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Sir, I think, it may be safely asserted, that a .

libel so audacious was never, before, in any English print, your weekly paper (of which more hereafter), not excepted, published against either House of Parliament. And, because a libel like this, published in a ministerial paper, be noticed by the Opposition, are all the prints in England to be threatened with a total change of the system upon which they have been conducted Are we, for this cause, to be bidden to tremble, and to hear proclaimed a “new arra” in the history of the press! At this moment there occur to me only two instances of serious proceedings against printers, publishers, or authors, for breach of parliamentary privilege in their publications; I mean those relating to Mr. Reeves in 1795, in the House of ComInons, and those relating to Mr. Perry, in 1798, in the House of Lords. Mr. Reeves wrote a pamphlet, in which was the following passage: “The government of England “ is a monarchy, the monarch is the ancient “stock,” from which have sprung those “goodly branches of the legislature, the “Lords and Commons, that at the same “time give ornament to the tree, and afford “shelter to those who seek protection un“der it. But, these are still only branches, “ and derive their origin and nutrinent

“from their common parent; they may be

“lopped off, and the tree is a tree still; “shorn, indeed, of its honours, but not, “like them, cast into the fire. The kingly “government may go on, in all its func“tions, without Lords or Commons: it has “heretofore done so for years together, and, “ in our times, it does so during every recess “ of parliament; but, without the King his “ parliament is no more.” . Of this passage, respecting which I have before given an opinion to which I still adhere, I shall only fürther observe, at present, that the House declared it to be “a malicious, scandalous, and seditious likel,” that the author was ordered to be prosecuted by the law officers of the crown, and that, amongst the persons whovoted for these measures, were yourself and Mr. Pitt, by whom no struggle was made to save Mr. Reeves, who, however, found protection in a jury, in the Court of King's Pench. She affair of Mr. Perry terminated more seriously. He published in his paper, the Morning Chronicle qf the 19th of March, 179s, the

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following paragraph: “The House of Lords “must now be admitted to be highly im“ portant as a political assembly, notwith“. stairding it has, of late, appeared to be no“ thing more than a chamber, where the Iniinister's edicts, are registered for forms' “ sake. Some of their lordships are deter“ mined to vindicate their importance. It is “ there that the dresses of the Opera dancers “ are regulated! Qne of the Roman Empe“rors recommended to the Senate, when “ they were good for nothing else, to discuss : what was the best sauce for a tuibot.--To regulate the length of a petticoat is a much more genteel employment.” - This paragraph, which was certainly a gross libel, Mr. Perry declared, that he never saw, till.it was too late to stop the circulation of the paper which contained it. He acknowledged that it was a gross and scandalous libel; that it expressed sentinents which he had never entertained ; that he was deeply penetrated with sorrow for its having appeared in his paper; and that, the Printer, being perfectly innocent of all intention to offend, he, Mr. Perry, humbly hoped that their lordships would pardon him, whatever might be their determination with respect to himself. Both Proprietor and Printer were, *..., fined each 50l., besides being obliged to pay nearly 501, each in fees; and were imprisoned in Newgate for the space of three months.Now, Sir, compare these libels and the proceedings thereon, with the libel which Mr. Stuart was instigated to publish and the subsequent proceedings relative thereto. Mr. Reeves's was a metaphorical libel; few people could possibly suppose that it was written or published with any evil intention; its meaning admitted of many interpretations; and, at last, though almost every public print in London had, in the interim, joined in the cry against him, a jury determined, that it was no libel at all. The jibei published by Mr. Perry called loudly for animadversion: it was disrespectful and contemptuous in a very high degree : it was as false, but it was not nearly so malicious as the libel, which Mr. Stuart was induced to publish, and which accuses the House of Commons of having, in their judicial capacity, passed an unjust judgment from foolish or wicked motives, than which, in my opinion, it is impossible to conceive any thing more

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libellous in itself, or more likely to be productive of mischievous consequences, Then,

as to the subsequent conduct of the gentlemen, of whom we are speaking; Mr. Ferry çiearly acknowledges the libellousness of the publication, states his ignorance of its insortico, and his deep regret at its having been

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polis; but, to leave nothing dubious as to this fact. I positively assers, that you were the principal comiuctor of that priu, of which asserticu, if required, I can, at any time prove the truth. Upon looking over the 35 numbers, to which the Anti-Jacobin extend. -ed, I should suppose, that about one-fourth part of its contents consists of comunents upon the speeches of members of parliament, and upon their conduct as meinbers of pasia: ment. As a specimen of these comments one might take the passage, where you spok of “ that man's speech, who stood up in is “ place in the House of Peers, atki, as the “ best way of furnishing the enemy withir. “ guments, without endangering his hon, “ declared that he put himself in the place of “ the French Directory, and spoke accord“ ingly.” (Anti-Jacobin, No. 2.) What man you alluded to here I cannot say: but he must have been a peer of the realm, and it ought to be remembered, that you, who were thus publishing upon his conduct, were, at the same time, a member of the House of Commons. But, I will come to a “man.” whom you thought proper to designate by his proper name, and, not to fatigue you, I will confine myself to one, Lord Moira, whose speech relative to the state of Ireland, in 1797, was commented an in language to indecent to be repeated. His lordship was described as “a drupe;” as having stated

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“gross falsehoods” in his place in parlic. oment; as having attempted “ to coxen” tie House of Lords; and, in short, there is

scarcely an act which a gentleman ought to to be guilty of, scarcely a quality which a gentleman ought not to be ashamed to poo sess, thaf was not imputed, over and ove. again, to Lord Moira; and this, as far asso.

pears from your paper, for no other reasontial that this nobleman had, in his place in the House of Peers, made a speech, in which he

censured the conduct of the ministers. The

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bearance,” merely because an atrocious libel in a ministerial print has, at last, been noticed. But, the injudiciousness of seleeting your name for this purpose will appear still more evident upon looking back at . our conduct relative to Mr. Perry, when he 3. as we have just seen, punished for a bibel on the House of Lords. This event occurred at the ery time that you were sending forth to the public, in your print, the above-mentioned obels upon Lord Moira and others. Mir. Perry, slopposing him to have seen, and even to have been the writer of, the fibel that appeared in his paper, was only ofollowing your example, and following it, too, as I think I have shown, at a very hunbe distanice. One would have thought, that to enjoy the advantago's which you cmjoyed, to combat behind a masked Lattery, while yoor adversary was exposed to all the dangets of literary and leg... warfare; one would have thought, that this was enough to infuse into the meatest of minds some little portion of maghatolity. Not so, however, with yon, who, instead of carefully abstaining. from all remarks upon the subject of Mr. Perry's offence, while he was under the animadversion of the law, the moment of his being sent to prison you chose as the most proper for publishing upon his conduct strictures evidently intended to prevent the duration of his imprisonment from being shortened, and, if possible, to deprive him of the compassion of all those wi:ose compassion was worth having. Mr. Perry's politics, relative to the French revolution, were, in my opinion, bad; while yours, as far as you could, with propriety, be said to have any politics, were good. But, this circumstance cannot change the character of your conduct as connected with the subject before us. It was, indeed, very generally thought, that the cause suffered not a little from the manner in which your department of the Anti-Jacobin was conducted; an opinion which, in all probability, prevented the continuation or the revival of that work, and the correctness of which opinion appears now to have received a pretty satisfactory verification in the well-k:own fact, that an edition of the Poetry of the Anti-Jacobin is now, by way of soft, advertised for sale “ at the price of “foste paper.” I speak here of what to it be denied. . A puff, in the words I. have quoted, has recently appeared for sevotal days successively in the Morning Post and other newspapers. In order to invite Pope to a great book auction, they mentio certain great bargains, and, amongst others, th::: * Mr. Cannings" (for they on set your oatre, Sor,) “Mr. Can

Inalignant, as well as more dan

“ining's edegant poetry of the Antijacobin is ‘' selling off at the price, of zooste-paper." Waste paper What, Odes, Balla's, Needy Knife-Grinder, Miss Pottingen, and all!. All waste paper ' " To what hose uses we n '' return, Horatio !”. Yet, some person's doubt, whether, as fir as you were inlingdiately concerned, the last use of even (se most unfortunate sheet of these volumes will not be full as honouravle as the first ; od, indeed, this doubt would occoue a volt;inty were we, as a criterion of your work, to take ...that part, which records your triumph over Mr. Perry, while he was suffering under the exercise of that power, from which you felt yourself protected; which exhibits you, Dyounted upon your durighill and surrounded by a fence to the tree-tops, clapping your wings and crowing out victory over an adversary, to the foll of whom neither your toleats nor your courage had in anywise contributed. And, Sir, was it, then, judi

cigns in the upstart writer in the Oracle, to

select your name, inder which to complain of the conduct of Mr. Grey with regard to the author or publisher of the recent libel upon the House of Commons 2. Ought not

that upstart writer to have recollected your

conduct with regard to Mr. Perry Or, are we to suppose, that he, as is not unfrequently the case with upstarts, regarded the public as having no right to exercise their senses in any way that might prove disadvantageous to him! The libel, recently i. the Oracle, was, beyond all comparison more oùs in its tendency, than the libel for which Mr. Per

was fined, and in prisoned in Newgate; . therefore, I ask, what, recollecting, as he must, your conduct with respect to §. Per

ry; what degree of assurance, what effron

tery, what insolence, must this upstart possess to enable bim to publish, under your

name, a complaint against the severity of

those who had noticed the libel in the Öracle, and a threat of retaliation upon all the other prints in the country?——But, though the selection of your name was, I think it will be allowed, very injudicious, I question whether it will not be found, that the selection of the name of Sir Henry Mildmay, under which to make a sort of protest against an alleged attempt to abridge the liberty of the press, as to proceeding in parliament,

was still more injudicious. It was Sir, Ileury

Mildmay, he tells us, who presented to the

House of Commons the petition, inserted

in page 675 of the foregoing sheet, . He

the writer in the Oracle), says, that Mr.

Stuart, the petitiosor, “ came to the deter“ mination of soliciting some independent

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member of parliament to present his petition, some gentleman whom all sides of “ the House looked up to with respect and esteem, and such a member he happily “ found in the person of Sir Henry Mild- - ,” Having thus characterized this gentleman, he, in another part of his paper of the 3d instant, publishes a speech which he imputes to Mr. Windham, and another speech which he imputes to Sir Henry Mildmay, Mr. Windham is represented, and I dare say very truly, as being unable to restrain his indignation at the insolence of the tition; while, on the other hand, Sir enry Mildmay is represented as having declared, that he “could not perceive what “ there was in the petition so improper as “ to raise such indignation in the mind of “ the Right Hon. Gentleman; he thought “ the petitioner had stated nothing but what “ he had fairly a right to state."—Upon reading these passages, one would be tempted to believe, that Mr. Stuart's pilgrimage, in search of an “independent" man, was something like that of the philosopher with his lantern. But, surchy, independent men are not so very rare to be met with amongst the members of the House of Commons! Surely, Sir Henry Mildmay, however indeHolo however respected and esteemed * by all sides of the House,” has no preten-sions to a monopoly of independence, respect, and esteem. Nothing is incre foolish or more unjust than to suppose, that all those who are in office, or who may be reasonably presumed to lock towards office, are dependent, and, on the contrary, that all • those, who have never been and are never likely to be in office, are independent. “In“ dependent” is, Sir, always an epithet of dubious, and, frequently of no very amiable meaning. It is, indeed, sometimes applied ... to men of high minds, of criginal thought, of action not waiting for the dictation of others, not influenced by considerations of self-gratification of any sort; and such men are always independent, whether in office or out, whether high or low in life. But, at * other times, the word “ independeist” is used for a very different purpose; +or you. shall hear it applied, with as the pomposs‘‘mess imaginable, to men who have no one of the characteristics of real independence; ' ' men who have too much money to need a salary, and too little sense to fill an office; who are too proud to be content to Inove in the circle for which nature, in a niggardly mood, has formed them, and yet, too mean

to refrain from becoming the tool, the rmore

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taining titles, which they want the talents and the spirit to obtain by letters or by arms. We must, however, suppose, that it was it its better sense, that it was applied to So Henry Mildmay ; but, upon that suppos. tion, I camot allow, that, amongst themest

bers of the House of Commons, it could be

so very great a difficulty to find an independent man; while, as I think I am now about to show, it would, in one respect at least, have been very difficult indeed for this wri. ter to have been more unfortunate in the selection of the name of a gentleman, under which to publish sentiments favourable, or only to the perfect liberty, but to the lices. tiousness of the press, as to the proceeding of parliament. Sir Henry Mildmay, SI, during the session of parliament which com: menced in the autumn of 1800, made a speech in the House of Commons upon the subject of tythes, as connected with that of the encouragement of agriculture; and, in that speech, he broached an odd sort of project for compelling the clergy to submitted composition in lieu of their tythes; the adoption of which project he seemed to so. gard as essentially necessary to remove to great discouragement to agriculture, which according to his notion, existed in the right possessed by the clergy of choosing between a composition and the taking up of the ty thes in kind. In about ten or twelve do after this speech was published in the news. §apers, a gentleaxan who happened to so. it in the daily paper at that time publiso by me, wrote to me, for publication, a ko ter commenting thereon. I knew the wo ter to be a clergyman of great respectibia; and of no small literary fame; I perfect" agreed with himu in opinion as to the mio principles upon which he proceeded; I ho proved almost entirely of the matter, as: had very little objection to any part of to manner of his letter; and, according, published it, agreeably to the writers to quest. This brought a complaint from * Henry Mildmay in person. He asked to if I was aware, that, in publishioga wo ment upon a speech of a member of pair

meat, I had committed a very gave offeo

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préssions towards ine, personally; sudo

should be sorry to be instrumental in to ruin; and was willing, on account of." being a stranger to the laws and custo

this country, (he and I were, believe.” . about eight miles from one another', " :

overlook my fault, provided I would into next number of my paper, disavow or *

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his speech, and make a suitable apology. I told him I was flattered by the good opinion he appeared to entertain of me, and that, when to that was added the indulgence he had been pleased to express his readiness to ' show on account of my ignorance of the laws and regulations to the severity of which I might have subjected myself, it was impossible that I should not be disposed to do every thing in my power to afford him satisfaction; bot, that having published his speech, and being convinced, that, upon everything once printed and published, anyone had a right to comment, I could not, consistently with my notions of the liberty of the press and of the justice of my correspondent's request, refuse to insert the letter; and, that, having, for these reasons, deliberately inserted it, which reasons I had yet heard nothing to invalidate, I could not think of making an apology for the insertion. I informed him, besides, that, as to all the main points I perfectly agreed in opinion with the writer of the letter, and that, therefore, to disavow or retract the sentiments of the letter would be an actof meanness which I was sure he would not like to see me commit. J, moreover, assured him (and I did it with perfect sincerity), that no personal disrespect to him was meant by me; I observed, that, if my correspondent had mixed a little asperity with his reasoning, I trusted he would have the liberality to excuse it, when he considered that it had flowed, without much time for reflection perhaps, from the mind of a man irritated with what he could scarcely help regarding as an attack upon the order to which he belonged.—All this had no effect. He still insisted, that the sentiments should be disavowed or retracted, and that an apology should be made. I then told him, that I had no objection to apologize for inserting the report of his speech; because I knew that to be an act of disobedience; but, that, as to the letter, I well knew that it was perfectly innocent in itself; that, as a comment upon athing printed and published in a newspaper, I was sure it could be no breach of the privileges of parliament; and that, so far was I from being disposed to apologize for the insertion, that it becatue me frankly to tell him that I was just going to insert a second letter from the same writer upon the same subject, being very willing to acknowledge my fault in having published speeches of members of parliament, but being, at the same time, firmly resolved not to relinquish the right of publishing comments on any thing that had once been printed and published. Finding him, however, still determined to proceed to cxtremities; still rising rather than falling in

the terms of his menaces; I reminded him, that there would be found, too, something peculiar in this case; and, that, in fact, he himself, since he would force me to speak out, was the only person, to whom any blame could be reasonably imputed, he having expressly authorised the publication, and, having, indeed, been the publisher, of the speech, upon which the comment had been made. “You will find it very difficult to “ prove that, I believe,” said he... “No,” said I, “I have a witness whose veracity I “ am certain you will not dispute.” “Aye!” said he “who is he?” “Here it is,” said I, producing the speech in that identical manuscript, which he had sent to my printing office, with a direction to have it insert- ' ed! We soon afterwards separated; he preferred no complaint against me to the House ; the occurrence very soon dropped from my memory; and I dare say, Sir, I never should have thought cf it again, had not the upstart writer in the Oracle absolutely driven it back into my mistd, by holding up Sir Henry Mildmay as a person indulgent in the crtreme to those who com

ment, not only upon the speeches but upon

the decisions in parliament; and, indeed, as the approver of pert and insolent language in a man, who comes to obtain his release from a seven day's imprisonment, imposed in consequence of his having published against the House and against its solemn decisions in the most solemn of its capacities, a libel, which has, . I believe, never before been equalled, in point of malignity, by any libel on any branch of the legislature. The imputation must be false. In the letter above-mentioned, there was nothing libellous; nothing personal ; nothing rude; nothing very harsh or severe : it was written by a gentlem in and a scholar, and it was, in every respect, worthy of its author. It contained, indeed, a resutation of the statements of the specch, and I thought it proved the speaker to be profoundly ignorant of the subject, which he had been induced to bring forward to the House; but this was its only sin, and, surely, it was not one to be put in comparison with that of the libel of the Oracle. There is, as every one must perceive, a wide difference between even a libel upon a single member and a libel upon the House; but, besides, this, the letter I have been speaking of was merelyan argumentative comment; its object was not censure ; how, wide, therefore, was the difference between that letter; to which Sir Henry Mildmay was so tenderly alive for his own sake, and the paragraph in the Oracle, of which Mr. Grey coin plain

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