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would never have been ranked so high.
conclusion. In London, indictments one year were laid for 105 offences, all carrying rewards, and there were only 40 convictions. Thus, as Mr. Shelton stated, public justice suffered, by this endeavour to regulate the indictment, not by the crime of the offender, but by the hope of profit in the police officer. Let the House go through the criminal proceed ings of all the counties, and they would see nearly the same proportion between the indictments and the convictions, as he had before stated took place in London. As these rewards had, therefore, so pernicious an effect, they ought to be abolished. Nor did he see any necessity to provide farther than the bill did for the apprehension of criminals. It proposed to indemnify prosecutors and witnesses for their expenses, and to remunerate them for the trouble they incurred. He did not think that the ends of justice required more, or that the interest of the prosecutor should be made to lie in procuring the conviction of an offender by any testimony to which he was not prompted by a sense of truth and the common feelings of our nature against crime. The inducement which was thus held out to prosecution, was as great as ought to be given. Fixed Mr. Alderman Wood said, he was of rewards had been long the great blot in the same opinion, with respect to rewards our system of criminal procedure. As on conviction of felons, as his hon. friend long as any thing more is offered for pro- who had just sat down. He had seen the curing convictions than a mere indemnity effect of such a system in the plan adopted for expense, and a remuneration for time by the Bank. The Bank was known to and trouble, the interest of the prosecutor give a reward of 77. on the conviction of will be made to consist in prosecuting persons for passing bad money, and this falsely, and an inducement will be held out, very circumstance was the cause of a not to detect, but to make crime. All great number of the convictions which the persons who were connected with the took place for that offence. A great police acknowledged that the principle of many poor Germans, Swedes, and Irishthe present system was bad, and that from men, who were ignorant of the English the beginning of it to the end, instead of language, were entrapped into the passing checking or controlling crime, it operated of bad coin, by persons whose only obas a bounty to those base and designing ject was, the getting of the reward ofmen who went about not merely to tempt fered in consequence. He had detected adults to the commission of crime, but one of his own officers at such practices, (which was the most lamentable fact) to and had found it his duty to lay the whole train up children to be criminals. Chil- of the system before lord Sidmouth. The dren of nine or ten years of age, instead officer whom he had so detected, he had of being indicted as they ought to be for of course discharged, but he was aware picking pockets, were, frequently, in that the same nefarious system which he hopes of the reward, indicted for highway had mentioned, was still very often pracrobberies. Not many months ago two tised. With respect to other crimes, the children, one thirteen, the other nine anxiety to convict, where a reward was years of age, were convicted of highway to follow, was most apparent, and those robbery, one of the witnesses being a child who were at all acquainted with the busiof six years of age; although he was as ness of a justice room, would feel how sure as he stood there, that were it not great a struggle there frequently was to for the system of rewards, their offence procure a commitment for a capital of
fence. If a person snatched away a lady's | any, should be given. For his own part, ridicule without much force in the street, he was most friendly to the measure. it would not amount to a capital offence; There was not a magistrate in the country but if the string of it happened to be who did not shudder at the cases which twisted about her arm, and the slightest came before him, in consequence of the degree of force was used in getting it existing system. away, then the crime would be a highway robbery; and the greatest anxiety was often evinced on the part of some officers to have the party committed for the capital offence, in order to secure to themselves the reward. Indeed, so anxious were they to ecure this object, that many of them were known to have employed counsel for the prosecution, in order to secure, if possible, the conviction of the accused party. Would the House of Commons consent to the continuance of a system which carried such horrid evils in its train? He trusted they would not but that they would see the necessity of applying a remedy to that which so much demanded legislative interference.
Colonel Wood hoped that the bill would be allowed to go into a committee, and recommended the consideration of the report of the police committee to the attention of members. It would show how much the country was indebted to the exertions of the hon. gentleman (Mr. Bennet) who was its chairman. He saw no reason why it should be supposed that the abolishing of the rewards on conviction would be injurious to the interests of public justice, if the expenses of the prosecutors were paid. Those who sought for rewards for the conviction of felons, had two scenes to range over-the town and the country. Now, in the country, there was no necessity whatever for such incitements to bring offenders to justice. Men were in general known to each other there; suspicious characters could not pass unnoticed, and, of course, honest men, for their own security, would pursue those persons who had committed crimes, and would endeavour to bring them to justice. But in great towns the case was different. Villainy, if not closely watched, might long go undiscovered there. If prosecutors were indemnified for their expenses, and positive rewards were removed, the system would be infinitely better.
Mr. Hurst observed, that no objection whatever had been urged against the principle of this bill, even by the learned attorney-general, who merely wished that a full discretion should be placed in the hands of the judge, as to what reward, if +
The Solicitor General said, that his hon. and learned friend had not objected to the abolition of fixed rewards. There might, however, be cases where persons had meritoriously come forward, in which it would be very desirable that rewards should be given. It might be desirable that judges should have the power of doing this, and of determining, where reward seemed the only object of the parties who appeared against a prisoner, that it should not be allowed.
Mr. Bennet said, his great anxiety was, to give to the judges the discretionary power alluded to, and to remove fixed rewards altogether.
General Thornton wished, that rewards should rather be granted for the detection of small, than of large crimes. If this course were pursued, new-fledged crimi nals would be prevented from persevering in a course of vice, and great crimes would not be so frequent. This plan, at the recommendation of Mr. Mainwaring, had been successfully adopted in the parish of St. George's, Hanover-square.
Sir T. Baring approved of the bill; which was then read a second time.
EMPLOYMENT OF THE POOR.] Mr. Alderman Wood moved, That the House should resolve itself into a committee on the Irish acts of the 21st, 22nd, and 26th Geo. 3rd, relating to partnerships.
Mr. Grenfell thought the bill which his hon. friend wished to found on the acts which they were now to go into a committee upon, was not merely a bill for the employment of the poor, as the object of it was to legalize joint stock companies, leaving the parties to them liable only to the amount of their respective shares. A measure which allowed any number of persons to unite to carry on any trade or business on such a principle, he was of opinion, struck directly at the root of the trade and commerce of the country.
Mr. Alderman Wood denied that his bill deserved the character which his hon. friend had given to it. He hoped it would be allowed to be brought in and printed. If it should be objected to, he did not wish to press it but for Ireland, where the importance of such a measure could not
be denied. But when the intended provisions of it were known, he thought, at a time when millions wanted employment, there could be no hesitation in adopting it for this country.
when they recommended the message which had been brought down, were unprepared to state any measures which they could recommend to be adopted upon it. This much he had thought it The House then resolved itself into the his duty to state, in order that whatever committee, in which Mr. Alderman Wood appeared to be disrespectful to the Crown moved, "That a Bill should be brought to in the proceedings respecting this comrepeal the Irish acts of the 21st, 22nd, munication, might not be laid to the door and 26th of the king, for the purpose of of the House, but that the blame should consolidating their provisions into one fall on those who were the advisers of act, and extending the same, to promote this extraordinary course, and who had the employment of the poor in the fishe- brought down a message from the throne, ries, trade, and manufactory of Ireland, without being prepared with any propo by regulating and encouraging partner-sition upon it for the consideration of the ships in that part of the United Kingdom." House. -The Resolution was agreed to.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
Tuesday, April 14. PRINCE REGENT's Message RESPECTTHE MARRIAGES OF THE ROYAL DUKES.] The Earl of Liverpool rose to state, that he wished, from peculiar circumstances, to postpone the consideration of the Message from the Prince Regent on the subject of the Marriages of the Dukes of Clarence and Cambridge until to-morrow. He should then state to the House the nature of the measure which it might be thought advisable to recommend to their lordships adoption, and the grounds on which it would be proposed. In the mean time, he moved, That the said order be discharged.
The Earl of Liverpool was ready to admit that the blame, if any could be attached to the course of proceeding which had been adopted, must fall on those by whom it was recommended, and he, therefore, was willing to take that blame on himself. With regard to what had been said on the course of proceeding, he should only remark, that when the object of an intended address was merely to return thanks to the Prince Regent for a communication made to the House, the usual practice was, not to postpone it for a day, but to vote it immediately; but when ulterior measures were to be proposed, it was due to the House that they should not be taken by surprise. He therefore thought it improper to propose to move an address until their lordships were in possession of the measure which The Marquis of Lansdowne felt it im was to be recommended. He felt that he possible not to state the singular situation should not be doing his duty, if he called in which the House was placed by the upon them to give an opinion, before message which the noble earl had brought they were made fully acquainted with the down, and the very extraordinary conduct sentiments of the Prince Regent's governwhich had now been adopted upon it. ment on the subject, and the requisite inHe had always understood that the re- formation was communicated. It was spect which the House owed to the Crown therefore from no disrespect to the Crown required that no delay should take place that the delay was proposed, since the in replying to any communication which sole object of postponing the consideramight be made from that quarter. The tion of the message until to-morrow, was well-known practice of their lordships was that their lordships might be the better always to return an address on the follow-prepared to give their opinion upon the ing day; and if this was the general prin- measures which ministers might consider ciple in ordinary cases, how much more it their duty to recommend. ought it to be observed in the case of so important a communication as a message relative to the marriage of members of the royal family. It appeared to him, that the House were now bound to take the message into consideration, and return an answer. What motive could there be for delay? It was impossible to believe that the advisers of the Prince Regent,
Lord Holland thought it difficult to decide which was more extraordinary, the course which the noble earl proposed to the House to adopt, or the reasoning by which he attempted to support it. He had begun with admitting, that if the House agreed to postpone the consideration of the message, his majesty's ministers, or rather the noble earl only, was to
people. It was unfair to the House, if
be charged with all the blame which might attach to such a proceeding. This was, indeed, very condescending in the noble earl; but he apprehended that, if the House discharged the order as recommended-and he defied the noble lord, versed in precedent as he was, to show that ever such an order had been discharged-notwithstanding the generosity of the noble secretary of state, the impropriety of so acting would rest with the House. He knew that his majesty's ministers were so much in the habit of identifying themselves with the government, that they spoke as if they and the Crown were the same thing; but he trusted their lordships would not allow them also to assume the authority of that House, nor place confidence in the opinion of the noble secretary of state, that he could bear all the censure of an act, which, if adopted, must be theirs. If the noble earl was not now able to state the measure that was to be recommended, why did he not propose to move a simple address of thanks? This would be consistent with the usual practice, and he should give the noble earl the opportunity of agreeing to one before he sat down. The noble earl, it was evident, had thought proper to bring down a message, and was not prepared to make any proposition whatever upon it, because he now apprehended an opposition which at first he did not anticipate. It might be recollected, that the noble earl had often spoken as if he were independent of the Prince Regent; and now it appeared that he wished to be independent of parliament, by establishing a little parliament of his own. [Hear, hear!] Among the other extraordinary circumstances which the noble earl's conduct on this occasion disclosed, it was not the least that he recommended to the House of Lords to act in a disrespectful manner towards the Crown," that this order be discharged," words to by neglecting to reply to the message: he was not able to form any opinion of his own on the subject of that message, without consulting others. For these reasons it appeared to him that the noble earl was bound to state more distinctly to the House, the grounds on which he expected that their lordships would adopt his advice, and depart from all former precedents. He had no hesitation in declaring, that the course which the noble earl proposed appeared to him not only disrespectful towards the Crown, but also unfair to the Crown, the House, and the
the following purport, to be substituted after the word "that" in the original motion: "An humble address be presented to his royal highness the Prince Regent, to return thanks to his Royal Highness for the information he had been pleased to communicate respecting the intended marriage of his royal highness the duke of Clarence with the princess of Saxe-Meiningen, and of the duke of Cambridge with the princess of Hesse; to express the entire satisfaction of the House in that arrangement, and to assure his Royal Highness that their lordships would
cheerfully concur in all measures neces- | sary to make such suitable provision as the occasion required, and as the zeal, attachment, and loyalty, which their lordships feel towards his majesty's family and government, and the lively sense they entertain of the advantages of preserving the succession to the throne in the family of Brunswick dictate, due regard being had to the present burthened state of the people of this country.
Lord Sidmouth wished to recall to their lordships recollection the circumstances under which the present discussion had commenced. The noble marquis who spoke first had said, that if the consider ation of the message was postponed, the discredit of that proceeding would belong to the noble earl who had moved the discharge of the order, and not to the House. His noble friend readily admitted the truth of this observation. He candidly acknowledged, that if discredit any belonged to the proceeding, it ought to fall on the advisers of the Prince Regent, and on himself in particular. It had been asserted, that no reasons were stated for the postponement; but he understood his noble friend to have intimated that he would explain the grounds of the postponement when the message should be taken into consideration to-morrow. The address to be moved was not an ordinary congratulation or vote of thanks, and his noble friend justly expected that the House would look to him for the explanation of some plan or measure as the consequence of the message, and also that their lordships would not be disposed to come to a vote without due information on the subject. The noble baron, however, who would be the first to object to an address proposed without any information, now wished to vote one for which no ground whatever had been laid. Was it not proper that the measure which was to be proposed to-morrow should then be explained? Considering the necessity there would be for going into details, it was not candid to call on his noble friend for explanations now. Alterations might be made in the plan. Different impressions which had been produced might be removed [Hear, hear!]. He would repeat, that different impressions might be removed, and alterations suggested, which would require consideration. These were reasons for delay which ought to weigh with his majesty's ministers on such an occasion. His noble friend would be
prepared to-morrow to give their lordships the requisite information. As for the amendment proposed by the noble baron, it was of a nature totally unprecedented, and was one which he was confident their lordships would not adopt.
Lord King believed this was the first time that a minister had given a decided negative to an address of thanks and congratulation proposed to the throne. It was the usual practice to move an address to the throne on the day after a message was received, and now the noble earl, without any reason, desired the House to abandon that practice. It appeared that the noble lords on the other side of the House could not make up their minds as to what ought to be done until they received hints from persons without the walls of parliament; whereas, on the side of the House on which he stood, they were ready to vote an address as usual to the return of the message, guarding their answer with the words which his noble friend had inserted at the close of his motion. He should, therefore, vote for the amendment.
The Earl of Lauderdale objected to the address moved by his noble friend, which he considered as an anomalous and unprecedented proceeding. He objected also more particularly to the expression used in the address, respecting a regard being paid to the burthens imposed upon the people; because it implied that their lordships had upon former occasions been unmindful of those burthens, and thus cast a reflexion upon the House. He, therefore, must oppose his noble friend's address upon this ground, and also because he considered it, under the circum. stances in which it was brought forward, as a greater disrespect to the Crown than the postponement of the motion for the address moved by the noble earl opposite.
The Marquis of Lansdowne observed, that the House was placed in an unprecedented situation. If the amendment moved by his noble friend was unprecedented, their lordships must perceive that, such as it was, it was forced upon them by the unprecedented conduct of his majesty's ministers. Their lordships had no other alternative but to agree to the amendment, or to adopt the extraor dinary course proposed by ministers, The noble earl had assigned no reason to induce their lordships to depart from the usual course: all that he had heard was, that they would be informed to-morrow of