« ПредишнаНапред »
sented to be, or the imaginary para. pass sentence of death upon each indise which they ought not to be, the dividually, or upon the whole in the question remains still the same; and mass; and yet, he would ask, was he would therefore ask them, whe. there any one of the spectators, nay ther they had any right to continue was there any one of the criminals, on their statute books those laws who expected that sweeping conwhich were never executed at all? demnation would ever be execu
The right honourable gentleman had ted? If then the sentence of conforcibly urged, that the repeal of demnation had become a mere mockthese laws would destroy the appre. ery, he should advise them to make hension of death : he however differ. the theory and practice of the law ed widely from him in opinion, as the of England to coincide ; for if there House was not called to repeal the was any country where the law was terror of death, which was too firm. mildly administered towards crimily fixed in the human mind, but the nals, it was England ; and if there dead letter of the law, which was was any which was more disgraced no punishment at all. He had seen by sanguinary enactments than anexamples, in the course of his prac- other, it was likewise England. For tice, in which the prosecutor, the his own part he must declare, that witnesses, the judge, and the jury, if he had come into the House a had all joined in an amiable conspi- perfect stranger to the question, and racy to screen the delinquent; and had heard the member for Weytherefore, if it was the opinion of the mouth's assertion, that the investiHouse, that excess of severity did gation into the state of the gaols not prevent the commission of crime, would form sufficient employment he would ask, whether it was con- for one committee, his mind would sonant with the dignity of the House have been immediately made up to to let the question remain in doubt vote for his learned friend's motion. till another committee should have The object of that motion was to finished its sittings? The honourable make the House re-acknowledge the gentleman then proceeded to argue, principle, that excess of severity did that as the grand object of punish- not prevent the commission of crime; ment was example, the penal laws he iherefore hoped, that when the ought to form a grand moral code, House considered the importance of and that every conviction ought to the subject, it would not vote for the be a lesson of instruction to those previous question. who witnessed it; whereas, in 99 Sir James Mackintosh replied at cases out of 100, the sentence which some length, in the course of which the judge passed upon the criminal he stated, that, if he were but to was a mockery of law, was a mockery read the names of his committee, it of religion, was a mockery of all would be admitted that it was as fair the best feelings of human nature. a selection of all parties and denoHe would beg the House to figure minations as could be made. The to themselves what he and many following are the names of the memother individuals in it must have bers proposed : Mr Bathurst, Mr frequently seen-a long line of 30 Scarlett, the Attorney-General, the or 40 criminals brought up at the Solicitor General, Mr Wilberforce, end of an assize to receive sentence Lord Nugent, Mr Abercromby, of condemnation : the judge might Hon. G. J. Vernon, Mr Alderman Wood, Mr Finlay, Mr Buxton, Mr from sources to which perhaps no Brougham, Mr Bennet, Mr Cour- former committee had applied. This tenay, Mr Wynn, Mr Macdonald, was the first attempt ever made, to Dr Phillimore, Mr Lyttelton, Lord ascertain, by direct evidence, wheAlthorp, and Mr Howorth.
ther those general reasonings, which The House then divided : For the had been entertained with respect motion 147 : against it 128: majo- to the Criminal Laws, were to be rity against Ministers, 19. The re- held as resting on such evidence, or sult was received with successive
on an appeal merely to those feelcheers.
ings which human nature has im. On the 6th of July, Sir James planted in our breasts. The ex. Mackintosh presented the Report aminations of evidence had occuof the Committee on the Criminal pied so much of the committee's Laws, and moved that it be laid on time, that the report was certainly the table, The honourable and not so complete as they wished to learned gentleman, after expressing have made it. It was full upon some, the wish of the committee, that in but not so upon other parts of the the ensuing session they might have subject; but upon those latter ones leave to sit again, remarked, that they had reason to expect more full if the House considered what was and detailed evidence. The honourthe nature of their proceedings, able gentleman then proceeded to they would see they were such as state more particularly the pature of rendered it impossible for them to the report, in which we are saved make their report till this late the trouble of following him, by reperiod of the session. In the ferring to that interesting and imcourse of the two or three months portant document in the Appendix during which the committee had to this volume. After the learned pursued their labours, it had been gentleman had concluded, the retheir object to collect evidence from port was laid upon the table, and or• those classes of persons whence it dered to be printed. was most likely to be collected ;
for and against the Catholic Claims.- Mr Grattan's motion for the appointment of a Committee.-Resolutions to the same effect submitted by the Earl of Donoughmore.-Bill for abrogating the 25th and 30th of Charles II lost on the second reading.
The Catholics seem this session to the House of Lords by the Marquis have calculated on making a strong of Downshire, who, however, from impression on Parliament and the the immense number of anti-Cathocountry in their favour, by the nu- lic petitions which flowed in from merous petitions which they had all quarters, was compelled to admit, the dexterity to get up, in various that these were not to be held as ex. quarters, praying for their relief pressing the sentiments of the great from certain civil disabilities under body of Irish Protestants, who were which they still laboured. The first well known to be hostile to the, of these, in the order of time, was cause of emancipation. We should a petition from the English Catho- have thought it strange, indeed, had lics, signed, among others, by eleven the case been otherwise. As frePeers and thirteen Baronets; at the quent allusion will be made, in the head of the former of whom was course of this chapter, to the state the Duke of Norfolk, hereditary of public feeling on this great quesEarl Marshallof the kingdom : it was tion, it is not necessary to be more presented to the House of Com- particular at present.
on the 14th of March, by The notice of these petitions leads Lord Nugent, who availed himself us at once in medias res, namely, Mr of the opportunity to harangue, at Grattan's motion for a Committee of considerable length, in favour of the whole House, to consider the what has been absurdly called Ca- state of the laws relating to the tholic Emancipation. On the 22d, Roman Catholics of this kingdom, two other petitions, of a similar na- and also the oaths and declarations ture, and the more remarkable, as required to be taken by them in the one emanated from a few Protes- order to the enjoyment of civil offitants of the city of Dublin, and the ces, and the exercise of civil func
other from certain Protestant nobi- tions; and to report how far it may ·lity, gentry, freeholders, &c. resi. be'expedient to alter, or amend these
dent in Ireland, were presented to laws. This motion, which was made
made on the 3d of May, was intro- tence rather than passed a law. duced by a speech, which, it is but That it had a right to impose it, he justice to say, displayed great know did not deny ; but it was bound in ledge of the subject, conjoined with justice, as an act of positive duty, to a good deal of that earnest and prove the delinquency before it brilliant eloquence for which the called upon the Catholics to esta. honourable mover has long been dis- blish their innocence; before it tinguished. Mr Grattan began by passed the sentence, it was bound to expressing his ardent hope that the procure a conviction. The petie prayer of the petitions which had tioners submitted, with respectful been laid on the table would ulti. firmness, that they had a commonmately be granted, and that, by law right of eligibility to Parliament their success, the House would con- and to office; from this right they tribute to strengthen the Protestant were excluded, and the causes of establishment, to support the Pro. disqualification were of three kinds: testant church as founded upon the 1. The combination of the Catholics. Act of Settlement, and to continue 2. The danger of a Pretender
. the Protestant Succession to the 3. The power of the Pope. He (Mr Crown. By the intimate union, the Grattan) insisted, that not only all identification of the people, which these causes had ceased, but the must be the natural result, two con- consequences annexed to them were sequences would inevitably follow;
more ; even the oppositions theone general tranquillity, the other founded upon them were destroyed augmented force to the empire. It and annihilated. The Roman Ca. was his most anxious desire, that the tholics did not, and could not deny two religions, bearing to each other the power of Parliament to disquali. the strongest similitude—having the fy; it had long exercised the right of same hope, the same Redeemer, the disqualifications for the preservation same gospel, the same God, and, in of its own purity; certain placemen fact, resembling in nearly all re- and pensioners were disqualified, spects but forms and sacraments— and filly. But if the House deprived should be united under the same Catholics of other privileges, there roof, and that roof the British Em. was one with which it could not pire; that the professsor of each think of interfering—the privilege of should have liberty to worship their religion : that was not only the pri. common God according to their vilege of the human creature, but consciences, according to their dif- the prerogative of the people; there ferent modes and ceremonies, with
was no power on earth that ought all the uncontrolled varieties be- here to interpose; the King, who longing to them, but with one indis should interpose between the Crea. soluble bond of union and concord tor and the creature, erected himself -attachment to the constitution un- into an authority greater than that der which so many blessings were of the Almighty: he had, and could enjoyed. If the incapacities com- have, no credentials from man: he plained of were repealed, it was the had, and could have, no credentials grant of no favour, the concession from God. Here it was that all men of no boon; it was the restoration were, and ought to be, equally free. of a right, a mere absolute legal Gentlemen were too far advanced in right. If the House continued the knowledge to doubt it; and on this disqualifications, it imposed a sen. account, the opponents of the Ca
holics said, that it was not against the blessings they had conquer-
giance. Še would put that question of a freeman. 'Under such circum-
what occurred between him and the city, was not evidence of perfidy, or