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while his trial was pending. But the mo- nounced illegal, Mr. Wilson naturally supment the sense of this house was known, posed would implicate him in the penalties when I no longer could prejudice a man applicable to the illegality of the transaction, whose guilt, till declared by a competent and on that ground alone he declined to antribunal, I should have felt it unfair to pre-swer the interrogatories of the commissionjudge by any act of mine, I removed Mr.ers. But although the charge of legal guilt Trotter; and my reasons for not removing might attach to this man, I believe that he him before that sense was known, will, is perfectly free from any imputation on the have no doubt, be deemed satisfactory by score of morality, Still, though I entertain every dispassionate mind.-Nay, I have lit- this opinion of Mr. Wilson, if this house tle doubt that although a learned gent. (Mr. pronounced a different opinion, I should Ponsonby) remarked with such severity on bow to its authority, and remove him from my conduct on a former evening, that hon. office. But no such opinion has been degentleman himself will, upon a little reflec-clared, and I think him not at all fairly imtion, if he possess the mind and feelings of a plicated in the guilt attributed to the transBritish lawyer, be ready to confess that he action which led to this discussion. Why was wrong, and that to have taken a diffe- then should I comply with the wish exrent course from that which I have pursued pressed by the hon. gentleman? or with would have been unfair, tyrannical, and op- what justice could I sacrifice a man whom I pressive. With regard to Mr. Wilson, who conscientiously believe to be innocent, to holds a secondary station in the navy pay suspicion, or to clamour; unless some new office to him I do not conceive that any evidence should arise, or some competent imputation attaches, that would warrant me tribunal should pronounce Mr. Wilson in acting towards him in the manner which guilty? I have not, I cannot have, any perthe hon. gentleman desires. On the con- sonal partiality for Mr. Wilson, whom I trary, I consider Mr. Wilson to be one of know only as a clerk in my office: but I the most industrious and deserving servants will mete out a different measure of justice of the public. But, says the hon. gentleman, to this or any other man whom circumMr. Wilson is reported by the commission- stances may place in my power to what the ers as having given a reluctant testimony; hon. gentleman seems disposed to shew to as having refused to answer questions, lest lord Melville. But to return to the question; they should tend to criminate himself. Sir, the hon. gent. has now renewed all the unthe conduct of Mr. Wilson before the com- fairness, and apparently forgotten and thrown missioners of naval inquiry has been thus aside all the fairness and moderation, of explained to me; and not to me only, but, which he thought it necessary to assume the if I am not much misinformed, to the naval semblance at least in the last debate. He commissioners themselves, I speak in the has resorted to every means of aggravating presence of one of them (sir C. Pole), who his charge: he has collected every circumwill correct me if I am wrong, though they stance that could tend to give an unfavourhave not thought fit to report that part of able impression against the object of his acMr. Wilson's evidence." Mr. Wilson acted cusation, and has even construed the act occasionally, in the absence of the paymas- which was a mark of the noble lord's defeter, and used to sign drafts in the usual form rence to the house, and of his humiliation, on the bank, for the money wanted for the into an aggravation of his criminality. The office. If there was any legal guilt in the hon. gent. at one time calls particular parts manner of executing this part of the duty of of the tenth report dark and doubtful, which the paymaster, and that there was legal at another time he assumes to furnish clear guilt in it must not now be doubted, since and glaring evidence to aggravate the guilt of the house has.so decided, Mr. Wilson, so lord Melville. And he has travelled not only far as he acted in this respect for the prin- out of the charge itself, but out of the report, cipal, participated in that legal guilt, and into the whole range of party politics, into was liable, or thought himself liable, to the history of every action of lord Melville's whatever might be the legal consequences political life, to collect topics, which have of it. That he had ever acted with a view no natural relation to the subject properly to private emolument, has not been sup- before the house, and all calculated obvious

dence upon oath expressly denies that imputation. The share which he had had, as substitute for another, in a practice pro* VOL. IV.

posed or charged against him. His evi-ly to inflame the passions upon a charge which its advocates term an appeal to justice.-The hon. gent. tells you, that the motion this night is nothing more than a con

firmation of the vote of the former night. But the vote of the former night, as amended, only declared that the noble lord had violated the law, but it did not charge him with having done so for private emolument. You have indeed recorded your opinion that lord Melville has been guilty of a violation of the act of parliament, in consequence of which certain advantages have resulted to another person. But you have not said that the noble lord has had any participation of such advantages, nor does any thing appear to justify such an inference. I trust, there-than I subscribes to the purity and integrity of the motives which dictated it. If the hon. gent. means to compliment himself on the part which he has taken, on the part which he this night takes, in urging the house to a rigour beyond the measure of jus tice, and, I venture to affirm, beyond the

would challenge any man to produce an in stance where party prejudice has been found to obstruct, or delay, or influence the promotion of merit, whether political or mili tary.-Sir, the hon. gent. has congratulated his country on the extraordinary public vir tue which has been manifested on this occasion. If he means the virtue displayed by the house of commons, I cordially agree with him. Whatever I may have presumed to think of the vote of Monday night, as hasty or premature, no man more heartily

fore, that when the hon. gent. so triumphantly declares his conviction that the house cannot act inconsistently with itself; that it will not disappoint the just expectation of the country; I trust, sir, he will not find himself mistaken. The house will follow up the vote of last night with consis-measure of its own feelings of what is right; tency that is, in the same sense and spirit I am far from presuming to deny his claim in which that vote was given. The house to that credit, for an exertion of virtue be will not disappoint the opinion which the yond the ordinary rate of most men's capa country has conceived of its justice, temper, city, and beyond the usual practice of the and wisdom, by first voting a man guilty of country and the times in which we live. a lesser offence (I do not mean to vindicate The hon. gent. must have gone far back into lord Melville, or extenuate the infraction of the times of ancient Greece and Rome to find the law for which you have held him respon-models of that sort of virtue. There he will tible; but an offence merely legal is less in have found, no doubt, that when a great the eyes of every man than the gross moral political nquent was to be brought to jus guilt which the hon. gent. would now im- tice, and an appeal made to the people to pute to him, and which he would fain per- aggravate the severity of punishment, the suade you, contrary to your own knowledge accuser was not generally found among those and recollection, you meant to impute to who had received any injury from the accus

him yourselves), and then turning rounded; but among those whom he had served. and apportioning the punishment, not to the And, sir, when I look back to the proceed crime of which it has found lord Melville ings of this house in the year 1795, when I guilty, but to all the foul aspersions and ag-recollect the serious charges which were then gravated charges which the hon. gent. has in brought forward against two most eminent this stage of the business thought it decent commanders, now members of the other to heap upon him; to which charges the house of parliament (and for their services house is no party; and which it not only well entitled to that distinction); when I did not sanction by its vote of the last night, recollect that in the debates which arose upbut upon deliberation refused to agree to on those charges, their most active defender, even an ambiguous and doubtful affirmation their most indefatigable advocate, was that of them. The hon. gent. Las disclaimed very noble lord who now is made the theme any other motive for his motion this night of the hon. gent.'s violence and invective but a view to public justice. What has been and when I see that noble lord, now no already done towards that end? Is the state longer a minister, already pulled down from of humiliation to which the noble lord has the high eminence on which he stood, and been reduced nothing? Is such an end to such prostrate at the feet of the house of commons, a political life nothing? Has not the noble no longer formidable from power or dailord already suffered quite enough to disarm gerous from influence; when I see him now, any set of men not actuated by the most after his political existence has ceased, after rancorous feeling of party enmity? And the crimes of his political nature (be they against whom is this enmity directed? what they may) have been severely visited Against one who never was himself suspect-upon him; when I see him now in this deed of deserving the character of a bitter po- fenceless state persecuted and hunted down, litical antagonist. In any of the public si-and by whom? by the friends of sir John tuations which lord Melville has occupied, I Jervis and the kindred of sir Charles Grey; g steminizⱭ ** 115

341] - PARL. DEBATES, APRIL 10, 1805.-Lord Melville and Mr. Trotter.

I cannot, sir, refuse to the hon. gent, the praise of Spartan inflexibility, of more than Roman virtue: but while humbly and at a distance I admire the exertion of these high qualities in him, I pray to Almighty God to spare me the pain of being ever called upon to imitate his example!

Mr. Grey-I rise, sir, under no inconsiderable share of embarrassment. I was in some doubt, whether I should take notice of the observations of the right hon. gent. at all. It is, indeed, unpleasant to me at all times to enter into any thing in this house where I am personally concerned. With regard to whatever I or my hon. relation have done, I do not feel that we have merited the reproof of the right hon. gent., since I do believe we neither of us have any obligation to confess to the zeal, impartiality, or ability of the noble lord. The right hon. gent. accuses me for the warmth I have displayed respecting this business, and in answer to this accusation it is only necessary to say, that I am quite unconscious of any such bitterness, and it would, I think, be rather difficult for the right hon. gent. to shew in what way it has been evinced. He chooses to congratulate me and my hon. friend near me (Mr. Whitbread) on our more than Spartan virtue in voting against the noble lord, who, as he alleges, was the champion of those who are dear to us by the ties of blood or the connexions of friendship. He tells us that the battle which the noble lord fought for these relations was disinterested, and he admires the return we have made for these magnanimous exertions. This, sir, is a strange kind of language; but it will be proper for me to call the attention of the house to the circumstances to which the right hon. gent. has alluded. It is sufficiently in the recollection of the house that these noble lords being in the service of government, received only bare justice from the ministers of the day. It will be recollected that among the few instances of military glory which distinguished the late war, the two noble lords, triumphing over difficulties of a very formidable nature, had eminently distinguished themselves. On their return to this country from the West Indies, some dissatisfaction the only existing o jecin is some differarose, and an inquiry was proposed by some ences of political opinion. But the right members of this house. What was the con-lion, gent. has represented the defence of duct of these noble persons on that occasion? those noble persons as a work of great diffiDid they fly from justice? Did they wish to culty. It is of consequence to see, then, elude inquiry, or did they discover any how the case really stands, Why, sir, as anxiety to conceal their conduct behind any nearly as I can recollect, though I do not remem or dishonourable subterfuge On the member what was the imajo.ty, only sixteen contrary, did they not court inquiry? Did members, that is the odd numbers of the di

[342 they not call for the fullest investigation of every part of their conduct, and appeal to the fair decision of the house? The right hon. gent. has spoken as if these noble persons received favours from the noble lord who appeared in their defence; but I utterly disclaim the existence of any such favours. The noble lord defended them because they had served with credit and honour those by whom they were employed. This sort of justice was due, not merely to their particular merits, but it was due to the country whose interests they had promoted. Will the right hon. gent. opposite, who, on the occasion when the motion for an inquiry was brought forward, moved the amendment, say, that he did not seriously believe that the charge was unfounded-will he say that he was not convinced that their conduct, so far from being liable to censure, was entitled to the highest approbation and gratitude? Am I then to be told that the nɔble lord who appeared in defence of the noble lords was conferring a favour on them, or any of those with whom they were connected? Am I to hold myself under obligations to the noble lord for a defence of those gallant officers, whom he himself had ernployed, and who had signalized themselves in the public service? The right hon. gent., however, takes some merit to the noble lord for employing those who were known not to be in all cases favourable to the administrat on of that period. Without dwelling on this point, or ascertaining how far the noble lords at that time differed from ministers, it is sufficient for me to say, that to employ naval and military men of all different parties, is no proof of the moderation of ministers. They are compelled, whether they will or not, to employ the e vices of those who are distinguished by thei: talents or their experience, and the minister who would act otherwise would soon find that he cold not long persevere in arrangements utterly repugnant both to the feelings of this house and the country. It is hardly possible to conceive ministers guilty of a greater crime than refusing the services of persons of known talents, and to whose employment


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vision of Monday, could be found to support that charge now represented as so formidable. The case was one of the plainest and least intricate that can be supposed, and, therefore, the noble lord's defence was, in point of difficulty, trifling, and, in point of justice, the noble lords had a right to expect it from those who employed them. I have Been obliged to say so much on this topic, for, after what fell from the right hon. gent., it was quite impossible for me to have mained silent. Indeed, the right hon. gent.'s allusion to this business was equally

tions by some corresponding measures. Withdr out some others it is almost a nullity to suf fer the resolutions of Monday to remain on the journals of the house. My hon. friend has said, and has said with truth, that the no tification of the resignation of the noble lord by the right hon. gent. is far from satisfying: either the house or the country. The resignation of the noble lord, at another pes riod, might have been very proper, but un re-der the present circumstances of the couns try, his mere resignation of his situation as first lord of the admiralty is far from coming up to the spirit of those resolutions which will afford such general satisfaction in every part of the empire. Lord Melville's resig nation after the resolutions of Monday was altogether a matter of course. Neither he nor any other man dared to have continued in power after the opinion of this house was so solemnly and so beneficially expressed The resignation has taken place; but what security have we obtained that he may not, in a very short time, be recalled to a very confidential situation under the crown? The house will bear in mind that the noble lord still continues a privy counsellor, and one part of my hon. friend's motion is, that he be dismissed, not only from his majesty's councils, but from his presence for ever. It

fudged and impolitic. It was calculated fo excite unpleasant feelings, without at all advancing that cause which he affected to support. The right hon. gent. has alluded to the warmth with which the noble lord has been attacked; but, really, I am at a loss to discover where the least evidence of it has been' exhibited. I have felt no personal warmth or vindictive spirit on the subject, and I am sure no part of the conduct of my hon. friend has betrayed any appearance of a rancorous spirit. I have supported my hon. friend froin a sense of duty, and I only regret that I have been prevented from taking that share in the discussion which I could have wished. The right hon. gent. talks of rancour, of which no trace has ape peared; but though there has been no ran-is not at the same time to be forgotten that cour, it was impossible not to feel strong in- the noble lord at this time is actually in posdignation when instances of strong delin- session of several lucrative offices held during quency were discovered. My hon. friend pleasure; and I do not think that, after the arged these delinquencies, with that force resolutions we have passed, his removal which was peculiar to himself; but he ne- from these would be at all carrying punish ver resorted to asperity of observation. He ment to an improper length. After the de wished only the ends of justice to be fulfil- clarations we have made, can we take any led; but when this object is accomplished, I precautions too strong to insure the object am sure that my hon. friend will never think which the majority of the house professed for a moment of vindictive measures of pu- to have in view? The right hon. gent, rests nishment. It is with a view to have these a great deal on delicacy, as an argument-for ends of justice satisfied that the motion of resisting my hon. friend's motion. I, sir, my hon. friend has this evening been brought am a friend to delicacy, where it can be exer forward; but he has declared that if a satis-cised consistently with justice; but I can factory assurance is given that lord Melville never accede to a proposition for screening has closed his political life, he has no wish convicted guilt from adequate punishment, to press the motion at the present moment. by any scruples which false delicacy would This surely is no evidence of rancour, of impose. With a wish then that our resolue which the right hon. gent. speaks so loudly tions should not be evaded, but carried inte In his speech. As to the necessity of the the fullest effect, I should certainly be desi motion I have no sort of hesitation in say-rous of seeing my hon. friend's motion ing, that unless something is added to the re-adopted, as at once the most consistent with solutions of Monday night, they are left in our honour, most agreeable to the calls of complete. After saying that the noble lord justice, most consonant to the expectations had been guilty of a gross violation of an act of the country. I shall say only a few words

of parliament, and a high breach of his du-on some other topics which the right ho ty, we shall not discharge our duty to the gent. has thought fit to introduce into his Country without following up such rescla speecht. The right hon. gent. has spoken of

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have brought forward those tyrannical, des potic, and oppressive doctrines which he sup poses me to have delivered. Of having uttered any such language as could convey the idea of arbitrary principles or practices



the arbitrary and despotic doctrines brought forward by my hon. and learned relation behind me (Mr. George Ponsonby); but as my hon. and learned relation is himself so competent, it is not necessary for me to trouble you with many observations. But II am utterly unconscious. I was followed by a right hon. gent. who is unquestionably one of the most sound and constitutional lawyers, and a judge in one of the highest courts in the kingdom, and it is rather remarkable that he took not the least notice of these supposed arbitrary doctrines, though he did me the honour to allude to several parts of my speech. If such doctrines had been contained in what I then advanced, it is next to impossible that they should have escaped the observation of his penetrating and comprehensive mind. If I did lay down arbitrary doctrines, they are the same doctrines which many of the most eminent lawyers that this country ever saw have not scrupled to avow, The right hon. gent, however, tells me that if I were a British lawyer, I could not possibly avow the prin

may just be permitted to ask, whether there be any thing extraordinary or inconsistent with justice, any thing inconsistent with the character of a British lawyer, any thing at all tyrannical or despotic, in having a person accused of a most aggravated crime secured previous to his trial? Could this be called a prejudging of the cause? As well might we be accused of prejudging a criminal, because we found it necessary to shut him up in a prison previous to the proofs of his guilt being fully or fairly considered. Here, however, we were talking of a person not accused, but found guilty. I put it to the house, whether, after the circumstances of Trotter's conduct were known, it was at all decent to employ him in a situation which he had previously employed to the most improper purposes. If Trotter was not dis-ciples he imputes to me. I am not ashamed missed, he ought surely to have been sus- at any time, sir, or under any circumstances, pended from his office, till the inquiry in this of my country, and I hope I shall never be house was closed. The right hon. gent. has guilty of an action which will give my advanced nothing to shew that it was not his country cause to be ashamed of me. As, duty to have followed this course. His however, the right hon. gent. rests so much whole speech, indeed, was nothing but idle on my not being a British lawyer, I beg rant and fury, containing nothing addressed leave to inform him, that I have as good to the reason of the house, nothing which British blood flowing in my veins as the right affords the least proof that the motion of my hon. gent. can boast of in his. I cannot hon, friend should not be adopted, as the na- boast of having arrived at so early a period tural consequence of the previous resolu- of life as the right hon. gent. at the honours tions. Conceiving, then, this to be the and rewards which the right hon. gentleman case, I shall support the motion as called for now enjoys. What I have earned of ho by every principle of honour, every demand nours and rewards have been the result of of justice, and every feeling of regard for our long labours and painful exertion; but this character. I can safely assure the house, that never till now have I been accused of being an arbitrary or unconstitutional lawyer. I said, sir, alluding to the case of Mr. Trotter, that cir cumstances had been disclosed which shews ed that he ought not to have been employed in the office of paymaster of the navy, and I am still of the same opinion. But on what principle is it that the right hon. gent. accuses this declaration as inconsistent with the principles of justice? What are these principles? they are plainly, these:--that Mr. Trotter had, by his own evidence, proved his guilt; and that the testimony of his friend and patron, lord Melville, instead weakening, strengthened this opinion. I ask, then, after such evidence was given before the commissioners, if it would have been at all, extraordinary or unjust to have

Mr. George Ponsonby Mr. Speaker; after being so pointedly and personally alluded to by the right hon. gent., I hope I shall be favoured with the attention of the house for a few moments. Since first I had the honour of a seat in this house, I will not attempt to deny that it has ever been my ardent wish to stand high in the esteem of all the members of whom it is composed. After the vote of Monday, however, a vote so honourable to the character of this assembly, a vote which has exalted its characer among all orders in the state who value independence and worth, I confess, that to stand well in your opinion has become a matter of the utmost anxiety. The right hon. gent, has chosen to say, that if I had been a British lawyer I never could possibly

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