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civil bloodshed. The necessity of entering been the invariable objects of these multiplied in this Report into a detailed and historical and continued endeavours. enumeration of the different transactions The zeal with which these doctrines have which are included under this general descrip- been disseminated, and the peculiar mode of tion, is, however, superseded by the distinct theircirculation, are however deserving of parand particular statement of them which is ticular attention. They appear to be princicontained in the Report of the Secret Com- pally addressed, not to that class of society mittee of the House of Commons, which has whose habits might enable them, in some debeen communicated to your lordships, and re- gree, to judge of the tendency of such opinions, ferred to your Committee.* The whole of but to those whose station and occupations that most important document your Commit. have in great measure debarred them even tec beg leave earnestly to recommend to the from that degree of knowledge. With this particular attention of your lordships. They view, these writings have been printed in nuhave found it supported throughout by the merous editions, and in the cheapest forms; evidence which has been laid before the Com- they have even been distributed gratis, and in mittees of both Houses; and the truth of se- large quantities; and their circulation among veral of the facts there stated, as well as the the labouring classes has been a principal ocauthenticity of the sources of information cupation of emissaries deputed to various from which they were drawn, have received parts of the country from the societies estaadditional confirmation from circumstances blished in this metropolis. The same object which have been disclosed even since the date has been pursued by inflammatory language, of that Report.

by seditious discourses, by lectures publicly In any attempt to trace the outlines and delivered, by tumultuous assemblies convened leading features of the system established and in the neighbourhood of the capital and of acted upon by the disaffected in this king other populous places, and by every other dom, the first point which claims attention is means which appeared best calculated to exthe indefatigable industry employed for de- cite throughout the country a spirit of geneceiving and misleading the people at large, ral hostility to its religion and government, and particularly the lower classes of the com- and to delude to the commission of the most munity. To poison the minds of persons of atrocious crimes, those whose situation most this description with opinions destructive of exposed them to this seduction. their own happiness, and inconsistent with In this close imitation of the beginnings of the very ends and nature of all government, the French revolution, the advantage which has always, and in every country, been the in that country had been derived to the supprincipal endeavour of those who are engaged porters of these principles, from their success in these conspiracies for promoting the prin- in corrupting the soldiery, could not escape ciples of the French revolution. Your Com- the observation of those who, in these kingmittee deem it almost unnecessary to recall doms, were labouring in the same cause. Your to the recollection of this House to what ex- Committee have accordingly found, by clear tent and with what success this measure was and multiplied proofs,that repeated endeavours first adopted in France. They have seen have been employed to taint his majesty's abundant proof that, for many years past, and fleets and armies, by the introduction of a down to the present moment, the same spirit of insubordination and mutiny, inconmeans have been unremittedly pursued here sistent with the duty of subjects, and still by those who have unquestionably had the more with that discipline which is the indissame objects in view. It would be an end- pensable foundation of all military service. less and most disgusting task to enumerate Wherever in any part of those gallant and methe almost infinite variety of impious, immo- ritorious bodies of men any trace of such a ral, and seditious publications with which the spirit has appeared, to this cause it is principress has of late years been loaded, both in pally to be ascribed; and it is much more to Great Britain and in Ireland, and which ap- their loyally, fidelity, and steady sense of duty, pear to have in great part (if not wholly) pro- than to any want of industry employed to misceeded from the persons engaged in this con- lead them, that the ultimate failure of this spiracy. From this system of attack, nothing part of thc conspiracy is to be attributed. has been held sacred. To revile our holy re- Following the same example of the proligion, to undermine the foundations of our gress and success of the measures employed faith, to subvert every established principle to promote the cause of the revolution in both of political and moral duty, to destroy all France, the next object to which the conspisense of allegiance to our sovereign, all attach- rators in these kingdoms appear to have ment to the forms and principles of our happy turned their attention was, the formation of constitution, to eradicate every sentiment of popular societies, which, like those established national character, and to render the people in the earlier periods of the French revoluof these realms indifferent both to the dangers tion, might supersede the authority of goand to the successes of their country, have government, of whatever description, and

enable their leaders to assume and exercise, * For a Copy of the Commons Report, see at their discretion, the whole power of the P. 579,

country, civil and military.

The history of these successive attempts in guard against the danger of such establishEngland, in Scotland, and in Ireland, is so ments, the extensive influence of which has particularly and distinctly detailed in the re-already been manifested both in France and port of the Secret Committee of the House in Ireland, and can by no means be consiof Commons, that your Committee deem it dered as an object of slight concern in the unnecessary to repeat it here. They will present state of this country. To this imitaonly remark, that these attempts, followed tion of the course of the proceedings which up as they have been with unremitting acti- have led to such fatal consequences in vity and perseverance, have successively as- France, your committee find that the disaffecsumed every shape, and covered themselves ed in these kingdoms have added the crime under every pretence, which might best elude of a treasonable communication and conthe vigilance of the king's government, and nexion with the enemy at various periods promote the wicked and dangerous designs during the present war. which were in the contemplation of the Intelligence of the state of both kingdoms, leaders of these societies.

with a view to the facility and success of inThe effects which this most powerful in- vasion, has been repeatedly transmitted to strument of trcason and rebellion is capable the French government, both from London of producing, have been but too strongly and from Dublin. The invasion of Ireland shown in Ireland, where, under the naine of was planned in personal intercourse between United Irishmen, a very large proportion of some of the Irish rebels and the French gethe lower class of the people throughout neral charged with the execution of that whole districts, counties, and provinces, have measure; a resident envoy continued for a been combined into a systematic body considerable time in France, regularly leagued against the government, and protect- accredited by the body of United Irish. ed from detection and punishment by the na. The communications were also maintained by ture of their establishment, by mutual oaths frequent journics of persons who were adof secrecy, and still more by the general dressed from the conspirators in Ireland to the terror which their menaces, crimes, and members of the societies in this kingdom, outrages, have naturally inspired, till, at and who from hence passed over to the contilength, the whole system burst forth into an nent. One of these, being apprehended in open rebellion, which is even at this hour the very act of procuring his passage for rather repressed than subdued.

France, was tried and executed here; and it It is under these circumstances that this appears that at the time of the arrest of this establishment of United Irishmen, which person, and of Mr. Arthur O'Connor, who has been so injurious to the peace and interest was apprehended with him, His majesty's of Ireland, appears to have extended itself to government were in full possession of the this kingdom, and particularly to the metro- knowledge of the treasonable designs which polis, where there is always, among the the latter has since confessed. labouring classes a large number of Irish. It Your Committee have, however, too much has also been closely imitated by the forma- reason to apprehend, that neither the punishtion (precisely on the same model) of bodies ment of the offender already mentioned, and of United Scotsmen and United Britons,which of those of his accomplices who have suffered do not however as yet appear to have made in Ireland, nor the imprisonment of others, such progress in this kingdom as was has yet stopped the course of this treasonprobably expected by their leaders.

able intercourse ith the enemy. It has inThe system of Corresponding Societies deed, appeared to your Committee, that, which had preceded these, and prepared the during the detention of the prisoners who way for them in this kingdom, is however were confined on this account in Dublin, they scarcely, if at all, less dangerous, and appears found the means of keeping up communicato have been carried on, to an extent well tions with some of their confederates who deserving the most serious attention of this were still at large: and recent evidence has House. Your Committee have annexed to been furnished to your Committee of the conthis report two lists, one extracted from the tinuance of a treasonable correspondence papers found at different periods in the pos- between the United Irish and the enemy, session of the secretary of the London Cor- with the object of encouraging and aiding an responding Society, and at the General Com- invasion of his majesty's kingdom of Ireland. mittee room of that society; the other a On the whole result of their examination, copy of a paper found in the possession of a your Committee have seen the strongest member of what was called the Executive grounds to be persuaded, that if the Committee of that body. They contain the dangerous designs of these conspirators names of different places in this kingdom have been so far checked and repressed in with which that society entertained corres- this kingdom, as to prevent any actual inpondence. Your Committee have reason to terruption of the public tranquillity, this could believe that even these lists do not include only have been effected by the vigilance the whole, but they appear to your Committee of his majesty's government, aided by the exlo furnish ample proof of the necessity ofercise of those extraordinary and occasional some new and more efficient provision to powers which parliament has from time to time judged it proper, after the example of Kendal, Wooton, Bromley, Kegworth, their ancestors, to confide to his majesty; and Banbury, Adderbury, Tamworth, Stockport, supported by the extraordinary and unprece- Warrington, Gosport, Ipswich, Philips dented display of zeal, energy, and public Norton, Ashton-under-Lyne, Coventry, spirit, on the part of the great body of his Tunbridge, Rochdale. majesty's faithful subjects. So long as these continue, and as the attention of parliament is constantly applied to supply any defects in

Debate in the Commons on the Sunday the means which the existing laws may afford Newspapers Suppression Bill.] May 27. to meet the exigencies of this new and unex- Lord Belgrave rose to call the attention ampled crisis, they are confident that, under of the House to a subject, at all times of the Divine Providence, no danger is to be ap- the greatest importance, but particularly prehended to the laws and happy constitution

so when in so large a part of the Christian of this kingdom. But they are on the other world infidelity was making such successhand equallyconvinced thatthis object requires ful attacks on religion ; he alluded to the feel it their duty to add, that no form of go- infringement on the decent observance of feel it their duty to add, îhat no form of gom the Lord's day by the circulation of Sunas secure, under which the system of secret day newspapers. About the year 1780, societies, such as it is described in the report papers of this description first appeared ; of the Secret Committee of the House of but they had not met with much success Commons, and as it has appeared in evidence till within the last year or two, when a before them, is permitted to exist.

paper, called the Observer, had got into List of places with which the London Cor- considerable circulation. He had for

responding Society have corresponded, as some time looked with anxiety to publicaappears by the Papers found in the posses: tions of this nature, and one of the evils sion of their secretary, and at the general he had always apprehended from the uncommittee room at the Queen of Bohemia's checked circulation of them was, that Head.-Cradley, Norwich, Sheffield, Man. chester, Chester, York, Liverpool, Halifax, they would ere long accumulate on SunSt. Albans, Bradford, Coventry, Maidstone, day in the same manner as on other days Portsmouth, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, of the week. An advertisement had Dundee, Nottingham, Derby, Banbury, lately appeared for the publication of an Adderbury, Bromley, Leeds, Leicester, additional Sunday newspaper, to be called Exeter, Deptford, Rochester, Ashton, The Volunteer. This paper was looked forTrowbridge, Aston, Dudley, Paisley, Hel- ward to with expectation ; and on this acstone, Berwick, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, count he was the more anxious to stop it in Chevening, Oxford, Wolverhampton, Whitchurch, Cardiff, 'Gravesend, Loughbo- limine, and, together with it, all papers of rough, Stourbridge, Battle, Wakefield, Bir- that description. He thought these newsmingham, Woodchurch, Kent, Bath, Bris- papers an additional weapon in the hand tol, Tunbridge Wells, Melbourn, Stockport, of infidelity; since one of the constant Woolwich, Linsfield, Finsbury, Crauley, efforts of infidelity had been to deter Craley, Ashton-under-Lyne, Framling Christians from a decent observance of ham, Garstang, Seven Oaks, Chevinam, the Lord's day. The law upon this subRochdale.

ject was notoriously ineffectual. At preA List of the United Corresponding So sent, the sale of articles on a Sunday was

cieties of Great Britain, in the year 1797, contrary to Jaw: there was a penalty of found in the possession of a person some 5s. on the sale, and a forfeiture of the time a member of the Executive Com- article ; but the forfeiture, in fact, mittee. Portsmouth, Newcastle-underLine, Salford, Manchester, Sheffield, Nor- amounted to nothing, on account of the

manner in which it was to be sued for, wich, Bradford, Nottingham, Birmingham, Halifax, St. Albans, Exeter, Chester, and the penalty was evidently too small. High-Wycombe, Whitechurch, Leominster, He should propose to increase the penalty Herefordshire, York, Bath, Bristol, Lough from 5s. to 40s. If it applied to the borough, Wolverhampton, Stourbridge, whole sale, he would propose 20l. on the Wakeheld, Melbourne, Leicester, Edin- sale of the article altogether; and in reburgh, Glasgow, Perth, Dundee, Paisley, spect to the circulation of these newsHelstone, Berwick, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, papers, he would propose to make it a Rochester, Chatham, Bromley, Cardiff breach of the peace, and the person found Woodchurch, Truro, Derby, Litchfield, circulating them liable to instant comRedbridge, (Leeds, Chichester, Liverpool, mitment by any magistrate, or peace ofJedburgh, Sunbury, Kilmarnock, Stranraer ficer, or churchwarden. He had been Rowley, Hull, Grantham, Southampton, told, in palliation of this abuse, that, although these were called Sunday news-, as on any other day? There was an expapers, they were printed on the Satur- ception in favour of selling mackarel on day night : now, whether or no this was the Lord's day; but might not the people the case, the evil was precisely the same; think stale news as bad as stale mackarel ? they were intituled Sunday newspapers ; Besides, there were a great number who they were published, they were circulated, could not read the papers on any other they were read on a Sunday. Independ day; and would it be right to conceal ently of the immorality of this practice, from them the situation of the empire at he wondered that the taste of the town home, and of our affairs abroad? The should be so perverted as to countenance people had a right to be informed on these it at all; and that, gorged as it was with subjects, and he could not agree to a bill news and politics during six days, it that would deprive them of all means of should still be desirous of feeding on a information. The noble lord had surely summary of the state of politics on the not considered the injury he would be seventh. Was there any advantage, ex- doing to the proprietors of those papers, cept the gratifying an idle curiosity, to be if his bill passed into a law. He would derived from this practice? None, ex- actually rob an industrious class of men cept a small one to the revenue. What of all their property, without the show of had at all times been the chief cause of equivalent, and without being able in any the decay and fall of the greatest empires ? one respect to correct the abuse of which What, but the pernicious growth of luxury, he complained. It was new to him to combined with an inattention to moral find men, for the sake of piety, stripping: and religious duties. He could have the adventurous tradesman of his property. wished that the measure had originated He must decidedly oppose the bill, and with those to whose more immediate care would move, that it be read a second time the interests of religion were entrusted ; this day two months. but the evil was of too crying a nature to Mr. Jones thought it cruel to ruin men admit of delay. The noble lord then by this morality bill, while routs, concerts, moved, “ That leave be given to bring in &c. were permitted to be kept at the a bill for the Suppression of the Sale and houses of the opulent on the Sunday. Circulation of Newspapers on the Lord's Mr. Wilberforce, wished that the people Day.”—Leave was given.

should be afforded the opportunity of in

nocent recreation, but was far from supMay 30. On the motion, that the bill posing that the reading of papers on the be read a second time on Wednesday, Sunday was among the means of improv

Mr. Sheridan said, that this was an ex. ing the public morals. The people could tremely harsh measure, and the House only innocently recreate themselves on would be wanting in duty to itself and to that day by attending to their religious the subject, if, for no solid reason on duties. If the selling of papers should be earth, it adopted a prohibitory law, which permitted, then might hundreds of other not only sought to fetter the human mind, trades be carried on on the Lord's day. by denying the means of intellectual ex. The selling of papers on the Sunday was ercise, but invaded at every point the contrary to law. 'With respect to the inproperty of individuals. From all parts justice of a measure affecting so much the of the country, petitions would be pre- property of individuals, did the House not sented against the bill. But the evil know that it was a prohibited trade? So complained of by no means originated in far from these proprietors being entitled the Sunday papers. Papers published in to the protection of the House, the fact the country on the Monday, but which was, that the proprietors of daily papers were necessarily delayed at the press till had a much better claim, because the law after the Gazette of Saturday could be re- was originally framed partly to secure ceived, might be said to occasion much them against any invasion of their trade more frequent breaches of the Sabbath by this sort of persons. If the House did than the Sunday papers,

which not prohibit the abuse, it would become a printed late on Saturday night. If the question whether the institution of the noble lord would fully attain his object, Sabbath was any longer to continue. he must not stop at the Sunday papers. Mr. I. H. Browne

wished the Sabbath People were naturally curious, and why to be properly respected, but was not for not read of a battle, a negotiation, of increasing penal laws. All the country deaths and marriages, as well on a Sunday read the papers on Sunday, and he thought


{ Lord WilberforcBelgrave }

the reading of them an innocent recreation. to empower churchwardens, constables, He was a friend to newspapers, as he was &c. to arrest the venders, and take thein a friend to every institution whose ten- before the next magistraté, who should dency it was to disseminate political in. have power to contine such persons for formation. If the measure were intended any period not exceeding 14 days. This to enforce the existing laws merely, he bill went to two points: To the suppreswould support it; but he could by no sion of the sale of these papers, and the means agree to any bill that unnecessarily prevention of the printing of them on a swelled the penal code.

Sunday morning. With respect to the Mr. Buxton did not think that the ob- justice of this measure, as it respected the ject of the noble lord would be answered proprietors, he was glad to find that no by this bill. Papers published on the petition had appeared against the meaSunday, were worked off on the Saturday sure. The printers of this description of night, and therefore he did not see the newspapers were printers in general; besame objection to them as the noble lord sides which, as they could transfer the did. He was sorry to see the Sabbath so ill printing of their papers from Sunday to observed. If it was expecied that the Saturday, they would suffer but little lower classes should improve in their injury. He was asked whether it was morals, the higher should set them a not an innocent thing which he wished to good example. The laws as they stood suppress? In his opinion it was not, since should be enforced.

it was contrary to the law of God. There The question being put, That the words was a large body of men concerned in “ Wednesday morning next” stand part of this trade; be meant the distributors of the question, the House divided :

those papers, many of whom held the Tellers.

practice of publishing Sunday papers in

as great abhorrence as himself. Here the YEAS

25 Mr.

noble lord read a letter to this effect from

certain distributors, 129 in number, in Mr. Sheridan NOES

which they stated that they had formerly Mr. Jones

signed a petition to the lord mayor and to So it was resolved in the affirmative. the bishop of London against this practice. The main question being put, it passed in These persons had actually expended 50%. the negative.

in instituting prosecutions against the

printers, but they had not succeeded in June 11. On the order of the day for their object, doubtless owing to the ineffithe second reading of the bill,

cacy of the law as it stood. He had Lord Belgrave said, that the objections heard it objected that the present bill was which had been started against the bill going too far. But he would ask, whether were various. By some it had been said in the present day, we were not in greater that it went too far; and by others, that danger of running into infidelity, than of it did not go far enough. He would de- being too strict ?·lt ought not to be forgot. clare it to be his opinion, that no man ten, that we were the

near neighbours of could exercise his ordinary calling on the a nation, where the very name of a SunLord's day, according to the laws of the day had been blotted out of the calendar. land and the commands of God, excepting In Ireland, a Sunday newspaper had been only works of charity and necessity. An endeavoured to be set up: but the magisexception had been made in favour trates had prevented it. As to the defalof the selling and buying of milk and cation which this measure would occamackarel, this, however, was previous to sion to the revenue, he had heard it stated divine service. Could the sale of Sunday at 30,000l. ; but he did not think the renewspapers come within the description venue would be a loser, because those of works of charity or necessity? The law who now took in a Sunday paper, would as it now stood, was directly against the then take in a Saturday, or some other sale of these papers : it imposed a penalty paper ; at any rate, the revenue was not of 5s. on the sale in the gross. There was to be supported by undermining the also a penalty of the forfeiture of the goodly fabric of religion. It had been article in circulation ; but these were pleaded in extenuation, that the Sunday insufficient penalties. What he proposed papers contained sermons, &c.; but so far was, to make the sale and circulation of from this being a recommendation, he Sunday papers a breach of the peace, and considered it as an evil

, inasmuch as it in[VOL. XXXIV.]

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