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evidence which he doubts not has been produced to your lordships secret committee to justify this description, is wholly and entirely false, as your petitioner is ready to prove, in the most satisfactory manner, at the bar of your right honourable House.

Upon this important point your petitioner humbly begs leave to represent to your right honourable House, that the London Union Society was founded in 1812 by Mr. Edward Bolton Clive, Mr. Walter Fawkes, the late colonel Bosville, Mr. Montague Burgoyne, the present lord mayor, Mr. Alderman Goodbehere, Mr. Francis Canning, Mr. William Hallet, sir Francis Burdett, major Cartwright, Mr. Robert Slade, Mr. Timothy Brown, Mr. J. J. Clarke, and several other individuals equally respectable; that it continued to hold meetings but a very short time; that it never did any act except the publishing of one address to the nation on the subject of reform; that it never had any one "Branch;" that it never held any correspondence either written or verbal with any society of any sort; that it never was affiliated to any society, or branch, or any body of men whatsoever; finally, that it has not met for nearly three years and a half last past; and, of course, that it is not now in existence.

"What, then, must have been the surprise and the pain of your humble petitioner, when he saw, in the report of your lordships secret committee, this London Union Society represented, not only as being still in existence, but busily and extensively at work, establishing branches and affiliations, carrying on an active

correspondence, infusing life into societies of Spencean Philanthropists, and producing, by these means, plans of conspiracy, revolution, and treason! and though your petitioner is too well assured of the upright views and of the justice of every committee consisting of members of your noble and right honourable House not to be convinced that very strong evidence in support of these charges must have been produced to your lordships secret committee, your petitioner cannot, nevertheless, refrain from expressing most humbly his deep regret, that your lordships committee should not have deigned to send for the books and other testimonials of the character and proceedings of the London Union Society; and your petitioner humbly begs leave to observe, that this omission appears singularly unfortunate for the London Union Society, seeing that the secret committee of your lordships appear, in another part of their report, to lament the want of means of obtaining the written proceedings of societies, and seeing that it was natural to expect, that a society having branches, an affiliation, and an active correspondence, had also a copious collection of written documents.

"Your petitioner is aware, that he has trespassed too long on the patience of your lordships; but, well knowing that your lordships seek only for truth as the basis of your proceedings, he humbly hopes that you will be pleased to excuse the earnestness of his present representation, and he also presumes humbly to express his hope, that your lordships will be pleased, in your great tenderness for the character and liberties of

his majesty's faithful subjects, to consider whether it be not possible that your secret committee may have been misled, by what they may have deemed good evidence, as to other parts of their recent report; and, at the least, your petitioner humbly prays that your lordships will, in your great condescension, be pleased to permit your petitioner to produce all the books and papers of the London Union Society at the bar of your right honourable House, where your petitioner confidently assures your lordships that he is ready to prove all and singular the allegations, contained in this his most humble petition.

"And your petitioner will ever pray. "THOMAS CLEARY.' Some words applied by the Earl after he had read the petition, produced a warm attack upon him for the violation of order, in which other speakers defended him. At length, upon his motion, that it should lie upon the table, a debate ensued, when Earl Grey moved for an adjournment to the following Friday. This was disposed of by Contents, 18; NonContents, 64. The motion for laying the petition on the table, was then put and negatived.

On February 24th, Earl Grosvenor appeared again with Mr. Cleary's petition, respecting which he said, that the learned Lord on the Woolsack had declared, that the petition could not be received, because it alluded to the report of the House, of which the petitioner could not be cognizant, neither had it as yet been brought before the House. It was now tendered in such a shape as, he trusted, would remove any objection, all

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On February 24th, a bill for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus act was moved in the House of

Lords. It was introduced by Lord Sidmouth, who began his speech by an eulogy upon the manner in which the secret committee had laid its discoveries before the House. There were three principal features to which he would advert: 1. That no doubt was left in the minds of the committee, that a traitorous correspondence existed in the metropolis, for the purpose of overthrowing the established government: 2. That the committee are deeply concerned to report their full conviction, that designs of this nature have not been confined to the capital, but are extending widely through the most populous and manufacturing districts: 3. That such a state of things cannot be suffered to continue without hazarding the most imminent and dreadful evils. After descanting upon these points, his lordship proceeded to set in a strong light the actual danger into which the public welfare was brought; and he touched upon the riot in the capital on December 2d, and upon his own active services in suppressing it He was thence led to take into consideration certain provisions of former legislatures, to guard against public evils; and

he

he intimated the intention of the present ministers, to renew some measures of this kind. In fine, he came to the direct point of the suspension of the Habeas Corpus, of which he said he was sincerely grieved to be the instrument, especially in a time of profound peace. But it was one extraordinary quality of the British constitution, that the powers of the executive government could be enlarged, if by such means that constitution would be better se cured. He required the suspension of the Habeas Corpus act, in pity to the peaceable and loyal inhabitants of the country, for the protection of the two Houses of Parliament, for the maintenance of our liberties, and for the security of the blessings of the constitution. It was not merely the lower orders which had united in these conspiracies; individuals of great activity, resolution, and energy, were engaged in the con

test.

The Marquis Wellesley said, that when parliament was called upon to alter the existing laws of the land, ministers should be able to lay before it a plain distinct case, founded upon powerful and irresistible evidence, in order that it should be justified in doing that which in ordinary circumstances would be a direct infringement of the public freedom. Unless the ministers of the crown could unquestionably prove, that such a case cannot be restrained by the ordinary course of law, they are not warranted in demanding the extension of extraordinary powers. This subject led him to consider what he must regard as the grand and prominent part of the ques

tion, namely, a comparison between the present day, with the period of 1795; of which there was the leading and undeniable distinction, that in the first case, all the mischiefs against which the enlargement of the powers of the crown went to provide, sprung mainly from the French revolution. From France the dangers were apprehended, and to the machinations of agents from that country, the energies of the government were directed. But to what were the principles of our modern system of policy directed, when our army in Spain was engaged in a succession of triumphs, and when the nations of the continent, in imitation of our example, were resolved to make a determined struggle for their independence? It was to this-that we had actually extinguished the spirit of Jacobinism, and that the war had assumed a different complexion. The peace followed, and it was one which the noble marquis severely reprobated. To the want of stipulations in favour of England, he attributed the revival of Jacobinism; but how did it happen, said he, that ministers, when they had ascertained the existence of a presumed traitorous conspiracy in the metropolis, and were aware, as they now profess, that the provisions of the law were incompetent to control it, did not at once resort to measures to put it down?

After various other observations, which it is unnecessary here to repeat, the Marquis concluded with affirming, that he must conscientiously declare, that up to the moment he was then speaking, he had not seen such evidence as convinced

convinced him that the danger was so alarming as had been represented. Great discontents undoubtedly existed; seditious practices evidently prevailed; yet he was not satisfied, that they existed in that shape and character which justified the suspension of the Habeas Corpus.

The Earl of Liverpool, in his reply to the Marquis, began with absolutely denying, that the discontent and distress under which we laboured, were attributable to the late peace; and he believed it never entered into the heads of any one to imagine that such was the consequence. So far from the fact being such as the Marquis stated, our trade and manufactures were never so extensive as during the years 1814 and 1815. The origin of our distress was to be traced to a totally different cause from that of foreign trade; in fact it might be originally traced to the distress of our agricultural interest. The next topic of the Marquis's complaint was the meeting of parliament, and it was asked, why it was not earlier assembled, when ministers must have known the dangers of the country: it did not however follow, that because there were clubs, meetings, and publications of a dangerous nature, that therefore there were distinct proofs of a conspiracy upon which government might proceed capitally. In fact, it was not till within three weeks of the actual meeting of parliament, that ministers were in possession of that knowledge.

The Earl then proceeded to touch upon the question more immediately before their lordships; and he said, that the real point to

be considered was, whether a sufficient cause now existed for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus? On the present occasion government had the fullest proof (if they were to believe the report) of a treasonable conspiracy in the metropolis to overturn the constitution, and that the same system was spread over a great part of the country. Was it then too much to contend, that under such circumstances it was proper to recur to the course which our ancestors had pursued in similar dangers? He felt all the importance of the measure that was now proposed; but he would not allow any imputations that might be insinuated to preclude him from the conscientious discharge of his duty. What he asked of parliament was to entrust the Prince Regent's ministers with that power for a short time-a most odious one, he agreed-and which ought not to be confided to any man, or any set of men, except in such cases as now, he apprhended, justified him in calling for it.

Earl Grey, after various preliminary remarks against the proposed motion, argued in the first place, that any conspiracy attended with an utter improbability, of success, as the present was allowed to be, was not a case that called for a suspension of the Habeas Corpus. Who were the chief actors in this conspiracy? Were they persons of great consequence and conexions in the country? No. They were miserable wretches reduced to the lowest poverty and distress. What was their object? To produce insurrection by calling persons together on the pretext of parliamen

tary

tary reform, without any previous concert and design, and trusting wholly to chance for stimulating their instruments in the work of sedition. This was the whole extent of the plot, and the attempt was made in the way that was projected. Those formidable rioters fled at the very mention of a dragoon. They did not wait to see their horses' heads at the top of a street, so admirable were the military arrangements of that able commander, general lord viscount Sidmouth.

The Earl then took a review of the different societies designated in the report, and observed that there were acts of parliament, chiefly of modern date, under which all these offences might be prosecuted and punished.

He

would, however, have consented to a new law for preventing meetings in the open air without a previous notice to a magistrate; and would also cheerfully have agreed to a bill for the better security of the person of the Prince Regent. These two measures would, he conceived, together with the existing laws, have been amply sufficient to have met all the evils dwelt upon in the report.

Lord Grenville considered the question before their lordships to be one of the most important that had ever engaged the attention of parliament He felt it his bounden duty to declare, that the present situation of the country appeared to him one of extreme danger, and that some extraordinary legis lative measures were absolutely necessary. Such being the serious conviction of his mind, he was compelled to give his cordial, though reluctant support for the

temporary suspension of the Habeas Corpus act.

After these and some other lords had given their sentiments on the bill, the House divided for its second reading, which was carried by Content 84, Proxies 66, Total 150; against, Not Content 23, Proxies 12, Total 35. Majority 115.

A protest was then entered upon the Journals to the following effect: "Dissentient. Because it does not appear to us that, in the report of the Secret Committee, there has been stated such a case of imminent and pressing danger as may not be sufficiently provided against by the powers of the executive government under the existing laws, and as requires the suspension of the most important security of the liberty of the country." It was signed by eighteen peers.

BILL FOR PREVENTING SEDITIOUS MEETINGS.

On the same day, February 24th, Lord Castlereagh rose in the House of Commons. He began with

assuring that assembly, that in the whole course of his life, he had never performed a more painful duty than that which he was then called upon to discharge. He should have hoped, that after the dreadful record which the French revolution had afforded of the destruction brought upon its country, no individual could be found in Great Britain so dead to a sense of private feeling, or public duty, as to engage in schemes which would render the immediate and powerful aid of parliament necessary for securing the public peace. Looking to the history

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