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throughout the whole of the emperor's dominions.-Having troubled your lordships, at this length, upon the general principles of this measure-principles which have been so unjustly calumniated

such sums, to be paid to certain persons named, according to the valuation of the currency," that those words were to be understood as being applicable to the general value of the currency at the time the payments were to be made.allow me to apply those principles to Here again your lordships see the effect the case of this petitioner. His case is of an equitable adjustment acted upon this-that he is in danger of losing two in courts of law. Besides that, if we estates which were bought by him in the look to the example of other coun- year 1811 for 132,000l.; he is in danger tries, I need only refer your lordships to of being dispossessed and deprived of the conduct of the emperor of Austria, those estates by the foreclosure of a deed and for which conduct, I dare say, the of mortgage for 60,000!., being less than government of that country cannot be one-half of the value of the estates upon called in any respect revolutionary; in which that mortgage was granted."-His that country the present emperor having lordship then entered into an elucidation made considerable alterations in his cur- of the losses sustained by the petitioner, rency, issued an edict to all the magis- founded upon the statement in the petitrates within his dominions, forbidding tion, and also stated various other similar them, under the severest penalties, to cases of hardship, which had come within open it before a certain day; and desiring his knowledge, as arising from the deprethem, at the same time, when that day ciation of landed property. He mencame, to give it all possible publicity. tioned one instance, in Herefordshire, When that edict was opened, it was where an estate was sold for 25,000l. found to contain a scale for the payment some years ago, and which had been reof debts, and directing all debts consti- purchased by the original proprietor for tuted by contracts previously obtained, 6,000l. He would ask their lordships, to be paid according to that scale. It is whether it was possible to state any thing also singular that the same country, more strong and energetic, to shew the Austria, should exhibit an example, not cruelty and hardship which this petionly of the sort of equitable adjustment tioner and others in a similar situation here proposed, but also a measure similar were under the necessity of enduring, on in its nature to that bill, which has lately account of the injustice arising from the passed in this country, commonly called inconceivably great reduction in the Mr. Peel's bill. Be that as it may, how- value of property, without any alteration ever, it is certain, that the paper currency being made in the value of the currency. of Austria has from time to time fluctu- Those evils could only be remedied by ated from 440 to 250 in paper, as com- an equitable adjustment; and until that pared with 100 in silver. The emperor system which he now proposed, was determined to ascertain the proportion adopted, the evils complained of could between paper and silver which was not be remedied. In duty to their counsettled at that time, and it was ascertain- try, their lordships were bound to preed, that it afforded no more a just crite- vent the mortgagee under such circumrion of the value of silver in that country, stances executing a foreclosure.- His than what are called the market-price of lordship also mentioned the case of a pergold in this country. The emperor di- son whose income had been reduced from rected, as in this country, that the debts 60,000l. a-year, to 30,000l. a year; with should be paid in silver, according to the same annuities of 21,000l. a-year to that ratio which he then established, pay out of 30,000l. a year, which he had and that system was begun in that coun- to pay out of 60,000l. a-year. He was try, having been occasioned by similar well aware, that 9,000l. a-year was quite causes as have existed in this. At that enough for any man; but he only mentime, the most grievous, and intoler- tioned it to shew the proportionate hardable inequality of payments prevailed ship which was inflicted by the state of in that country; and, as in this, the the currency upon landed proprietors. No disproportionate value of payments was man could willingly submit to be thus monstrous. Such a system as formerly dispossessed of his property nor have it prevailed in Austria, as to the payment swallowed up or transferred into other of debts, was in the result, a source of hands. In order to pay claims establishextreme dissatisfaction and discontented upon former contracts, many were.

transactions in which they had no direct concern; namely, that of considering the conduct of foreign sovereigns, in which they had, comparatively speaking, no right to judge, and whose conduct they had no power to control; while the government neglected redressing those grievances which existed in our own country, and which it was in their power to remedy. It was still his intention to submit various motions upon the subject of those grievances, whenever the time arrived when the result was likely to be more advantageous and beneficial than at the present moment. He could not, however, lose that opportunity of protesting against leaving unredressed and unconsidered by parliament, the state of the currency which imposed such tremendous grievances upon the country. The petition which had given rise to these observations, he viewed as the petition, not of one individual, but of every individual in the realm, from the highest to the lowest; because every one was concerned in the benefits to be de

under the necessity of disposing of twice the quantity of produce compared with the value of the property, when those contracts were entered into. He asked for justice being done to the public debtors he asked for justice being done to the suffering people of this countryhe asked for justice in redress of grievances, such as those which even Buonaparte, in the plenitude of his power, would not have allowed to exist. Unless those grievances were speedily redressed, we might expect that the country would be overwhelmed in ruin, or, at least, involved in convulsions which no man would desire to see, and which, perhaps, none have apprehended as likely to arise from such a cause. He called upon their lordships to arrest the progress of such consequences. But such was the state of affairs, that those grievances met them in every step. Should we ever again have occasion to revert to the question of peace or war, he should ask their lordships, how they could be prepared to go to war, even if menaced by some danger or distress, under such a state of cir-rived from the just principle of an equitcumstances? The sinews of war were money; and he would ask, whether they could expect to raise sufficient funds, if the landed proprietors of the country were so impoverished? He trusted, how ever, that the sinews of war did not merely consist in money, but in that unconquer able will and courage, which would never submit nor yield. Even in that case, he would ask, how they could expect that unconquerable will and courage to be evinced by a population oppressed as it was by the measures of government? No NEGOTIATIONS RELATIVE TO SPAIN wonder that the people were distressed, KING'S ANSWER TO ADDRESS.]discontented, and disaffected, by the con- Mr. Secretary Canning reported His Matinuance of evils in a system of govern-jesty's Answer to the Address of the ment which tended to render them House, as follows: desperate. Unless the government were "I thank you for this loyal and dutiful disposed to sink the country into a state Address: I receive with satisfaction the far more base and abject than it had ever expression of your gratitude for my before exhibited at any time of its history, earnest endeavours to preserve the peace he had no doubt their lordships would find of Europe, and the assurances of your it necessary soon to redress those griev-ready and affectionate support in any ances, in order to restore the ancient energy of its population. He should think it his duty to bring forward some motion upon this subject of equitable adjustment; and he took that opportunity of thus stating his sentiments, however ineffectual his exertions might be, or whatever little success might attend them. The attention of parliament had been unfortunately occupied with a review of

able adjustment. It was therefore his intention, upon those general principles, to move, upon some future day, that this petition be taken into consideration; but, at present, he should content himself with moving that it be laid upon the table.

The motion was agreed to.

HOUSE OF COMMONS.

Friday, May 2.

measures which I might find it necessary to adopt for maintaining the honour of my Crown, and the interest of my people."

SHERIFF OF DUBLIN-INQUIRY INTO HIS CONDUCT.]-Mr. Spring Rice having moved, "That Dillon, McNamara, and Terence O'Reilly, attornies of Dublin, do attend this House on the 9th of May,"

Mr. Plunkett said, he would avail himself of the opportunity which the motion afforded him of stating to the House a fact of considerable importance, not only to himself but to the question which had engaged, and was likely to engage still further, the attention of the House. It was in the recollection of the House, that both in the speech and motion of the hon. member for Armagh, it was charged against him, that in having filed an ex officio information, after bills of indictment had been ignored by the grand jury, he had acted, in his office of attorney-general for Ireland, without precedent, and had introduced into the administration of the law a practice of which no instance had occurred since the Norman conquest. He had upon that occasion suggested, that from the authority of the Court of King's-bench, in cases which he cited, a fair analogy was to be traced, and sufficient to justify his proceeding. He had remarked that it was unfair, because he could not produce the precedents for the reasons he then stated, to suppose they did not exist. He had, however, since received a letter from a Mr. Foley, an attorney of Ireland, a gentleman whom he had not the honour of knowing, in which that gentleman stated, that seeing the reports of those debates in parliament, in which this subject had been mentioned, and the manner in which the argument had been used, he was induced, from a sense of justice to inform him that he believed a case took place in Ireland twelve years ago, in which an ex officio information had been filed by the attor ney-general, after bills of indictment for the same offence had been ignored by the grand jury. He had replied to that letter, by thanking Mr. Foley, and requesting him to inquire into the subject. Mr. Foley had done so; and the following were the particulars. In October, 1811, a bill of indictment was preferred against a person of the name of Leach, for writing a letter to sir Edward Littlehales, soliciting the appointment of the place of Barrack-master. The bill contained three counts: the first was for sending a letter, proposing to give a bribe; the second, for offering money by way of bribe; and the third, for offering securities for money by way of bribe. That bill was ignored by the grand jury. The court of King's-bench, impressed

*Set Vol. 8, p. 964.

with the disproportion between the evidence and the finding, ordered a second bill to be preferred. That second bill was also ignored; and, in the November following, an ex-officio information was filed by his predecessor in office. He held then in his hands attested copies of the indictment, and of the ex-officio information that followed the ignoring. And yet Mr. Saurin, the attorney-general of that day, was never called upon to explain the grounds upon which he took that course. He (Mr. P.) attributed his not having heard of that precedent, during the recent discussions, to the fact of its having escaped the recollection of his predecessor. He did not feel it his duty to lay these documents on the table of the House; because he would not seem to inculpate the character of the hon. gentleman who had preceded him; but he owed it to his own character to state, that, twelve years ago, the same thing had been done for which he was censured, and in which he was charged with having acted unprecedentedly. The conduct of the attorney-general at that period had never been impeached, nor had any doubt been entertained of its justice. He felt that this bore most strongly upon his own case, because that hon. gentleman had supposed he was only acting in the course of his duty.

Mr. Denman asked if any judgment had been passed in the case mentioned by the right hon. gentleman.

Mr. Plunkett replied, that judgment had been signed for want of a plea; but, in consequence of the contrition expressed by the defendant, and of his having lost a valuable appointment, no further punishment had been visited upon him.

Mr. Abercromby said, he had heard this statement with the greatest astonishment. They had been told, from the beginning to the end of this business, that the imputation upon the character of the attorney-general for Ireland was that of having acted without precedent. The hon. member for Armagh had concluded his speech by saying, that his conduct had been unprecedented, contrary to the practice of the court, and not congenial to the spirit of the British constitution. If the fact which had been just stated had then been known, it would have made the greatest possible difference in the case. He wished, however, to ask one question, and, if it should be answered in the affirmative, the House would see the

bearing it must have upon this case. He wished to know, whether the person who was now the crown solicitor had held that office in 1811. There were two persons o whom, ex necessitate rei, all the particulars of this case must have been known -the then attorney-general and crown solicitor. He would beg the House to consider how the attorney-general for Ireland had been served in the discharge of his duty, when no communication of this fact had been made to him. If Mr. Saurin did not think fit to communicate the fact to his right hon. friend, that was a matter of courtesy of which he (Mr. A.) had no right to complain; but that the crown solicitor should not have informed his right hon. friend of it, seemed something more than accident. It was for the purpose of impressing upon the House the situation in which his right hon. friend was placed the inconveniences of which he believed, were shared by the lord lieutenant himself that he called their attention to this singular conduct of the crown solicitor.

Mr. Plunkett said, he was bound in justice to the crown solicitor to state, that two gentlemen of the same name had held that office. They were father and The father was dead, and the son must have been a very young man at the period to which he had alluded.

son.

Sir J. Newport said, that however young that person might be, he had, at the period mentioned, acted for his father; and if he was then competent to do so, he must be well acquainted with the facts of the case.

Mr. Grattan said, that as the gentleman alluded to had acted for his father during a series of years, he thought it advisable, that he should attend at the bar of the House. [Loud cries of "Mr. Saurin also."]

Sir N. Colthurst thought it very possible that the crown solicitor might have forgotten the matter, as the right hon. gentleman himself had done so.

Colonel Barry said, he would move that the name of Mr. W. Kemmis the crown solicitor, be added to those of the witnesses already moved for.

Mr. Calcraft moved, that Mr. Saurin's name should also be added.

Mr. Goulburn thought it would be a most inconvenient course to enlarge the examination of witnesses, unless in the course of the proceeding, circumstances should arise of a nature to call for it.

Mr. Calcraft consented to withdraw his motion for the attendance of Mr. Saurin. It was certainly difficult at present to. state to what extent the examination would proceed.

Mr. Secretary Peel wished the House to suspend its judgment with respect to Mr. Kemmis. The fact which had been stated by his right hon. friend was, undoubtedly, very important; but still he thought it possible that it might have been forgotten. Mr. Townsend who had concurred with his right hon. friend, had also been in office in 1811, and yet he did not remember it. The present lord chief justice of Ireland was at the same period the solicitor general, and yet, when the cause was tried before him, and the objection urged by the defendant's counsel, that this was a case without precedent, his own memory did not furnish him with this fact, with which it was almost certain that he must have been acquainted.

Colonel Barry said, his reason for ordering the attendance of Mr. Kemmis was, because, in the course of the examination, matter might come out which it would be necessary for him to explain. From the number of witnesses summoned, it would appear that the examination was meant to be indefinite. If gentlemen should institute an inquiry into the feuds of unhappy Ireland from the time of Henry 2nd, he could have no objection to it; but he would not, therefore, lose sight of the question then before them; namely, whether the conduct of the sheriff did, or did not deserve the censure of the House? As gentlemen appeared willing to confine their examination to that point, he would withdraw his motion.

The motion was withdrawn. After which, the Speaker informed the House, that he had received a letter from Gabriel Whistler, the sub- sheriff of Dublin, stating that his attendance, in pursuance of the order of the House, would interrupt the judicial proceedings of the commission now sitting in the city of Dublin.-Sir F. Burdett then moved the order of the day for going into a committee of the whole House on the conduct of the sheriff of Dublin. The House having resolved itself into the said committee, sir Robert Heron in the chair,

Sir F. Burdett said, that having brought the proceeding to the present point, and put it in a train of investigation, he would now leave it in the hands of the gentlemen

of Ireland, who were necessarily better acquainted with the subject, and more immediately concerned in the conduct and issue of the proceeding than he could possibly be. On the motion of Mr. Calcraft, the Serjeant was directed to cause all persons summoned as witnesses, to withdraw from the gallery.

Mr. Benjamin Riky called in, and examined.

You are clerk of the crown in Ireland?-I execute the office of clerk of the crown in Dublin.

By Sir J. Newport.-How many years have you executed the office of clerk of the crown in Dublin?-For nearly 30 years; I have been in the office for 33 years.

Have you brought with you any document by which you can ascertain the state of the panels upon the commission juries in the city of Dublin?-I have.

Have you with you the panels for grand juries in the years 1819, 1820, 1821, and 1822? --I have, with the exception of the panel for Feb. 1820; I have the grand jury of Feb. 1820, but not the panel.

How comes that panel to be not in your possession?The clerk whom I had at that time is dead; I was not able to lay my hand upon it, nor has it been found; I left directions when I was leaving Ireland to have it sent after me; I have got the grand jury, but not the panel.

Put in those panels which you have with you.-[The witness produced the same.]

Have you examined into the state of those panels, and can you state to the committee the number of corporators on each of those panels? -I have, and compared them with the list of common-council-men.

The question asked, is confined to the commission grand juries. There are other grand juries also impanelled in the city of Dublin, are there not?--There are.

What is the duty respectively of the commission grand juries and the other grand juries? The duty of the commission grand jury is the disposing of indictments merely; that is the only court in Dublin of which I am an officer; however, I attend also the court of King's-bench, and I know that the grand jury of that court present all money affecting the city of Dublin, with the exception of certain presentments, made by the quarter sessions grand jury.

Can you then state what the respective attendance of the corporation upon the commission grand jury, and upon the other grand jury, are?-The term grand juries, consist, for the most part of the aldermen of Dublin; I never have attended the quarter sessions court, and I do not know any thing of it.

Are the commission grand juries composed, in the same proportion of common council, as those term grand juries, you have already mentioned ?—I apprehend not.

1

Who are the other persons on those grand juries, besides the aldermen?-Sheriffs-peers, I believe; aldermen and sheriffs-peers exclusively.

gentleman who has served the office of sheriff,

What is the meaning of sheriffs-peers?-A

or fined by reason of his not having served that office.

Are the committee to understand that the common council are a different body from the sheriffs-peers and the aldermen ?—I have always understood so.

How are the common council elected ?— There is first the guild of merchants; the guild of merchants return, I think, thirty-one; there are different other corporations.

Do any of the other guilds elect as large a number of common council as the guild of merchants ?—None, I believe; the election is every three years.

Will you state the number of sheriffs-peers, or common council, that were on the commission grand juries in the year 1819?—At the February commission, in 1819, there were six common councilmen sworn on the grand jury, and nine that were not sworn; at the July commission there were five sworn, and eighteen not sworn.

Were they not sworn on account of non-attendance ?-They were; at the October commission, in 1819, it appears that there was not any common-council-man sworn on the grand jury, there were eleven on the panel; and at the December commission, in the same year, it appears there were three sworn on the grand jury, and four others on the panel. The first, in 1820, is the February commission, of which I have not the panel, but I have the grand jury from the record, and it appears there was one common-council-man sworn on the grand jury; at the June commission, in the same year, there were two sworn on the grand jury, and eleven on the panel; at the October, three on the grand jury, and five on the panel; at the December, three on the grand jury, and sixteen on the panel. In February 1821, there were nine sworn, and thirteen on the panel not sworn; in April there were two sworn, and two on the panel who were not sworn; in July there were seven sworn, and thirteen on the panel not sworn; in August, eight sworn, and thirty-two not sworn; in October there were eight sworn and nine not sworn. In January 1822, there were two sworn, and two on the panel who were not sworn; in Feb. two sworn, and two not sworn; in April there were two sworn, and none other on the panel; in June there was not any common-council-man on the panel; of course, none sworn. August 1822, there was but one on the panel; he was not sworn. In October there were five sworn, and fourteen who were not sworn; and at the January commission in 1823, there were fourteen sworn on the grand jury, and thirteen others on the panel who were not sworn; making twenty-seven on that panel.

In

With reference to the last panel you have

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