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tion from ourselves. We may, and we expect to be told, that we are deserving of censure for having now given publicity to a transaction, the principal agents of which are in their graves, and the particulars of which are only to be found amongst the musty records of the antiquary: we answer, that we pretend not to draw a portion of a picture, but the whole of it, the black shades of which will force tkemselves upon our attention, but to which we give no deeper colouring than is required to preserve the truth of the object. The facts of the case have slept, but they are not forgotten; nor can they be forgotten while the claims of justice are unsatisfied, and while atonement and reparation are withheld from the widows and orphans of the guillotined creditors.
Perhaps there never came into any Court a debt so,incurred, so unjustly opposed, or of so extraordinary a nature, both in the transaction that preceded, and in those that following it, in its whole history-its rise and progress, as well as its litigation. The British Princes, by their proceedings in the business, appear as if the law of England had no security over them; as if they could, at their pleasure, contract debts, or commit their names to paper, to bind themselves with every legal solemnity; and, then, in defiance of all law and justice, discharge them by a command to their own servant, to destroy what they had so signed. But the servant of the Prince so acting, was a high official functionary of the people, he was also their servant, and although he might not hesitate to compromise his character, as the servant of the Prince, he should have paused before he compromised it, as the servant of the people. · It should be here stated, out of a proper respect for the character of the Duke of Clarence, that he appears to have been drawn into these transactions, not from any very pressing pecuniary exigencies of his own, but from a laudable and generous disposition to assist his elder brothers in extricating them from their embarrassments, by offering himself as a collateral security for the due payment of the bonds. And this opinion is in a great measure confirmed by the circumstance, that when George III. was informed of the negotiations which were going on for the loan, he expressed the high sense of his indignation in no measured terms at the Duke of Clarence being drawn in to sign the bonds, and thereby rendering himself liable to the payment of an enormous sum of money, with all its accumulating interest, which might eventually reduce him to the condition of abject pauperism. The evil was, however, committed before the transaction became known to George III., and the only question now under consideration was the remedy to be applied, in order to avert the ruin which impended over the three elder branches of his family. A compromise was at first projected with all the bona fide holders of the bonds, and that the option should be given to them of (receiving at once half the amount which had been advanced in full liquidation of the obligations, or to receive the whole at such stated periods, and in such suros, as the finances of the borrowers could afford. It is most probable that the latter proposal would have been immediately accepted by the majority of the holders, who had now discovered that the security given was not so solid as had been represented; but the legal advisers of the crown again stepped in, and recommended a total denial of the validity of the bonds, and, consequently, of the responsibility of the grantors. In order, however, to try the latter question, an applicafion was made to the Court of Chancery by a Mr. Martignac one of the principal bondholders, who offered, as such, to verify the security, and the matter came on regularly to be heard by way of motion, when Sir Arthur Pigott, who was then Attorney-General to the Duchy of Cornwall, stated in answer, that he had never heard of the existence of such bonds, and that if such obligations had been contracted, the court must be aware of the difficulties, after the occurrences which had taken place in France and Holland, attending the identification of the bona fide holders, as well as the liability of the grantors, provided such securities should be discharged. The immediate inpression on his mind, said Sir Arthur, negatived the existence of such bonds, although he should feel it to be his duty to make the necessary inquiries in the proper
quarter, and mention the matter again in court, as soon as he had any communication to make.
On the other side, the applicant stated, that the bonds had not only existed, but were still in existence, and that those to which he was legally entitled were then in his possession, and that he appeared there in person to enforce his claim. The motion was then disposed of, with the understanding that Sir Arthur Pigott should mention it again at as early a day as possible. This, however, Sir Arthur neglected to do, and the court was again moved by the claimant, when it appeared, to the astonishment of all, that Sir Arthur had entirely forgotten the business. It was, however, finally agreed to confer at chambers on the subject, and the matter was no more heard of.
This conduct of Sir Arthur Pigott constitutes one of not the least extraordinary features of this singular transaction, and it goes a great way to prove to what shifts and expedients a lawyer can have recourse, in order to bolster up a rotten and indefensible cause. In the first place, with the most unblushing effrontery, he declared that he never heard of the existence of the bonds in question; and that he verily believed no such obligations ever were in existence. Can it for a moment be credited, that Sir Arthur Pigott. the legal advişer of the Prince of Wales, could enter the Court of Chancery, with the ignorance of a fact on his mind, which was then notorious, not only in this country, but in every part of the continent? The bonds in question were then floating in the money market as common as any other negotiable security. There was scarcely a broker on the Exchange, who had not some of them in his possession to dispose of; and it was well known, that secret agents were employed to depreciate their value, in order that they might be bought up at the lowest price ; and it was no later than the year 1829, that Mr. Charles, of Canterbury, had laid before him notorial copies of the whole arrangements, bonds, &c., verified in France by a French notary, upon which legal proceedings were threatened, but which were never carried into effect, on the ground, it is believed, of a compromise having been entered into with the holders.
It is not improbable that Sir Arthur Pigott was obliged to act up to the instructions given to bim, and that the part which he had to perform was one of great difficulty and delicacy. His denial of the existence of the bonds, however, tended in a great degree to excite the animosity of the holders, and to make them more clamorous for the liquidation of their claims. The fact also having transpired of the successful issue of the application of Mr. Martignac to the Court of Chancery, the applicants considered that the path was chalked out to them by which they could be equally successful: and, consequently, a number of holders on the continent hastened to this country, for the sole purpose of enforcing their claims, without investing themselves with any political character, or mixing themselves up with either of the great contending parties, which were then struggling in France against the despotism and fanaticism of the Bourbon race.
At this period, that weak and imbecile minister, Lord Sidmouth, held the seals of the Home department; and it was under his administration that the odious Alien Act was put into its fullest force: the spirit of espionage, so uncongenial to the principles of a free constitution, like that of England, was carried to an extent hitherto unknown in this country; and the unoffending foreigner, who had sought an asylum on the British shores from the troubles which devastated his own country, was, on the mere breath of suspicion, or some anonymous information, taken secretly from his bed, and without knowing the nature of the offence which he had given, hurried out of the country, and thrown upon a hostile shore, into the possession of his most implacable enemies, to meet the immediate death of the traitor. As a powerful political engine, at a period of anarchy and rebellion, when kings were fighting for their thrones, and nations for their constitutions, the exercise of the Alien Act might have been tolerated under circumstances of an imperious nature. It is, however, the abuse of it of which we complain, and its application to individuals, whose cases came not within the sphere of its operation, according to the principles on which the alien laws were founded. In no instance, perhaps, was the severity of the Alien Act carried to a greater extent, than in the case of the holders of the bonds of the royal princes. They came to this country to enforce a just and long-standing claim for moneys, which they had advanced on the security of the future monarch of it, and of his illustrious brothers; and, certainly, it must be acknowledged that if circuinstances did not admit of the immediate liquidation of those claims, that degree of courtesy was due to the claimants, which is always readily and willingly granted from a debtor to his creditor, in the most ordinary transactions of life. The exact reverse, however, was the case with the unfortunate bondholders of the Princes. Their claim was disputed on the ground that they were not the original holders. In vain they argued that they had given a bona fide consideration for them, and therefore that their title was unquestionable to all the advantages which would have resulted to the original holders, in whose shoes they considered themselves to be then standing. This argument was blinked by the subterfuge, that no proof had been given of any bona fide consideration having been paid ; that the revolution in France, and the consequent troubles in the adjacent countries, had completely altered the political relations of England, and had placed the responsibility of the grantors of the bonds on a very different footing, than it stood at the time when the security was entered into. This, however, was a species of reasoning, which the bondholders could not, or would not understand. They considered the laws of England to be open to them, and to those laws they expressed their determination to appeal for redress. The temper of the English people was not at this period in a state to endure any fresh cause of excitation ; much less one which bore immediately upon the extravagance and profligacy of their princes. The French were then reading a most powerful lesson to the Bourbon princes, on the wasteful expenditure of the