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“ that may have resulted from the army of “ reserve act, is not, I assert, attributable “ to ministers, who were quite at a loss what “ course to take, and who knew not, in “ fact, what measures were applicable to “ the dangers of the country. Is not this “ enough to expose the miod of ministers ; “ to show their disacquaintance with the “ means of executing even their own pur“ poses 2 Indeed, I am perfectly con“vinced of their want of vigour; every circumstance serves to show it, and I have, therefore, the strongest conviction “ upon my mind, that they are incapable “ of acting upon any thing like system, “ of adopting or executing any cnergetic “ or well-digested plan for the defence of the country. I do not, of course, place “any hope in their exertions, and, therefore, “ concur in the propriety of the proposed “ committee, where every question con“ nected with our security may be fully investigated.” Well, then, Mr. Windham, might have said, we see, that the ministry now contains all the same men, the very same men, with the exception of Lord St. Vincent and Mr. Yorke, that it contained when this speech was made. Therefore, Mr. Pitt must unsay what he said upon Mr. Fox's motion, he must confess that he gave an untrue description of eight out of the eleven of his present colleagues, he must, in open parliament, regorge the charges of “incapacity and imbe“ cility,” or, he must insist that he and the three other new cabinet ministers (aided by Messrs. Canning, Trotter, Fordyce, Huskisson, &c. &c.) possess all the present capacity and energy, and that the noble Sidmouth and his part of the cabinet are nothing more than mere signs of ministers, merely like woodenbacked books in a library : “one of these “...courses he must take,” it was observed on a former-occasion, “ or he mus' assent to the “ propriety of going into the proposed com“. mittee.” I was mistaken. He found out a course which I did not perceive, and which, if I had perceived it, I should have thought quite impossible for him to pursue. Yet, why should I not have thought it possible, and even likely 2 Yes, this question is pertinent enough now; but, in spite of every thing that had passed, I could not, a month, only a month ago, have believed of him what I have now witnessed. It is curious to look back, and to trace him downwards in one's mind l—He could not have answered Mr Windham's speech; that was out of his power; but, he would have attempted it, could he have ventured to re-assert his forner opinions respecting the “incapable and “ in Facile" ministers who are now his col
leagues. . If he spoke, it was absolutely necessary to make this re-assertion, or to unsay his former assertion. The latter he was ashamed to do in so direct a manner; and the former he knew would have driven him from his place, and from the cabinet for ever, — Indeed, it was positively and most exultingly asserted amongst the partisans of the noble Lord Viscount Sidmouth, that Mr. Pitt, whenever Mr. Windham's motion came on, would find it convenient to unsay in the most unqualified manner, all that he had said last year respecting the “incapacity and “ imbecility" of Mr. Addington; and The Times (the Addington newspaper) went so far as to state, that they (the writers in that paper) had “much too high an opinion of “ the heart as well as the head of the Right “ Honourable Chancellor of the Exche“ quer" [this paper has never called him the minister since the noble I lord Viscount Sidmouth's return to power] “ not to believe “ that he would sieze the earliest opportunity “ of not only acknowledging, that his “charges against Mr. Addington were unjus“tified by fact” [that is to say that they was false], “but that the measures and conduct “ of that gentleman, who was so unworthily “ treated, deserve high commendation, and “ought to be imitated by his successors to “ the latest posterity." The Viscount was, in the mean time, taking, upon this subject, a corresponding tone in the House of Lords. In the debate on the 15th ultimo, in allusion to what had been said relative to the “inca“ pacity and imbecility," with which his present colleagues formerly charged him, he said: “I have to-night, for the first time “ since I have had the honour of a seat in “ this House, heard what I have been too “much accustomed to hear in another place, “ of the inefficiency of His Majesty's minis“ ters. I ever have, and ever shall, treat “ such charges and insinuations, come from “what quarter they will, with the contempt “ they deserve." Mr. Pitt had been an ob. server of this; and, therefore, he chose, upon Mr. Windham's motion, the course of silence, leaving his partisans to give to that silence the most favourable interpretation;
and, on their making most strenuous efforts he might safely rely, because, however their opinions of him may be altered, however they may, in their hearts, think meanly of him, yet they are, they have long been, and they must remain, his partisans, or be politically
annihilated: they wear his livery, and, like the footman of Nell Gwyn, they are fighting
for their own reputation, and not for his
“. What business had you fighting?" said Nell, looking out of her coach-window,
“Why, madam," said the knight of the rainbow, “this fellow-called your ladyship “a whore."....“ Pohl you fool!" said she, “every body knows that ".... “ Do “ they so," said the knight to himself, “but “they shall not call me a whore's footman “ though, as long as I have a pair of fists" This is a distinction which is founded in reason and nature; but it is one, which, in estimating the conduct of political partisans, we too often leave out of the account.—A very few days after the Wiscount had made the speech above referred to in the House of of Lords, had so openly expressed his contempt of all those who should talk of the imbecility and incapacity of himself and his colleagues, alluding, at the same time, very
intelligibly to what had passed in the other
House of Parliament. Four days after this (that is on the 19th ultimo) and only a day or two after the above-quoted broad hint had appeared in The Times newspaper, Mr. Pitt (in a conversation upon the salt duty, and in answer to what Mr. Sheridan had
the man who made these modest observations, now stands up in the very same place, and declares in the hearing of the same assembly, that he is disposed “to show every “respect" to, and to “adopt the conduct of," the person with whom he was here putting himself in contrast! There is nothing like this in the history of parties in this country, or in any other history that the world ever saw.—— Mr. Canning, too ! He that used to joke about “ the Doctor's emetics," and about “ brother Hiley's 14 shilling warm “ great coats!" I'll warrant that he will crack no more jokes upon the medical profession. Van Butchell and other gentlemen of that description will, in future, be spared in his verses; and, as to the great coats, he will never put on his own without recollecting, that that is a subject to be avoided. Mr. Canning ! he who “ objected to the head" of the late administration and who told the House of Commons, that “that was changed!” Mr. Canning yes this very Mr. Cannin never even alluded to that part of oš ham's speech, wherein, as the very foundation of the argument for going into the committee, upon the avowed sentiments and principles of Mr. Pitt, it was stated, urged, and insisted on, that the late cabinet, when compared with the present one, was a cabinet of wisdom and vigour. This was the part of the speech to answer first of all. It was first in importance as well as first in order. Last year, said Mr. Windham, you voted and spoke in favour of just such a motion as this, in favour of a proposition for the House to take into its own hands an examination into the state of our military defence; and this you did, because the ministers were so incapable and imbecile as not to be worthy of our confidence. Well, the cabinet is now composed of the same persons that it then was, except that Lord St. Vincent and Mr. Yorke are gone out, and Mr. Pitt, and Lords Melville, Mulgrave, and Camden are come in, I insist that the present cabinet is, and has by its acts shown itself to be, more incapable and imbecile. than the late cabinet; and, therefore, I call, upon the House, and say, that without
alluding, when, in the debate of the 18th of June last, he said: “it is insinuated, that “there has not been a sufficient change in “ the ministry; but, surely, the right hon. “gentleman below, must, at least, be satis“fied, that the change is sufficient, and “ that the present is really a new adminis
glaring inconsistency you must support my; call, to go into a committee for he purposes, last year proposed.—- This cane directly. home to them. It was a point blank appeal to their spirit. But, all was in vain... Not a word by way of answer from Mr.
Canning; not, as was before observed, even.
“tration. Few will doubt, that a very real “ change has taken place, when they con“sider that the office of first Lord of the “Treasury is now held by me." And yet,
an allusion to the contrast that was drawn, between the present and the late cabinet. Such was their dread of the consequences, that they dared not assert even that the , present cabinet was not more incapable and inibecile than the late cabinet ! Never was humiliation so complete as this. Newer before were power and emolument purchased at so dear a rate. Call not this conduct ambitious ! Let not the feeling that dictated it be dignified with the name of ambition Disgrace not so the passion which leads to noble deeds, and which is always distinguished by a contempt of precisely those things, which alone are here kept constantly in view. No : it is not ambition : the operators are not endeavouring to volt above the heads of other men, but to climb up in the best way they can ; and, as was, with respect to them, once before observed, in the words of Swift, “ climbing is performed in the attitude of “ crawling." The endeavour will not, however, succeed. The times are approach
ing when they must rise, if they rise at
all, in a very different way. When I see a climbing young friend casting his eye about him ; attentively observing the daily increase of grey hairs; minutely calculating ages, constitutions, and contingencies : when, in imagination, I see him lost, as it were, in reveries of this sort, I cannot help calling to mind the fate of poor Captain Blifil, who, while he was walking over his brother's gardens, and forming a plan for altering them when they should fall to him, dropped down dead in an apopletic fit. A stroke of the funds, or some such thing, would, the young friends may be assured, produce amongst them political consequences not less swift or less fatal. IR is H H A Be A s Cor PUs.--—The date and the result of the debate in the House of Commons upon the introduction of the bill for the further suspension of the habcas corpus act in Ireland, were noticed in the preceding sheet, to which I beg leave to refer the reader. --Previous to any remarks upon this measure, it seems necessary to describe the nature of the habeas corpus act; for, really, men appear almost to have forgotten what it is. The hired writers in the ministerial newspapers tell us, that “there is one “ great error or deficiency, that runs through “ all the military opinions of Mr. Wind“ han), namely, that he appears not suff“ciently attentive to the distinction be “ tween this free and happy country and the “ nations of the continent." [All of them, observe.) “He never takes into his views “ of the question, that constitutional jealousy “ which this country has ever shown against large standing armies in times of peace. It is on this constitutional ground that Mr. Canning decidedly preferred that descrip
“ tion of force, which was likely to be pro“cured by Mr. Pitt's defence bill, to that “great standing army, which appears to be “ recommended by Mr. Windham." And, these are the slaves, observe, who have been defending, through thick and thin, all the measures relative to Ireland; the suspension of the habeas corpus act, without inquiry in the first instance, and its renewal for another year and a half, perhaps, still without any inquiry, without any evidence before parliament, whereon to proceed to such an act of rigour, and that, too, at a time, when the parliament had, from the ministerial bench, just been congratulated on the “tranquil “ state of Ireland 1" At a time when the hirelings are bawling against the dangers, which the liberties of the people have to apprehend from a standing army, and are, at the same time, justifying the treatment of Ireland, it seems necessary to show what the habeas corpus act is, what that is of which Ireland has been so long, and is to be for so much longer deprived, not only without exciting any portion of that “ constitutional. “jealousy," which Mr. Canning (an Irishman and an Irish member) is said to entertain with respect to a standing army, but without operating powerfully enough with him to prevent him from voting for the further suspension. Endless are the eulogies that have becom pronounced upon the writ of habeas corpus, particularly as its powers are explained in the act, called the habeas corpus act, which was passed in the 31st year of King Charles the Second. I will, at present, confine myself to BLAcksto NE, who has taken great pains to describe this valuable and once revered part of our laws. “In “ a former chapter of these commentaries," says he, “we expatiated at large on the per“ sonal liberty of the subject. It was shown
“to be a natural inherent right, which could
“ not be surrendered or forfeited unless by “ the commission of some great and atro“cious crime, nor ought to be abridged in “any case without the special permission of “ law. A doctrine co-eval with the first “ rudiments of the English constitution; “ and handed down to us from our Saxon “ ancestors, notwithstanding all their strug“gles with the Danes, and the violence of “ the Norman conquest: asserted after“wards and confirmed by the Conqueror “ himself and his descendants: and though. “sometimes a little impaired by the fero-. “ city of the times, and the occasional des“ potism of jealous or usurping princes, yet. “established on the firmest basis by the “ provisions of Magna Charta, and a long “succession of statutes enacted under Ed
“ward III. To assert an absolute exemp“tion from imprisonment in all cases, is in“consistent with every idea of law and po“litical society; and in the end would de“stroy all civil liberty, by rendering “its protection impossible : but the “glory of the English law consists in clearly “defining the times, the causes, and the * extent, when, wherefore, and to what “degree, the imprisonment of the subject “my be lawful. This induces an absolute “necessity of expressing upon every com“mitment the reason for which it is made; “ that the court, upon an Habeas Corpus, “ may examine into its validity; and ac“cording to the circumstances of the case “may discharge, admit to bail, or remand “the prisoner.” (Book III. ch. 8.) Thus, we see, that according to the opinion of this very eminent lawyer, the personal liberty of the subject is no new thing in England. That it is not, when enjoyed, a gift of any bo. dy, and that it has not arisen from any mo. dern institutions; but, that is a right, not only of nature, but of inheritance from the earliest times. After describing, in another place, the extensive operation, and efficacious nature of the writ of Habeas Corpus, the same writer proceeds thus to speak of the excellence of the act which prescribes the methods of obtaining the writ. “By 31 " Car, II, ch. 2." says he, “ commonly
: thods of obtaining this writ are so plainly 4- pointed out and enforced, that, so long as -- this statute remains unimpeached, no sub... ject of England can be long detained in ... poon, except in those cases in which the of law. requires and justifies such detainer.
And, lest this act should be evaded by demanding unreasonable bail, or sureties for * the prisoner's appearance, it is declared by 1 W. and M. st. ii. c. 2. that excessive bail ought not to be required.—Of great importance to the public is the preservation of this personal liberty: for, if once it were left in the power of any, the highest magistrate to imprison arbitrarily whomever he or his officers thought pro... o. (as in France it is daily practised by -- the Frown) there would soon be an end ... to all other rights and immunities. Some
have thought, that unjust attacks, even
will of the magistrate, are less dangerous to the commonwealth, than such as are made upon the personal liberty of the subject. To bereave a man of life, or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and !' motorious an act of despotism, as must at
upon life, or property, at the arbitrary.
- “ once convey the alarm of tyranny through‘ out the woole kingdom. But confine“ ment of the person, by secretly hurrying. “ him to gaol, where his sufferings are un-, “ known or forgotten, is a less public, a less “ striking, and, therefore, a more dangerous. “ engine of an arbitrary government." (Book. I, c. 1) I am, and always have been, one of those who entertain this opinion. The partial, capricious and cruel blows of despotism are much less injurious to the general and real liberties of a country, than are any. of those proceedings, by which tyranny is exercised under the names, and with the , forms and appearance of law and justice.. Nobody sees the man that is carried off to a gaol; or, if they do, it is an ordinary act, though, in reality, it may be wickedly unjust. I do not here mean to insinuate, that such acts of wickedness have been committed in Ireland, under the suspension of the Ha-. beas Corpus Act; for, I am, as most other persons in this country are, totally ignorant of the matter. But, if we do not allow, that, such acts may be committed in consequence, of such suspension, all the praises which . have been bestowed upon this “ second, “ magna charta and stable bulwark of our' “ liberties," as Blackstone elsewhere calls, it, are mere empty sounds, which can be of . no use, except to amuse ignorant people with the illusion of liberty and security. Blackstone, in a subsequent part of his Commentaries, gives an account of several shifts and contrivances, by which the benefit of “ this great constitutional remedy" were defeated, by the judges and others. “But,” says he, “whoever will attentively consider “ the English history, may observe, that “ the flagrant abuse of any power, by the “ crown or its minister, has always been “ productive of a struggle; which either “ discovers the exercise of that power to be “ contrary to law, or (if legal) restrains, it “ for the future. This was the case in the “ present instance. The oppression of an “ obscure individual gave birth to the fa“ mous Habeas Corpus Act, 31 Ch. II. “ c. 2, which is frequently considered as “ another Magna Clarta of the kingdom ; “ and by consequence has also in subsequent times reduced the method of pro-. “ ceeding on these writs (though not within the reach of that statute, but issuing mere- . “ly at the common law) to the true standard . “ of law and liberty.——The statute itself “ enacts, 1. That the writ shall be returned “ and the prisoner brought up within a Ji“ mited time, according to the distance, not “ exceeding in any case twenty days. 2. “That such writs shall be endorsed as grant
court of judicature.
ed in pursuance of this act, and signed by the person awarding them. 3. That on complaint, and request in writing, by or on behalf of any person committed and charged with any crime (unless committed for treason or felony expressed in the warrant, or for suspicion of the satne, or as accessary thereto before the fact, or convicted or charged in execution by legal process) the Lord Chancelior or any of the twelve judges, in vacation, upon viewing a copy of the warrant or affidavit that a copy is denied, shall (unless the party has neglected for two terms to apply to any court for his enlargement) award a Habeas Corpus for such prisoner, returnable immediately before himself or any other of the judges; and upon return made shall discharge the party, if bailable, upon giving security to appear and answer to the accusation in the proper 4. That officers and keepers neglecting to make due returns, or not delivering to the prisoner or his agent within six hours after demand a copy of the warrant of commitment, or shifting the custody of a prisoner from
‘ into the counties palatine, cinque ports, and
“ other privileged places, and the islands
“ of Jersey and Guernsey. 9. That no, “ inhabitant of England (except persons
“ contracting, or convicts praying to be
“ transported ; or having committed some
“ capital offence in the place to which they, “ are sent) shall be sent prisoner to Scot“ land, Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey, or any
“ places beyond the seas, within or without “ the King's dominions : on pain that the
“ party committing, his advisers, aiders,
“ and assistants shali forfeit to the party “ grieved a sum not less than 500l. to be “ recovered with treble costs; shall be “ disabled to bear any office of trust or profit; shall incur the penalties of pre“ munire; and shall be incapable of the “ king's pardon." (Book III. ch. 8.) Drawing towards the end of his work, the commentator thus concludes his account of the progress and completion of the restoration of English liberty. His words are well worth remarking. “Though the monarch," says he, speaking of King Charles the Second, “ in “ whose person the royal government was “ restored, and with it our ancient con“stitution, deserves no commendation from “ posterity” (not very grateful nor very decent), “ yet in his reign, the concurrence “ of happy circumstances was such, that, “ from thence we may date, not only the “ re-establishment of our church and mo“narchy, but also the complete restoration ‘ of English liberty, for the first time “ since its total abolition at the conquest." [And yet the king deserves no commendation from posterity 'J “ For therein not only “ these slavish tenures, the badge of foreign “ dominion, with all their oppressive ap“pendages, were removed from incumber“ing the estates of the subject; but also “an additional security of his person from “ prison was obtained, by that great bul“ wark of our Constitution, the Habeas * Corpus Act. These two statutes, with “ regard to our property and persons form “ a second Magna Charta, as beneficial and
“well to release himself, though committed “ even by the King in council, as to punish
effectual as that of Runny Mead. That,