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course which is held in time of peace, as | mously and decisively expressed in a com-, not to render assistance to one belligerent munication to the chancellor of the exchein escaping the eflect of the other's hosti- quer their belief, that these Orders in lities. The duty of a neutral is, ' non in- Council could afford to our own colonies terponere se bello, non hoste imminente no relief, but might, on the contrary, fahostem eripere ;' and yet it is manifest, cilitate and legalise the supply and supthat lending a neutral navigation to carry port of the enemy's colonies. The British on the coasting trade of the enemy, is in West India planters had been also accused direct contradiction to this definition of of suggesting and promoting a quarrel with neutral obligations, as it is, in effect, to America. This, also, was false; for a rescue the commerce of the enemy from great majority of them felt and acknowthe distress to which it is reduced by the ledged that war with America would be superiority of the British navy, to assist one of the greatest calamities to which his resources, and to prevent G. Britain our colonies could be subjected. They had, from bringing hiin to reasonable terms of indeed, been sorely grieved by the abuses peace.”

.-Here was no assumption of the of the neutral trade, and as America was principle of retaliation, but a measure chiefly instrumental in those abuses, expurely belligerent; the justice of which pressions of anger and irritation had been could not be affected by the variable and wrung from them in their distress. But, occasionally relaxed practice of nations. the remedies they had so long and earnestly It did, indeed, treat as France, all that suggested, were, that the colonies of the France held in absolute control ; an exten- enemy should, in their turn, be subjected sion consistent with the principle by which to the chances of war; that they should alone it was to be tried, as in practice it be blockaded by a portion of our great was not even strictly true that neutrals in naval force, or that the rule of the war of peace bad no share whatever in the coast. 1756 should be enforced. And, objectioning trade of individual France. They had able as the latter of these measures might shared in that trade before the revolution have appeared to America if suddenly rein the proportion of about 6,000 in one sorted to, he was persuaded that it would million of tons of shipping: -But the recent have proved less so than the measures we Orders in Council, retaliating upon the had adopted. It might have been allevia enemy his vain threat of blockade, which ated by conceding to her a temporary so far as America was concerned he had traffic in so much of our own colonial pronot attempted to execute, pronounced upon duce as must otherwise be wasted or a large portion of the world, including brought hither to the ruin of the planter, nearly the whole of Europe, a constructive and it might have been justly defended blockade, and then proceeded, with our as a belligerent measure, most consistent immense naval force, to act towards neu with our own situation as masters of the trals as offensively as if such blockade were sea, and with our unquestionable right to actually carried into effect. We boasted, impoverish those sources to which the ene. indeed, of our relaxations, as we were my must look for establishing himself as pleased to call them, by which confisca- a rival maritime power. What was it we tion was commuted for revenue, but these were dreading, in the event of peace, so provisions were in his opinion a vicious much as that France should thereby obfeature in the measure; they stamped upon tain a navy? and was it not true that to it that air boutiquière, which would ensure her colonies principally she must look for its condemnation by neutrals. It was in that purpose?-It would be found on atvain we declared that revenue was no part tentive survey, that the naval force of of our object; America would not believe France had always kept pace with the

He would leave however the question prosperity of her colonial trade, and yet, of legality to others who would, he was without regarding on whom the reproach sure, most satisfactorily discuss it.—As to might fall, he must say, that in the long the expediency of the measure, it was one course of this contest we had been very principal motive in his rising to state, that little solicitous to prevent her from receiya the West India interest had neither pro- ing back her colonies at a peace, in a conmoted, nor approved it. There was an dition much more prosperous than that in erroneous opinion on this subject among which we had maintained our own. If our the public, not among his majesty's mini- West India colonies were not to be bene sters, for they must well know that in Dec. fitted by this measure, he was at a loss to last the West India Committee had unani-conceive by what description of traders


the advantage was to be derived. It was | America, but he feared their acts contrathe commencement of a war of privation dicted their sentiments. by the greatest commercial nation in the Lord H. Petty contended that America world, and it must be remembered that in had submitted to no injury on the part of this conflict there might be two kinds of France, and therefore we were not entidistress: distress from the need of buying, tled to inflict any injury on the ground of and distress from the need of selling; in retaliation. He instanced two cases of the his opinion, the latter feeling was more detention of American ships, one by a likely to press upon this country than the Spanish, and the other by a French cruiformer upon France. We could not ac ser ; both were released with costs and complish both objects, that of distressing charges after a hearing in a French and the enemy by subjecting him to wants, Spanish court of prize appeal. He hoped and that of relieving our own trade by that the same sense of public duty which supplying him; one of these aims we had in another place triumphed this night might partially attain; but, in proportion would here also put the public in possesas we should approach to it, we must re sion of the necessary information upon this cede from the other. The policy of wan important point. It was not for the intetonly rushing into a contest with the only rest of this country to force a war between remaining neutral, while we were so de- America and France; next to a war between pendant upon foreign demand, he could England and America a war between not see. The conciliatory language held France and America would be most in. a few nights ago by the right hon. the jurious. The neutrality of America was chancellor of the exchequer had been the means of diffusing the manufactures of hailed by him as the promise of a better G. Britain. The retaliation of French disposition: that right hon. gent. had said, prohibition would but deprive the more that the prosperity of America was the wealthy among the French people of a few prosperity of G. Britain; and he might luxuries, while the annihilation of neutral have added, that the prosperity of the commerce would be most injurious to the world was the prosperity of G. Britain.- manufactures of G. Britain. The accuSuch language was not the mark of des mulation of sugars that would be created pondency or submission, it was more apt here by the collected produce of the vato spring from confidence in moderate rious islands conquered by this country; views and in a just cause.

Why should by the importation from the French islands, it not be used in speaking of other foreign in American bottoms; and by the imporrelations? it might invite or cultivate dis- tation from the Brazils, now sanctioned by positions of returning amity, and he trust- act of parliament; the arts of substitued could never be interpreted as an incli- tion which the French people would learn, nation to surrender one essential or impor- and the privations to which they would tant interest of the country. Such lan- accustom theinselves, would be lasting inguage, too, would discourage Petitions for juries to this country and her colonies, Peace. The course we were pursuing Thus, this measure, which promised so must prolong our own commercial dis- much benefit at the outset, was attended tresses, and, in his opinion, would have no with much mischief in the result. He other effect on the enemy than that of fur- deprecated proceedings which would innishing him with a new stimulus to the volve the country in a quarrel with the enthusiasm of his immense armies, in main- only remaining neutral. He ridiculed the taining the contest against us until what idea of those who abused the Order of the he would denominate our maritime tyran- 7th Jan. as imbecile, and who now quoted ny should be effectually controlled. it as authority of force in this question,

Mr. W. Smith felt particularly the inju- and who, in like manner, censured as

that would be sustained by the interrup- ruinous invasions of the navigation act, tion of the American corn trade, shut up and the provisions of the act of last sessions, deprived as we were of all supplies of that for allowing the Americans to import the essential necessary from the Baltic. The necessaries of life into our West India right hon. gent. who brought in this bill colonies. He trusted the house would in one hand, ought, therefore to have pause, before it gave its sanction to a brought in a General Inclosure bill in the measure of such effect, and so little foundother. He greatly rejoiced at the senti- ed in right and law. ments expressed by the right hon. gentle Lord Castlereagh contended that the Or. men as to the value of the connexion with ders in Council were founded on a principle


of forbearance towards America, and not held the language contained in lord How-
likely to injure their commercial interests ick's answer to Mr. Rist; rather should
in any degree, as much as the adoption of they now maintain the principles which
the rule of the war in 1756. The state- they then professed, at a time, too, when
ment contained in the answer of lord the dangers of the country were not so
Howick to Mr. Rist, that the government imminent as at present. The consequence
of this country would not cease to act of a war would be the loss to America of
upon the order of the 7th of Jan. until her whole export trade, whilst only one-
neutrals should procure the revocation of fourth of our exports would be endangered
the French Decree, but ill accorded with by that event. Our means of shutting
the sentiments expressed by the noble American produce in her ports, in conse-
lord opposite (lord H. Petty). Whatever quence of our vast marine, were far more
relaxation of the rigour of its decree the extensive than her internal means of ex-
French government might have found it cluding us, and, consequently, a consider-
covenient to adopt at home, it was most able portion of what this country now ex-
rigidly enforced in all the French colonies. ported to America, would find its way into
It was not till after the peace of Tilsit that country notwithstanding a war. We
that France found herself in a condition were not, from the mere apprehensions of
to execute that Decree generally over the a war with that country, to shrink from
continental countries subjected to her con- the assertion of those maritime rights
troul. While she was excluding our pro- which were so essential to our national
duce from all parts of the continent, was strength and prosperity. The question
this country to submit without throwing now was, whether we were to be con-
any impediment in the way of her supply quered by the French or not? Buona-
of her colonial produce? If the rule of parte had essayed his military warfare
1756 were to be applied to America, it against us ineffectually, and he was now
would deprive her of full one half of her trying the success of a commercial war-
exports. Could the noble lord contend fare. It was an attack upon the public
that it was not an advantage to America spirit of the country, and he was con-
that we had not declared the enemies co- vinced the nation would not decline the
lonies in a state of blockade? The Ame- contest. In order to obtain any peace with
ricans would have no right to complain of France, in order to made her live in peace,
the duties proposed to be laid on, be- we must prove to her that she can make
cause they were only the carriers, and the no impression on us. The only prospect
duty would, of course, fall upon the con- of living with that country in civil or po-
sumers. As to the effect that might be litical intercourse, was afforded by a per-
produced upon the commerce of this coun- severance in the war, till by a proud deti-
try by the state of the continent, he ad-ance of all her means, we should convince
mitted that its exports might for a time her of her inability to destroy or weaken
be checked, but that could not last long, ours: so might we enjoy relations of ami-
because no pressure could keep down the cable intercourse, not of suspended war-
vast extent of territory under prohibition, fare with her; but that could never be ex-
in such a manner, that the interests of in- pected, till we should have established the
dividuals would not induce them to pro- proof that no instrument she could employ,
cure such articles as might be necessary would avail for the reduction of the power
for them. As to the question relative to or the resources of this empire.
our relations with America, he could as The gallery was then cleared for a divi-
sure the house that he and his colleagues sion, when the numbers appeared-
were extremely anxious to avert the inter For the second reading . . 214
ruption of peace and amity with that coun-

Against it

94 try. If the calamity of war should un

Majority .

-120 happily take place, whenever the conduct of his majesty's ministers should be brought division took place upon the question, That

While strangers were excluded, another under consideration, it would be seen, that no effort had been spared in order to pre

the Bill be committed this day vent it. If war should be the conse

For the question

147 quence, it would appear, that no conces Against it

55 sion or submission could have prevented


-92 it. The arguments of the noble lord came Adjourned at half past 3 on Friday mornwith a bad grace from those who had ing.





the forenoon : They there discovered,

that all the loaves found by them (each of Friday, February 19.

which ought to contain 16 ounces, and to PETITION RESPECTING THE COLD-Bath- be distributed daily, at 10 o'clock in the Fields Prison.]-Mr. Sheridan held in his morning) were greatly deficient in point, hand a Petition similar to that which he of quantity, as will be seen from the anhad yesterday withdrawn, in deference to nexed statement on the part of one of the what seemed to be the sense of the house. magistrates of the city of London : That Yet though he had given way he could the prison weight demanded and used not help thinking that there was no suf- upon the present occasion, for trying the ficient reason for refusing to receive the loaves in rotation, proved also deficient, as petition. The doors of parliament ought was fully demonstrated in both instances to be thrown open as wide as possible, on the same day, when compared with for the reception of the petitions of the the standard at Guildhall, in the presence, subject representing his grievances; and first, of sir W. Leighton, knight, then lord if a petition was to be rejected merely be mayor; and afterwards of R. Phillips, esq. cause at the moment of presenting it the then and still one of the sheriffs of London petitioners were not in the precise situa and Middlesex, as well as of four of the tion in which they described themselves late grand jury; and, moreover, that the to be, merely because they did not desig- scales of the said prison were false and nate themselves properly, that designation fraudulent." "Copy of a letter from Mr. being wholly immaterial to the subject of Sheriff Phillips to William Mainwaring, the petition, it would give rather an un esq. chairman of the quarter sessions, favourable impression as to the disposition &c. Sir; I consider it a duty which I which it was proper that parliament should the public to inform you, as chairbe known to have to attend to all just man of the quarter sessions, and, I becomplaints. The petitioners were, in part, lieve, one of the committee for conductgrand jurors of the county of Middlesex ing the business of the prison, that I was on the day on which the petition was ' present when an appeal was lately made signed, the 3d of Nov. last, but on that by the grand jury of the county to the day they ceased to be so.

The present

'standard weights in Guildhall; that I petition was from the foreman of that " witnessed the examination of the pound grand jury, Mr. Stephens, in his individual weight for weighing meat and other capacity. He wished to know however, provisions in the house of correction, whether he might not this day again offer Cold-Bath-Fields, when it was found to to the sense of the house the petition which • be seven-eighths of an ounce too light ; he had withdrawn yesterday.

and that on weighing some loaves which The Speaker recommended the right were found in the same prison, by the hon. gent. to acquiesce in the sense of the grand jury, they appeared also to be conhouse expressed yesterday, as to the pro siderably too light, one or two of them priety of admitting that petition.

being from an ounce and a half to two Mr. Sheridan submitted, but he declared • ounces under weight." I should comprohe would never again acquiesce in what ‘mise the feelings which I bear towards he felt to be wrong. He then presented the respectable magistracy of the county the petition, which was as follows: of Middlesex, if I were to omit to make

“To the knights, citizens, and burgesses this formal communication. I have the of the honourable house of commons, of honour to be, &c.—R. Phillips, SheG. Britain and Ireland, in the united parlia-riff;-Bridge-street, Nov. 13, 1807.'— ment assembled : The Petition of Alexan- | Your petitioner, together with other gender Stephens, of the honourable society tlemen, late members of the grand jury, of the Middle Temple, and Park House, also discovered, that several of the liege in the county of Middlesex, esq. humbly subjects of this realm were committed to sheweth, That certain persons lately serv close custody in cells destitute of fire, 8. ing the office of grand jurymen for the feet 3 inches long, by 6 feet 3 inches county of Middlesex, to the number of wide, two of them in irons, although sick; about nine, having visited the House of some, if not all, of these were innocent in Correction for the said county, commonly point of fact, as all were then innocent in called the Cold-Bath-Fields Prison, on point of law, being detained under the Tuesday, Nov. 3, in the year of our Lord pretext of re-examination, and conse1807, between the hours of 11 and 12 in quently uncondemned by the legal judg


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ment of their peers, or even the accusatory / tervention' of the grand inquest of the verdict of a grand jury. Of this number nation, most humbly and earnestly solicits were a mother, a daughter, and a son, of this honourable house to take the premises creditable appearance; the two former in into consideration, and by a public and one cell, so situated as to be exposed to a open examination at its bar, or any other continual current of external air, without mode, afford such relief as may seem meet. the possibility of obtaining, even during

A. STEPHENS." the severest frost, an artificial warmth by Mr. Sheridan, in moving that the Petimeans of fuel, while the convicts below tion should lie on the table, felt it unnecesenjoyed all the comforts of an open roomy sary to recommend it to that attention ward, with occasional access to fire. That which he was sure his majesty's ministers in one of these lonely cells was closely would be disposed voluntarily to pay to confined a foreigner of some rank, the it. But he begged more particularly to Chevalier de Blin, who, as we were told, recal to the recollection of those gentleby one of the jailors, while so immured, men the Report of the committee of the had been deprived of his reason, and who house of commons, in the year 1800. The presented to your petitioner, after com- facts and suggestions contained in that remunicating with him for some time in the port were yet unapplied in the way of reFrench language through the key-hole, formation or relief. and demanding entrance, a memorial on The Chancellor of the Erchequer contendhis knees. That in this place, originally ed, that the house could not with propriedestined for the improvement of the morals ty, have received the petition of last night, of petty offenders, a female prisoner, as on account of the petitioners presenting we have learned, has been lately de- themselves under a designation which did bauched by the son of the chief jailor, or not properly belong to them. If the house governor, who then held an office of trust were once to admit the principle of petiin the prison, and has since had a child, tioners approaching them under any other now, or at least lately, burdensome to the character than that to which they were parish of Kensington, in the county of strictly and properly entitled, it was imMiddlesex. That four debtors were shut possible to say what abuses might follow. up in this house of correction, the only Having stated thus much on the point of communication between whom and the form, he would now state to the house world, appears to take place occasionally, what had passed between him and the by means of two iron gates, at upwards of gentleman who had represented to him six feet distance from each other, with a the matter contained in the Petition offerjailor walking in at intervals, so as to pre-ed to the consideration of the house. He clude complaint; and that from the ex- told that gentleman, that if he would give amination of a debtor, and also, by a letter him the facts in an official form, he would from him, both in the possession of your lay them before the secretary of state for petitioner, it appears that he was shut up the home department, with the strongest with persons guilty of robbery, and un- recommendation which he could give, natural crimes. And, lastly, that six in- though he was sure no recommendation nocent persons, the bills against whom had would be required to call the attention of been thrown out by the grand jury, were that noble person to a case of such a nadragged from Cold-Bath-Fields Prison to ture, coming in a proper authenticated Hicks's-hall, in open day, at the close of and tangible shape. The communication the session, first manacled, and then fast- was, in fact, made to his noble friend: but ened together by a rope, to be discharged it came in an unofficial form, marked 'priby proclamation. Your petitioner, there- vate,' and he could not feel himself warfore, conceiving that such gross instances ranted in taking any public step upon it, of fraud, coupled with such an open vio- not holding himself at liberty to mention lation of the laws, and even of the express the name, or to designate the source from orders of session, are calculated to bring which he had derived his information. his majesty's government into contempt, He sašv no necessity in' presenting this and cast an unmerited odium on our most petition, unless it were with a view to inexcellent constitution; thinking also, that sinuate that his majesty's ministers were if such malpractices were detected in a inclined to neglect what they were in fact casual and slight survey, of less than two perfectly disposed to do, if they were hours duration, far greater abuses are supplied with proper materials to proceed likely to be brought to light, by the in-upon.

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