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reply was communicated to the com- presented to the house of lords of mons, and by them referred to the the 24th of March, and the replica managers.
tion of the commons having been The next proceeding in this busi. presented next day at the bar of th ness was a report of the managers, house, their lordships were pleased presented to the house of commons, on the motion of earl Fitzwilliam on the 4th of March, containing to fix the 29th of April for the tria further matters of a criminal nature of lord Melville, and to send a mes. against lord Melville, which was sage to the commons, to acquain ordered to be printed and taken them- therewith, and to require them into consisleration on a future day. to appoint a committee to manage Upon the facts disclosed in this rc- the impeachment. port an additional article of im- On the following day Mr. Whit. - peachment was moved on the 7th bread moved, in the hoase of comof March, and, after some conver- mons, " that the house should be sation, agreed to without opposi- present at the trial of lord viscount tion. When this additional article Melville, as a committee of the whole was communicated to the lords, it house." was referred to a committee, to It was objected to this motion by search for precedents of the pro- the friends of lord Melville, that the ceedings of the house in such cases, adoption of it would necessarily lead and the report of the committee to the trial being carried on in being favourable to the admission of Westminster Hall, which would be the additional article, it was ordered the cause of great delay, and of much to be communicated to lord Mel. additional expence to the defendant ; ville, that he might puit in his an- and it was contended, that justice swer to it within a limited time. would be more speedily and more
In the mean time Trotter, one of cheaply, and not less effectually ob. the principal witnesses in this cause, tained, by a trial at the bar of the having refused to answer the ques- house of lords; in proof of which, tions put to him by the managers, the trial of lord Macclesfield at the on the ground that his answer might bar of that house, which lasted only subject him to a civil suit, was or. twenty one days, was contrasted dered by the house of commons to with the trial of Mr. Hastings in be taken into the custody of the Westminster Hall, which lasted serjeant at arms; but, having next during cight sessions of parliament. day (March 6, presented a humble It was answered, that it ill bepetition to the house, espressive of came the friends of lord Melville, his contrition for having offended who had prevailed in having a trial then, and having given the mana- by impeachment preferred to the gers satisfaction as to the questions iria! by indictment, on which the which he had refused to answer, commons had originally determined, he was set at liberty, after a pro- to object to the impeachment being per admonition from the speaker. conducted according to the old and
Lord Melville's answer to the ad. established usage of parliament ; that ditional article, which was a general all their former arguments for preplea of not guilty, like his answer ferring trial by impeachment to trial to the preceding oncs, having been by indictment, derived from the
zak of the defendant, applied from day to day till it was finished; qually to a trial in Westminster that the hour fixed for assembling Hall, in preference to a trial at the cach day should be rigidly adhered dar of the house of lords, as the to: and that some understanding nore solemn and diguified course of should take place, with respect to procedure ; that the expectation of collecting the opinions of their lordtåe country would be disappointed, ships qui disputed points of eviand its suspicions excited, if the dence, without retiring on every tral were not conducted with the such occasion to the chamber of greatest publicity ; that the great parliament ; and he announced his object of impeachment was to serve intention of moving, to refer to the as an example to men in public situ- committee already appointed to ations, and that the impression search for precedents, to consider would be most profound and most of the best incans of proceeding in salutary, when the impeachment the trial without delay.
This move conducted with the greatest tion was accordingly made and ferm and solemnity; that whatever agreed to on the 14th of April, and Eght be the issue of the trial, it was the whole of these suggestions were necessary to convince the country, approved of by the comunittee and that there had been no collusion or adopted by the house. nderhand dealing in the manage- On the 28th of April a motion aent of it, by giving to all the pro. of great importance was made in teedings relating to it the utmost the house of lords, by lord Auckpublicity; that, with respect to land, viz 6 strictly to forbid the the delay in the trial of Mr. Has. publication of any part of the protings, it arose, not from the place ceedings upon the ensuing trial of there the trial was carried on, but lord Nelville, during the same.” from the numbers, variety and com- This motion which was highly plicated nature of the charges, and praised by Jord Eldon and lord from the dilatory course of proce- Hawkesbury, passed after some bure adopted by the house of lords. pertinent remarks froin the duke of These reasons being deemed satis. Norfolk pointing out the impracti. factury by the house, Mr. Whit. cability of preventing, by any rebread's motion was carried without a gulation whatever, that, which division.
should come out in the course of When this resolution was next the trial, from going forth to the day communicated to the house of public : and yet after the evidence lords, lord Grenville moved an ad- was closed on both sides, the prodress to his inajesty, praying that hibition was rencwed and confirmed directions might be given io prepare by an order of the house, of the i place in Westminster Hall for 17th of May, “ that no person prethe trial of lord Melville, and at the siime to print any of the proccedings same time the noble lord suggested of this house, touching the impeach. to the house several measures to ment of viscount Melville, till after prevent unnecessary delay in the the house shall have giveo final conduct of the trial. He recom. judgment upon the said impeachnended, that the trial, when com- ment.” We confess, that on the menced, should be proceeded in subject of these regulations, we
concur perfectly with the duke of trial we are confident, that it actual. Norfolk. We cannot forget, that ly did deleat the salutary ends pro. the effect of this prohibition was posed by impeachment. The counnot to prevent what passed in West- try ceased to be interested in the minster Hall from being the sub. Progress of a trial, the proceedings ject of discussion out of doors, of which were not communicated to during the continuance of the trial it, like o'her daily occurrences, and even in the presence of the by the press ; and after the decision judges, but to cause imperfect and had been given few were disposed defective accounts of the evidence to open the ponderous volome, in and other proceedings to be circu, which the evidence and arguments lated, instead of the full and accu- of the case lie buried ; and fev rate reports, which the newspapers, there are even at present, in this if permitted, would have given. enlightened country and inquisitive That all knowledge of what was age, who have formed any o;:inion disclosed in Westminster llall could of lord Melville's guilt or innocence, be withheld from those who were from their own examination of the not present at the trial, or that evidence against him. those wlio assisted at the proceed- of the public think his character ings, would abstain from making spotless and his conduct free from comments on what they had seen stain, because a majority of his and heard, was not to be expected ; judges found him guilty of no legal nor was it probable, that, in so offence ; while wc fear another part numerove a body as the judges of inpute his acquittal to collusion, lord Melville, unaccustomed as the and divide the blame of it between greater part of them were to discus. his judges and his accusers. sions of the import of testimony or The trial commenced on Monday other evidence, many would not be the 29th of April. Ten days were swayed by the remarks and opinions, employed by the managers, in which they hcard out of doors. But, bringing forward and examining if no precautions could prevent the their evidence, and in the speeches of judges upon this trial from being Mr. Whitbread, who opened the case influenced by public opinion, it was and of the solicitor general, a hosume surely desirable, that the public med up the evidence. Three days were should have better materials for afterwards employed by the counsel judging of the case, than the partial for the defendant in their reply ; two and imperfect recollections of the by Mr. Pluner, and after examinby-standers and spectators in the ing a few witnesses, the third by Mr. galleries of the hall. If it be true, Adams. The 14th and 15th days that the advantages of the expensive, of the trial were taken up by the and in many respects, objectionable managers in their reply on the part form of trial by impeachment, Con- of the commons, the legal argument sist chiefly in the greater impression being conducted by the attorney it makes and greater sensation it general, and the observations on the excites in the country, theo will we, evidence left to Mr. Whitbread. venture to maintain, that a regula. Mr. Flumer was also indulged with tion like this tends to defeat, and permission to make some remarks upon the occasion of lord Melville's in answer to the attorney general.
On the 16th day of the trial sentence the provisions of that act, did perwas pronounced ; so that this trial mit Alexander Trotter, his paymas. in Westminster Hall was concluded ter, illegally to draw from the bank within a shorter time after its com- of England, for other purposes mencement, than the trial of lord than for immediate application to Macclesfield at the bar of the house of navy services, large sums of money, lords. The credit of this dis patch which had been issued to the bank was in a great measure due to the on account of lord Melville as trealord chancellor, whose consummate Surer of the navy, and place the knowledge of the law of evidence same in the hands of Thomas Coutts constituted him the best authority in and Co. his private bankers, in his every question of that sort which oc- own name, and subject to his sole curred, while the candour and fairness control and disposition; of hisconduct induced all parties to ac- 3rd. That not only did lord Mel. quiescemost readily in his decisions. ville permit Trotter to place as The trial, as we have already said, aforesaid the public money in the began on the 29th of April ; the evin hands of Thomas Coutts and Co. dence and arguments of the council his private bankers, but to apply the on both sides closed on the 17th same for purposes of private pro. of May; and sentence was pro- fit and emolument, whereby the nounced on the 12th of June. said money was exposed to great
We shall now proceed to give as full risk of loss, and withdrawn from an account of the evidence adduced the control and disposition of the and arguments employed in this treasurer of the navy ; important trial, as the narrow lin 4th. That part of the money so mits of our work will admit.
taken by Trotter from the bank, The articles of impeachment were was, by permission of lord Melten in number, and in substance as ville, placed in the hands of Mark follows:
Sprott and others, and applied for Ist. That lord Melville while purposes of private profit and emo. treasurer of the nary, did previous. Tument ; ly to the 10th of January 1786. 5th. That lord Melville himself take and receive out of the money did, after the 10th of January 1786, entrusted tu him from his majesty's take and receive from the public exchequer, the sum of 10,0001. and money issued to the bank of Eng. fraudulently and illegally convert land, the sum of 10,000l. and frau. the same to his owo use, or to some dulently and illegally convert the other corrupt and illegal purposes : same to his own use or to some and on the 11th of June 1805, in other corrupt and illegal purpose ; the house of commons, did refuse to 6th. That lord 'Melville received account for the application of the advances of large sums of money
from Trotter, out of the public no. 2od. That, after the passing of ney so obtained by him and depa. the act of parliament on the 25th sited in the hands of his private year of his majesty's reign, enti. bankers, which advances were ille taled " an act for better regulating tered in an account current kept the ofice of treasurer of his majesty's between Trotter and lord Melpary,” lord Melville, coutrary to ville, and preserved till February You. XLVIII.
said sum ;
1803, when by mutual agreement illegally convert the same to his dated the 18th and 23rd of Febru. own use or to some other corrup ary of that year, it was destroyed and illegal purposes. with all the vouchers and otber me. The articles of impeachment wert morandums relative thereto, for the far from being well drawn up. The purpose of fraudulently concealing same charge was frequently repeated these transactions ;
in different articles, and the same ar 7th. That, in particular, lord ticle often contained more charge Melville received from Trotter the than one. It was sometimes diffi sum of 22.0001. out of the public cult to discover under what article money, and that the accounts rela. a particular fact was charged, noi tive thereto have been burned and was it always easy to distinguish destroyed for the above mentioned between a substantive charge, and purpose;
what was meant as a mere aggrava. 8th. That among other ad. tion of other charges. Thesi vances of money as aforesaid, lord defects in the articles of impeach. Melville received from Trotte the ment were in their operation fa sum of 22,000l. for which he vourable to the defendant, by les. paid interest;
sening the apparent number of per. 9th. That Trotter acted
on the last day of the agent to lord Melville without any trial, pronounced him guilty. For pecuniary compensation, and in there were some of his judges, who that capacity was generally in ad. though they agreed in the facts of vance for him to the amount of which they thought him guilty, yet from 10.0001 to 20.0006. out of differed so widely in their construct the public money in his hands; tion of the articles of jinpeach. that lord Melville was aware, that ment, that meaning to find him Trotter had no means of making guilty of the same fact, they voted him such advances, except from the him guilty on different articles, public money of which he had ille. Accordingly, though 59 out of 130 gally so possessed himself; and that lords, who voted on lord Melville' Trotter was induced, to act gra- impeachment, found hin guilty of tuitously as lord Melville's agent, high crimes and misdemeanors, there and to make these advances, in con. were not more than 53, who sideration of lord Melville's con- agreed in finding him guilty of any nivance of his free use and uncon. one article as charged by the comtrolled application of the public mons. money to his own private profit and But the charges against lord emolument;
Melville, though multiplied by the 10th. That lord Melville between managers of the impeachment, were August 19th, 1782, and January in substance only three in number. Ist, 1806, did take and receive The first was, that before the 10th from the monies issued to him out of January 1786, he mad, contrary of his majesty's exchequer, as trea- to the obligation imposed on him surer of the navy, divers large suns by the warrant appointing him to of money, amounting to 27,0001. the office of treasurer of the navy, or thereabouts,and fraudulently and applied to his private use and pro