Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

seen supporting a measure of which would resist our demands by a variety such were the features ? and what of arguments, which have been selwould be the fate of it, if brought dom overruled-certainly never, in forward under other auspices – those cases where offences, alleged to That circumstance alone would be be of a political nature, were consufficient to make many regard the cerned :-he would plead the dangerwrongs of the college as imaginary, ous nature of such crimes ; crimes and their complaints as the clamours exposing to hazard the public tranof faction: that circumstance would quillity, the public safety; indicating abundantly supply the place of that and promoting a spirit of sedition and evidence of political guilt, which the disloyalty, of disobedience to lawful precognition had so totally failed to authority, of disrespect for the esbring forward. Many would find it tablished government:- he would easy to believe, that those might well plead, that one of the most important rejoice in the successes of Buonaparte, of his functions, was to watch and who thus, at such a time, could en- to check the first tendencies to such deavour to weaken the hands, or even offences; and that for its successful to occupy the attention, of his most discharge, it was absolutely necessary ardent and energetic adversaries. that he

should be permitted to protect, 3. From the Courts of Law.---This from resentment and enmity, those inmode of seeking redress, though the dividuals through whose information last I have mentioned, is that which these offences were brought to his would first occur to every one's mind. knowledge. On these general grounds, Application to government, applica- he would defend his right to withhold tions to parliament, would certainly disclosures such as those which the never be thought of by those who Faculty demanded-he would at the imagined that suitable redress could same time maintain, that in this parbe obtained by regular process before ticular case, there was nothing that the ordinary Courts of Justice.—But called for the interference of the law to many, at least, in the Faculty, this with the use he had already made, or mode of seeking redress appeared not was now making, of the powers with more promising of success than the which this office invested him-at others. Though it was not known first, in acting upon the information with certainty whether the informa- communicated ; and now, in maintion, on which the petition and war- taining determined silence as to the rant for the precognition were founded informer : for that (as perhaps he had been originally communicated to might assert) the informer in this case the Lord Advocate, yet the Faculty was one whose situation in society had been informed by himself, that seemed to entitle him to credit; and the precognition and the proceedings whose communications, therefore, connected with it had been placed in called for the immediate attention of his hands by the local magistrate, the Law Officers, and warranted the and were now in his custody. It was investigation that had been made. His evident, therefore, that a process for information, indeed, had been found compelling the exhibition of these to be groundless; but there was no doeuments, and the open disclosure reason to believe that, in giving it, he of the information and the informer, had acted from malice, or from any must necessarily be a process against motives but those that were of a pubhis lordship for an undue exercise of lic and honourable kind: he had only power, in withholding information been deceived; or if guilty of any which, for the ends of justice, the faults, guilty only of rashness and inCollege were entitled to demand and discretion ; of too hasty a confidence to obtain ; and of the success of such in the truth of reports which he should a process, few entertained any hopes have more carefully examined ; but --its utter failure was, by many, con- these were faults of too venial a nature fidently, perhaps too confidently, an- to permit him on account of them to ticipated, from the undefined nature be subjected to all the hatred and and extent of the Advocate's powers contempt which, with little discrimiin all cases, and the disposition gene- nation, are generally poured on all rally shewn to indulge the unrestrain- who bear the name of informer. Beed exercise of them in cases similar to sides it would he asked by him, where the present. It was foreseen that he was the evil which he was required to remedy by such an unusual viola- peared, that though it would be hightion of an established rule and prac- ly rash and inexpedient to enter imtice? From the precognition, so much mediately into a process against the complained of, no harm had resulted Law Officers, yet it would be proper to the individual immediately con- that the College should take the opincerned, or to the College of Glasgow. ion of able Counsel, whether such a From the evidence which it had fur. measure would be attended with any nished, the former had been cleared chance of success. But as many, even from all crime or criminal intention; of those who were of this opinion, and the University consequently could had very weak expectation of receiv, suffer no stain on its reputation, no ing from such consultation any satisloss of its interests, from an inquiry factory encouragement as to the final which had terminated so honourably; result; and as the minority, on the but, on the contrary, both that indi- other hand, strongly expressed their vidual and the University had been apprehensions that even this step thus saved from the mischievous con- might have the effect of involving the sequences of insinuations and surmises College in a tedious, expensive and to their prejudice, secretly circulating fruitless litigation, it was, with my among the public, and never met eutire concurrence, abandoned even by any accurate and regular inves- by those gentlemen by whom it was tigation.

[graphic]

proposed or supported. By these arguments, it was con- I have now, Sir, finished all that ceived, that the demands of the Fa- seems to me essential in the stateculty in a Court of Law would be op- ment which you have permitted me posed on the part of the Lord Advo- to communicate, through your paper, cate ; and though to many of their to the public. The facts of the case number, and no doubt to many others have been given in your former pa. also, it may appear that these argu- per, on the authority of documents ments admit of easy answer, and that which cannot be questioned ; and, on they furnish no just or equitable bar this occasion, I have stated those conto their claim, yet it was generally siderations which weighed with the believed by the members that they Faculty, and with myself

, in the purwould be found effectual against them; pose which has been adopted ; and and that therefore, they presented which, perhaps, some will consider strong and sufficient reasons for de- as not fully vindicated, even by the clining to engage in legal proceedings, considerations and reasons which I It is hoped, that in entertaining this have stated; I mean the purpose of persuasion, and in thus acting upon the College to reliuquish all attempts it, the Faculty of the College of Glas- of obtaining redress, by application gow will not be regarded as charge. either to government, to parliament, able with throwing upon the Courts or to the courts of law, to leave the and the Judges of their country any amount of their wrongs to be esti Jibellous or unbecoming imputations. mated by the judgment of a liberal This persuasion they were led to en- and intelligent public ; and to look tertain from the usual and well-known for that recompense only, which coupractice of these Courts; from the sists in continuing to be regarded with total absence of all cases relating to general approbation and confidence, political offences, that could warrant and in finding the enemies of their a different belief; and particularly reputation and tranquillity, known or from the entire confidence which the unknown, branded with universal Lord Advocate seemed to entertain hatred and contempt. of his absolute security against all Perhaps the wisest and fairest plan compulsion by legal authority-a con- I could follow, would be to leave the fidence which is not ambiguously in- public to form their judgment from dicated in the conclusion of his letter the statements I have already made, of the 26th April, addressed to me, unaccompanied with any remarks or and inserted in your former paper. comments from me. It is not my in

I consider it, however, as incum- tention to trespass upon your indul. bent on me to add on this subject, gence, by any such additions at prethat to a majority of the meeting on the sent ; what has been contained in this 2nd, (the meeting whose proceedings and in your former paper, I intend to I am endeavouring to explain), it ap- print immediately in the form of a pamphlet, which will conclude with incumbent upon me to bring forward, a few circumstances and observations, when speaking solely in my own which 1 scarcely considered myself name.--I am, &c. as entitled to introduce, so long as I

JAMES MYLNE. felt myself as in some measure stating the case of the Faculty, but which it College, 13th May, 1815. will not only be allowable in me, but

EXTRACTS FROM NEW PUBLICATIONS.

Charles James Fox.

the cause of it is no more. It is not (Continued from p. 412.) in my nature to bear malice or to live 7. No durability in Peace. (Dec. 5. in ill-will.. My friendships are perpe1782.)

tual, my enmities are not so. Amicitiæ VE honourable gentleman may sempiternæ, inimicitiæ placabiles. I said Mr. Fox, but I can never think , enmities which I maybear to men, when it wise to pay much regard to that the cause of those enmities is no more. prospect. The inconsistency, the When a man ceases to be what he was, weakness and the passions of human when the opinions which made him governments will in all time continue obnoxious are changed, he then is no to tear asunder the bands of civil con- more my enemy but my friend. The cord; and no gratification, no acces- American war was the cause of the sion, no dismemberment of empire, no enmity between the noble lord and good fortune, no calamity, will induce myself. The American war and the kings to sit down contented with American question is at an end. The what they have acquired or patient noble lord has profited from fatal exunder their loss, but after a little perience. While that system was breathing time they will again rise maintained, nothing could be more into outrage, offence and war. asunder than the noble lord and my.

self. But it is now no more; and it is 8. His Coalition with Lord North. therefore wise and candid to put an (Feb. 17, 1783.)

end also to the ill-will, the animosity, I now come, said Mr. Fox, to take the rancour and the feuds which it ocnotice of the most heinous charge of casioned. I am free to acknowledge, all. I am accused of having formed a that when I was the friend of the noble junction with a noble person, whose lord in the blue ribbon, I found him principles I have been in the habit of open and sincere; when the enemy, opposing for the last seven years of honourable and manly. I never had my life. I do not think it at all incum- reason to say of the noble lord in the bent on me to make any answer to blue ribbon, that he practised any of this charge: first, because I do not those little subterfugés, tricks and think that the persons who have asked stratagems which I found in others; the question, have any right to make any of those behind-hand and paltry the inquiry; and secondly, because if maneuvres which destroy confidence any such junction was formed, I see between human beings and degrade no ground for arraignment in the the character of the statesman and the matter. That any such alliance has man. taken place, I can by no means aver. That I shall have the honour of con- 9. Mr. Pitt's Motion for a Reform in curring with the noble lord in the Parliament. (May 7, 1783.) blue ribbon on the present question is Mr. Secretary Fox rose, and revery certain; and if men of honour marked to the House, that he made no can weet on points of general national doubt there were some persons present concern, I see no reason for calling who would attribute what he said to such a meeting an unnatural junction. lukewarmness and not to zeal; however, It is neither wise nor noble to keep up regardless of their censure, he would animosities for ever. It is neither just freely deliver his sentiments, and asfor candid to keep up animosity when sure the House that he most heartily

concurred with the right honourable 11. Long Speeches. (May 30, 1785.) gentleman who made the motion, that Before I touch upon the charges to the constitution required some reform, which I allude, I cannot belp ohand so far from its being absurd to serving, with what special grace the make any intovation on it, he was right honourable gentleman (Mr. Pitt) certain that the nature of our constitu- ridicules long speeches with what a tion required innovation and renova. singular propriety he, of all the memtion; for the beauty of the constitu- bers in this House, attempts to correct tion did not consist, as some people others for occupying much of the time imagined in theory, but in practice of the House. "I do not intend to deny He knew it was the common and the the right honourable gentlemen' the popular opinion, that our constitution merit of great abilities, great eloquence was beautiful in theory, but all cor- and great powers of pleasing his hearrupt in practice. Singular as his sen- ers; but of all the crimes to be urged timent inight be upon the subject, he against any person within these walls, made no scruple to avow that he looked the last, undoubtedly, for the right to the reverse as the true description honourable gentleman to venture upon of our constitution, and thought it is, to charge the long duration of his admirable in practice but imperfect speech as a fault against any member. and very faulty in theory. The theory The right honourable gentleman, like was in its nature found by experience myself, is under the necessity of trouto be absurd in several paris ; for, as it bling this House much oftener and for was composed of three estates, King, a much longer time than is perhaps Lords and Commons, it was absurd to agreeable; and it ill becomes either of think that one man should have an us to reprobate others for a practice equal power to the whole multitude; we ourselves 80 frequently fall into, therefore, in the practical part, that Grateful for the indulgence we are power was wisely curtailed, and not favoured with, we should certainly be left in the breast of one man, but in the last to condemn that in which we a government consisting of several mi- ourselves are the greatest transgressors. nisters. He regarded it as one of its And I shall drop this part of the subchief excellencies, that it involved a ject, with only remarking, that if an renovating principle in itself, and by almost uniform deviation from the imbeing capable of repeated improve mediate subject in discussion,-ifabanmient, admitted the possibility of its doning liberal argument for illiberal being from time to time carried to a declamation, if frequently quitting degree of perfection beyond which no sound sense for indecent sarcasms, and human idea could go.

preferring to rouse the passions and

inflame the prejudices of his auditory 10. Votes and Wishes. (Westminister to the convincing their understandings

Scrutiny, May 25, 1784.) and informing their judgments, tended He took notice that a learned friend to diminish the title of any member of of his, speaking of the partiality of the this House to a more than common electors towards him, had carried the portion of its temper and enduranceparadox rather too far, and declared that I do not know one gentleman who the votes for him had been almost uni- would haveso ill-founded a claim upon versal; he would not venture to say it for such favours, as the right hothis; but though he had not a majority nourable gentleman himself. of votes, yet it might fairly be said that when a candidate like him, a 12. English and Irish Patriot. (Irish known object of the enmity and per Commercial Propositions. May 30, secution of government, ventured to 1785.) stand for Westminster, to obtain an Although the right honourable genequality of votes, he must have a ma- tleman charges upon me (concluded jority of wishes. He observed that Mr. Fox) that I have not not heretothe Latin word votum admitted of two fore opposed this proposition, he might translations, both of which applied to surely have recollected that a noble his case; for he might be said to have lord near him (Lord Mahon) had at.. enjoyed the majority of the voices of tempted to ridicule me when this his constituents, or he could not have question was before under discussion, been honoured with an equality of as being now an English, now an Irish their votes.

patriot; and to that ridicule, impotent

[graphic]

Essay on the Apocryphal Book styled larger copies of our Bibles, and are the Wisdom of Solomon. there distinguished as apocryphal. The

June 24th, 1815. word denotes uncertainty and doubt; VE genuineness and authenticity and it implies not only that we have cient, must, in the first instance, be and the dates of the works so denoascertained, if possible, by external minated, but that for these, and perevidence. On this evidence we receive haps additional reasons, we do not the books which compose the Jewish admit them to the same important Scriptures: and it is principally owing rank with the books deemed canonito the want of it that we reject other cal. A literary performance may posproductions which find a place in the sess great intrinsic merit-if a poem, VOL. X.

Sp

« VorigeDoorgaan »