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ing would have disposed them to rise be understood to decide, that, under all against Buonaparté; but he thought it was the circumstances of the case, peace would pretty strongly shewn in their not rising be preferable to war. He was not prefor him. Every artifice had been resorted pared to come to such a decision. He to by Buonaparté to excite a sirong feel- was not for entering into an unnecessary ing against the Allies, in order to make war, nor was he willing to repose on a the war national, and had totally failed. hollow and insecure peace. In the events Such being the feeling last year, there which had taken place he could see justimust be strong circumstances that would fiable cause of war. This he thought beconvince him, that it was wholly extin-yond all doubt. The only question to be guished in the present, and that a state of considered was one of very great importthings favourable to their wishes, should ance the expediency of acting upon that have disposed them to turn from the Go- cause of war. He had no difficulty whatvernment to whom they owed the advan- ever in voting for the Address. tageous change which had been effected, to him who had been the object of their hate. This to him would be miraculous. That which had struck him most in the course of the last year, was the want of energy which appeared in the French character. To him their spirits seemed to have been quite worn out. They seemed to wish for peace; and hoping this would be the result of the invasion of their country, they did not care to oppose it. From what he had observed of the French character at that time, he was not surprised, when Buonaparté appeared among them on a sudden like an apparition, that he should have been able to advance without opposition from the people. The soldiers had certainly always been for him; but that no opposition had been given to him, did not prove to his mind that the great body of the people were indifferent to the change which had taken place, and still less that they were favourably disposed to him.
Mr. Plunkett said, he should have thought, that on the subject of the proposed Address, there would have been but one opinion in the country-that at a crisis so important the hands of Government ought to be strengthened, and enabled to take such measures, in concert with their Allies, as circumstances should require. To be Julled into security by any good acts which Buonaparté might perform at such a time, would be to be greatly wanting to ourselves. The Amendment contained no assertion which was not in itself perfectly true and just; but, unseasonably introduced, it would by implication throw a censure on ministers which was not true, and unjust. The Amendment, if adopted, would, by implication accuse the Government of wishing to involve the nation in an unjust and unnecessary war. If the House were to assent to the proposition of the hon. gentleman, they would indirectly
Lord Castlereagh said, that what had fallen from the right hon. gentleman who had just sat down, had relieved him from the necessity of stating much of what he had it in contemplation to offer on the subject of the Amendment which had been moved to the Address. From what that right hon. gentleman had said, the House would feel that nothing could be more cruel than to bring forward as an amendment certain truisms, which went by implication to impute to ministers a design to commence a war which was not warranted by justice, necessity, and good faith to his Majesty's Allies. He looked upon this question, as the right hon. gentleman did, as one entitled to the gravest consideration, and as being one of the most important and momentous on which any government had ever been called upon to decide. It was for the Government of this country to consider whether the interests of Europe called upon them, in concert with their Allies, to prefer a state of war or of armed defence. In moving the Address, and stating the two alternatives, he had said nothing with a view to bind the House to one of them more than to the other. If the hon. gentleman who had moved the Amendment, or those gentlemen who bad supported it, meant to declare that ministers ought to be bound to one of them, they owed it to the country and themselves not to endeavour to effect their object, by moving a string of truisms to bind down the Government by implication, but to embody their sentiments in a specific resolution. The Government ought not to be crippled in its negociations with friendly Powers, and prejudiced in its transactions with that country most concerned in the result of the present state of things, by restrictions introduced by a side wind; the necessity for which those who brought them forward were not prepared openly to declare.
With respect to what had been said by | could not have been a party at the time it the hon. gentleman on the subject of the appeared; but he did not hesitate to upnegociations at Chatillon, he had to answer, hold and justify it, though, from the that because terms had then been offered circumstances under which it was issued, to Buonaparié, accepted, and departed and the changes that had since taken from by him before they could be carried place, which at that period were not into execution, it did not follow, that if, known, that Declaration was not to be conon a future occasion, he, in his weakness, sidered as a declaration of war. Had it should be disposed to accept of those been received in that light, it would have terms, that they were to be conceded to become the duty of ministers to issue lethim. Nor ought the Allies to be in- ters of marque and reprisal immediately. fluenced at such a time by his publishing He agreed with his right hon. friend, that decrees, conformable to the line of policy the great names affixed to the Declaration which they had adopted, and in favour of of the Allies, furnished the best refutation that to which he had been the greatest of the tortured meanings which had been enemy before. On the subject of the attached to it. They were justified, howSlave Trade, the noble lord took occasion ever, in holding Buonaparté out as an obto observe, that the favour which Buona-ject of terror, and in endeavouring, by all parté had done the cause of humanity, was legitimate means, to destroy and extinguish not quite so great as the hon. member his power. Statements had been made seemed to imagine, as he had always been within those walls, respecting persons in the most declared enemy to the abolition, friendship with this country, which were nor was he now to be confided in. He re- more likely to expose the parties to assassipeated that it by no means followed, that nation, than any thing contained in the the terms formerly offered to Buonaparté paper which had been so much animadin concert with the Allies, ought now verted upon. When a hope was expressed to be submitted to him. He did not that this country and its Allies would not assert that this would not be done, but he engage in a war of aggression, he wished contended it did not necessarily follow to guard the councils of the Allies from that it should. This the Allies had for- such an imputation, if they should proceed merly felt, before they had reached Paris. to repel an aggression which had been When Buonaparté perceived they were already committed. We had a full, suffi advancing in that direction, he had offered cient, and moral justification in commento accept of those terms from which he cing war against Napoleon, if we considered had previously withdrawn himself, and it wise and right to do so. The Govern was answered, that the time for treating ment would act in concert with the Allies; with him on those conditions was then and his Majesty's ministers, he contended, gone by; and his having departed from were entitled to claim that their responsi them once, was considered a sufficient bility should not be broken in upon by the reason for not acceding to his wishes at a truisms of the honourable gentleman. subsequent period, Would it be maintained, that under any circumstances an individual who had foiled them so often, was still entitled to the terms they formerly offered him? and while he came unblushingly forward, having deceived them once more, was he still to be considered in the same point of view as formerly? It might be thought that an armed peace would be preferable to a state of war, but the danger ought fairly to be looked at: and, knowing that good faith was opposite to the system of the party to be treated with, knowing that the rule of his conduct was self-interest, regardless of every other consideration, whatever decision they came to, must rest on the principle of power, and not on that of reliance on the man. To the Declaration which had been published, the Government of this country
Mr. Ponsonby shortly gave his reasons for not voting for the Amendment. The speech of the noble lord he thought had been much over-stated. He had been represented to have spoken as if he was resolved on immediate war, if he could but persuade the Allies to take part in it. He understood no such statement to have been made. He wished to ask the noble lord if he had said this? [A cry from the Opposition of " the question is not answered."]
Lord Castlereagh said, that on this subject he had given no opinion.
Mr. Ponsonby said, he was right, then, in what he had said. The speech of the noble lord had not been fairly described. If it should hereafter appear that Govern ment unnecessarily engaged in war, none of his friends would surpass him in zeal to heap censures on their conduct. The
Earl Grey said, that another transaction referred to in the Papers on the table, appeared to him to require further explanation from his Majesty's Government: he meant with respect to Genoa, and he would take an opportunity of moving for such information on Wednesday, if there should be time enough to enter upon the subject after the motion of the noble marquis should be disposed of.
ESCAPE OF BUONAPARTE FROM ELBA.] Marquis Wellesley observed, that the Papers on the table did not appear to him to contain sufficient information to satisfy the judgment of the House; yet, extraordinary as was the original rise, the rapid fall, and the sudden resurrection of the present ruler of France, these Papers contained passages more likely to attract the attention of history, than any part of his career. To these passages, the noble marquis said it was his intention to call the attention of their lordships. He should mention Wednesday, if that were not deemed an inconvenient day; and on that occasion also he would move for such additional information as he thought necessary; adding, that he should feel it his duty to animadvert upon the general aspect of the transaction referred to-upon its immediate results, and probable consequences.
The Earl of Liverpool expressed his readiness, as he had communicated to the noble earl, to produce any information which he was capable of affording, consistently with his view of public duty; and he was equally ready to comply with the wishes of the noble marquis if, as a matter of convenience, he would inform him what information or papers he required.
Marquis Wellesley said, that he had already communicated to the noble earl the Papers which he at present had in view and if any farther should occur to him before Wednesday, he would let the noble earl know it.
The Marquis of Douglas requested to know from the noble earl, whether he had any thing farther to lay before the House with respect to the communications of lord William Bentinck with certain Italian officers, and also with regard to certain cessions to Austria in the North of Italy?
The Earl of Liverpool replied, that he had already laid on the table all the Papers with respect to Italy, of which the Prince Regent had ordered the production; but it was competent to the noble lord to move for any farther information he de
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Monday, April 10.
PETITION OF MR. LATHROP MURRAY.] Sir Samuel Romilly said, that the Secretary of State having been so obliging as to inform him, that the case of Lathrop Murray, which he had some time ago brought before the House, was not such as to call for the mercy of the Crown, he felt it his duty to present the Petition of which he had spoken when he bad first mentioned the business. He did not mean to blame the respectable Judge who had passed the sentence, nor did he mean to censure, the Secretary of State. He would state the case from the report of the short-hand writers. Mr. Murray, who was an officer and had served in Spain, was married in 1797, in Londonderry in Ireland, to a lady
of the name of Marshall. He was married | tioner was a legal one. He could state also, that some years ago certain very eminent civilians in that country were consulted respecting that marriage, all of whom declared that it was a legal one, and that no Ecclesiastical Court in Ireland would venture to set it aside. The question which the learned Judge who tried the case, had promised to reserve for the opinion of the Judges, was, not as to the legality of the first marriage, but whether, under the act of parliament, a single witness who was present at a marriage, together with the registry of it, were sufficient to establish its having taken place. Upon that point, however, he had no doubt; and the hon. and learned member then referred to a case in which lord Mansfield had decided, in opposition to sir William Blackstone, that the registry of a marriage alone was sufficient evidence to prove the marriage. The Solicitor General said, he had no doubt upon his mind, therefore, as to the legality of the conviction.
Sir S. Romilly admitted that bigamy was always a profanation of a sacred ceremony; but thought that the crime was much aggravated when it produced the misery and ruin of the second wife. If in a case that was not aggravated by this circumstance, the severest measure of punishment was inflicted, how would they deal with an aggravated case? In this instance, the petitioner, who was a gentleman by education and profession, was treated like a common felon, and had the severest punishment inflicted that it was possible to pronounce.
by a Dissenting minister. Dr. Black, the
The Solicitor General rose and said, that in his own opinion, and that of his learned friend the Attorney General, after having examined every act of parliament in Ireland respecting the validity of the marriage ceremony, the first marriage of the peti(VOL. XXX. )
Mr. Addington said, that the case had been most maturely and impartially considered by the noble Secretary of State. The law part of the case was submitted to the law officer, and the merits of the case referred to the respectable Judge who tried it.
The Petition of Robert William Feltham Lathrop Murray, late a captain in his Majesty's Royal Waggon Train, was then presented and read; stating, "That the petitioner has been prosecuted by a person named John Pickering for bigamy, for having, nearly twenty years ago, when only eighteen years of age, serving with his regiment in Ireland, been entrapped into a marriage ceremony with Alicia Marshall, a woman nearly twice his age, which ceremony was performed by a person named Robert Black, declaring himself to be a Dissenting preacher, never having been in any way ordained; and (2 H)
the petitioner, being a Protestant of the Established Church, and being educated at Westminster School and the University of Cambridge, and the ceremony itself, such as it was, being performed without banns or licence in a private room of the woman's house, no person being present but her own family, and with the total omission of all those forms and ceremonies by which the marriage contract is supposed to be rendered binding, more especially as the petitioner, being a minor entitled to considerable landed property in Shropshire on coming of age, and being then under the controul of guardians, was incapable of legally entering into a marriage contract; and that there was no proof whatever of the second marriage with one Catherine Clarke but the oath of the said Robert Black, the Irish Dissenting preacher, and John Reeves, the police clerk at Union Hall, who swore that the petitioner admitted there that he had married her the said Catherine Clarke ;-and also stating other particulars as set forth in his Petition, and complaining of the sentence passed upon him; and that the petitioner, having thus submitted his case to the House, which he is induced to do from the accumulated punishments he has already had inflicted on him, and from his apprehension of being transported with the commonest convicts to Botany Bay, a punishment worse to him than death itself, confidently relies on the justice of the House to afford him that relief which in its wisdom may appear meet."
Ordered to lie on the table..
which he spoke of the destruction of the independence of Saxony, whether with reference to the moderation with which he characterised the conduct of the Emperor of Russia, whether with reference to the utter contempt with which he treated the rights of all nations, or, whether with reference to the quality of the composition itself, was matchless. As a diplomatic production it absolutely stood without competition. "None but itself could be its parallel." He should be glad to know whether the ingenious paper to which he had alluded was authentic?
Lord Castlereagh observed, that really the nature of the hon. gentleman's questions, their number, and his mode of proposing them, were without parallel in the history of Parliament. This was not the time for justifying the transactions in which he had been recently engaged, but as for the letter which had been mentioned by the hon. gentleman, although inasmuch as it was garbled and was a translation of a translation, it was necessarily imperfect, yet he had no hesitation in saying that the general reasoning which it contained proceeded from him, and that notwithstanding the hon. gentleman's remarks, he was perfectly prepared to defend the soundness of the principle of that part of it which related to Saxony. With respect to the nature of the returns which had been made to the Address of the House, unquestionably they did not extend to subjects which subsequent negociations must determine. He had before apologized to the House for having been led by the hon. gentleman's breach of the rules which ought to be observed on these occasions, to commit a breach of them himself, by communicating to Parliament information on the point of Genoa, before the arrangements which had been discussed were actually carried into effect. But the hon. gentleman had taken advantage of garbled documents, to throw on the Government of this country, and on all the Sovereigns of Europe, so much unfounded calumny, that he (lord Castlereagh) was actually driven out of the ordinary path of parliamentary proceeding, for the purpose of defending the good faith of all the parties concerned. He trusted, however, that the abuse of the general rule would not henceforward be considered as the rule itself, and that the hon. gentleman would not suppose that because he had induced him to pervert the course in one instance, that he would do so in another. He had
CONGRESS AT VIENNA CONTINENTAL AFFAIRS. Mr. Whitbread, adverting to the papers which had been laid on the table in return to the Address of the House of March the 20th, for information relative to the progress of the Congress at Vienna, observed, that the communications which had been made were most meagre and insufficient. He could not but suppose that it was impossible but that in the course of the proceedings of Congress other transfers and annexations must have taken place, besides that of Genoa. Indeed, the noble lord had himself spoken, the other night, of the transfer of a part of Saxony, and had talked of the transfer of the whole of it, in a letter published in the Morning Chronicle of that day-a letter which, whether with reference to the tone assumed by the noble lord as the punisher of kings, whether with reference to the facility with