Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

86 gerous thing to interfere. One of the "Was it too great an insult for the Livery "instances in which his life was in immi-" of London, even high as its character "nent danger was from such an interfer-" stood for wisdom, prudence, and respect❝ence. He had taken part in a quarrel" ability, to follow the judicious precedent "between a man and his wife, and it was "of the two houses of Parliament ?" "the greatest mercy in his life that he was "MR. STURCH, as an old Liveryman, "now able to stand on his legs (laughing)." anxious to preserve the character of the "He would recognize the innocence of the "body to which he belonged, begged "Princess in its fullest sense; but he "Gentlemen to reflect whether they would "not DEGRADE themselves by passing "the vole suggested. He did not doubt "that the worthy Alderman acted from a "sense of duty in bringing it forward, and "he hoped that equal justice would be "done him for his motives in resisting it, "Loud disapprobation.) It was at least "PREMATURE, since the question was " NOT YET RIPE FOR DECISION, "and much evidence, he was convinced, "remained behind to shew the origin of this

thought the best way was to drop the subject. He should move that they do "now adjourn.

that viewing the evidence against the "Princess of Wales with the eye of a ma"gistrate, it appeared to him to be from "beginning to end a tissue of perjury and "subornation, and had it been given be"fore any Court of Record, the witnesses" malignant conspiracy. He highly ap"might and ought to have been subjected "proved of the assembly of a Common "to a prosecution. It was clear, therefore," Hall to vote upon questions of parliamen"to him, that the Princess had been com"pletely vindicated, but the question for "the Livery to decide was, whether further public discussion of this painful subject "would tend to any favourable conclusion. "The House of Commons had determined "that it was impolitic, and the Livery of" "London would best shew its loyalty and "wisdom by following the example. He "acknowledged that the disclosures recent"ly made tended to lessen the respect of the people for the monarchy, as well as "city of Westminster had so long laboured "for the family that filled the throne: he" in the cause of the rights of the people, "wished that, at least, appearances had" might be mistaken in his views, but he

tary reform, or peace and war, but of all "subjects the present was the most impro" per to be discussed here: why were the "Livery to give its decision upon the ques"tion whether Capt. Manby did or did not "kiss the Princess of Wales -The marks

66

been preserved, but the vote proposed" was delivering the honest sentiments of a "would widen the unfortunate breach that "well-informed understanding, and they "existed.-/Marks of disapprobation). "ought to command respect." — Mr.

"MR. ALDERMAN ATKINS was of "STURCH concluded without interruption, "the same opinion, and would not now "by repeating THE DANGERS that were "have taken any part in the discussion of" to be feared from this injudicious pro"this question, had it not been expected" ceeding, and by impressing the necessity "from him in consequence of the speeches" of at least waiting until AĎDITIONAL "of his colleagues. He was one of those "LIGHT was thrown upon this mysterious "who had in vain attempted to sway the" and painful subject. "judgment of the worthy Alderman who "MR. WAITHMAN then addressed"had persisted in this motion, because he" the Hall, not because he could add any "thought (and he trusted he should not" thing new to what had already been urg"stand alone in the opinion) that reconcili-" ed, but because his silence might be mis"ation was not to be forced upon the illus-" interpreted. He was likewise one of "trious parties by the interference of the" those who had endeavoured to dissuade "Livery. In this sentiment he trusted he" the worthy Alderman from persevering in "should persuade many to coincide (No," his motion, not because he differed in the "no). All men of understanding and "general principle (in which all agreed) "judgment, he believed, would vote on his" that the Princess of Wales had been most "side of the question, if, indeed, it were" scandalously ill-treated, but because he "pressed to a vote, but he entreated Mr." did not think that the mode now suggest"Alderman Wood to withdraw his motion. "ed would accelerate redress and promote

"SIR JAMES SHAW wished to state "to the Livery the reasons that induced him "to second the amendment. He admitted,

66

of disapprobation were now so vehement "that Mr. Slurch was unable to proceed."

"MR. WAITHMAN stepped forward to "entreat the Hall to behave with imparti"ality. His excellent Friend, who in the

"reconciliation. Why should the Livery "ratory of the complete acquittal of the "interfere, when the whole nation was "Princess of Wales, which would obviate "united in one sentiment, that her Royal" the most material objections. (No, no, "Highness was as innocent as her accusers "the Address). He was sorry that his "were guilly. He did not desire the "well-weighed opinions were in opposition "Livery to submit to his opinions, if they" to the general sentiment, so hastily adopt"thought their own better, but all heed; but he hoped that the Livery would "desired was that his individual senti- " consider the necessity of preserving its "ments should be heard, because he was "character for purity and wisdom. He "convinced from his heart that the Meet-" concluded by adverting to the shameful "ing was defeating its own purpose, (No, suppression of the able defence of Mr. "no: loud clamours). Probably his opi-" Perceval, and by expressing his wish, "nion might be good for nothing, in com"that the thanks of the Hall should be "parison with that of many gentlemen who given to Mr. Whitbread, for his able and "now expressed their disapprobation. At" manly conduct.

66

66

tempt-in England we were more sen"sible of their value, and he hoped that the Livery would shew that they were not less gallant than the rest of the male

66

"the same time that he disapproved of the "MR. ALDERMAN ATKINS came. "original motion, his objection to the" forward, but with difficulty obtained a amendment of Sir W. Curtis was equally" partial hearing. He repelled, with great strong, because if the Hall were dissolv- " warmth, Mr. Waithman's accusation of "ed, and the question thereby incidentally" inconsistency, declaring that he had actnegatived, the proceeding would imply "ed conscientiously, and that he should "an undeserved censure on the Princess of" still dare to do his duty, and to avow it "Wales, (Hear, hear!). How then was "in all places, and at all times. "the Livery to extricate itself from the di- "MR. WADDINGTON called upon "lemma. To dissolve the Hall would be" every man to do his duty, except such as "a most extraordinary and unwarrantable" were in possession or expectation of the "step, especially when the Hon. Bart. had" loaves and fishes-to such the call would "himself confessed that the question affect-" be ineffectual. In Africa, Turkey, and "ed even the stability of the monarchy." India, women were treated with con"If the fact were so, it was the duty of the 66 city to interpose. The fact was so-the "question did shake the throne itself; but "the true point to be decided was, in what" "mode was the Livery to interfere? Cer- sex. "tainly not in any way that would make “MR. ALDERMAN WOOD shortly "the breach wider, when the object was" replied, explaining, that he meant the "reconciliation and harmony. He lament-" Address to be presented by the whole "ed, if so much danger was apprehended" Livery at Kensington Palace, in the same "from interference, that the illustrious" way as they had waited upon Sir F. Bur66 persons concerned had not reflected upon "dett, at the Tower. He refused to alter' "the greater danger of submitting such" his motion, to make it conformable to the "matters to public observation. The wor- "wishes of those with whom he usually "thy Alderman (Atkins), who had cen"acted. sured the interposition of the Livery at "all so strongly, should have been consist-"vain to address the impatient Livery-he "ent in his conduct, and have blamed with "could only utter one sentence, that the ❝ equal severity interference of another" real sentiment of the corporation was ex"kind, by a Royal Duke, who had most pressed by the number of absentees. "unconstitutionally, intermeddled to de- "The question was then put upon the 66 stroy the freedom of election in a certain" Amendment, that the Hall be dissolved, "borough, (applause). How then did he" which was negatived by a large majo"dare to object to that interference, which "rity. he had elsewhere approved? He (Mr. W.) did not think that the present proceeding would facilitate parliamentary" and Mr. Waithman vainly attempted to "reform; and as there existed no prece"address them. The Address was loudly "dent of an Address, even to the Queen," called for, and it was accordingly read by " he hoped that the worthy Alderman" the Crier; after which the question was would be persuaded to alter his motion" put upon it, and it was carried with very ⚫ for an Address into a Resolution, decla- "few opponents. It was also agreed that

"MR. ROWCROFT endeavoured in

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"The impatience of the Meeting was 66 now so much increased, that Mr. Taddy

I have been too long an observer of the workings of vanity, conceit, presumption, and selfishness, to be astonished at what took place upon this occasion; but, though I have felt no astonishment, others have, and, therefore, I shall enter into as full an examination of this interesting debate as my confined space will allow of.The words of the Address, which was proposed by Mr. Wood, and which was carried with, I am well assured, only TWO hands held up against it, have not been given in the Report of the Morning Chronicle, nor in any other newspaper that I have seen; but, the COURIER has published the substance of the Address, in these words: "It stated, "that the sentiments of affection with "which the Livery of London had contem66 plated the arrival of the Princess in this country were in no degree diminished: "that they were deeply impressed with re66 spect for every branch of the illustrious "house of Brunswick: that they viewed "with indignation and abhorrence, the foul conspiracy against her honour and her "life; and were inspired with admiration " at her moderation, frankness, and magnanimity, under her long persecution. It

who took up the cause of the Princess in the House of Commons, where only it could be taken up with effect. It was, in fact, this Gentleman's Resolutions, which brought out the Book, by forcing from the Ministers an open confession of the Princess's innocence, which confession, as all the world knows, brought out the accusatory depositions through the channel of the Reverend Baronet's news-paper.-Therefore, I say, that, though Mr. Whitbread and Sir Francis Burdett inerited the thanks of the Common Hall, they, upon this particular occasion, did not stand so prominently as Mr. Cochrane Johnstone. But, the numerous unseen wheels by which the press is moved must be seen, before the reader can judge of the causes of partiality like that which I have here noticed.Now to the debate.-Mr. ALDERMAN Woon, who is remarkable not less for his sound judgment than for his undaunted courage and unaffected manners, did perfectly right in stating at the outset, that the Hall was called at so short a notice. It was due to himself, to the cause, and to the City, to make that fact generally known; and I must say, that the answer of the Lord Mayor does not appear to me to have been, by any means satisfactory.His Lordship was, however, very exact in pointing out, that Mr. VANDERCOMBE had expressed his wish to have his name withdrawn from the Requisition; and this is worthy of notice only on account of the reason which Mr. Vandercombe gave for it, which was this: that he signed the re

66

66

66

66

"concluded with an expression of confi-quisition at the moment when there was a "dence, that the Princess Charlotte, great ferment upon the subject of the Prin"brought up under such a Mother, would cess's treatment, but that now, the ferment "be a blessing to the country, and with a being over, he did not wish that any meetprayer for the health, happiness, and ing should take place to address her.It "prosperity of her Royal Highness." might not have been easy to find out a good This, I take it for granted, was the sub- reason for the extraordinary step of Mr. stance of the Address, moved by Mr. Vandercombe; but, a worse than this it Wood, and adopted by the Common Hall; must, I think, have puzzled an Old Bailey and, so taking it, I have no hesitation in Attorney to hatch.What! think it saying, that it expressed the feelings of right to call such a meeting during the time every impartial man in England. Before that men's minds were in a ferment, and I proceed to discuss the several objections, think it wrong to call it when men's minds which were unavailingly urged against this had had time to cool! Think it right to Address, I cannot help noticing an omission call a meeting amidst uproar, and wrong to in the Report of the Morning Chronicle; call one under the influence of reflection!namely, the vote of thanks to Mr. Cochrane You will observe, reader, that Mr. VanJohnstone. Such a vote was certainly pass- dercombe retained his full conviction of the e, and it would be very curious to come innocence of the Princess, and of the wick at the precise reason, why Mr. Perry, or edness that had been at work against her; his Reporter, thought it right and proper he retained this conviction, and all his obto take no notice of that particular vote; jection to addressing now was, that there especially when it is considered, that Mr. was no longer a ferment in men's minds C. Johnstone was really the first person, upon the subject!I have not the ho

"it should be presented to the Princess of "Wales by the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, "Sheriffs, and 100 of the Livery.

"MR. WAITHMAN then proposed a vote "of thanks to Mr. Whitbread; and Mr. Thompson, to Sir Francis Burdett, both "of which motions were carried unani"mously."

66

""

nour to know any thing of Mr. Vandercombe, but I must say, that I heartily wish him joy of his reason for withdrawing his name. -It gave me great pleasure to see Mr. Wood's motion seconded by such a man as MR. THOMPSON. It is that description of men who ought to come forward; men who have no views, and who can have no views other than those tending to the public welfare. Such men should not give way to feelings of disgust or of listlessness. They would soon see babbling impertinence slink away from their presence. -That SIR WILLIAM CURTIS, though he acknowledged the perfect innocence of the Princess; that SIR JAMES SHAW, though, speaking as a magistrate, he viewed the evidence against the Princess," from beginning to "end as a tissue of perjury and suborna"tion;" that Mr. Alderman Atkins, though he saw the matter in nearly the same light; that these Gentlemen, who are well known to be closely attached to the Ministers; that these Gentlemen should wish to stifle the question; that they should wish to draw a veil over the proceedings; that they should call for a dissolution of the Hall, and so get rid of the Address by a side wind; that they should tell the Citizens of London that they ought to look up to the Honourable House for an example; that they should tell the people to follow the footsteps of that paragon of wisdom and purity; that these Gentlemen should thus act and speak could be matter of wonder to nobody; but, there may be, and there must have been, many persons to wonder at the conduct of Messrs. STURCH and WAITHMAN.- However, I shall not act the foul part of an insinuator. I will neither insinuate nor assert any thing at all respecting the motives of these Gentlemen; but, I will freely examine the grounds upon which they thought proper to overthrow the motion of Mr. Alderman Wood. Mr. STURCH set out by observing, that, though an old Liveryman, he had never before troubled them with a speech. And, he will, I am sure, think it not unnatural, that I should express my regret and my surprise, that he should have deviated from his long-continued course, upon this particular occasion, when the motion to be opposed had, surely, nothing hostile to liberty in it, and when the person making that motion was well known to Mr. STURCH to be one of the most ardent, most indefatigable, and most liberal friends of public freedom. There has, for years past, been no man who has suffered in the cause of li

·➖➖

berty, who has not received marks of
friendship from Mr. Wood, who is, upon
all such occasions, ready not only with his
purse but with his personal exertions.
When a man, so eminent for his exertions
in the cause of public liberty, and withal
so frank, so unaffected, and so amiable in
his manners, so free from all vanity, con-
ceit, and ambitious views; when a man
like this had set his heart upon a measure,
and when it was impossible that that mea-
sure could be injurious to public liberty,
Mr. STURCH should, I think, have hesitat-
ed; I think he should have been very diffi-
cult to persuade to come, for the first time,
out of Westminster to the Common Hall,
for the express purpose of opposing that
measure.Let us, however, give a pa-
tient ear to the reasons upon which this op-
position was built.-He begged the Hall
to reflect, whether they would not degrade
themselves by passing the Address.-
You have seen the substance of the Address,
reader; and, do you see any thing in it that
is calculated to degrade those by whom it
was passed? I will say nothing upon the
unmeasured severity of this expression as
applying directly to the mover of the Ad-
dress, who, if the Address was degrading
to those who passed it, must already have
degraded him who moved it; but, I must
say here, that, when Mr. Waithman, was
afterwards reminding the Hall of Mr.
Sturch's exertions in the cause of liberty
in Westminster, he could hardly have for-
gotten, that Mr. Wood did not merit an
attack like this, and especially that it was
not worth while to quit the field of West-
minster for, apparently, the sole purpose
of making this attack.But, Mr. STURCH'S
reasons: we have not yet seen any of them.

-He said, that the motion was prema-
ture; that the question was not ripe for
discussion. Not ripe! When, then, I
pray, is it to be ripe? The whole of the
transactions are before the public; the evi-
dence on both sides is in print; explana-
tions of the conduct of particular parties
have been given in parliament and else-
where; in short, every fact and every cir-
cumstance belonging to the matter have
found their way into print; and, at the end
of seven years of mysterious secrecy, the
whole is out in broad day-light, so that no-
thing is now hidden, or can be hidden,
from any person in the kingdom. And yet
Mr. STURCH does not think the question
ripe for discussion. If it be not yet ripe, it
will not be ripe till we are all rotten.-
Much evidence, he said, remained behind

[ocr errors]

necessary to guard the throne and the nobility against an overweight in the popular scale; these trifling matters, Mr. Sturch thinks that the Livery may be permitted to handle freely; and also the no less trifling matters of peace and war, the extreme simplicity of which put them within the scope of every understanding!-But as to a question about au Address to a Princess, whose ill-treatment and whose long-suffering was notorious to all the world: this was a matter too high and too complicated for the Livery to meddle with!-I, for my part, should have thought, that this was, of all others, a matter with regard to which the Livery were competent to decide. It was a question clear in the understanding, and coming home to the heart of every sound-minded and sound-hearted man. It was a question, upon which no man could possibly be in error.

There was no room

for subtlety or doubt; and the only point upon which a difference of opinion could possibly exist was this: whether the motion for an Address was called for by sound sense as well as by justice.- -Perhaps, Mr. STURCH might mean, that a question of this sort was beneath the Livery to entertain; that the questions as to Parliamenlary Reform, Peace and War, and the like, were rendered proper by their importance; and that the present question degraded the Livery by its want of importance. If Mr. STURCH is ready to avow, that the conduct of the Royal Family is of no consequence to the nation; that Addresses to them, or any of them, are, at all times, under whatever circumstances, degrading to those who move or pass them, his opposition to Mr. Wood's Address will appear consistent; but, then he should have avowed this opinion, and not have endeavoured to disguise his real ground of objection under a plea of want of light, deficiency of evidence, and a mis-statement about kissing and Captain Manby. On the other hand, if Mr. Sturch is not ready to avow such an opinion; if he allow, that Addresses presented by the City upon the recovery of the King; upon his escape from the pen-knife of a mad woman, and from the bullet of a mad man; if Mr. Sturch allow, that these Addresses were not degrading to the City of London, upon what ground, I am curious to know, can he build an objection to an Address to the Princess upon her escape from what all the world is ready to designate a foul and detestable conspiracy? Mr. Alderman Shaw said, and he said it manfully, that, speaking as a magistrate, he

as to the SOURCE of the conspiracy.-
We have no evidence at all to that point.
Nor did Mr. Wood want any for his pur-
His address only called the thing a
conspiracy, without saying any thing about
the way in which that conspiracy originated.
No evidence, therefore, was wanted as to
the source of the conspiracy. It was suffi-
cient for Mr. Wood that the Hall should be
convinced that there had been a conspiracy.
If it should hereafter appear who were the
original hatchers of the conspiracy, Mr.
Sturch may then, if he likes, bring forward
a motion relative to them. Mr. Wood's
Address appears to have had no such object
in view. But Mr. STURCH disapproved
of the Citizens of London meddling with
matters of this kind. He highly approved,
he said, of their discussing questions of Par-
liamentary Reform and of Peace and War,
but, he asked, "Why should the Livery
"decide, whether Captain Manby did or
"did not kiss the Princess of Wales ?'.
Perhaps Mr. Sturch meant this for wit, and,
if so, let it, in that respect, pass for its full
worth; but, taking it in a plain common-
sense sort of way, I must say that it is one
of the poorest attempts at perversion that
I have ever met with. "Why should
"the Livery decide, &c.?" But, Mr.
STURCH, why should you ask such a ques-
tion, when you well know, that they were
nol, by Mr. Wood's motion, called upon
to decide any such point? The Address
talked not of kissing; the Address was not
foolish enough to deal in any such matters;
it said nothing of Captain Manby; nor does
it appear to have contained any thing im-
plying a doubt upon any point whatever.
Was it, then, fair to endeavour so to per-
vert its tendency? Well, but Mr.
Sturch, while he tells the Livery that he
disapproves of their discussing of questions
of this kind, is obliging enough to point out
to them what kind of questions he does ap-
prove of their discussing; which (to speak
as mildly as possible of it) might as well
have been spared by a gentleman, who, ac-
cording to his own account, appeared be-
fore the Livery for the first time.The
questions, however, which he does approve
of their discussing, are such as relate to
Parliamentary Reform, to Peace and War,
and the like.Yes, these trifling con-
cerns, the changing of the state of the re-
presemation, the arrangements indispensa-
ibly necessary to a different mode of collect-
ing the voices of the people, the settling of
the points as to who shall and who shall not
vote at elections, the making of provisions

« AnteriorContinuar »