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the patriotic spirit of the country ; of permitting foreigners, more especially French Royalists, to enlist in the British army; and of detaining persons suspected of designs against the government. He opposed, as he had before done, when himself a professed economical reformer, a violent amputation of the emoluments of pensions, sinecures, and particularly of the efficient offices of administration, in a bill proposed at this time by Mr. Harrison; observing that the amount would be contemptible in itself, and the principle absolutely dangerous—“ As it went to a direct invasion of the rights and properties of individuals; for the emoluments of places held under the Crown were possessions as sacred as that of any landed property in the country, and a motion might as well be made for taking a certain part of the property of a man who possessed an estate of ten or twenty thousand a year.

A motion by General Fitzpatrick to address his Majesty to interfere with the King of Prussia for the release of La Fayette, then confined in one of his prisons, drew from Burke the severest animadversions upon that conceited pretender to patriotism, who by his mischievous yet contemptible conduct proved the origin and author of most of the calamities of France. Instead of being termed, he said, an “illustrious exile,” he was then, and ought to be always considered, the outcast of the world, who having neither talents to guide nor in the least to influence the storm he had so diligently laboured to raise, fled like a dastard from the bloodshed and

"*

Similar sentiments had been on a former occasion declared by Mr. Fox.

massacre in which he had involved so many thousands of unoffending persons and families.

In the debate on the Volunteer Bill, some squibbing took place between him and Mr. Sheridan; the former observing that long speeches without good materials were sometimes dangerous to venture upon, even for a popular man, quoting some doggrel to that effect, printed in the American war:

“ Solid men of Boston, banish strong potations,
Solid men of Boston, make no long orations.

Bow, wow, wow."

When the wit, conceiving the first line, if not the second, might be aimed at him, keenly retorted by saying that he remembered some other lines from the same approved author:

“ Now it hapt to the country he went for a blessing,
And from his state daddy to get a new lesson ;
He went to daddy Jenky, by trimmer Hal attended.
In such company, good lack ! how his morals must be mended.

wow."

Bow, wow,

On the 5th of March, he moved for a committee to inspect the Lords' journals, relative to the proceedings on the trial of Mr. Hastings, and to report the facts and their observations thereon to the House. · This report, occupying nearly 200 octavo pages, was accordingly made on the 17th of April, and is reputed by those who are presumed to be competent judges of the subject, which embraces very important questions in law, one of the ablest and most elaborate papers that have come from the pen of Mr. Burke. It observes in detail, under the various heads of Jurisdiction of the Lords-Law of Parliament-Rule of Pleading—Publicity of Judges' opinions — Debates on Evidence—Circumstantial Evidence-Practice of the Courts below-and others, as well as upon all minor occurrences connected with the impeachment; and the greatest source of surprise to the reader will be the recondite and various knowledge of legal forms, principles, and history which it exhibits, and which must hereafter make it a source of interest to the legal profession, upon which it comments with so much force and freedom, but without the least hostility.

“ This report,” says a living lawyer of eminence,* “ was penned by Mr. Burke, and may be ranked among the most valuable productions of his pen. It turns on a question of the highest importance, both in legislation and jurisprudence—whether in cases for which neither the written nor unwritten law of a nation has provided courts of law may make a provision for it, by conforming existing laws and principles to it, or by subtracting it from their operation. The question occurs on a nice point in the doctrine of testimony; and to this the description in the report principally applies ; but it embraces the whole of the subject, and abounds in learning and profound observation ; unfortunately its title is far from alluring, and it has therefore been little read."

“A short account," adds a modern historian, “of the spirit of this document, and of the principal matters which it contains, is of high importance. It is a criticism not only upon this trial, but upon the law, a thing in this country of great rarity, from a

Charles Butler, Esq.

source of high authority. It would also be a thing of great utility, if it would show the people of the country what they have been carefully disciplined not to believe, that no greater service can be rendered to the community than to expose the abuses of the law; without which the hope of its amendment is for ever excluded **** Acutely sensible, however, to the spur of the occasion, he (Mr. Burke) felt the abuses which crossed him in his path. These he has displayed with his usual felicity of language ; and these it is of importance with respect to the imitative herd of mankind to have stamped with the seal of his reprobation.'

The report being published without authority in the form of a pamphlet, Lord Thurlow, the constant friend of Mr. Hastings in his legal difficulties, laid hold of the opportunity, which the forms of parliament of not noticing in one house what is said in the other would otherwise have prevented, to vent his indignation in the House of Lords upon a publication, the matter of which he termed “ disgraceful and indecent," " which tended to vilify and misrepresent the conduct of judges and magistrates entrusted with the administration of justice, and the laws of the country.”

On the following day (May 23d), Mr. Burke, in his place, adverted to this attack in a brief and pointed reply, which, imperfect as is the report of it, is too masterly upon such a great constitutional matter to be omitted :

“ The license of the present times makes it very difficult to talk upon certain subjects in which parliamentary order is involved.

* Mill's British India, vol. v. pp. 231-2.

It is difficult to speak of them with regularity, or to be silent with dignity or wisdom. All our proceedings have been constantly published, according to the discretion and ability of individuals, with impunity, almost ever since I came into Parliament. By prescription people had obtained something like a right to this abuse. I do not justify it. The abuse is now grown 80 inveterate, that to punish it without a previous notice would have an appearance of hardship, if not injustice. These publications are frequently erroneous as well as irregular, but not always 80 : what they give as reports and resolutions of this House have sometimes been fairly given.

“ It has not been uncommon to attack the proceedings of the House itself, under colour of attacking these irregular publications; and the House, notwithstanding this colourable plea, has, in some instances, proceeded to punish the persons who have thus insulted it. When a complaint is made of a piratical edition of a work, the author admits that it is his work that is thus piratically published ; and whoever attacks the work itself in these unauthorised publications does not attack it less than if he had attacked it in an edition authorised by the writer.

“ I understand, that in a place which I greatly respect, and by a person for whom I have likewise great respect, a pamphlet, published by a Mr. Debrett, has been very heavily censured. That pamphlet, I hear (for I have not read it), purports to be a report made by one of your committees to this House. It has been censured (as I am told) by the person and in the place I have mentioned in very harsh and very unqualified terms. It has been said, and so far very truly, that at all times, and particularly at this time, it is necessary for the preservation of order and the execution of the law, that the characters and reputation of the Judges of the Courts in Westminster Hall should be kept in the highest degree of respect and reverence ; and that in this pamplet, described by the name of a Libel, the characters and conduct of those Judges upon a late occasion had been aspersed, as arising from ignorance or corruption.

* I think it impossible, combining all the circumstances, not to suppose that this speech does reflect upon a report which, by an order of the committee on which I served, I had the honour of presenting to this House. For any thing improper in that report, I am responsible, as well as the other members of the committee, to this House, and to this House only. The matters contained in

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