeting illegal. The verdict at York did not declare the meeting illegal, at least as far as I can make it out. But supposing the meeting were illegal, does that justify the military dispersion of it? That question has never come before a court; it is true, Lancashire grand juries have thrown out five bills of indictment. But I ask whether, under all the circumstances of the case, a Lancashire grand jury can be thought an impartial tribunal? It is clear the King's-bench thought not; for it transferred the trial to York. The solicitor-general, then, has no right to appeal to juries: juries have done nothing in this case. Let me remark, that it is pleasant enough to hear this paramount importance of juries fall from the lips of the learned gentleman—from him who in 1819 attributed a great part of the disorders of the country to the ver- 819 dict of the jury that acquitted Mr. Hone.
But why not go to law? In this cry all the gentlemen opposite have joined. Easily answered, I think; look at the Lancashire grand juries; look at the proceedings at Oldham; look at the general proceedings of the coroners, one of whom got a verdict on a man named Pitts, who lost his life In consequence of the injuries received oil the 16th of August, that he "died of natural causes." But why not file a criminal information? The offence committed was hot a subject for a criminal information, it was a capital felony. But why not bring an action? An action for 628 people killed and wounded, and for thanking those who did this act! The proposal is absurd and preposterous; it is the constitution which has been wounded, and parliament alone can apply the cure; all the courts of law in the kingdom cannot reach the case; even if they could, I do not see that the king's government have shown any inclination to use the law, except against the sufferers by the calamity. They tell us we had funds and might have employed them. Sir, we did employ them to the utmost. Such is the blessed expense of even trying to get justice in this country, that we expended 1,077l. on the proceedings at Lancaster and Oldham; the trial at York cost the fund 810l.; so that what with charges for printing and assistants, we had only 1,206l. to divide amongst this dreadful list of sufferers; even now there is a law-debt unpaid of 700l., notwithstanding the whole sum subscribed amounted to 3,408l. And we are taunted with not going to law! The jury at Oldham did declare that as far as the evidence had gone, a foul murder had been committed. How the proceedings at Oldham were stopt I will not detail. It is clear they were not stopt by any fault of those who asked for inquiry. This lialf-verdict is all we have been able to procure in the way of law.
Let me, then, ask the House whether Some strange change must not have taken place in the English constitution, when such dreadful deeds can be perpetrated, and nothing follow but a broken, interrupted coroner's verdict? Does not this look like a loss of English liberty? The member for Newcastle says—no; you have not lost your liberty; and the proof is, that "the hon. baronet is allowed to support such a motion by such a speech." Sir, in certain conditions it is fitting to 820 be grateful for small matters, and, perhaps. I am not quite so sensible of the obligation as I ought to be. Perhaps the people of England do not feel so warmly as they ought, for being still allowed the liberty of complaint. I may have made a great mistake in thinking this argument fitted rather for the meridian of Morocco, than for an English House of Commons. To be sure, our fellow-countrymen had been cut down, trampled upon, massacred, and it was rather natural for us to suppose, that even when we had wiped the blood and dust from our feet, we might be permitted to hope the fatal slaughter would not pass unrevenged. It seems, however, we made a lamentable mistake; it seems we should congratulate ourselves that we have not been robbed of the privilege of murmuring at that for which we have no right to demand redress. Let us, whilst we have it, at least, make the most of it. I will, for one; and thank the hon. advocate for "justice on an extended scale," that he still continues to dispense so gracious a bounty to his brother members of parliament.
The reason, indeed, why complaint alone is to be allowed, but nothing like redress, is not quite to my taste. Forsooth, if we even inquire, we shall (so the member for Dover says), "paralyze the magistracy." Sir, if the magistracy only commit vagrants, or affiliate bastards, or sit at quarter sessions in their usual capacity, I would allow them the free exercise of all their faculties; but if they send soldiers to cut the throats of my fellow-countrymen who meet to petition for reform of parliament, I certainly would "paralyze" them if I could. Their "justice on an extended scale," is not the justice which pleases me: it is not the justice which is compatible with happiness and freedom, according to my notions of happiness and freedom. As little is it the justice of which we find any traces in English history.
Suppose a stranger were to tell us that he had visited a country in which the people were said to be free, and to live under the control of equal laws—that in this country an immense body of the people had met to require a remedy for that which they had long thought a grievance, and which many of the wisest and, greatest of their fellow-countrymen had long laboured to reform—that in the exercise of this their privilege, secured to them by 821 immemorial usage, and by charters sealed with the blood of their ancestors, they had been put to the sword—men, women, and children, indiscriminately, without mercy, without warning—that the blood thus shed had been scarcely staunched on the wounds of the victims before the thanks of the sovereign were conveyed to the authors and perpetrators of this bloody tragedy— that the voice of an indignant nation had called for justice but that even inquiry had been refused, and that those who should be the depositories of the national feeling and the national interest became the accomplices of all these horrors, and of all this injustice,—that so far from reparation being granted to the sufferers, punishment was prepared for the complainants—that not Only the laws were baffled, but that all the engines of government were set to work, to prevent redress and to stifle inquiry.—Suppose the same stranger should continue to tell us that in this same country, those who had abused tire ear of their sovereign, and changed, as it were, the fountain of mercy into a river of blood, those false servants were still allowed to enjoy the dignities and riot in the plunder of the state, whilst, whatever man was bold enough to raise his voice for justice, let him be the love and admiration of his fellow-countrymen—let him be unsullied by a single crime, that man should be marked out as the victim of further vengeance, and an attempt, fruitless, indeed, and absurd, made to degrade him by dooming him to a punishment which the voice of the whole nation had reserved rather for his persecutors — and, finally, that instead of any provision being made for the future protection of infringed rights and violated liberties, those rights should be further abridged, and those liberties further diminished; and temporary injustice be converted into permanent law, — I ask, would not such a representation appear the offspring of distempered fancy? or would it not seem the description of events passing in a country never cheered by the day-star of liberty—of a country whose people had pined for ever in hopeless bondage-—whose nobles had always been the slaves of power, and whose annals could hot record one generous struggle in the cause of liberty and virtue? Yet this is England; this is but a faithful picture of the transactions this night under discussion; and yet these transactions, horrid as they are, formed 822 but one feature of the system which has changed the face of England; and which has made even those of a middle age scarcely able to recognize that free country into which they were born. From the first moment that reform of parliament became the object of a great body in this country, a resolution was taken to keep it down—and those acquainted with the transactions of the last thirty years, know that not only all our coercive laws, bat every great change of policy has been directed to this sole end and aim. We made war against France to prevent reform in parliament. The attempt to establish constructive treason was made solely to put down the leaders of reform; and the measures of 1794 were renewed for the same purposes in 1817. In proportion as the necessity of reform became more apparent to the bulk of the people, the resolution to stifle the cry for that reform became more decided on the part of the abettors of the present system. Hence their gagging and dungeon bills; hence their suspension of the laws on which our liberty depends; hence their enormous standing army; hence also that frightful system, hitherto unknown to England, which, under the name of justice, lets loose the refuse of society against society itself, and arms a base and treacherous band of spies and informers against their defenceless fellow-countrymen.
That all these dreadful engines of oppression were set in work against reform there can be no doubt; and there remained only one other mode by which the government could act more rigorously against the abettors of that great principle. That mode was military execution; and I repeat, that it ought not to surprise us to find that mode tried at last. Whether the government commanded at first what they approved afterwards, is nothing to us; by their approval, they have made this act their own. If the blood spilt at Manchester be unjustly be unmercifully, be cruelly spilt, they are accessaries after the fact at least; and on their heads must the injustice and the cruelty be finally avenged. We see how far this system has proceeded; we have no excuse of blindness on our part, or concealment on that of the ministers, If what has been done is to be tolerated in this country, let us not for the future affect any surprise to find that all our boasted laws, rights, and liberties are but so many words; a mere unreal mock- 823 ery, to be used to cheat us when it serves the turn our masters, or to be dispensed with whenever open tyranny should appear more convenient and more effectual. It is the height of absurdity to suppose, that those who have done so much will not do more. It is the height absurdity to suppose that the masters of a standing array and of a standing parliament will respect those rights which were established when there was no standing army, and no standing parliament. Let us therefore do something to rescue ourselves from the disgrace of total submission, and of unmixed despair. Let us not be more terrified with the remedy than the disease, lest we should find ourselves reduced to that condition, which Cicero, in a letter to Atticus, attributes to degraded Rome. "Nunc quidem novo quodam morbo civitas moritur; ut cum omnes ea quæ sunt acta, improbent, quærentur, doleant, varietas in re nulla fit, aperteque lequantur et jam clare gemant; tamen medicina nulla afferatur, neque ertim resisti sine internecione posse arbitramur; nec videmus. qui finis cedehdi prætor exilium futurus sit."
The Marquis of Londonderry
said, that after the extent to which the discussion had been protracted, he thought it would be an abuse of the patience of the House if he were to occupy their time, in using more argument than was necessary; but he was sure the house would feel, after the many personal appeals which had been made to him in the course of the debate, that, independently of the situation which he held, and his responsibility as a minister of the Crown, he should not stand justified if he did not enter into some explanation upon the question. That he had delayed doing so until that moment, was owing to the declaration of the hon baronet that not only the Manchester magistrates, but also the executive government were culpable in those transactions. He did not object to the executive government being held responsible for their conduct, and therefore he would enter into an explanation of that conduct; but before he did this, he begged to say a word as to the situation, of government and of the House itself with respect to this question. And here he must protest against the assertion that any of the transactions at Manchester were under the direction of his Majesty's government. He could state that government was quite distinct from the whole of these proceedings; that all the matters 824 now under discussion could not have been controlled or interfered with by ministers; and that they were not aware of their occurrence until they had been informed of them by Mr. Hay. It was then that they advised the thanks of the sovereign, of which he should say more presently. As to the assertion that ministers had applauded the spilling of blood, he was certain there was not a member of that House who believed it; for it could not be supposed that any men in their situation would he base and cruel enough to approve the shedding of die blood of his Majesty's subjects, He would state, that it was not because blood had been shed, and that the transactions were of a most painful nature, in consequence of the shedding of blood, that ministers were to shrink from their duty in thanking those whom they conceived to have conscientiously discharged arduous and important functions, leaving their conduct open to the visitation of the laws, if it should be afterwards found that those laws had been violated. It had been said, that ministers were culpable in not having waited for an inquiry before they gave the thanks of the Crown; but he maintained that they owed it to the magistrates to give an immediate opinion, as to whether they had been considered to have acted properly or not, without wailing for an inquiry into the minutiae of the transaction. Why had not the same objections been made with respect to what had occurred relative to the riots in Cambridgeshire? The satisfaction which his Majesty's government had expressed at the conduct of the magistrates and yeomanry was not that blood had been shed, but that amidst those painful transactions—the most painful of which was the shedding of blood—the magistrates and the yeomanry have been found intrepid enough to discharge their duty on that day. If that expression of thanks could have stood between the magistrates and the visitation of the law—if it could be afterwards shown that they had violated it—then indeed ministers might have been to blame, even though they had followed a general custom; but when they had only adhered to that general custom in a manner which could not prevent the future visitation of the law, it was an unfounded aspersion to say that they bad any wish to sanction cruelty or bloodshed.
Now, the House would allow him to say that this was the second time in which 825 his conduct, as one of the ministers of the Crown, had been arraigned upon the subject of those transactions at Manchester. It certainly was not in the same parliament, yet before the parliament of the country he had already explained the conduct of government; and the proposition for censuring that conduct had been rejected by perhaps the largest majority that had ever pronounced upon any question in that House; the numbers being 381 against 150. He would therefore say, that if such had been the opinion of the House at a time when the feelings of the public had been wound up to exasperation, by statements of what was said to have occurred, it ought to have been considered as decisive of the question. But, if that had not been thought sufficient by the hon. baronet, why had he delayed it until the present time? Why had he suffered the year 1820 to pass over without bringing forward his motion? Why had he waited to the present period of this session? He would answer, that; it was to revive, by the re-agitation of this question, those feelings which happily, notwithstanding every thing that had been done, remained dormant in the country. In bringing this question before the House, the hon. baronet had thought fit to argue it as a transaction which should only be viewed as far as it respected Manchester itself. But was that the fair view of the question? Ought not the proceedings on that occasion to have been, as the were very properly, viewed with reference to the general state of the country? The spirit which was known long before that period to have existed at Manchester, was also known to prevail in many other parts of the country. It had extended to the metropolis itself, where an illegal meeting had been held in Smith-field, under the same individual who afterwards presided at Manchester. He had said that the Smithfield meeting was illegal; and he asked, could there be a doubt of the illegality of that meeting, where it was resolved that the national debt was not a lawful debt, and ought not to be paid, and that the people ought to pay no taxes, after a certain time, if parliament were not reformed? The same individual who had presided at this illegal meeting in Smithfield, was subsequently found going down to Manchester to preside at another meeting to be held there. Was not that of itself sufficient to create alarm in the minds of the authorities at Man- 826 chester? The spirit which had assembled the crowds at Manchester had afterwards exploded into positive rebellion, and had brought many under the lash of the law for that crime, and nothing but mercy could have saved more than a hundred persons from forfeiting their lives as traitors, in Scotland and in Yorkshire. It had not therefore been correctly stated, that the meeting at Manchester had consisted of moderate reformers, assembled for temperate discussion; but they were a great mass assembled for purposes of intimidation and in order to bring on a revolutionary movement; and if the design had not been repressed at Manchester, it would have broken out into rebellion, and instead of the blood that had been shed there, torrents of blood would have burst forth.
The hon. baronet had charged him with having made a statement formerly on this subject, and with having asserted the truth of the statement. Now, he positively denied that he had undertaken for the truth of one single fact which he bad stated. He was in the recollection of many members of the House when he said that he had only, in opposition to facts on the other side, stated facts on the best information he could receive. So far had he been from contending for the accuracy of the statement, that he had said that the House was not the place for inquiring into its accuracy; and he had only stated those facts to stay the feelings of the House, and to protect the characters of worthy men, as he believed them to be, against calumny and misrepresentation. For this purpose he had stated facts on the best information he could obtain. Yet, contending that he never had made himself answerable for the facts, he must, in justice to those from whom he had received his information, say, that it had not been found liable to any contradiction but such as must necessarily have arisen from the circumstances in which the information was given, and from a case of so much confusion. He would not now go into the facts, and it was quite unnecessary, if he could satisfy the House that their character and accuracy ought not to be inquired into at their bar. But he would say, that all the main facts which he had stated had been distinctly confirmed. He did not find that any one of the main facts relied on had been invalidated, nor any of those facts on which parliament had solemnly acted. The 827 facts were fully established, that there had been a meeting of from 70,000 to 80,000 persons, assembled under circumstances infinitely formidable in themselves; that the men had come in military array; and that they must have met for any object but that of sober reform. The magistrates had been, he did not say justified, but called on as honest Englishmen to be at their post and to take care to be supported by a proper military force. The magistrates had not intended to interfere with the meeting. They had taken their post for the purpose of watching the meeting, not of breaking it up. After a Variety of depositions had been made, which gave a character of terror to the meeting in the minds of the people of Manchester, and which gave the meeting that illegal character which the law asserts, then had the magistrates granted a warrant. The House had the verdict of a jury, as far as the arrests, in justification of the magistrates. Mr. Hunt's conviction proved that the magistrates had been justified in issuing a warrant against Mr. Hunt, and those who had been acting with him. There was, therefore, not merely the depositions made previously to the issuing of the warrants, but the verdict of a jury since, to prove that the warrants were properly issued. The jury, acting under the instruction of the learned judge, who had felt no doubt so far as the persons convicted had been concerned, had confirmed the previous depositions laid before the magistrates. Who would venture to say that the meeting had not become illegal from the moment that the peace had been broken, and resistance had been made? From the moment that resistance had been made and tumult had arisen, the assembly had become generally and universally illegal.
If that was the case, the question then was, were the measures which the magistrates had adopted reasonable, or were they measures of cruelty and oppression, which would always be reprobated by British law? He still said, that military force had not been called in until the person employed had said that he was unable to execute the warrant [Cheers from the Opposition]. He said that the magistrates had hot employed a greater force than was necessary, and had not called assistance in until the danger of the yeomanry required it. Now, he would not attempt to go into the circumstances which characterized that day. Injuries 828 had happened to many innocent persons. The servants of the magistrates, the constables, had suffered: they had beers struck, injured, and trodden down. The bloodshed was not occasioned by the magistrates, but by those who excited the people to tumult; by those who, under the mask of reform, had no other object than rebellion. On such persons the charge of blood ought to fall, and not on the magistrates who were performing a painful and difficult duty, and who had the manliness to do that duty with firmness. He would not condescend to comment oh the assertion that justice could not be obtained. Did they mean to say, that the grand jury of Manchester had failed to do their duty? Did they mean to say that it was a question of blood, and that if it was, the misconduct of any grand jury could shut up a case of murder from investigation and punishment? It would have been better if the hon. baronet had left the question of murder, supposing it to be such, to the decision of a jury, fat which, upon other occasions, he professed to have so much respect, than to let it lie upon the Journals of parliament until it suited his convenience to bring it forward. Did the hon. baronet mean to say, that the House of Commons was a more competent tribunal in such cases than a jury of the country? Did he, after all his attacks upon that House, which he did not even treat with ordinary respect, which he took all opportunities to traduce and vilify in other places—did he now come to that House as the only place in the country were justice could be obtained? It was an insult to their understandings to assert that the hon. baronet had no other means of proceeding than by such an application, or that those who suffered had no other opportunity of redress than by putting their case into the hands of the hon. baronet to be dealt with at his convenience, and according to the new view he had taken of the justice and competency of the House of Commons. Would not the sufferers have their civil action against the officers concerned, and against the yeomanry, in which the whole question might be brought under the view of the court?
But it had been asked why certain individuals were not examined oh the trial of Mr. Hunt? The reason was obvious —because the question before the Court was merely whether the meeting was legally or illegally convened. Why, he 829 would ask again, did they not bring their ac[...]ionsagainst the Manchester yeomanry, who had been most unjustly vilified throughout the whole of these transactions, as all men were sure to be who Stood forward boldly to discharge their duty to the country? It had struck him, fast night, as whimsically amusing, when the hon. member for Dover was stating facts as they had been given to him, to see the hon. member for Shrewsbury (Mr. Bennet) constantly interrupting him with the question, "Is that deposition on oath?" meaning if it was not on oath, that it was unworthy of attention; while all the reformers of Manchester who sent up statements to that House were to be believed on their honour and conscience! It was a proof that they had not a foot of ground to stand upon, when they did not dare to appear before a jury.—But then it was urged, on the other hand, that the poor people could not afford to go to trial—that they had not the means. It appeared, however, that their case had attracted the attention of the hon. baronet, whose name appeared at the head of a large collection for the sufferers, amounting, he believed, to 2,000l. But had a farthing of that money been applied to the prosecution of those who were charged with these atrocities? He knew it had been said, that some portion was expended at Oldham; but never was there a proceeding more unjustly instituted than that, or more unlikely to answer the ends of justice in any respect —it was a mode of getting up a case to influence the public mind and mislead the public opinion, and not to try the merits of the question. But how was the money applied i—in advertising for the persons who had been wounded. It was impossible not to feel one's heart bleed for those who suffered, whether through their own infatuation, or innocently, as was often the case in tumults; but still he maintained that those funds would have been better employed in a country like this, where no sufferer, where no wounded man could be left to perish, in prosecuting the offenders, if there was a case against them, than in advertising for wounds and bruises, and for every thing that could exasperate the feelings of the people, already sufficiently excited. The hon. baronet came with the worst possible grace before parliament, after the House had already pronounced a solemn decision on the subject; not that they were 830 indifferent to the sufferings endured, but that they thought them better trusted to the ordinary tribunals of the country. There was no case laid before them now which would justify them in changing that opinion, with regard to transaction of so complicated a nature, and to individuals excited and irritated by the transactions. An hon. and learned gentleman had said, on the former night, that the question was of so lofty and sublimated a kind, as to be unfit for the jurisdiction of the King's-bench; that the conduct imputed to the magistracy and yeomanry constituted an offence not known to the law, and therefore that a final judgment ought to be pronounced upon it by a decision of that House. The hon. and learned gentleman, however, would find it difficult to convince the country that it might be better decided in that House without an examination on oath, than in other places where oaths were administered to the witnesses. If he knew any thing of a British House of Commons, they would discharge their duty to their constituents upon a better principle. He was confident that the good sense and manliness of parliament would look at the question as an attempt—a feeble attempt, thank God—to revive the inflammation which had subsided. To that manliness and intelligence, which was its characteristic, he looked for the putting down of discord, and the discountenancing of treason and rebellion. We were delivered from the delusion of another great question, and this was an attempt to renew the excitement of the public mind. Whatever might be said to the disadvantage of parliament, and whatever pains might be taken to degrade and vilify the House of Commons, and propagate an opinion that it was not respected, he would say that the voice of parliament had a magical influence on the public mind. The danger of treason had disappeared before the thunder of parliament, and he was still confident that the delusion could never be revived by the hon. baronet, if the manliness and wisdom, of parliament continued to manifest itself, by their strong and decided vote that
§ Mr. Scarlett
said, he had no doubt that the noble lord's speech was well calculated for its purpose, and that it would have its impression. It was a speech partaking more of the nature of magi than of reason. If it had not reason in it, it had some- 831 thing beyond it. And the noble lord himself seemed to be the greatest conjuror in the House., This he was sure of —that if the noble lord, were not better Acquainted with the Housed of Commons than with the nature of fair debate, he would not nave, attempted to defend the weakness of his own cause, by carrying war into the territories of his opponents, and imputing motives to all who stood in his way. From the real nature of the case on the noble lord's part one would have expected a candid and modest defence— [A laugh, and "Hear, hear,"]— he said candid and modest, for if it was a defence which the noble lord had made, it was not altogether remarkable for the character of modesty. A great part of it had been an attack on the motives of those who had brought forward the present motion. If the noble lord could not think of the transaction at Manchester without feeling his heart bleed, could he not conceive any motive for this motion but what was mean, base, and inconsistent with humanity? Might not those who brought it forward be supposed to feel their hearts bleed also, at the injuries and sufferings of that day, and might not the tenderest humanity be their motive? The noble lord had said truly, that the verdict of a jury had proved the illegality of the meeting, but that the question of the dispersion remained alto gether untouched. But it was new to him (Mr. Scarlett) to hear that when the dispersion was of such a nature as to make one's heart bleed, the only remedy was specific actions for each case of injury. He thought that the circumstances which made the heart bleed— an immense assemblage, who had committed no outrage, dispersed in a manner so cruel, trampled on, wounded, and some destroyed—might be brought before a British House of Commons from a feeling concern for our fellow subjects, and without any disposition to excite tumult. The noble lord's manner indicated the triumph he anticipated; his confidence had arisen from his knowledge of the result. The subject itself, he (Mr. Scarlett) viewed perhaps differently from any view that had hitherto been taken of it. He was unwilling to refer to matters in which he had taken part; but having been alluded to from both sides of the House, he would offer a few observations on the trial at York. It was perfectly fair to draw inferences from his manner of conducting 832 the trial, but not from his silence in that House, respecting his motives. Why Nadin and others had not been called, the House would not at least know from him. The public had a right to draw their own inferences. He had endeavoured on that occasion to follow the same path of duty as on every other; and to effect this object by all the means consistent with a good conscience. It had been said that he was well acquainted with the magistrate, Mr. Hulton. He was not well acquainted with him, he knew none of his family; and all he knew of him or his family was to his credit. One of his objects in now addressing the House was, to redeem his pledge to Mr. Hulton. Mr. Hulton had been examined; his examination was before the public; it was not so correctly, reported as it ought to be; but no intentional misrepresentation could be imputed to any one. The meeting having thus begun to assemble, the mode of its assembly, and the increasing numbers of those assembled, appeared to inspire the inhabitants of Manchester with considerable alarm. The magistrates, who at that time were assembled at Mr. Buxton's house, did not contemplate any thing more than the collecting of a military force in the neighbourhood to watch the meeting, until they received the depositions of thirty or forty respectable gentlemen, that the terrors of the inhabitants were still further excited. It was not until they had received those depositions that they entertained the design of arresting the leaders of the multitude which was then collecting before them. A warrant was then prepared for their arrest, and put into the hands of Nadin, the constable. Mr. Hulton stated, that Nadin told him that it would be impossible to execute it without the assistance of a military force. The consequence was that he ordered a military force to approach the house where the magistrates were sitting. The Manchester yeomanry were the first troops that came, and they drew up under Mr. Buxton's windows. Mr. Hulton stated, that he never gave them orders to ride into the meeting and attack the multitude. He (Mr. Scarlett) was not able to give any satisfactory information to the House how it happened that the yeomanry did ride into that meeting. He had however been given to understand that they had done so upon the representation, of one of the constables. Mr. Hulton declared 833 that he knew nothing at all of their advance until he saw them engaged with the multitude. They must have advanced, with considerable alacrity, inasmuch as they rode over one of their own constables in their course. When they had arrived at the hustings, Mr. Hulton thought, from their appearance, that the multitude had obtained an advantage over them. At the very moment that Mr. Hulton was labouring under this impression, colonel L'Estrange came up with a body of cavalry to Mr. Buxton's, and formed them in the same place in which the Manchester yeomanry had been formed. Colonel L'Estrange then said to Mr. Hulton, who was standing at the window—"What orders have you for us?" Mr. Hulton then answered, "Good God! sir, how can you ask such a question? Do you not see that they are defeating the yeomanry?" Colonel L'Estrange took that answer, as in point of fact it was, for an order that he should advance to the rescue of the yeomanry. That statement, it was necessary for him to premise, was the statement of Mr. Hulton. He should now beg leave to trouble the House with his own opinion of what were the real facts of the case. If gentlemen would take the trouble of looking at the trial, they would find that two reporters were examined at it—one of the name of Orton, the other of the name of Tyas—both young men of education and of considerable talent. The former was called in behalf of the prosecution, and the latter in behalf of the defence; but the evidence of both he conceived to be important to the prosecution. Mr. Tyas upon his examination proved on oath all that he had previously written; and it was only fair to state, that his account was corroborated in all its leading facts by the evidence of both parties. It appeared, then, from Mr. Tyas's statement, that the Manchester yeomanry had rode into the multitude, for the purpose of arresting the individuals who were the leaders of it. When they had ridden up to the hustings, they formed round them arid the officer of the cavalry went up to Mr. Hunt, and said to him, "Sir, I have a warrant against you, and arrest you as toy prisoner," or, in other words, called upon him to surrender. Mr. Hunt then said that he would surrender himself to any civil officer who would show him his warrant. After that, Nadin came up and said that he would arrest 834 him, as he had got information upon oath against him; upon which Mr. Hunt surrendered. A person of the name of Saxton was standing in the cart. Two of the yeomanry rode up to him. "There," said one of them, "is that rogue Saxton —do you run him through the body." "No," replied the other, "I had rather not—I leave it to you." The man immediately made a blow at Saxton, and it was only by his slipping aside that the blow missed him. After that had happened Mr. Tyas said that something like a cry of "Look at their flags—have at their banners," was raised by the yeomanry, and that then they dashed at the flags which were on the hustings. That was the moment at which Mr. Hulton observed them riding into the crowd, and conceived them to be in danger. Had the yeomanry stopped after they had taken the flags, he was disposed to think that no great mischief would have been done; but instead of doing so, they then began to attack the multitude. This he believed to be the real state of the facts; and it was only due to candour and justice to say, that according to this account of the transaction no censure could justly attach to the magistrates. If they had acted under a sense of duty created by an impression of alarm, their error was certainly venial. The House ought; to judge of the conduct of the magistrates, not by the considerations which suggested themselves after the event, but by the considerations which suggested themselves to their minds at the moment. They ought to judge of them by the feelings which must have been foremost on the minds of the magistrates at the instant, and by the apprehensions which they had reason to suppose existed in the minds of the inhabitants of Manchester. A meeting so numerous as that was, mast have excited fears in their minds; and they might naturally think that the best mode of getting rid of those fears would be by arresting the leaders of the multitude before the multitude had become inflamed by their seditious harangues. If the act were to do over again, he should certainly advise the magistrates under all the circumstances of the case, not to do it; but it would be hard to say that they ought now to be censured for having done it. The hon. and learned gentleman then proceeded to state his opinion, that the roost unfit body to disperse that meeting was that respectable body—for so he 835 must still call them—the yeomanry of Manchester. That town, in point of' population, was the second in England, and was as much attached to his majesty's government as any town in the kingdom. The lower classes in that town and the neighbourhood did not agree in political opinion with the great mass of the richer inhabitants: indeed a bitter spirit of hostility existed between them. The yeomanry of Manchester, who did not consist of farmers, as in other parts of the country, but of individuals engaged in various branches of trade, felt considerable resentment and indignation against those who advocated the principles of reform, which they themselves conceived to be destructive of, instead of necessary to, the constitution. On that total day, the 16th August, their feelings were imbittered by the circumstances which had attended a former meeting, and received still further aggravation from the resentment which they felt at the attempt made, as they conceived, to dictate to the town, through the means of an immense multitude, by a person totally unconnected with it. The multitude, however, ought not to have been dispersed at all in the manner it was dispersed. The yeomanry had no right to act at all without the authority of the magistracy. They might think it to be their duty to rdie into the multitude without orders; but, in his opinion, it was clearly a great misconception of duty. The learned gentleman then remarked, that in the course of the trial it had become important to discover, whether any attempt had been made to serve the warrant without the assistance of the military. The learned judge had asked, again and again, whether any application, either personal or by proclamation, was made to the erowd to get out of the way in order that a warrant might be served by the civil power; and the answer which he invariably received was "No." When the constables advanced, they were met, some said, by cheers of welcome; others, by cheers of defiance. The cheers, perhaps, were a mixture of both. Why should they not cheer? Was any gentleman bold enough to say that they had not a right to resist if a parcel of soldiers rode in upon them without a warrant? He must confess that he was not the man bold enough to say so; on the contrary, be said that they had a right to resist, if they were rode in upon without the au- 836 thority of a warrant. Until the moment that Hunt asked for the warrant and Nadin produced it, they had no right to disperse the meeting. The reasons which he had stated he conceived to be such as called upon the House to institute an inquiry; but besides them there was another reason not less cogent, namely, the necessity of preventing the recurrence of a similar scene upon any future occasion. The learned gentleman then said, in referring to lord Sidmouth's letter of thanks to the magistrates, that it showed unfit precipitation on the part of government, and frankly confessed that, viewing it as he did, totally divested of all party feeling, he conceived it calculated to produce universal irritation in the country. His hon. friend, the member for Westminster, had been prosecuted for the letter which he wrote regarding it, on the ground that his letter was calculated to prejudice the trial then pending. Might not the letter of lord Sidmouth have been prosecuted upon exactly the same grounds, returning, as it did, most unqualified thanks to the magistrates within two days after intelligence had been received of a transaction, of which, according to the noble lord, the very recital made the heart bleed? He thought that every magistrate in the county of Lancaster, arid that even the gentlemen of the grand jury itself, must have been influenced by that letter, as the thanks which it contained rendered the question completely a ministerial one. —The hon. and learned gentleman, after some further observations on the same, subject, in order to show the political hostility which existed at Manchester about the 16th of August, alluded to a fact which occurred on the cross-examination of Murray, one of the witnesses examined at York. The witness was asked whether he had ever said that "rather than see the reformers triumph, he would prefer to walk up to his knees in their blood." He refused giving a direct answer to the question; but he said I that he would not believe any reformer! upon his oath. For aught he knew, a similar feeling might have existed in the breast of some members of the grand jury, and might have led them to reject bills which were presented, to them upon the oaths of reformers. It was said by gentlemen on the other side that no attempt had been made to bring this question to trial before the usual tribunals of the country. Surely those gentlemen had forgotten 837 that bills of indictment had been offered to grand juries, but rejected, and informations asked for against magistrates, but refused. But then it was said, that no action had been brought to recover damages for the injuries which had been sustained; and that that was one way of trying this great constitutional question. If it was, it was information to him; for he did not see how a question of that importance could be settled by a civil action. How could an old woman of 82, for instance, bring an action of damages for a wound which she had received from a yeoman whose person she could not recognise? On a former occasion when this question had been discussed in the House, it had been said—"whilst a prosecution is depending, the House must not interfere." On that occasion he had said, that he knew of no question then before the courts, which would bring to trial the conduct of the military and the magistracy towards the people. The trial at York had proved that he was correct. That argument therefore, such as it was, could now no longer be used. The question then was reduced to this point—was the time too late for the House to interfere? Did the noble lord mean to say that if the constitution had been violated, time should make the people of England sleep over the injury which they had received? He should indeed think ill of the people of England—he should indeed consider them unworthy of the liberty which they enjoyed—if a short year and a half could make them forget those wrongs which, according to the noble lord, made the heart of those who had only read them bleed to the inmost core.
The Attorney General
said, that after the length of discussion into which this question had gone, it was not his intention to occupy the time of the House, because he thought the speech of his hon. and learned friend, and the very candid statement he had made on this occasion, had not only relieved him from the necessity of addressing many observations to the House, but must have convinced those who sat around him that his motion could not be supported. The hon. baronet, in his opening speech, attached great blame upon two parties who were entirely relieved by the speech of his hon. and learned friend, namely, his majesty's ministers and the magistrates. What was the charge against his majesty's ministers, made by the hon. baronet and 838 reiterated by the learned member for Nottingham? why, that they deliberately authorized the transactions. His hon. and learned friend (Mr. Denman) asserted, that he believed the magistrates could not have acted in the way in which they did but for the previous sanction of his majesty's government. What was the next charge? That the magistrates deliberately and wantonly authorized the scene which afterwards took place. What was the testimony of his learned friend (Mr. Scarlett) fully confirmed as it was by the letter of Mr. Norris and the testimony of Mr. Hulton?—that the magistrates never had the intention of dispersing the meeting, or of arresting Mr. Hunt, until after the meeting took place, and those circumstances fell under their notice which rendered it an imperative duty to issue the warrant. Then all the charges which the hon. member for Westminster had so lavishly made against ministers, were overthrown by his learned friend, who had stated, that not only in his conscience did he believe that the magistrates had no intention of dispersing the meeting, but that he believed his majesty's ministers never authorized, or sanctioned the dispersion. If that was the result of his learned friend's speech, then the question was reduced to this, whether an inquiry was to be instituted at the bar of that House into the conduct of the yeomanry? With respect to that question, it could be investigated and ought to be investigated by the tribunals of the country. Did his learned friend say it could not be discussed by way of action? Had not the greatest constitutional questions been tried by action? How were the questions of ship-money and general warrants decided? He said, therefore, that by way of action it could be tried. They might have brought an issue to try whether the yeomanry were sanctioned, and whether the magistrates could, under such circumstances as presented themselves, order them to advance. Then his learned friend said, attempts were made by bills of indictment, and that grand juries had thrown out those bills. That was, he believed, the first time that the citcumstance of a bill being thrown out was offered as a presumption of guilt. And yet the grand jury were told that they were so deluded, and had so involved themselves in particular feelings, that they had unjustly thrown out those bills, because perhaps, they could not give credit to the reformers. Was such an imputation ever cast on the 839 noble lord who was the foreman of the grand jury? Then it was said, in order to get out of that dilemma, "but the noble lord might not have concurred." If that was so, still it was casting imputations on the majority, of the grand jury, that nothing which had occurred authorized gentlemen to do. The same happened on the inquisition before the coroner all those, inquests had exculpated the military on that occasion, with one exception in which a constable was killed. But what had prevented the parties from preferring bills again, if they were dissatisfied. The natural inference was, that they had no case; particularly when he recollected the activity used, and the subscriptions which were raised to enable the parties aggrieved to bring to justice those who had injured them and be it recollected, that part of the sum was expended, not for the purpose of investigating the cases of those men, but in defending the person who was the real author of the injuries; not for the purpose of bringing an action against the magistrates, or investigating the conduct of the yeomanry, but in defending those persons who were convicted by a jury, and whose conviction had at last extorted from the gentlemen opposite that this meeting was illegal. Then his learned friend had enlarged on the conduct of ministers, as having had the effect of prejudging the question. Did his learned friend forget what had taken place at the county meeting at York, and at county meetings over almost all the kingdom? Notwithstanding the attempt made by the noble lord to explain, no man could read those resolutions, and not see that they did not mean explicitly to give an opinion. He should take the trouble to refer to those resolutions, and leave it to the House to say whether they did not convey that, in the opinion of the meeting, the assembly at Manchester was legal assembly? What was the second resolution? That it was a direct violation of law, and an alarming invasion of the rights of the people to disperse, by violence, and still more by the employment of a military force, a meeting legally assembled and peaceably held for such purposes. He said that this resolution mean to convey, that the meeting was legally assembled. The next resolution was still more explicit; "That we have learned, with unfeigned concern that a meeting held at Manchester on the 16th August last, avowedly for such purposes at which it has not 840 hitherto appeared that any illegal act had been committed, or that previous proclamation to disperse had been made according to Jaw, was suddenly attacked and dispersed by a military force, whereby the lives of a great number of his majesty's subjects were endangered, many of them wounded, and some killed. The resolution affirmed that this meeting was legally assembled, and it affirmed that it was illegally dispersed. There was no man who had read those resolutions with candour, who did not see that they meant to affirm, that this meeting was legally assembled and that no illegal act was done before it was dispersed by the military. But these were not the only resolutions. There were others moved in various parts of the country and that at a period when legal proceedings were instituted; and yet they were told how improper it was to send that letter which merely thanked the magistrates for their exertions, without affirming any thing with respect to the meeting! The hon. and learned gentleman, who had adverted to the prosecution instituted against the hon. baronet, had admitted that a jury at York had declared the meeting to be illegal. This being the case, were not his majesty's ministers justified in, the course which they had adopted?. And he would ask, what other consequences could follow from an investigation by that House than a prosecution against the yeomanry, which had not been yet instituted, and which, in the absence of all investigation by that House, was still open? If he believed the statements in the petitions presented, there could be no difficulty in instituting these proceedings; seeing that the names of the parties stated to have committed the outrage had been mentioned. If the only question was, the conduct of the yeomanry, that conduct was still open for investigation in the courts of law. At that late hour he should not enter farther into the question, particularly as the speech of his learned friend had exculpated his majesty's ministers and the magistrates, to whom the horn baronet had attempted to attach the odium of the transaction. The verdict of guilty against the persons tried at York had; justified the conduct of the magistrates, and if the conduct of the yeomanry were culpable, the time which had elapsed did not bar investigation in the courts of law, and parliament would do an injustice to the parties accused, by 841 taking that investigation from the proper tribunals. The hon. baronet had said that the facts on which the ministerial side of the House relied had been disproved by the evidence at York. He maintained that they had not; but even supposing that they had, was it fair to characterize the proceedings of the 16th of August as a murder and a massacre? As far as any investigation had been made into the subject, they had been found not to be murder; and he would ask, where was that candour on which honourable gentlemen so much prided themselves, when they stigmatized with such epithets the actions of men whom they wished to put upon their trial?
§ Mr. Stuart Wortley
said, so much allusion had been made to the York meeting, that he thought he should be wanting in respect if he did not state his own opinion, that in the resolutions of that meeting the question of the legality of the assembly at Manchester was not prejudged; because particular words were inserted, qualifying the opinion and limiting the object of the people on that occasion. He felt called upon to say further, that in the speeches made on that occasion, his friends who were opposed to him did not prejudge the question: they did not state that the meeting was legally assembled, but they said that the transactions required investigation. Having said thus much, he had only one other remark in answer to what fell from the gentlemen on the other side, as to the reason why he could not vote for inquiry formerly; namely, that a prosecution was pending. Undoubtedly that was one of the reasons that he gave; but he also gave as a reason, that these circumstances never could be inquired into by parliament with any hope of coming to a satisfactory conclusion. But if he was of that opinion formerly, he must say that the speech of the hon. and learned gentleman (Mr. Scarlett) had completely convinced him, that, to enter into inquiry would be useless, and that the persons who were injured had a remedy in a court of law. The learned gentleman had acquitted the magistrates of blame: he had stated that the yeomanry advanced without authority. Was not that a subject for investigation in a court of law? He had always understood that a military person in command, If his troops acted against the people without orders, was amenable to a court of law; and it appeared to him that the not bringing these 842 persons to the bar of justice was a clear proof that those who complained had no case against them.
§ Lord Milton
observed, that the explanation of his hon. colleague as to the York county meeting, rendered any observations from him on the subject unnecessary.
Sir F. Burdett
rose to reply. He said, that after the ample discussion which the subject had undergone, he would detain the House but a few moments. The case remained precisely where it was; for the noble marquis and the hon. and learned gentlemen opposite, and all their adherents, seemed determined to shut their eyes to the real and great question, and to endeavour to turn the attention of the House to minute parts of it. They talked of it as a question between certain persons who had been aggrieved, and those by whom they had been aggrieved, instead of a question between the people of England and his majesty's government. That the people assembled at a public meeting were to have the military let loose upon them, and that it was to be held that no one was amenable for that act, surely afforded the strongest ground for parliamentary inquiry. The House ought to be informed by an inquiry at the bar, whether the troops had committed military execution without the authority of the magistrates, and had of their own head perpetrated the violences which had occurred. They ought to be informed whether ministers stood clear on the subject. Seeing the correspondence that existed between the magistrates and his majesty's ministers; seeing that the latter had published the letters of the magistrates, but had not ventured to lay before the House their answers; seeing the ungracious answer to the sheriffs of London put into the mouth of his majesty, who was made to say, that the citizens of London could not know the previous transactions and circumstances at Manchester; seeing all this, it was difficult to believe that what had taken place was not, in a great measure, the result of directions from his majesty's government. As to its being too late for the investigation, that he denied. The time that had elapsed had only served to divest the subject of all false appearances, and to exhibit it in its true shape and colours. The noble lord had made his statements lightly, and without any shadow of proof. The attacks of the military upon the people were distinctly 843 proved; indeed, so distinctly, that the learned judge who presided at the trials at York, stated to the jury that there appeared no justification for the employment of the military in the execution of the warrant. Though the parties tried at York were charged with a conspiracy, yet the legality of the meeting did not appear to be decided by that trial. It was said on that occasion, that the parties had been guilty of stirring up the minds of the people to a hatred and contempt of the government of the country. But it was hardly possible to touch upon public grievances —to point out even the corruption of that House—without involving one's self within the scope of such a charge. The whole of the facts stated determined one point, namely, that Mr. Hunt and the other parties had not attended the meeting with the motives imputed to them. An hon. gentleman who had just sat down had, as gentlemen under the influence of passion were generally in the habit of doing, recommended calmness and coolness to him. He knew not how to reply to this advice, as he did not feel the want of those qualities; perhaps indeed he might, in the heat of argument, have been betrayed into hasty expressions; and there never was a question more calculated to excite, and at the same time to excuse, the warmth of a man's feelings than the present. The hon. member for Dover had attempted to throw discredit upon the investigation which had taken place, as well as upon that now proposed, by stating that he had had the good fortune of meeting persons who were said to have been killed at Manchester, alive and unhurt; that a child reported to have been killed by the yeomanry, had died of convulsions; that a man reported to have been killed by the constables, had been actually choaked by eating mutton; and that a father, after having in the hospital identified the clothes of his son, whom he understood to have been murdered, had afterwards met that son alive and well. The hon. member for Newcastle had gone further than the noble lord had the face to do. The noble lord had confined the guilt to the Manchester yeomanry; but the hon. member contended, that no guilt could be imputed, but that it was an act of extended justice.
§ Mr. Wilmot
appealed to the House, whether any hon. member had a right to put a forced construction upon his words? What he stated was, that if the military 844 had been called in by the magistrates, in the exercise of a sound discretion, then the magistrates were not responsible for the acts subsequently committed by that military.
Sir F. Burdett
expressed himself satisfied with the explanation of the hon. member, as it appeared that he was not an advocate of that extended justice to which he had alluded. The noble lord had stated that which was a perfect truism: he had said, that he could rely upon the present construction of the House of Commons. No man would dispute the noble lord's intimate acquaintance with the formation of the House: he was a witness, omni exceptione major on that subject; for he had no doubt studied its construction with the painful skill of an anatomist: he was, besides, well qualified to judge of the construction of the House of Commons of England by his knowledge of that of Ireland. He was well aware of the value of its present construction for his own purposes; and that the House was worthy of his lordship, and his lordship of the House, he would be the last man in the world to deny. Not, however, understanding all the excellent qualities of the House as the noble lord did, he could not but regard it as a body most mischievous and pernicious to the country, and one which the people of England were naturally anxious to see reformed.—[Cries of "Order!"]
§ The Speaker
was satisfied that he need not repeat the words which had fallen from the hon. baronet in the heat of the moment, to convince him that his conduct was irregular.
Sir F. Burdett
professed himself ready to submit to whatever the Speaker might judge correct in the course of debate. The real question at issue was, whether in future the people of England should be allowed to exercise their undoubted and unalienable right of meeting in any manner and in any numbers, for any lawful purpose; or whether the intestine war, which the noble Secretary at War had said had been carried on against them for the last five years, was still to be continued. He was convinced that the people were in no way hostile to the institutions of the country; but they thought themselves entitled to the constitution, and to all those rights which the constitution gave them; above all, to that great right of free election of their representatives for the protection of their interests and 845 property. This was the whole object of the meeting at Manchester; yet it was there that more than six hundred men, women, and children, had been killed, wounded, or maimed; and yet, it was into this horrible transaction that ministers refused inquiry. As to the proceedings of the grand jury at Lancaster, he intended to cast no imputations on them; but he must say that it was utterly incomprehensible to him upon what ground the bills were rejected by them, recollecting that all the facts were beyond the possibility of dispute. Then they came before the coroner, where, according to the assertion of the noble lord, some tricks were played. What were those tricks? The number of witnesses who pressed forward to give evidence—of that the coroner should have judged. It was however known that the inquiry before the coroner had gone so far, that the jury had made up their minds upon the verdict which they meant to give; but their intentions were defeated by the conduct of the coroner himself. He would ask the House how it could— after this—be said, that the people had not made every application in the usual course of justice? In each attempt the people had failed—their successive applications had been refused. His reason, therefore, for pressing this question was, that the public mind was not satisfied; nor would it be satisfied until an inquiry had taken place into these transactions. While he had a seat in the House he would press for this inquiry. If the king's ministers would now say that they would take up the inquiry, and report to the House upon it, then he would rest satisfied; but if that were not done, then he had only to repeat, that the people would never rest satisfied until some satisfaction were had for, or inquiry made into, these calamitous transactions.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 111; Noes, 235: Majority against the motion, 124. Adjourned at a quarter before three in the morning.
|List of the Minority.|
|Abercromby, hon. J.||Birch, Joseph|
|Anson, hon. G.||Brougham, Henry|
|Allen, J. H.||Bury, visct.|
|Baring, H.||Byng, G.|
|Barnard, visct.||Blake, sir F.|
|Barratt, S. M.||Bright, Henry|
|Becher, W. W.||Chaloner, Rob.|
|Bennet, hon. H. G.||Calcraft, John|
|Benyon, B.||Calvert, Charles|
|Bernal, Ralph||Carter, John|
|Cavendish, H||Philips, George|
|Clifton, visc.||Philips, G. jun.|
|Coke, T. W.||Powlett, hon. W.|
|Colburne, N. R.||Price, Robert|
|Concannon, Lucius||Pryse, Pryse|
|Crespigny, sir W. De||Peirse, H.|
|Crompton, Saml.||Ramsden, J. C.|
|Creevey, Thomas||Ricardo, David|
|Davies, T. H.||Robarts, A. W.|
|Denison, W. J.||Robarts, G.|
|Denman, Thos.||Robinson, sir Geo.|
|Dundas, hon. T.||Rowley, sir W.|
|Ebrington, visc.||Rumbold, Charles|
|Ellice, Edw.||Russell, lord Wm.|
|Fergusson, sir R.||Rice, F. S.|
|Fitzgerald, lord W.||Smith, John|
|Fitzroy, lord C.||Smith, Wm.|
|Folkestone, visc.||Smyth, J. H.|
|Gordon, Robt.||Scarlett, James|
|Grattan, J.||Scudamore, R.|
|Grant, J. P.||Scott, sir W.|
|Griffith, J. W.||Sefton, earl of|
|Guise, sir W.||Stanley, lord|
|Gaskell, Ben.||Stuart, lord J.|
|Haldimand, W.||Tavistock, marq. of|
|Harbord, hon. E.||Taylor, M. A.|
|Heron, sir R.||Tierney, rt. hon. G.|
|Hill, lord A.||Tichfield, marq. of|
|Hobhouse, J. C.||Tynte, C.|
|Hughes, W. L.||Webbe, Ed.|
|Hume, Joseph||Western, C. C.|
|Hutchinson, hon. C.||Wharton, John|
|James, W.||Whitbread, W. H.|
|Johnson, col.||Whitbread, Sam. C.|
|Lambton, John G.||Williams, Wm.|
|Lemon, sir W.||Wilson, sir Robt.|
|Lennard, T. B.||Wood, alderman|
|Lushington, Dr.||Wyvill, M.|
|Mackintosh, sir J.||Burdett, sir F.|
|Maddocks, W. A.||Duncannon, visc.|
|Maxwell, John||PAIRED OFF|
|Milbank, M.||Barham, J.|
|Milton, visct.||Cavendish, C.|
|Monck, J. B.||Hamilton, lord A.|
|Moore, Peter||Hurst, Robt.|
|Moore, Abraham||Mahon, hon. St.|
|Nugent, lord||Maberly, W. L.|
|O'Callaghan, J.||Ossulston, lord|
|Ord, Wm.||Plumer, W.|
|Palmer, col.||Russell, lord John|
|Palmer, C. F.||Warre, J. A.|