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"The Prince Regent has likewise deemed it incumbent upon him to lose no time in entering into communications with his Majesty's allies for the purpose of forming such a concert as may most effectually provide for the general and permanent security of Europe.
"And his Royal Highness confidently relies on the support of the House of Commons in all measures which may be necessary for the accomplishment of this important object."
The Message was ordered to be taken into consideration to-morrow.-After some time had elapsed,
Mr. Whitbread rose and observed, that had he been present at the time the Message was presented (which, by the way, was brought forward at a much more early period than public business was usually expected), he should have ob. jected to the motion fixing the consideration of it for to-morrow. Upon a question of such magnitude and importance, more time ought, in his opinion, to be afforded, in order to prepare the House for its consideration, especially where the object of the Message was not clearly expressed,-where, in fact, it was couched in such equivocal, such indefinite terms, that it was difficult to understand the
views of those with whom it originated. Besides, as the debate upon such a subject was likely to be long, while the subject itself naturally called for some previous examination, he should rather have thought that it would be more convenient, and proper to appoint Monday than tomorrow. On these grounds he should to-morrow move a postponement of the discussion until Monday. But preliminary to that discussion, he had two questions to put to the noble lord: first, Whether it was true, as had been promulgated from a sort of half authority, that a secret understanding had been entered into, or a secret article concluded, between all the parties to the Treaty of Paris (excepting France, of course), pledg ing those powers to maintain the House of Bourbon upon the throne of France ? and secondly, Whether the noble lord would think it consistent with his duty to communicate the terms of the treaty proposed at Chatillon, upon which the allies were then willing to conclude peace with France? If the noble lord should not be disposed to accede to this communication, it would be for the House to decide whe ther it would not be expedient to demand such communication, which he (Mr. W.) thought highly material to the due consideration of the subject referred to in the Regent's Message.
Lord Castlereagh said, that as to the first observation of the hon. gentleman, he did not present his Royal Highness's Message till half past four o'clock, which, from his previous intimation, he could not deem as too early an hour for the introduction of such a subject. Then, as to the day fixed for the consideration of the Message, he was rather surprised at the hon. gentleman's observation, because it would be recollected that, on a former day, he distinctly stated his purpose of proposing such an arrangement in describing the course of business for the week, and with a view to this arrangement he moved the postponement of the American question from this day to Tuesday, in order, as the Message was meant to be considered on Friday, that the House might not be occupied by debate on two successive days. But, independently of this consideration, it would be quite inconsistent with the usual practice of Parliament to postpone the consideration of a Message from the Throne: an early consideration was, indeed, due in deference to the Throne, and was there
fore never delayed. With respect to the hon. gentleman's questions: first, No secret article, understanding, or engagement of the nature alluded to by the hon. gentleman had ever existed between the allies; and as to the second question, he apprehended that the House would not be disposed to delay the consideration of the Prince Regent's Message, or to postpone the expression of its opinion upon the present exigency, until all the papers connected with the negociations at Chatillon should be laid on the table, and until the hon. gentleman should have an opportunity of considering these papers. Upon these grounds, he trusted the House would not feel it necessary to revise its decision for taking the Message into consideration to-morrow.
upon this subject for Monday, he had little doubt that, from the length to which such debates usually extended, it would become necessary for convenience to adjourn the discussion from to-morrow to Monday.
Lord Castlereagh said, that when the House came to the discussion he would give such explanation respecting the propositions at Chatillon as was proper, or as had any connexion with the subject of the Prince Regent's Message. With respect to the presentation of this Message, it was to be considered that the Lords did not meet until Wednesday, and that some previous intimation was due to that House, as to the intention to make a communication of this nature, which was usually presented to both ouses at the same time. Now as to questions generally, he felt it necessary to observe, that it would be well if gentlemen proposing to put any questions, would either previously apprize ministers of their intention, or else that those gentlemen should wait until the ministers were in their places.
Mr. Whitbread. What then were we to do, when the noble lord was at Vienna?
Mr. Whitbread expressed himself particularly glad to hear that no such secret article or understanding existed, as that to which he referred. But as to the treaty proposed at Chatillon, he thought it material that the House should have some information upon that subject, before it entered into the consideration of the Regent's Message. It was a mistake to suppose that he required the production Mr. Ponsonby began by declaring, that of all the papers connected with the nego- he was not at all aware that the Prince ciations at Chatillon. A short extract Regent's Message would have been prewould be quite sufficient, describing the sented so early, or he should have been terms upon which the allies were at that in his place sooner. But he hoped that time willing to conclude peace with the House would, upon the subject of that France; and without such a communication Message, allow him to trespass on its he could not think the House prepared to indulgence for a few moments, although discuss the subject of the Message. The there was no motion under consideration. delay of a single day with a view to The Message, he observed, was composed obtain and to consider such an important of two parts:-first, his Royal Highness fact, he could not suppose in any degree told the House that he was preparing to disrespectful to his Royal Highness, or augment our forces by sea and land, in inconsistent with the deference which that consequence of the recent House owed to a communication from the France; and, secondly, his Royal HighThrone. The House had, indeed, beenness stated, that he would act in concert led to expect, from the intimation of the with our allies. In thus proceeding, his Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the Royal Highness had, in his opinion, been Message would have been brought down advised to do that which was wise and on Wednesday, and thus one intervening proper; for it was wise in his Royal Highday would have been allowed for its con ness to have the country in a state of ade sideration, before the House would be quate preparation for any emergency, and called upon to decide; but the noble lord proper to preserve an intimate commu. from his superior knowledge of tactics nication and concert with his allies. But thought proper to postpone the presenta- beyond those two points he did not wish tion of the Message until this day, thus to express any opinion, nor did he think precluding the possibility of due consider the House ripe at present to give any ation. The hon. gentleman disclaimed farther decision. As to the use to be any intention of disrespect to his Royal made of the force which his Royal HighHighness in thus pressing for some delay; ness was preparing, that would remain for adding, that although he had no hope of consideration; but upon the two points to persuading the House to change the order which he had referred, he, however others
might differ from him, was ready to say that his Royal Highness had been rightly advised. Beyond those points, however, he was not prepared to go. He would not enter into any premature discussion. He was neither prepared to say that his Royal Highness and his allies should plunge into a state of war, nor that security was to be found in a state of peace. He need not say that his wish was that the latter should be found attainable, but he felt it impossible at present to offer any opinion apon those points. He could, however, readily say, that his disposition was to vote for a suitable Address in answer to the Prince Regent's Message, provided that Address contained nothing to pledge his future conduct. From the full declaration of his opinion, when adequately informed, he should never be found to shrink; but he would never declare premature opinions, or engage in premature discussions. Therefore, he would abstain from such opinions and discussions in this instance. He would be glad to vote for the Address of to-morrow, and he hoped that but a short discussion would take place upon it. In his judgment, it was decidedly wise to consider and provide against any new difficulties or dangers likely to arise out of the present state and prospects of France; and therefore he highly approved of the preparation which the Regent's Message announced; but as to the use which Government might ultimately make of that preparation he should not hold himself bound to support it by any vote which he was at present disposed to give. He therefore wished the Address of to-morrow might be so drawn up as to meet his views. The right hon. gentleman concluded with expressing his anxious hope that it might not be found inconsistenced to be pillored for a libel of a politent with the safety of Europe to preserve tical description-and in what manner was a state of peace, and to avoid the calami- that punishment executed? Why, when ties of war. he arrived at the pillory he mounted it in full dress, attended by a servant in livery, who held an umbrella over his head; and the under-sheriff, who participated in the popular feeling, instead of calling upon him, as usual, to place his head in the pillory, was satisfied to let him simply rest his hands on the machine, and in that way he underwent his sentence. Then again, in the case of Daniel Isaac Eaton, who two years back was pillored for a religious libel, this man, instead of being regarded, as might have been expected, with indig nation, was treated with respect, and viewed (2A).
PILLORY PUNISHMENT ABOLITION BILL.] Mr. M. A. Taylor rose, in pursuance of his notice, to move for leave to bring in a Bill for the Abolition of the punishment of the Pillory. He did not conceive it necessary, in introducing this motion, to enter into any discussion of the origin of crimes and punishments. The authors who had written upon this subject were already in the hands of most of the members of that House; it would be sufficient for him, therefore, to make a few general observations upon the legitimate objects of punishments, as the ground upon which his motion was founded. The first end of punishment was the reformation of the offender; and the next was, when the crime committed was of so deep a die as not to admit of a hope of amendment, to punish the criminal by death; and at the same time, by the severity of his punishment, to afford an example to deter others from the commission of similar offences. With this view of the subject, he was at a loss to imagine under what head to class the punishment of pillory. It could not be called a reforming punishment, because it rather tended to deaden the sense of shame than to have any other effect. Besides, it appeared to him as contrary to law, because the culprit was left to meet the fury of the populace. It was not altended with any good to the spectator, because it only gave rise to the assemblage of a tumultuous rabble, who either contravened the sentence of the Court by exalting the criminal, or violated the law by an outrageous attack upon him. It was therefore evidently a punishment of a very unequal nature. As illustrative of this remark, he begged to cite a few cases. In the year 1759, doctor Shebbeare was sen
Lord Castlereagh said, that without anticipating the discussion of to-morrow, he could assure the right hon. gentleman that it was not proposed by the Address in contemplation to pledge his opinion, or that of the House, as to the future conduct of his Majesty's government. With respect to that conduct, or the use that might be made of the force in preparation, and whether the ultimate end should be war or peace, must depend upon the issue of circumstances to be determined on their own merits. (VOL. XXX.)
with silent pity. There were other cases, however, in which a different course was pursued. He alluded particularly to the case of four men who were pillored in four different parts of the metropolis, for conspiring to take a man's life away upon a charge of robbery, for the sake of the reward. He did not mean to say, that if the law directed such offenders to be punished by death, that they did not deserve it; but unless the law did direct such a sentence, he thought they ought not to be exposed to the risk of that fate-one of these men was actually killed, while the other three escaped with difficulty. This was a species of violence which, he thought, ought to be avoided. There was another case, where the caprice of the public on such occasions was strongly demonstrated. Two men were pillored at Brentford, one for compromising a Qui Tam action, and the other for a crime of a detestable nature, not less atrocious; and yet such was the indignation felt towards the informer, that he was nearly killed, while his companion in suffering escaped unhurt. The punishment, he insisted, was unequal to a man in the higher walks of life, it was worse than death: it drove him from society, and would not suffer him to return to respectability; while, to a more hardened offender, it could not be an object of much terror, and it could not affect his family or his prospects in the same degree. To show the severity with which legal punishments pressed upon persons in the higher walks of life, he adverted to the case of Dr. Dodd, who had been justly sentenced to die for forgery; a crime, with respect to which the law could permit no variation in the sentence. Before he received sentence of death, Dr. Dodd addressed the Court, and set forth the circumstances of his former life. He stated, that many who had been among his hearers had become better men from hearing him in the pulpit, that he had thus been the means of rescuing others from vice, and he added these words, "Condescend to reflect, my lord, if these considerations aggravate my offence, how much they must imbitter my punishment." The hon. gentleman concluded with saying, that it was grating to his feelings to leave such a punishment as that of the pillory in the hands of a court, who might treat the admirable author of Junius, if he were discovered, in the same manner as the most atrocious criminal. The punishment of the pillory was the remnant of a barbarous
age, and the cruel instrument of Starchamber authority. He then moved and obtained leave to bring in a bill "to abolish the punishment of the pillory.”
FOREIGN WINE BILL.] The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that in consequence of a communication which he had had from the Portuguese ambassador, respect ing a representation to his Court, calculated to obviate the necessity of this measure, he should press it no farther. Therefore the right hon. gentleman moved the third reading of the Bill this day six months. Agreed to.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
Friday, April 7.
ADDRESS ON THE PRINCE REGENT' MESSAGE Respecting THE EVENTS IN FRANCE.] The Marquis of Lansdowne wished, before the order of the day was read, that the noble lord opposite, or some other of the Prince Regent's ministers, would give some explanation on a subject nearly connected with it: he alluded to the alleged detention of French ships by our cruisers. There were two questions which required an answer: first, whether any ships had been so detained? second, whether, if they had been so detained, the detention was authorized by Government?
Viscount Melville replied, that the detention had occurred in only one or two instances; and certainly they had not been authorized by the Government.
The order of the day for the consideration of the Prince Regent's Message being read,
The Earl of Liverpool rose. Approving as he did of the answer given by his noble friend to the questions which had been put to him, he had nothing farther to say upon that subject, and he therefore would now proceed to call their lordships attention to the Message which he had last night the honour to deliver to their lordships from his royal highness the Prince Regent; and though he did not anticipate much opposition to the Address which he intended to propose, yet he felt it his duty, considering the nature of the crisis, and of the events which had lately taken place, to make some few observations: but a desire always to spare the time of their lordships as much as possible, and a desire likewise to abstain from all discussion of topics on which considerable differences of opinion might be entertained, would
induce him to keep clear, as far as he could, of every point not necessarily connected with his motion. He was not one of those who expected, that after the changes which had taken place in France during the last twenty-five years, and the moral convulsion which had agitated that and other countries of Europe, affairs would settle in a permanent state of repose and security, without any danger of a revulsion, against which it was wise to guard by prudent measures of precaution: but he admitted at the same time, that none of them had in contemplation the events which had happened in March last, or that so sudden and entire a change should have been effected in so short a time without a struggle. In looking at the Treaty of Paris, to which he must now call their lordships attention, there was one circumstance which could not fail to strike every one who considered the time and state of things under which it was concluded-he alluded to the remarkable liberality of the conduct of the Allies on that occasion. He could not look at that circumstance, even now with regret, because no one could contemplate the power, the extent, and population of France, and not feel that it would have been unwise to have exacted from that people any thing which could reasonably humble them in their own estimation. If advantage had been taken of the situation in which the Allies then stood, to demand any thing which might be dishonourable for France to grant, the Allies were aware, that by that course they would have been sowing the seeds of future wars, that the first opportunity would perhaps be taken to infringe the Treaty, and that its nature might furnish some excuse, though not a just ground for the infraction. It was, therefore, the policy of the Allies to act with a wise liberality. Perhaps there were some concessions with respect to which there might be a doubt whether they were necessary or advisable: but this, at least, was clear,-that the character
tainbleau, and to the circumstances under which it was concluded; and he was the more desirous to do so, because he believed that some misapprehension had prevailed on that subject. The part which this country had taken in that Treaty, rendered it necessary to say something on that point. Whatever might have been the wish of the Government of this country as to the matters which formed the subject of that Treaty, there was, in truth, no alternative for them. They were obliged to give a qualified assent to it: but in justification of the Sovereigns, the circumstances under which that Treaty was made ought to be considered in all their bearings. These circumstances were very different from what they were supposed by many persons to have been. When in March last year the Allies advanced to Paris, a declaration was issued by the Emperor of Russia and King of Prussia, that they would not treat with the person then at the head of the French government. After the attack upon the French troops near Paris, and the entrance of the Allies into that city, a revolution took place: the Conservative Senate was assembled, and a provisional government appointed to negociate with the Allies. Under these circumstances it was proposed to grant a place of retreat for the person who was then ruler of France, and it was represented in support of this proposition, that it afforded the only means of avoiding a civil war in France, and of bringing over the marshals, who probably would not accede to the new arrangement unless that point were secured. At that time the only, marshal who had acceded to the new order of things was Marmont. Besides the consideration of the state of the provisional government, it was to be recollected that Buonaparté himself was at the head of 30,000 men; that there was an army of 50,000 men in the south, under the command of marshal Soult, whom there was no reason for supposing to be unfaithful to Buonaparté; and there was also in Italy a
of the Treaty was, under the circum-large army, much superior, taking into stances, that of an arrangement highly consideration its appointments, to that honourable to France. It was a treaty opposed to it, which there could be no with which the people of that country had doubt would be faithful to him. In addievery reason to be satisfied-one which tion to this, all the fortified places in had been studiously rendered consistent France, Holland, and on the Rhine, were with every feeling which they could justly nominally subject to his authority-noentertain as Frenchmen and good subjects. minally, he said, because it was impossible Such being the general nature of that to know what effect the appointment of Treaty, he was desirous also to call their the provisional government might have lordships attention to the Treaty of Fon- had upon the garrisons. With the know