« PreviousContinue »
tides contained distinct charges of treason; and it may be added, that no head of accusation necessarily referred to words or acts which would have been protected by privilege of Parliament. The vague phrases of "traitorous endeavors," "foul aspersions," and " traitorous designs " may probably have been suggested by parliamentary speeches, but a court of justice would have interpreted the language of the articles in conformity with the law; and the special charges of inviting the Scotch invasion, of raising tumults, and of levying war, would, in a regular proceeding by indictment, if they had been supported by evidence—as they were, in part, indisputably true—have fullyjustificd a conviction for treason. It was fortunate for the popular party that the king attempted to follow up an irregular impeachment by an illegal arrest. There has, perhaps, never been a moment iu the lu'story of any other country, except in times of revolution, when the right of a sovereign to arrest an alleged traitor in person would for a moment have been disputed; but in England an impassable barrier of form and constitutional fiction happily protects individuals as well as the great bodies of the state from the caprices and violence of the executive. Charles I. had still a strong interest in maintaining the forms of law when lie made his ill-advised expedition to the House of Commons. When he arrived there, the vacillation of his character was displayed in the careful moderation and ostentatious courtesy of Ms behavior in a position where firmness and menace could not have been more useless, while they would certainly have been more consistent. Mr. Forstcr seems too much disposed to repeat the hypothetical accusations of indignant members who supposed that, under certain circumstances, the king might have substituted the swords and pistols of his followers for the overstrained politeness which he actually displayed. It was scarcely worth while to quote from D'Ewes the speculation that " those ruffians, being eighty in number, who were gotten into the said lobby, being armed, all of them with swords, and some of them with pistols ready charged, were Bo thirsty after innocent blood, as they would scarce have staid the watchword if those members had been there." The twaddling Puritan had just before described the lung's followers as "divers officers of the army in the North and other desperate ruffians." As they in fact suppressed their thirst for blood so far as to offer no offence to any member of the House, the ruffian officers, as well as the king, may perhaps be acquitted of a wholly imaginary crime. In the present day, it may even be
doubted whether officers who rallied round the king on the eve of a civil war were necessarily desperate ruffians.
The able leaders of the Commons took advantage of the king's blunder by claiming, under cover of his irregular proceedings, an immunity for themselves which has never, before or since, been sanctioned by law. Mr. Forster, in an indignant attack on Clarendon, states that "the votes of the committee distinctly limited and defined the breach of privilege as consisting, not in the accusation or the arrest, but in the means and process employed therein, whereby the law of the land and the liberty of the subject, not less than the privileges of Parliament, were violated." "Happily, too," he adds, "the Declaration remains which embodied the constitutional suggestions of D'Evies and the manly proposition of Vane, and it needs but to quote a few of its noble sentences to dissipate these fictions of Clarendon." The fragmentary quotation which follows is consistent with Mr. Forster's views, but he has wholly overlooked and omitted a passage which proves that Clarendon was justified when he stated that the Declaration of the Commons extended to a claim of entire exemption from arrest. After relating the circumstances of the king's visit, and affirming the illegality of royal warrants, the Commons proceeded to declare that " the arresting any member of Parliament by any warrant •whatever without consent of that House whereof he is a member, is a breach of the privilege of Parliament, and the person that shall so arrest him is declared a public enemy of the Commonwealth." D'Ewes himself, as Quoted by Mr. Forster, puts forward the claim to the full extent, and supports it by an argument as bad in law as the proposition itself. "If the charge," he says, "be for treason committed out of the House, y-et still the House must be first satisfied with the matter of fact before they part with their members." . . . "For the Lords did make an Act Declarative in the Parliament Roll de A° 4° Ed. IH., No. 6°, that the judgment of Peers only did 'properly belong to them; so I hold it clear that these gentlemen cannot be condemned but by such a judgment only as wherein the Lords may join with the Commons, and that must be by Bill." In other words, members of the House legally accused of treason or felony, can only be arrested by consent of the House, and only convicted by Act of Parliament. D'Ewes appears to have been aware that the right of the Peers to be tried by their own body, instead of by a jury, had never been shared by the Commons; and yet, with a somewhat impudent transition, he converts the undoubted privilege of trial by peers into an immunity of all members of the Legislature from all criminal process. A few days before, an attempt had been made to establish for the minority in the House of Commons the right of protest which is still the privilege of every peer. Mr. Forster designates the experiment as "a monstrous assumption," and he by no means pities the unlucky mover, who, according to the ordinary practice of the Long Parliament, was instantly committed to the Tower for his unpopular proposal. Sir Symonds D'Ewes' false and fraudulent analogy, which was at once accepted by the Commons, seems at least equally monstrous. Vane's rider to the Declaration, containing a promise that members duly prosecuted shall be brought by the House to a due and speedy trial, is, notwithstanding its temperate language, equivalent to a re-assertion of the usurped privilege of immunity from criminal process. The House in possessing the will to give, claimed a power to withhold, and it would always have been easy to find reasons for protecting the leaders who, in fact, dictated the language which insured their own safety. Clarendon lays down the real issue, and states the law with indisputable accuracy, when he savs that the judges ought to have been consulted, and that they must in that case have ruled "that by the known law, which had been confessed in all times and ages, no privilege of Parliament could extend to the case of treason." The king had exceeded his legal powers not in the accusation or the arrest, but in the means and process employed therein, and it would not have suited the purpose of Pym and his colleagues simply to point out an error which the king might, on a future occasion, easily have corrected. The revolution had so far commenced, that it was necessary, on both sides, to disregard the constitution, and yet it was desirable to persuade the people that every violent measure was strictly consistent with law.
The audacity of the Commons would have furnished a better excuse for the rashness of the king if he had been on a level with his opponents cither in vigor or in the command of available resources. The attempt to arrest the five members was a moderate and legal proceeding in comparison with the impeachment of ten bishops for high treason, on the ground of their imprudent protest against their exclusion by mob violence from their seats in the House of Lords. It is difficult in modern times to understand the conduct of a deliberate assembly in which the members of the minority were liable to censure and imprisonment whenever they ventured to use any inconveniently forcible argument, but the leaders of the popular
party undoubtedly felt that success in their great struggles would bo hopeless unless the House of Commons could be persuaded or forced to act with unbroken unity. AVith an instinctive comprehension of the real nature of the contest, they disregarded all formal scruples in pursuit of their object; while, rightly appreciating the character of their countrymen, they never violated a law I without a reason, and never allowed the king to perpetrate the smallest irregularity without protest and resistance. Mr. Forster's profound sympathy with their cause seems occasionally to blind him to the constitutional anomalies which were inseparable from a revolutionary epoch. As the Commons, according to his own just remark, began the Civil War when they marched with an armed force from the city to Westminster, it is scarcely worth while tp clip and pare their proceedings of the previous week for the purpose of bringing them within the limits of the constitution.
The Royalists and their great historian are alone interested in the attempt to convert the political conflict into a legal controversy. The early labors of the Long Parliament are memorable, not for usurpations which have left no permanent trace in the constitution, but for the defeat of a policy which would have reduced England to the monotonous servitude of France or Spain. It is impossible to value too highly an escape from that deadening system of absolute monarchy which the continent has never since been able to shake off. The indispensable restrictions ou the royal prerogative were almost complete at the moment when it became impossible to carry on the struggle by a peaceable and ostensibly legal method. The Restoration and the Revolution confirmed and perpetuated the internal balance of power which had been nominally established before the bishops were committed to the Tower, and before Pym and llampden were impeached. The Civil War which tempoarily overthrew both royalty and liberty was unfortunately necessary, because neither the king nor the Parliament could rely on the maintenance of the existing compromise. The exceptional courts, the claim to impose taxes by prerogative, the civil and ecclesiastical policy of Laud and Stratford, had been already suppressed. Cromwell and his generals unintentionally supcradded the final condition of practical freedom by making a standing army odious for several generations.
The bold and prudent leaders of the Parliament are perhaps the worthiest representatives of the political qualities which distinguish Englishmen. Their habitual attachment to law, and to the fictions in which it becomes idealized, was always subordinate to their indomitable resolution in earning out the great purpose of their lives. If they displayed a crafty sternness in their dealings with the king, the survivors of their number afterwards stood proudly apart from the successful military chief. The triumph of their principles became virtually impossible with the first outbreak of the war; but on the other hand, it was perhaps impossible
that tho struggle should end without an appeal to arms. Mr. Forstcr does full justice to their intelligent love of freedom as well as to their personal wisdom and courage. If he somewhat overrates the nicety of their constitutional scruples, the exaggeration only brings out in more conspicuous relief one of the most remarkable characteristics which belong to the men, to their time, and above all to their country.
Map Of Jeddo.—The Rev. Henry Wood,
chaplain of the United States steam frigate Powhatan, lias recently sent home a map of the Japanese city of Jcddo, which is all tho work of native artists, and was printed and colored in that city. We have examined a copy of this map, which is really a fine specimen of drawing, showing not only all the streets, but tho location of the government offices, the temples, bays, rivers, ponds, and other collections of water, the merchants' quarters, houses, shops, and grounds, small hills and gardens, fields of rice and vegetables, the imperial residence, and those of the hereditary princes, etc., etc.
We have never had an adequate idea of the immense size of the city of Jeddo until we inBpected this map. The imperial castle alone, which is in the centre of the city, and surrounded by double walls, moats, etc, is from twelve to fifteen miles in circuit. The establishments of some of tho hereditary princes cover a squnrc mile, and contain thousands of retainers. The circumference of the city must be at least sixty miles. It contains almost innumerable temples. Tho streets nre laid out with considerable regularity, though with little angularity.
Tho accuracy of tho map is attested by Mr. Wood, who has traversed this great and mysterious city from side to side repeatedly, examined its temples and places of interest, anil been twice around the imperial castle. Copies of this interesting map may bo obtained nt tho New England Branch Tract Society's Depository, No. 78 Washington Street.—Boston Journal.
The Bay of New York is not a poetical title to excite the curiosity of the picture-seeing public, yet we predict an almost unequalled success for the picture of that name that for three months past has been under the patient, living hands of Mr. George I/. Brown. The view embraces a large portion ot tho city, tho mouth of tho river, the bay, and many other objects, all overarched by ft sky of grand conceptions and masterly execution.—New York Evening Post.
The Fitch Committee of the Society of Art* will receive with satisfaction tidings that Russia has allied herself to France in the matter of imposing, as government standard, the normal diapason agreed on in Paris; indemnifying, it is added, tho artists, who will suffer great expense on the occasion, by a grant of 45,000f.— .£1,800. This will hardly, for the moment, bo emulated in England, and amounts, we think, to a significant comment on the practicability of the change. At Paris it has been found expedient entirely to rebuild the organ in tho operahouse. Who shall answer that theso changes, when carried through, are final?
From 1753, the year of its foundation, to the 31st of March of the present year, the total expense of the British Museum to the nation has been £1,382,733, 13s., 4d.,—no great sum for the inestimable benefit obtained by its outlay, and a considerably less one lhan would be required to keep a Iinc-of-battle ship nfioat for half the period. Mr. Panizzi states that thcro is room in the building, as it stands at present, for eight hundred thousand additional volumes, and for a million altogether:—at tho present rate of increase, space enough to accommodate the receipts of fifty years to come.
In the Indian Lancet for 1st of April is a communication from Dr. Donaldson, recommending the web of tho common spider as an unfailing remedy for certain fevers. It is stated to bo invaluable at times when quinine and other nntc-periodics fail in effect or quantity, not only from its efficacy, but because it can be obtained anywhere without trouble and without price. This remedy, it was observed, was used n century back by the poor in the fens of Lincolnshire, and by Sir James M'Gregor in tho West Indies. Tho doctor now uses cobweb pills in all his worst cases, and is stated to have said that he has never, since he tried them, lost a patient from fever.
THE MANNING THE FRENCH NAVIES, AND THK NORTH AMKKICAN FISHERIES QUESTION.
Tutke Editor of The Canititutional Preu Magazine.
Sir :—The country is in no slight degree indebted to the Press for the information which has been afforded of the history of the re-organization of the French army. It is only by the Press that any light has been thrown on the secret causes of the extraordinary development of that military system, which has, in the past year, taken Europe by surprise, and astonished the intelligence of English statesmen not less than that of Austrian generals.
Permit me to communicate some facts, derived from personal knowledge, respecting the similar re-organization of the French navy, and the French system of manning their fleet. We shall find in the naval as well as the military department much to admire in the system of our ingenious allies, and perhaps also much to learn. In seagirt, seafaring England, the manning of the navy has become one of the difficult problems of the day. Whereas in France, from a small nucleus, a great and admirably organized marine has been formed, and the training and disciplining sailors for her navy has become an institution. The French government of late years, feeling their deficiency in seamen and also in the maritime nursery of sailors, has looked around, with prescient common sense, for some practical basis within their reach, on which to found a system of marine. Though few their natural advantages were in this respect, they have found what they sought in their distant fisheries, if these be well utilized and developed ; and with admirable skill have they turned to account what would have appeared to an English statesman of the red-tape school but scattered and insufficient elements. France has 71010 in the fisheries of Newfoundland alone more than twenty thousand sailors employed. These men are all subject to naval discipline, they go out in the spring, and return to France in the autumn ; they are at all times liable to be called out to serve in the navy; they are kept together, and in every way prepared for the one object in view, viz., the possession of a ready-made material always within reach for manning the fleets. These men and boys are taught seamanship in a rugged school; they are inured to hardships, seasoned to cold, to storms, and the roughest work of the seaman. A fleet, manned from the French North American fishing boats and vessels, would have presented to an admiral, crews somewhat more prepared for service than those which left Portsmouth for the Baltic in 1854.
THIBD SERIES. LIVING AGE. 530
In 1841, when war with England was apprehended, M. Thiers recalled the fishermen, absent in Newfoundland, to enter the navy. In a dehate on the navy in the French Chambers, M. Rodet alii nurd that, "without the resources which were found in the sailors engaged in the Newfoundland fisheries, the expedition to Algiers could not have taken place."
This result for France has been obtained by two methods; each wise in design, and well carried out. The first was to drive the English fishermen out of the market, and to place France in the shoes of England, both as to commerce and sailors. As it was not easy to do this by fair commercial competition, recourse was had to a system of granting bounties on all codfish taken by the French fishermen on the Newfoundland banks and coast, which bounty-caught fish, coming into competition with the English in foreign markets, enabled the French to undersell the English; and, consequently, forced the British shipper to sell his cargo at a sacrifice, and deterred him from any desire to repeat such shipment.
Lord Dundonald, in writing on this subject in 1852, says, "I wish to convey, in as ew words as possible, the real cause of the progressive decay, and now total abandon| ment, of that once important nursery for seaman, with which the duties of my late naval command required that I should make myself intimately acquainted. The result of authentic information, derived from official documents, proved that the British Bank, or Deep-Sea Fishery, formerly employed four hundred sail of square-rigged vessels and twelve thousand seamen; and that now not one of these pursue their vocation, in consequence of the ruinous effect of bounties awarded by the French and North American governments. The former pay their fishermen ten francs for every quintal of fish disembarked in the ports of France, and five j francs additional on their importation in French vessels into foreign states, once exclusively supplied by England—a transfer which cannot be viewed simply as a mercantile transaction, seeing that the substitution of a greater number of foreign transatlantic fishing vessels, having more numerous crews, constitutes a statistical difference amounting to twenty-six thousand sailors against England, without including the United States— a fact that ought not, and, being known, cannot be looked on with indifference."
Such have been the means adopted in a commercial point of view. The French govi ernment has, with good reason, congratulated itself on its success, as well as taken credit for its ability. The report of the committee of the national assembly of France upon their Newfoundland fisheries, presented and adopted on 3 May, 1851, states, in recommending a continuance of the large ] bounties theretofore granted, "It is not, therefore, a commercial law we have the honor to propose to the assembly, but a maritime law—a law conceived for the ad-; vancement of the naval powers of this country. It is in her fisheries that at this day repose all the serious hopes of our maritime establishments. No other school can compare with this, in preparing them so well, and in numbers so important, for the service of the navy."
Notwithstanding this heavy blow and discouragement to British interests, the British fishermen and merchants have struggled for some years to hold their own, with that tenacity and perseverance which only our countrymen can show, when overmatched by opponents and not fairly dealt with by those at home. But the superior intelligence of the French government has met this contingency.
There was an opening for raising a dispute as to the interpretation of some treaties respecting the fishing boundaries. What, if the French government should advance a claim, excluding the British from the best fishingground, and should prevail on the British government to sanction it! It was an old story, and an often refuted claim, that of the exclusive right of the French to the best fisheries on a British coast, but it was worth trying, and so this modest claim was advanced in 1838 by Count Sebastian to Lord Palmerston. The English minister, in his reply of July 16, 1838, wrote as follows: "Exclusive rights are privileges which, from the very nature of things, are likely to be injurious to parties, who are thereby debarred from some exercise of industry in which they would otherwise engage. Such rights are therefore certain to be at some time or other disputed, if there is any maintainable ground for contesting them; and, for these reasons, when negotiations have intended to grant exclusive rights, it has been the invariable practice to convey such rights in direct, unqualified, and comprehensive terms, so as to prevent the possibility of future dispute or doubt. In the present case, however, such forms of expression are entirely wanting; and the claim put forward on the part of France is founded simply oil inference, and on an assumed in.terpretation of words.
After this answer, the claim disappeared for some years. But since the accession of the present emperor of the French, a new activity has been infused into the whole question, a new perception has arisen of the
necessity of a further development of this nursery for the French fleet, and consequently of the withdrawal, removal, or rcjectment (friendly, and by treaty interpretation, of course) of the British from their own fisheries. The French government succeeded during the Duke of Newcastle's occupancy of the Colonial Office in 1856, in obtaining a recognition of the pretensions which had been advanced, with a different result, to Lord Palmerston in 1838. The consummation, however, of the wholesale sacrifice was prevented by the determined resistance of the colonists, who, taking their stand on treaty rights, and on the clear exposition of them by the English foreign minister in 1838, exercised the veto which the Constitution gave them. The French government met this by a measure very nearly approaching to an act of force. They issued orders to their commandant on the Newfoundland station, to use his naval force, if necessary, to compel the Newfoundland British to resign their own fisheries and their own land. In this somewhat menacing state of things, Sir E. B. Lytton succeeded to the Colonial Office. The injury done to British interests in a commercial point of view by the French bounties was a fait accompli. The final blow of granting to the French the exclusive right to the best fisheries, and to British soil, had happily been so far averted. The question to be dealt with was twofold: first, aa to facts, viz., unjustifiable intrusion; secondly, as to interpretation of treaties, from that of Utrecht downward. On both points, the colonial minister, after having diligently and minutely examined the evidence, came to the conclusion at which no impartial or intelligent person could help arriving j viz., that the French claims were wholly untenable, and their conduct in the highest degree usurping and unjust. Lord Cowley was instructed to re-open the matter with the French government, and to propose the sending out of a joint commission to inquire, on the spot, into the facts. The French government consented, but with the reservation by Count Walewski, that "the difficulties raised by the Newfoundland question appear to the emperor's government to proceed solely from a difference in the interpretation of treaties, and it cannot, therefore, share in the confidence which her Britannic majesty's government feels in the result of the proposal. (Oth January, 1859.)"
The commission, however, went out to prosecute its inquiries, and its report will shortly be laid before Parliament.
It is of the highest consequence, sir, that public attention should be directed to this matter, and correct information afforded.