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it was aimed were violating the public peace, and committing outrage. The second subjected those who did not disperse within an hour after proclamation, to the same punishment as if they had been guilty of the most aggra
Sir James Mackintosh, after various observations had been made, moved as his amendment, that instead of the words "shall suffer death as in case of felony, without benefit of clergy," the words "shall suffer transportation for the term of seven years," should be substituted in their stead. The committee thereupon divided, when there appeared, for the amendment 26; against it 70.
Sir James Mackintosh then said that he had another amendment to propose in that important clause relative to public meetings. As it now stood, a power was given in the case of propositions, stirring up the people to hatred or contempt of the government or constitution of this realm as by law established. No man in this House would say that there was any intention of using the word government in any sense where it might be confounded with administration. But if that were true, what was the use of inserting the word "government?" The use of the word in this clause could have no tendency but to create the most dangerous misapprehensions. He would therefore propose the omission of the words "or the government," leaving the passage to run, or the constitution of this realm as by law established."
After some conversation, this amendment was negatived.
On the reading of the next clause, for the apprehension of
persons offending as above described, Sir Samuel Romilly proposed to leave it out altogether; contending that as at present framed and understood, it might give some officious magistrates a pretence for denouncing the most peaceable and constitutional meetings, and would rather tend to occasion riot and confusion, than to prevent sedition and rebellion. The clause was defended by the ministers, who carried it by 46 against 16.
Sir James Mackintosh next proposed, that the exemptions extending to lectures in the universities, in the inns of court, and in Gresham college, should also include the East India college, and lectures in medicine, surgery, chemistry, and all others bona fide intended for the improvement of learning, the sciences, and the arts. This amendment was also rejected. with the exception of the East India college.
All the clauses being gone through, the House was resumed, and the bill was ordered to be reprinted.
On March 14th, the order of the day standing for the third reading of the bill for the more effectually preventing Seditious Meetings and Assemblies, Sir M. W. Ridley, after a speech in which he declared it to be his duty to oppose the passing into a law an act wholly uncalled for by the isting circumstances of the country, moved as an amendment, to leave out the word "now," and insert after the words "be read a third time," the words "this day six months."
This being the last day in which the two parties had an open field for contention, the principal force
of each was mustered, though no doubt could be entertained how the decision would terminate. In fact, nothing was left but the mere repetition of exhausted arguments; and Mr. Canning found it necessary to revert to former displays of oratory, by saying, "It is in this view only that we recommend to the House of Commons to pass the present bill; not (as I have so often said, but as cannot be too often repeated) for the ex inction of the sacred right of petition, but for its protection and preservation."
should be inserted in the bill "two or more justices," which was also negatived.
He next moved, that instead of the words "constitution and government," there should be inserted the word "constitution" only; which was also negatived. The bill was then passed.
On the 21st of March the House of Lords went into a committee on the bill relative to Seditious Meetings. On reading the clause from the Commons concerning what would constitute the assembly unlawful, Lord St. John observed, After the amendinent had been that as the words now stood, if disposed of, the third reading the clerk of the peace should negwas carried by 179 to 44. A lect to communicate the notice reclause having been introduced in- ceived of an intended meeting, to the bill by the Attorney Gene- signed by seven householders, to ral, enacting that it should not three magistrates, it might be extend to Ireland, Sir John New- deemed an unlawful assembly, port opposed it, with a view of although the persons calling it keeping down the Orange men; had complied in every respect but the original question was with the enactments of the clause, carried. and would, in consequence, become subject to the punishment of death. The Lord Chancellor, though he had no doubt that the omission of the clerk of the peace would not invalidate the legality of the meeting, said that he had no objection to an amendment which would render the clause more clear; and it was agreed that the words "in such case' should be omitted.
On the introduction of the preamble of the bill, Sir M. W. Rid ley moved the following amend ment: "Whereas assemblies of divers persons collected for the purpose of exercising their undoubted right of offering petitions, complaints, remons rances, declarations, or other addresses to his royal highness the Prince Regent, or to both houses, or to either house of parliament, have of late taken place; and whereas riots may be apprehended from large meetings of persons suffering under the pressure of distress at the present time." This amendment was negatived.
Mr. Ponsonby then moved, that instead of the words "one or more justice or justices," there VOL. LIX.
cieties was read, the Earl of Lau derdale observed, that the exceptions from the operation of this clause did not extend far enough, and that there could be no objection to include among the exceptions lectures merely on physical science. He then moved a clause to exempt from the operation of the licencing enactments, lectures on anatomy, astronomy, chemistry, or other branches of physical science. The Earl of Liverpool opposed the clause, on the ground that it was not to be supposed that magistrates, from any private motives, would prevent the delivery of such lectures. The clause was put and negatived.
An amendment proposed by Earl Grosvenor to limit the duration of the bill to the first of July 1917 was negatived.
Lord Sidmouth proposed a clause to prohibit public meetings within a mile of the two houses of parliament when sitting, or of the courts of justice when sitting at Westminster. After some discussion, this clause was agreed to; and all the amendments being gone through, the bill was ordered to be read a third time to-morrow.
On the 25th of March, the order of the day standing for the third reading of this bill, Lord Erskine rose, and began with the consideration, first, what evidence the House had of impending dan gers which justified the passing of an act of the kind now before them; and secondly, whether admitting all the facts collected by the report, the bill was either a necessary or a proper remedy.
It is evident that this was the natural line of argument which
such a question required, and which was anticipated in the House of Commons. We shall therefore refer to the proceedings of the latter House for all that we have thought necessary to extract upon the general ground of discussion, from the field of debate.
It was mentioned on the preceding day that Lord Sidmouth had introduced a clause into the bill for the prevention of meetings within a mile of Westminster-hall. He had since considered that the place for holding elections for Westminster was within its precincts; and also that the borough of Southwark did not form any of the usual avenues to parliament. He therefore proposed to withdraw the clause, and add as an amendment, "saving and excepting in St. Paul's Covent-garden, and the borough of Southwark." This clause was adopted without a division.
The Earl of Liverpool then moved that the bill do pass; on which the House divided: Contents, 111; Non-contents, 23: Majority, 88.
The following protest of eight peers was entered on the Journals. "Dissentient. Because it appears. to us that this statute, in inflicting the penalty of death, is unjustly severe; that it gives to magistrates a formidable and unnecessary power, improperly controlling the general expression of opinion, and interfering both with the pub. lic and private meetings of the people, in times of which we consider the danger to be much exaggerated, and which we think call for measures of conciliation and relief, and not for coercion."
War Salaries of the Secretaries of the Admiralty.-Motion respecting the Lords of the Admiralty.—Motion for a Committee on the Public Income and Expenditure, by Lord Castlereagh. First Report of the Committee.-Bills for abolishing the Offices of Justices in Eyre, and for a Compensation for Civil Services.-Pass both Houses.-Irish Peace preservation Bill.
SECRETARIES OF THE ADMIRALTY.
ORD Milton, in rising on
attention of the House of Commons to the increase made in the salaries of the secretaries of the Admiralty, in consequence of the war with Algiers, began with observing the different light in which objects were regarded, according to the difference of the mind and disposition of the person by whom they were viewed. Having instanced the Prince Regent and Marquis Camden as those who could relinquish a part of their salaries, when the public service required it, he said, with what different eyes must the admiralty or their secretary have beheld the symptoms of the times, when they conceived the autumn of 1816 the most convenient opportunity for taking advantage of a single expedition to bestow an increase of salary on their servants. The ground on which this claim had been set up was an order of council of January 15, 1800, by which, on account of increase of duty in time of war, the secretary and some other persons were to have an increased salary. But the question was, had it been fairly
made out to the sense of any man that the time for which the increased salary had been given was
as a case of war? Lord Exmouth was sent to Algiers in the double quality of a negociator and commander. When the attack was finally made and had succeeded, what did Lord Exmouth say? "Thus has a provoked war of two days existence been attended with a complete victory." A quarter's salary on the war establishment was claimed by the secretary, for a war said by the commander who conducted it to be of two days duration. If the commencement of this Algiers war was difficult to be settled, and had been settled wrong, its termination was no less curious: it was dated from the reception of the treaty at the Admiralty. These dates of the fitting out of the expedition and the arrival of the treaty in London might tally with the duration of the salary; but they could not be said to constitute the commencement and termination of a war, during the existence of which a war salary might be claimed. The navy pay-office, not thinking that the attack on Algiers constituted this country in a state of war [D 2]
within the meaning of the order of 1800, refused to pay the war salary till they had consulted with the Adiniralty. The navy-office by their question clearly thought that there was no title made out to an increase of emoluments on account of the expedition to Algiers. The utmost duration of the war, according to the admiral's statement, was two days, which, computing the rate of increase, entitled the hon. secretary to 51.3s. 9d. It might have happened that Lord Exmouth would have found the Dey ready to comply with the demands of the British government without coming to extremities; and what would have been the situation of the secretary then? There would have been no war, nor any additional allowance. His lordship concluded with moving, "That the issue of the war salaries to the secretaries of the Admiralty, and certain other persons connected with the navy and dock-yards, in consideration of the expedition to Algiers, which terminated in hostilities with that government, is uncalled for by the order in council of January 15th, 1800, and therefore an improper application of the public money."
Mr. Croker said, that he was quite above denying the part he had taken in this matter. He had made the demand, because he thought it a matter of right, and due to the office. This right it was his duty first to establish, and then he might come forward and give up what the necessities of the times might seem to require. The question rested upon the construction of the order of council. That order stated, that during war the
fees of the secretaries of the Admiralty were very considerable, and in lieu of them it gave an increase of salary. He never demanded this increase as a favour, but as a pure right.
Sir Joseph Yorke observed, that the question to be decided was extremely simple. The salary of the first secretary was fixed at 3000l. per annum during peace, with an additional 10001. in time of war: that of the second secretary was 15001. in peace, and 2001. in war. The commissioners of the navy did not send to the Admiralty to know whether this country was at war or not, but to ascertain at what time the war salary should commence The answer of the Admiralty was, that it should be paid from the 29th of June to the 24th of September, the day on which the treaty was signed. He had no hesitation in signing the paper for the increase of salary, and should do the same thing if the paper were put again before him.
Admiral Markham said, that his opinion remained as at first, which was, that the secretary was not entitled to the war salary. If this was to be called a state of war, what was an armament? In the case of Nootka Sound, had the order of council existed at that period, was it to be supposed that the secretary of that time would be entitled to demand an additional salary? The expedition required no additional trouble: there was nothing to be completed but the armament.
The essential point of argument on this occasion was the question whether this was a case of declared war, or only, til the time of the commencement