Page images

and did not think any gentleman compe- and justice to their country, by their content to form a judgment who had not read duct; but he took this matter up on the minutes of the trial. He had perused a footing very different from any consithem with infinite care and attention, deration which these topics involved. He and he was firmly persuaded that the did not think that the House of Commons unfortunate member did not act so much was bound by the proceedings of a courtfrom corrupt motives as from an error in martial : he did not think that they were judgment. The charge with respect to bound to enter into an examination of the the marching guineas, he considered not voluminous book then upon their table, to have been made out on the trial; for The object he had in view, was to prevent the men, when the troops marched to any member of that House from being Hounslow, were paid. Of 533 guineas, subjected to expulsion merely on the auhe had paid all away at Hounslow, except thority of a court-martial. If this was to 101; if peculation was his object, he be a reason for his expulsion, then there would certainly have kept the whole. In would be an extraordinary increase to November 1794, the officers had a meet the influence of the crown? Any mem. ing; they did not then attribute fraud to ber might be tried and broke by a courtthe unfortunate member ; they only came martial appointed by the crown, and then to a resolution, that the men were entitled some person in that House attached to a to their marching guineas, and ought to corrupt minister, might move for the exbe paid. With respect to the charge of pulsion of such a member, and upon the taking money for substitutes, it would be authority of this case, he must be expelled. found that he did not act through a This case, therefore, might form a very corrupt intention, but through motives of dangerous precedent. The hon. general humanity; for in three years not more had quoted no precedent where a member than three men were discharged, and two of that House had been expelled, because of the three were unfit for service. The he had been broke by a court-martial. He unfortunate member expended out of believed there was not such an instance. his own property, 400 guineas, for the He remembered, on the contrary, the benefit of the regiment; and it was not case of a noble lord who had been cen. likely that a man, who was liberal in such sured by a court-martial, and who after. large sums, should be guilty of a fraud to wards, so far from being expelled, was a obtain small ones. It might be said, that member of administration. This occurred the sentence of the court-martial preclud. during the American war. The sentence ed farther inquiry; but he, for one, could was ordered to be read to the army, as not be satisfied, except from an exami- this was to the militia. But was that sennation of the proceedings, and he hoped tence followed up by a vote of expulsion ? the House would not be convinced with Certainly not. And yet that was less. The hon. general had talked about charge of a much higher nature than the precedents; but he was sure he could charge now brought against the unfortuproduce no precedent in which the sen- nate member. Viewing the subject in tence of a court-martial had been made this light, he must vote for the amendthe foundation of an expulsion. It had ment. been said, that if full effect was not given Mr. Pitt said, that the proceedings of to the sentence of a court-martial, it might the court-martial afforded prima facie be productive of bad consequences to the evidence, which rendered the unfortunate discipline of the army; but if these sen- person, who was the object of them, an tences were carried to the extent now unfit member of that Housc. Two quesproposed, they might be productive of tions naturally offered themselves to his consequences much more serious; for consideration. First, whether the charges courts-martial, in the hands of a despotic proved by the decision of the court-marmonarch, would then become a very tial were such, as to make the unfortunate serious engine of oppression. With these object of them unworthy of a seat in parimpressions, he would move, “ That the liament? Second, Whether any plea debate be adjourned till this day three had been urged, to afford a presumption, months.”

that the decision was such as the House General Macleod said, he agreed that was not bound to regard ? He would the sentence of the court-martial, in this not say, that the decision of a court of case, was perfectly just, and that that law was such as to exact, in all cases, court had done honour to themselves, without previous examination, an implicit

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Yeas Mr. Tarleton

deference, because there might be in- | be, whether the facts, supposing them to
stances where strong proofs could be be truly found, would permit them to
brought against the validity of that de continue the high trust of a member of
cision; and this principle might apply parliament in the person who was the ob-
with much more propriety to military tri- ject of such a verdict.
bunals. But the question was, whether, The question being put, “That the de-
in the present case, such a counter state bate be adjourned till this day three
ment had been made to the sentence of months,” the House divided :
the court-martial, as would warrant the

House in not adhering to its decision. It

Mr. Wigley -
was true, the Journals of the House fur-

12 nished no precedent for the motion; but if the principle on which it was founded


General Smith was in itself just, it did not stand in need

Mr. Pierrepont jun.

:} 108 of any precedent. The House proceeded So it passed in the negative. Then the on the motion, not because the court said proposed question was, with leave of martial had found colonel Cawthorne ge- the House withdrawn. And it appearing nerally guilty of misconduct in a military to the House, that John Fenton Cawcapacity, but because they had found him thorne, esq. a member of this House, has guilty of charges which rendered him un- been found guilty, by a court-martial, of worthy of a seat in that House. To pre- divers charges, in respect of some of which vent the possibility of applying the pre- he is found guilty of having acted fraudusent motion as a precedent hereafter, that lently, and in a scandalous and infamous the House should generally proceed on manner, unbecoming the character of an the sentence of a court-martial, he would officer and a gentleman : resolved, “ That propose, that the specific motives on the said John Fenton Cawthorne esq. be which the court-martial had found the expelled this House." unfortunate person guilty, should be recorded on the Journals. Such a proceed- Debate on the Quakers Relief Bill.] ing would guard against the possibility of April 21. Mr. Serjeant Adair presented any inference being drawn, that the reso. a petition from the people called Quakers, lution of the House had been founded setting forth; merely on the sentence of the court- “ That the Petitioners think it right to martial.

represent to the House the suffering siGeneral Tarleton condemned the con- tuation to which they are subjected, both duct of Mr. Cawthorne, but doubted the in person and property, by the conscienpropriety of the House proceeding to tious scruple that it is well known they expel any one of its members, upon the entertain against the payment of Tythes evidence of any court whatever. He and other Ecclesiastical Demands: "That thought they could not regularly proceed the property, the domestic comfort, and to such a measure, without hearing evi. the personal liberty of the Petitioners, are dence of the guilt of the party, at the bar so liable to be affected and interrupted by of the House.

the prosecution of Claims upon them for Mr. Francis said, it appeared to him Tythes, &c. more especially in either the that the House, in the function and duty Ecclesiastical or Exchequer court, that which they were to exercise that night, they think they shall not be deemed did not assume, and could not hold, any importunate in referring their case to the appellant jurisdiction whatever from the House, seeing so long a time has elapsed sentence of a court-martial. It had no since the Petitioners have made any apauthority to revise the proceedings or to plication on the subject : That the Peticonfirm or 'reverse the sentence. The tioners cannot ascribe to the legislature a sole purpose for which, as he conceived, disposition to place them and their posthe proceedings were ordered to be laid terity in a state of suffering on account of on the table was, that the members might a religious scruple, which they can neither have the means of judging for the direc. evade or desert, without violating their intion of their own conduct on another tegrity; yet such is the effect of the law, as point, whether the sentence of the court. | is painfully manifested in sundry instances, martial, as it appeared on the face of the particularly in the deplorable case of proceedings, was or was not warranted ? seven of their brethren, now prisoners in The next question for the House would the gaol at York, and without any present prospect of release, though convicted of shall be issued against his effects, as in no crime, except it be a crime scrupu- other cases, until the demand shall have lously to adhere to what they conceive to been fully satisfied. The only beneficial be the plain precepts of Christ respecting effect of all this would be, that the plainthe ministry of the gospel : And therefore tiff who shall sue for and recover his earnestly requesting, that the House will tythes, shall not be at liberty to make his bestow a serious consideration on their election and imprison the defendant, while case, and grant such relief as may appear such defendant shall have goods enough proper."

to satisfy the demand, because in that Mr. Serjeant Adair said, he should be election consisted the hardship against content for the present with having the the Quaker ; for if he was imprisoned for petition laid upon the table. The nature it, he must either be confined for life, of the relief proposed, he would explain although he may have goods to pay, or on Monday.

do a deed which he thought against the

law of God, He had now stated all that April 26. Mr. Serjeant Adair called the Quakers wished to be offered on their the attention of the House to the nature part. There was, however, another subof the relief which he intended to move ject which he felt it his duty to state to for in behalf of the Quakers. He entered the House. This was the present restricinto a detail of his object in the present tion in taking the affirmation of Quakers. measure, and also into a history of acts of | By the law as it stands, they cannot be parliament as they had been made, from examined on their affirmation in any but the 7th and 8th of king William down-civil actions. He was not able to see the wards. By the religious scruples of the wisdom of the distinction. By taking Quakers, they could not make a volun- their affirmation in criminal cases, the tary payment of tythes; conceiving it to public would be benefited by their testibe contrary to the precepts of Holy Writ, mony. He had known some important and in consequence of these scruples they failures in the administration of justice in were subject to great inconveniencies. consequence of this restriction. He This circumstance had struck the legisla- should, therefore, propose that Quakers ture long ago, and therefore, an act had should be examined on their affirmation passed, whereby a justice of peace might in criminal cases, subject as they now make an order for the sale of the defend were in civil cases to all the consequences ant's goods who had been found to owe of perjury. He then moved, “That tythes, and, who being a Quaker, could not leave be given to bring in a bill for the make any voluntary payment; this ex- farther relief of the people called Quakers, tended, however, only to the sum of 101. as to the imprisonment of their persons, This act had been found, as far as it went, and for making their solemn affirmation to answer the purposes for which it was

evidence in criminal as well as civil cases.' intended. His intention was, to follow Mr. Wilberforce expressed his hearty up its principle, but to take off the limita- approbation of the principle of the bill. tion which confined it to 101. There Mr. Francis was as desirous as any man would, however, still remain a case, to to give every possible relief and protecwhich the remedy of the act he alluded tion to persons who were really and sinto did not apply, and that was when the cerely scrupulous, in a religious sense, title was in question. That he proposed about paying tythes. His doubt was, to be tried in a court of law, like other whether, in some cases, these scruples titles, and when the question of title shall might not be professed where they were have been settled, then the mode of ob- not seriously felt, for ostentation or for taining the dues on that title shall be sub- merit, in hopes to pass for victims or ject to the same summary jurisdiction, as martyrs with their sect; and then, geneif the title had never been in question. rally, whether it might not deserve conThis would produce the whole remedy sideration how far it might be safe for upon this branch of the case. He should the legislature to encourage the plea of propose farther to remedy another defect, religious scruples against obedience to with regard to the enforcing payment of the laws, how far that indulgent principle tythes, that where the party had not goods ought to be carried, and by what general sufficient in one county, that wherein he limits it ought to be confined in its apshall dwell, to pay all that should be due plication. With respect to the affirmafor litigating the issue, a sequestration tion of Quakers in criminal cases, un


doubtedly, the public ought to have the under a brit of excommunicato capiendo." benefit of their evidence.

The Speaker said, that as the proposed Mr. Pitt said, that he also should be clause was not connected with the title unwilling to give extraordinary indulgence of the bill, it could not be introduced to scruples that were not sincere, but without infringing the rules of the House. here there was no temptation for persons Sir W. Scott, the Master of the Rolls, and to pretend to scruples falsely; for by so Sir R. Sutton also opposed it as a violation doing they would be subject to much of the orders of the House, and contendmore rigour, with regard to tythes, than ed, that it was not right to suffer people to if they did not pretend to them.

set up religious scruples, as a pretext for Sir W. Dolben approved highly of the disobedience to the laws of the country. proposed regulations, and thought they In a regular way, they would not object would be equally beneficial to the Quakers to any relief the House would think proand those entitled to tythes.

per to grant. Mr. R. Smith withdrew Mr. Lechmere said, that the Quakers the clause, and the bill was passed.-On were a most orderly and quiet set of peo- the 15th, the Bill was read a first time in ple, and highly deserving any immunity the House of Lords. On the following that would render them comfortable. day, when the order for the second read.

Mr. Wigley believed the scruples of the ing of the Bill was read, the archbishop Quakers sincere, and expected the great of Canterbury said, that as the bill involvest advantages from the bill proposed. ed a question of right of very great im

The motion was agreed to nem. con. portance, and as it had been introduced and the bill was brought in on the fol. at this late period of the session, he would lowing day.

move, that it be read a second time on

that day three months. After a few May 10. On the order of the day for words from the duke of Norfolk, the bigoing into a Committee on the Bill, shop of Rochester, and the lord Chan

Mr. Francis said, it was a matter of cellor, the Mo on was agreed to. The fact, that the scruples of conscience stated Bill was consequently lost. to form the grounds of the necessity of this bill, did not proceed from the indivi- Debate in the Commons on the Bill for duals themselves, but from the operation granting Duties on Legacies of Personal of a higher power, which at the yearly Estates.] May 22. On the order of the meeting prescribed rules and orders in day, that the report on this Bill be now the manner of a government, and excom. taken into further consideration, municated the persons who did not obey Mr. Alderman Newnham said, he felt them. If such were the fact, he thought objections to this bill, which, to his mind, that dictatorial power ought to be check were insurmountable. First, he objected ed, and the persons inclined to obey the to the tax on account of the inquisitorial laws of their country protected.

part of it. By this bill, an exact account Mr. Serjeant Adair thought it would of a man's circumstances might become be difficult for the House to take cogni. the conversation and amusement of the zance of this objection, and dive into the loungers of a common coffee-house. For hearts of men for the causes and motives if government should not be satisfied with that regulated their opinions. Whatever the account given in by an executor, the scruples of the Quakers might be, there was to be an inquisitorial power, in they did not interfere with the rights of order to examine the whole of his acothers, and that he considered to be the counts. There were many circumstances necessary question.

which a man might fairly and prudently Mr. East objected to the bill, because wish to conceal, even from his partner in it gave a relief to Quakers from the pro- trade; but by this bill every thing was to cess of the Ecclesiastical court, which be exposed to the public at large. This was an indulgence not allowed to mem- would subject all descriptions, particularly bers of the church of England.

commercial men, to the most serious in

conveniencies. This bill was a tax on May 14. The bill being read a third the bounty of a man to a well-tried and time, Mr. Robert Smith proposed a clause approved friend or domestic, to the great by way of rider, “for liberating certain amount of 6 per cent. There was a dewomen, calling themselves Quakers, from scription of persons not acknowledged by the gaol of Nottingham, imprisoned there the law, for whom a man might, very [VOL. XXXII.]

[3 U]

properly, have a tender affection, who branch and gain upon another; he might would feel severely the effects of this bill: have a partner in the one case, and he he meant illegitimate children. The bill might be concerned alone in the other, stated what was to be done by those who and he might bequeath a legacy to the should take

upon themselves the burthen partner who had sustained this loss; thien of executors. None but an attorney there must be a deduction of 6 per cent. would be qualified to be an executor. out of such bequest. This was an evil The original plan, too, had been divided ; that was inseparable from the very nature the landed property into one bill the of the bill. Now he would ask, how was personal property into another. He it possible for a man to give an account wished them both to come on together, ad valorem of the profits of a trade comthat the House might see the extent to plicated with a thousand circumstances ? which this was to be carried. He be. And how was this account to be made believed that when the landed property to government without the whole of the bill should be brought forward, the oppo- circumstances of that trade being made sition to it would be so great, that the known to the public? It was well obminister would be compelled to abandon served, that a great hardship would be it. He would venture to foretel, that cast on illegitimate children.

How was when this bill came to be understood by this to be managed ? Was there to be the public, there would be a terrible out- an inquiry into the legality of the marcry against it. He would therefore move riage of the father, or the grandfather to leave out the word “now,” and at the Had government that power? If they end of the question to add the words had, what a scene of confusion and in“ upon this day four months."

tolerable vexation would follow from the Mr. Rashleigh said, that the exposure exercise of that power! If this bill was of property which would be consequent consented to, other taxes of the same upon this bill, would be highly prejudicial kind would be brought forward. Admit. to trade. Many traders of the best cha- ting the principle to be just, he could not racter and fairest intentions, extended see any good reason why it should not be their speculations to double or triple their extended.-He then took notice of procapital : and it might hurt their credit, if perty in the funds. There was, indeed, a the exact state of their property were solitary act which recognized the practice laid open to the world. He thought the of recurring to it as an object of taxation. bill would introduce much litigation. But he did not think that just ; for when

Mr. For said, he had considered the we funded a debt, we contracted with the bill from the very beginning to be a holder of it, that he should enjoy it withmeasure altogether impracticable in the out diminution by a tax while he lived, present state of the country. Every spe- and that he should bequeath it to his cies of commercial property must by the posterity.—He thought there was a great bill be laid hold of and exposed. The very deal of force in the objection of the wor. idea of making a man pay a profit to go thy magistrate about not bringing forward vernment for his property ad valorem, im- the other bill with regard to the tax on plied that the value of that property landed property. He saw no good reashould be ascertained. This must also son why they should be separated, but necessarily make public the value of all many why they should be kept together, the bequests in the kingdom. This as- and chiefly that the House might see the certainment of the value of every thing real extent of the plan. By applying it hereafter to be bequeathed, must neces- to landed property, the impracticability sarily depend upon a balance between of it would be more striking. He had debts and credits. Now, there must be many objections to the particular provi. cuses in which this system would be at- sions of the bill, but they were all as notended with great injustice. It was said, thing when compared to his objections to that as we cannot ascertain the value of a the general principle. The idea of an ad person's property, it should be taken ac- valorem estimate of taxation on a man's cording to the profits afterwards received. property was repugnant to sense and jus. Let the House consider the tendency of tice in any country, but particularly in

There must be thus an. such a country as ours, where it was imnually laid before parliament the whole possible to calculate the inconveniences state of our commercial prosperity and to which it would give birth. He was adversity. A man might lose up one confident that a sense of duty would

this system.

« PreviousContinue »