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legated their power; nor to constitute a police which only could derive maintenance and effect by the intervention of arms. It was for this purpose, that the legislature of Great Britain prudently and wisely established a military power only for the duration of one year; or rather they suspended the illegality of the military power for a year. It was for this, that they would intrust no permanent and durable military in the hands of the crown; but preserved to themselves the security of escape, whenever that military should be misapplied to objects for which it was not designed. The police of Westminster, in its present condition, was wretched and miserable. Its state was too well known to every gentleman who heard him, to require description: its weakness and inefficacy were too severely felt at the late dreadful period, to be depended upon in future. To that we were to ascribe the riots and the outrages that had broke forth in June last; and which had raged without control for many days. To that we were to ascribe the order which had been issued to the military, to act without waiting for the orders of the civil power. To that we were to ascribe the establishment of military power in this country for four months, and its being extended to every part of the country. It was the police of Westminster that had given rise to all these calamities and alarms; and yet not one measure had been taken, or attempt made, to correct that police, or to prevent a repetition of the same dangers.
He was aware, that it might be said, that if the negligence and the incapacity of the civil power of Westminster had contributed so much to these evils, the same imputation ought to be thrown upon the magistracy of the City of London; since the tumults had reigned with equal impunity in that city, and with equal consequences. To this he could only say, that he could not forget for a moment, that the tumults began in the city of
Westminster; that there they had their small beginnings; and that there they might have been checked with less exertion than in the subsequent progress of their accumulating force. But the success of the riots in the city of London, had been ascribed to the want of conduct and courage in the chief magistrate. It was to him, and not to the civil power in general of that city, that the blame was given. By the same mode of reasoning, he would be permitted to say, that if the chief magistrate of the city of London was condemned for not having animated and directed the resistance; the chief magistrate of the county of Middlesex ought also to be charged with inattention and inactivity in these scenes. If responsibility was to be proportioned to trust, which certainly was the rule and measure of justice, the lord lieutenant of the county of Middlesex was infinitely more criminal and guilty than any other man; because his obligation and his powers were greater. Invested with the important trust of appointing and regulating the civil power, it was his duty to see that the magistrates and the officers which he had put into the commission, did their duty to their country; and if they did not, he ought to have collected them together, to have appointed them their stations, and to have put them into active employment. If it should be said that the noble duke could have done no service to the kingdom by such a measure at that moment, because the magistrates were such that they would have disobeyed his orders; then he would beg leave to ask, why were such magistrates put into the commission? The crime was equally enormous in either case. If it should be said, that the office of a magistrate in this city was so exceedingly troublesome and offensive, that gentlemen of character and fortune could not be found to enter on it, then he would ask, why had no measures been taken to put the police on a more respectable footing? and "after the melancholy experience that
you have had, how comes it nothing has been done since? This is the material question; for after the fatal experience which we have had, it became an indispensable duty of government, and of the officers of the crown, to whom the regulation of the police of Middlesex was intrusted, to prevent the necessity of recurring again to the alarming expedient that had been used in June last. Was not the conduct of that man or men, criminal, who had permitted those justices to continue in the commission? Men of tried inability and convicted depravity! Had no attempt been made to establish some more effectual system of police, in order that we might still depend upon the remedy of the bayonet; and that the military power might be called in to the aid of contrived weakness, and deliberate inattention? It might, perhaps, be the wish of some, that the subject might be familiarised to the use of the soldier; and that, upon occasions less alarming than the last, they might resort again to the same remedy. It was a matter pretty well known, that orders of a nature not dissimilar to those of June last, were given to the military on the acquittal of Lord George Gordon. Orderly serjeants were attending in Westminster Hall;-the courts of Justice were beset with soldiers; and the guards were all in readiness to act in case of necessity. He did not assert this as an imputation upon government; he did not say that they ought to have stood by, tame spectators, and beheld the city set on fire, ere they began to act. He only wished to shew from this circumstance, that the weakness of the civil power was recognized by government; that they acknowledged the incapacity, and applied again to the same remedy, unconstitutional as it was, before the necessity was ascertained.
There were only two reasonable excuses that could be assigned for the conduct of government, in issuing the orders that they did to the military power. The first was, they conceived that the
riots were not produced by those men who had assembled around the house, instigated by religious enthusiam,, and impelled by the frenzy of apprehensive zeal; nor yet by a set of vagrants and abandoned characters who had industriously mingled with the original multitude, and taken advantage of the occasion to commit hostilities and depredations on the metropolis; but that they were the effect of a deliberate and deep-laid scheme; a conspiracy, contrived by the enemies of this country, with the intention of spreading plague, pestilence, and famine over this kingdom; to lay the metropolis in ashes; and to strike at the very foundation of our wealth and credit as a nation. If such was the sentiment of government, they might be justified in applying the means which were in their power for destroying the diabolical scheme. If such was the truth, we should have recourse to every expedient; we should have regiments planted in our churches, picquet guards in our squares, and centinels, instead of watchmen, in our streets. This was the sentiment and the opinion which had been propagated by government, as their excuse and their commendation. A grave and venerable chief justice had pronounced this assertion in the house of peers; and another chief justice had delivered it from the bench; and on this respectable authority, the world are desired to believe, that the whole was a systematic conspiracy of the enemy, levelled at the being and existence of the empire. This was an opinion which, if it was true, would justify the exertions which had been made ;-it was at the same time a doctrine which he, for his part, could not consider as just or well founded. Let them search for its truth in the circumstances and probability of the case. What was the conduct of the two houses of parliament on the occasion? Not having been a member of the house at that time, he might for a moment conceive himself to be ignorant of their proceedings. It might naturally be ex
pected, that if there was an active conspiracy in the metropolis, and war was levied against the person and dignity of the crown, the two houses surely sat from day to day, and day and night, in anxious deliberation; that there were conferences between the two houses, and committees appointed to fathom the plot, and to contrive and direct the means of national salvation. Was this the case? No: on the contrary, the parliament did not meet; or if they did, met in numbers that were unfit for the study of any national question. They adjourned their houses;-they went into the country, and left the conspiracy and the conspirators to the fugitive justices of Middlesex:-they abandoned their country in the moment of danger; even in the hour of attack, they flew from their stations and delivered over the kingdom to the care of those very men, whose criminal negligence and timidity had given strength to the insurrection in its first movements. He would not believe then that parliament concurred with the chief justice in this sentiment; he would not libel them with the accusation, since he could not believe it possible that the house could continue so remiss, so inattentive, and seemingly so ignorant or so careless of the danger, if it had existed. In the house of lords, a noble duke had at that time brought forward a proposition of the utmost importance, especially at such a moment; and there were but nineteen of the hereditary connsellors of the realm to support the right of the subject to carry arms in his own defence. Was this a proof that the empire was threatened with dissolution, by the hostile scheme of the enemy? If the house would peruse the whole of the trials, from that of the first unhappy man who had been brought to the bar at the Old Bailey, to the noble lord who had been tried in the King's Bench, they would find, that the noble lord was the only person who had been charged with high treason. He was both the leader and the army; not one of his subalterns