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sion on the subject. But, as if determined to set all the customary modes of proceeding at defiance, and to become the servile imitators of Mr. Whitbread-Will posterity believe the fact? they resolved to make no inquiry, but to come to an immediate decision, or rather to suffer condemnation to precede trial! How could honourable, conscientious men, be led to act in a manner so incompatible with the first principles of justice? Mr. Canning, too, who, in integrity and talents honourably follows the steps of Mr. Pitt, placed the question at issue in so plain and perspicuous a point of view, that none but the most wilful obstinacy, or intellectual blindness itself, could possibly mistake it. He proved, that every Treasurer of the Navy must be guilty of a violation of the Act, unless he suffered the whole business of the payment of naval services to stand still. If the Act were literally complied with, every claimant, however small his demand, and there are hundreds under twenty shillings, must be paid by a specific draft on the Bank. The man who can gravely contend that such was the intention of the legislature, pronounces a libel on our legislators, by supposing them devoid of common sense, or else actuated by a desire to interrupt, or rather to put a total stop to, a very important part of the public service; and, if such was not the intention, it follows of necessity, that when a call is legally made, by vouchers from the different offices for a certain sum of money, that sum must be drawn from the Bank, and lodged somewhere, till the different claimants call for payment. The accusers of Lord Melvil e say, it should be locked up in an iron chest at the Navy Office. Lord Melville himself thinks it was full as safe at Mr. Coutts's, the banker; and this is the mighty difference between them; this is the horrible system of peculation, which has been thundered in our ears, and crammed down our throats--usque ad nauseam! If a million of money, in bank notes, were locked up in an iron chest, and many hundreds of creditors were to call at different times for small fractional sums, how many clerks would it require to pay them, and to get change for that purpose? Whereas when the money is lodged at a banker's, there is no trouble whatever; a draft is given for the precise sum, and the business is at an end. What wholesale peculators must all bankers be considered, according to the novel sense of the word peculation.
Mr. Fox, in pressing the House to an immediate decision, with all the spirit of a partisan, draws a distinction between cases to which the charge of moral turpitude attach, and those which are only criminal by being acts of disobedience to the law, among which last description of offences he classes Lord Melville's, and thereby totally exculpates him from the charge of moral turpitude, which Mr. Whitbread laboured most vehemently to fix upon his Lordship. The difference between the mala per se, and the mala prohibita is known to every student; but with all Mr. Fox's acuteness, by his perseverance in contending for the most rigid adherence to the letter of the law, he has subjected himself to a dilemma whence he cannot possibly extricate himself. The author (in p. 18), presses this upon him with
irresistible force. Mr. Whitbread, it must not be forgotten, while Mr. Fox exculpated Lord Melville, as we have observed, from the charge of moral turpitude, was busily employed in ringing the changes
"crime-guilt-corruption-peculation," which were just as applicable to any part of his Lordship's conduct, as malt, molasses, wormwood, and cocculus Indicus. No, not for the whole value of Mr. Whitbread's brewery, would we have to reproach ourselves with such conduct as the newspapers have assigned to that gentleman. In commenting upon Lord Melville's actions, he was guilty, unless his speeches be egregiously mis-reported in the papers, of such gross perversion, as could only arise from the most inveterate prejudice, or the most incorrigible stupidity. As to the Commissioners, they seem to us, in many instances, not to have understood their duty.
Fully do we concur with the sentiments of this intelligent author, as expressed in the following passage:
"I hold it to be the first duty of every man who comes forward to demand judgment against a fellow citizen, at the tribunal of his country, to place before those who are to be his judges, a plain unvarnished statement of the facts upon which their judgment is to be founded. When he has done this, he has acquitted himself of the whole of his task; it is their duty to inquire into the motives, and, with them, into the circumstances of aggravation, or extenuation, which are of the essence of the fact without these they cannot tell what judgment to pronounce, and until these are fully in evidence, it is the duty of an accuser strictly to forbear from whatever might produce an undue bias. When he deviates from this duty, and utters the language of condemnation, he is placing himself in the seat of judgment, and pronouncing a verdict before the
This is the voice of justice, of reason, and of law; forming an admirable contrast to the intemperate language, and unwarrantable assertions of Mr. Whitbread. The Commissioners appear to us to have betrayed the most consummate ignorance of their duty, in refusing to re-examine Lord Melville, when, after some reflection and inquiry, his Lordship was prepared to give them the fullest satisfaction on some important points, in respect of which they laboured under the grossest misconception. We cannot conceive it possible, that such Commissioners could be legally, or inorally incapacitated, at any stage of their proceedings, from receiving such explanation; and, if not incapacitated, every considération of justice called for its admission. These Commissioners, too, indulged themselves with a statement of causeless doubts, and unfounded conjectures, highly prejudicial to the reputation of Lord Melville, when a bare reference to a ledger would have satisfied their minds in a moment, and have proved that their suspicions were unjust. Suspicions, doubts and conjedures, are not the proper basis for a criminal proceeding. They suffice to justify inquiry; but they must have lost their original form and character, and have acquired the stamp and solidity of facts and
proofs, which they can only acquire by previous inquiry, before they can sanction any formal accusation, or lead to a trial.
"What would these accusers themselves say, were any man, con tenting himself with mere conjecture and suspicion, to affirm that they were actuated, not by a zeal to serve the Public, but to harass the Mi nister that their secret wish and aim was completely to disconnect Lord Melville, as they have done, from all official station and power, and thereby to embarrass the measures, and weaken the exertions of government, by depriving them of all aid which his political influence and ability had so long imparted; that the profit, whatever it might be, which Mr. Trotter might have derived from the public money, was a thing they cared not for, any further than that it might be made instrumental to their main design of criminating Lord Melville, of aspersing indirectly the integrity of Mr. Pitt, and impairing the strength of administration; . that this was the concealed, but real aim; to this all their zeal of prosecution tended and to this all their exertions, whether by votes of censure, of dismissal, or of impeachment, were subservient. I ask, would the accusers of Lord Melville be contented that such suspicions should be circulated as truth? Would not their language be-inquire, investigate, look into facts! Observe the temper, the moderation, the candour with which we have conducted ourselves, and then doubt our love of justice! Mark the tenderness with which we have throughout treated the known rectitude and integrity of Mr. Pitt, and then judge if we wished to fling suspicion on either! Attend to the accusations; behold with what exactness the evidence applies, and then discover, if you can, charges without documents, or assertions without proof! When we charge a system of peculation to have been practised, search for our statement of loss! Satisfy yourself by inquiry, as we have done, and before you arraign us, convert your conjecture into certainty, and your suspicions into facts! With this modest reproof, the MAN OF GUESS Would retire!"
Our attention is forcibly directed, once more, to the conduct of Mr. Whitbread:
"The language every where employed by Mr. Whitbread, tends to impress the House and the public with the belief, that a system of peculation had been carried on by the joint management of Mr. Trotter and Lord Melville. On their examination before the Commissioners, instead of following the plain path,' says he, of integrity and honour, they profess total ignorance of DEFICIENCIES IN THE PUBLIC MONEY TO A VAST AMOUNT.' The same express intimation runs through the whole of his address; he winds up his accusation with an appeal urged upon the very ground of it; and urged, too, with as much confidence as if his assertions were facts. When he turned his eyes to the country gentlemen, those guardians of the public purse, he could not doubt of receiving their cordial support, in opposition to a principle of PECULATION, which had been SUCCESSFULLY PRACTISED ON THE PUBLIC OF GREAT BRITAIN FOR MANY YEARS, and that, too, by persons entrusted with the official conduct of its resources. If he looked to the officers of the army or navy, who composed part of that House, he knew there was not one of them who would vote in favour of A SYSTEM OF CORRUPTION,
NO. XCIV. VOL. XXIV.
CORRUPTION, such as had been practised by the persons against whom his inquiry was charged. Would any man suspect, after hearing this strain of bold and bitter accusation, that an exact account of the receipt and expenditure of the public money, during the whole period of Lord Melville's treasuryship, testified that not a shilling of the public money had remained unaccounted for, or a single item of its application unex. plained? That Mr. Trotter had rendered an exact and faithful account of the whole sums that ever passed through his hands as paymaster; and had, on quitting the office, punctually paid over the balance to his suc. cessor? That those were facts well known, that in the resolutions sub. mitted to the House by Mr. Whitbread himself, not a fractional sum, however small, is stated to have been withheld, by fraud or other. wise, from the public service? Would not the resolutions have stated some loss or deficiency, either great or less, if, either by evidence or fair in ference, they could have so done?
"This system of corruption; this long-practised peculation; these deficiencies in the public money to a vast amount; why were they stated when they never were proved-when it was known they did not exist, and, therefore, never could be proved? As if a multiplicity of charges were an accumulation of crimes?-As if to be accused were to be criminated, and to be arraigned were to be convicted?"
The Speaker, by his casting vote, it is known, prevented the inquiry proposed by Mr. Pitt; and by so doing has entailed upon himself such a weight of responsibility as, for worlds, we would not have to support!
"Do these, thus recorded, become the resolutions of the House of Commons? Lord Melville declared guilty by the votes of that House? In the language of common courtesy, the fact may be so; but, in the language of plain truth, the resolutions are put on the Journals by ONE MEMBER only of the House of Commons! He is pronounced guilty, by a single vote of that House!"'
Let it not be argued, in answer to this, that the decision of the House was no more than the finding of a bill by a Grand Jury; because it remained for another tribunal to pronounce on the guilt or innocence of the party accused. This would be a vain subterfuge, and a paltry evasion;-for be it remembered, that the House of Commons not only decided without previous inquiry, but actually punished without trial. Aye, and the punishment which they inflicted, too, was infinitely greater than could have been inflicted by the superior tribunal, had they found his Lordship guilty. For, in consequence of their address to the King, Lord Melville was deprived of the high situations which he held under the Crown, and had his name erased from his Majesty's Privy Council. Their address went still farther, and by this characterized the nature and temper of their proceedings better than any and than every other circumstance ;—it prayed the King to "dismiss him from his councils and presence FOR EVER." The words are those moved by Mr. Whitbread.
"And this motion concludes the very speech in which he declares his purpose of moving at a future day for a Committee of Inquiry to examine the GROUNDS OF THE IMPUTATION, and ASCERTAIN THE TRUTH OF THE CHARGE." So that here we see, by the acknowledgment of the accuser himself, that a man was accused without inquiry, and condemned and punished, upon a charge, the truth of which had not been ascertained!!! And this in England, too! and the popular cry is in favour of such conduct!-What times are these! We heartily wish that every man in the kingdom would read, with coolness and impartiality, this sensible and dispassionate tract.-Before the publi cation of these comments, the fate of Lord Melville will be decided. It is before an honourable, and a just tribunal; and we have not a doubt of the event.-Meanwhile his Lordship, firm in conscious integrity, may exclaim, in the words of one of his present accusers, used on a very different occasion:
"To be the object of calumny and misrepresentation gives me uneasiness, it is true; but an uneasiness not wholly unmixed with pride and satisfaction, SINCE THE EXPERIENCE OF ALL AGES TEACHES US, THAT CALUMNY AND MISREPRESENTATION ARE FREQUENTLY THE MOST UNEQUIVOCAL TESTIMONIES OF THE ZEAL, AND POSSIBLY THE EFFECT, WITH WHICH HE AGAINST WHOM THEY ARE DIRECTED HAS SERVED
THE PUBLIC.”—Mr. Fox's Letter to the Electors of Westminster.
The True Dependence and Duty of Man: being a Sermon preached in the Parish Church of St. Andrew, Norwich, upon the Thanksgiving Day, December 5, 1805, for Lord Nelson's Victory, and published by request. By the Reverend Lancaster Adkin, M. A. of Bene't College, Cambridge, and Rector of Belaugh, in Norfolk. 8vo. Pr. 24. 1s. Camibridge printed; Ostell, London. 1806.
WE hope that the good people, at whose request this sermon was published, perfectly understood it, when it was preached; and if they did, they have much the advantage of us in quickness of perception, and extent of comprehension. Without any thing objectionable, in point of doctrine, it is one of the most vague and declamatory discourses which have fallen under our notice. Our utmost attention has proved inadequate to trace the connexion between the different parts of it, or to descry the applicability of several of the numerous passages of scripture which are introduced into it, to the immediate subject of discussion. It is, in other respects, a most slovenly composition, full of incorrect phraseology, and containing many grammatical inaccuracies; two or three instances of which,