תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

and applied the scalping-knife and object of which was, to ascertain the tomahawk without mercy to the author of the obnoxious parahis opponents. His severity was graph. Not having obtained direcied in a particular manner the wished for discovery from against all women who visited the Weaver, Mr. Bennett moved, Queen : and he defended his con- that three persons of the names duct towards them on the princi- of Arrowsmith, Shackle, and ple, that those who came for- Cooper, who appeared from ward to bear witness to the cha- Weaver's evidence to be conracter of another, must expect cerned in the management or prethuir own characters to undergo a paration of the paper, should be strict scrutiny. Some of the ladies ordered to attend at the bar forthof the Tankerville family (the with. The order was made, and mother and sisters of H. G. on the 10th of May, Messrs. Bennett) had thus come under Shackle, Arrowsmith, and Cooper, his lash; and he had thrown out were examined at the bar. A such gross imputations against a variety of questions were put by deceased daughter of lady Tandifferent members to ascertain in kerville, that a criminal informa- whom the proprietorship and contion for a libel was granted by the trol of that publication rested. Court of King's-Bench, against Shackle and Arrowsmith adthe publishers of the newspaper. mitted, that they had been once They and Mr. Bennett were thus proprietors of the paper; but they in a state of open war. In their alleged that they had ceased to paper of the 6th of May, they be so in the month of February, stated that Mr. Bennett had made and that the whole property was an apology for some reficctions now in Weaver, though it was which he bad thrown out against clear that no consideration had the lord president of Scotland, and been given, and that they still that he had done so in consequence acted as proprietors. Mr. Cooper, of the sudden arrival in London of in his examination, avowed himthe lord president's son, who self the editor of the paper, and came for the express purpose of the author of the paragraph in vindicating his father's character. question After this avowal, Mr. On the 8th of May, the para. Bennett moved, that the attorneygraph containing this statement, general should be ordered to prowas, on the motion of Mr. Bennett, secute Messrs, Shackle, Arrowvoted to be a breach of privilege; smith, Weaver, and Cooper, for a and Weaver, the printer, was malicious libel, reflecting on the ordered to attend on the following hon. H. G. Bennett, a member of day. He did so, and expressed the House. This motion was obhis sorrow for having given of- jected to by the marquis of Lonfence to any inember of the donderry, sir F. Burdett, Mr. House; but his crime was too Brougham, Mr. C. Wynn, and grave to be atoned for by contri. others, as unjust, after the House tion, and he was subjected to a had, by its inquisitorial powers, Jong examination by Vir. Bennett, possessed itself of a great portion lord Nugent, Mr. M. A. Taylor, of the defendant's case. The sir Robert Wilson, Mr. Wynn, Mr. marquis of Londonderry, for the W. Smith, and Mr. Scarleti, the purpose of affording time for the House to give cool, deliberate donderry, however, suggested, consideration to the subject, pro. that this was too lenient a course, posed, that the debate on the ques- as the party ought, at least, to be tion should be adjourned till next committed to the custody of the day. This amendment, after some serjeant at arms. Subsequently, discussion, was adopted, and an both the marquis of Londonderry order for the attendance of the and lord Nugent withdrew their parties was made out.

amendments, and the House deOn the following day, Mr. cided that Mr. Cooper should be Bennett having withdrawn his sent to Newgate, by a majority of motion for a prosecution by the 109 to 23. A discussion then took attorney-general, Mr. Baring place on the subject of the prevamoved, that Mr. Cooper, the rication of the other witnesses; but editor, and Weaver, the printer of nothing was done with respect to the paper in question, should be them. Weaver was also ordered committed to Newgate. To this to be committed to Newgate, motion an amendinent was pro- on a division of 34 to 27. posed by lord Nugent: namely, It ought to be added, that the that Mr. Cooper, having acknow- general beliéf was, that Cooper ledged himself the author of the avowed himself the author of paragraph, should be called to the what he did not write, in order bar, and reprimanded by the to screen the real offender. Speaker. The marquis of Lon

CHAP. III.

Improvement of the Criminal Cude-Sir J. Mackintosh's Bill for the

Mitigation of the Punishment of Forgery; the Solicitor-General opposes it; the Second and Third Readings of it carried in the Commons; it is lost there-Bills for taking away Capital Punishment from Stealing in Dwelling-Houses, and on Navigable Rivers, rejected in the Lords-Bill for allowing Prisoners accused of Felony to be Defended by Counsel-Mr. Kennedy's Bill for Removing Defects in the Constitution of Scotch Juries - Irish Law of Treason Result of the Inquiry into the State of English Courts of JusticeConstitutional Association : origin of it: Mr. Brougham attacks it : Mr. Whitbread's Motion on it-The Conduct of Judge BestSir F. Burdett's Motion for Inquiry into the Events of the 16th August, 1820, at Manchester - The Conduct of the Bishop of Peterborough.

S'HI
IR James Mackintosh con- might strip families of their entire

tinued his endeavours for the property—the forgery of maramelioration of the criminal code. riage-registers, by which the legi. He brought forward three bills for timacy as well as the fortunes of taking away capital punishment individuals might be affectedfrom many cases of forgery, from the forgery of deeds and tranfers stealing in dwelling-houses, and of stock—all these offences, the from stealing on navigable rivers. widest in their consequences, that None of them passed. The first ex. could well be imagined, were to cited much discussion,and, indeed, have the benefit of this newit wanted but little of having re- fangled scheme of philanthropy, ceived the sanction of the Com- and were to be in a great measure mons. The debate on the principle emancipated from the salutary of the measure occured on the 23rd terrors of the law. Would it be of May, on the motion for going wise to adopt so important an ininto a committee upon the bill; novation, without well weighing and the solicitor-general took the its results? The present law had lead in the opposition to it. The been enacted, when the high object of the bill, said the learned legal offices were filled by most gentleman, was, to take away for distinguished men; Lord Hardthe first offence the punishment wicke was then attorney-general, of death from all cases of forgery, and lord Talbot, solicitor-general; save that of forgery of the notes and it had been enacted from exof the Bank of England. The perience of its necessity. On forgery of wills, therefore, a crime what grounds, then, were we to easily committed, and which deviate from a policy thus sanc

tioned by time and by great names? some cases, he would have the of. The preamble of the bill stated, fender imprisoned and kept to hard that the present law was inef- labour. În reply to this argufectual for its object. This the soli- ment, the solicitor-general urged, citor-general denied; the present that there was no such punish law, he believed, was as effectual ment for any great crime in this as any law could be. There might, country, as imprisonment and no doubt, becases, in which the in- hard labour. What there might jured declined to prosecute, from be hereafter, he could not tell; an aversion to bring afellow-mortal but, at present, it appeared, as if to an untimely end. But if the sub. hard labour had always been stitution of transportation for death considered by the legislature, as might increase the number of insufficient to deter from crime, prosecutions, it would also increase especially when the crime was the number of forgeries; and thus likely to be attended by great the evil would still be augmented pecuniary advantages. The ques. by the alteration. The object of tion came ultimately to this punishment was the prevention of “Has the hon. and learned gentlecrimes. This bill proposed trans- man, who introduced this bill, atportation as a punishinent, which tached any penalty to the crime was lo diminish the crime of of forgery more efficacious than forgery : was transportation likely that which he is endeavouring to to do so ? The men who come take away?” The solicitor-gemitted forgeries, were usually in- neral contended that he had not, dividuals in a distressed and em- and therefore could not give his barrassed situation ; but still in assent to the proposition. He such a situation as rendered it was well aware, that, in other probable, that the crime would be countries, the laws against forgery successful. A man in such cir. were not so severe as in England. cumstances, provided this bill But other countries had means of were to pass into a law, would prevention which this country thus argue with himself :-" The had not : other countries had punishment of the offence which means of detection and convicI am now going to commit is only tion, through the agency of their transportation; and in my circum- police, which this country had stances, the change, which such a not, and which, he hoped to punishment will create in my God, it would never have. In habits and comforts, is scarcely to France and in other continental be deprecated; if I succeed and countries, private forgeries were can effect my removal to another not punished by death, but by country, I shall live for the future the law of France, and by its in ease and affluence.” For the system of police, which never House would recollect that the could exist in a country with a crime of forgery was one, by constitution like our own, crimes which not only a few pounds, but a could, in the first instance, be large fortune might be acquired in more effectually prevented than an instant. Sir James Mackintosh in England; and in the second, had said, that he did not intend to more easily detected; inasmuch make transportation the only as the individual charged with punishment for forgery; for, in them was compelled, by a kind of

cross-examination, to confess his strument by which the property own guilt, which was never the of a person recently deceased was case in England, except when devised, might, by destroying it, an individual was unfortunately entirely frustrate the intention of called to the bar of that House. the testator; and wills generally No inference, then, ought to fell into the custody of those, who be drawn in favour of the pre- were more or less interested in sent bill from the practice of fo- the disposition of the property reign countries; and therefore devised. Now, what was the unless his hon. and learned friend punishment affixed to the perpewas prepared to inflict upon the tration of this crime? The House crime of forgery some punish- would be surprised to hear, that ment already recognised by the there was actually no punishment law and the constitution, he would at all. Here, then, was a vacuity give his warmest opposition to to be filled up in the criminal the measure.

code; and he called on the atMr. Buxton followed the soli- torney.general to introduce some citor-general (but did not at- measure for that purpose. It was tempt to reply to him) in a very a curious circumstance, that, durelaborate speech, which dilated ing the last thirteen years, ex. at great length on the general actly the same number of wills theory of penal codes, but did had been feloniously destroyed as not state a single fact, or adduce had been forged, namely, three: a single argument, that bore di- so that the offence which had a rectly upon the measure actually punishment affixed to it, bad before the House. Dr. Lusti- been just as often committed, as ington spoke more to the pur- that the perpetration of which pose. The forgery of willo, he was not visited by any penalty. : said, had been described as a very The solicitor-general had laid beinous offence; but it was also considerable stress on the forgery a very rare one. During a con- of marriage-registers, and bad nexion of thirteen years with that said, “ Surely you would not court, before which all disputed take away the punishment of wills must necessarily come, only death from that offence.” He three instances of forged wills (Dr. Lushington) could not, howhad occurred, and in none of ever, find any instance of that them had there been any prose- offence, either before or since it cution. To forge a will was by no had been made punishable with means an easy undertaking, par- death. He could not, therefore, ticularly for the purpose of pass- see any reason for making it a ing real property; because, in capiial felony, except our extra. that case, it was necessary to ordinary anxiety for the multiforge not only the name of the plication of capital punishments. testator, but also the names of "The punishment of death did not, three witnesses. The destruction it was evident, produce that saluof wills was a more dangerous tary terror, which some individuals crime. It was more easily ef- supposed. It might produce a fected, and it held out a much good effect to a certain degree ; greater temptation. Any indi- but the question was, whether vidual getting possession of an in- that good was not over balanced

« הקודםהמשך »