« ZurückWeiter »
libel, were not the worst enemies a govern- | they would regain, and perhaps they ment could find.
would be considered as once more to have Mr. Fox said, that when he saw the se formed the wish of making public opinion cretary at war attempting to give a sense to the ground of all their strength. Withthe pamphlet different from what it would out it, all the bills they may carry through obviously bear, he could not help thinking parliament and add to our heap of laws, that there was some lurking partiality to- will avail but little to secure thein in their wards the principles asserted in that pam- places. He hoped the House would fol. phlet. Would any gentleman venture to low up the motion by some farther meadeclare, that there did not appear as set- sures expressive of their indignation at tled a design in Reeves's association to doctrines so prejudicial to the interests attack the constitution, as in any of the of the country as those contained in the Corresponding societies? To the pamphlet pamphlet. of Mr. Arthur Young, an express vote of Mr. Serjeant Adair thought, that as to thanks, signed by Mr. Reeves, as chair- the main question, whether this pamphlet inan of the association, and an approba- was a libel, there was no difference of opition of the doctrines contained in Mr. nion. He, however, doubted the proYoung's pamphlet were subjoined. The priety of the amendment, which charged principles which Mr. Reeves's association this pamphlet with being a libel on the wished to adopt were, that rotten bo- Revolution : he thought it would be ex. roughs, extravagant courts, selfish minis- tremely difficult for any lawyer to perters, and corrupt magistrates, formed the suade a jury to bring in this verdict. security for the constitution of England. The Master of the Rolls said, that What could such doctrines proceed from though he had no doubt as to the malige but a settled design in that society to nity of this pamphlet, he had his doubts destroy the constitution of this country? whether it was a breach of the privileges If they analyzed the pamphlet minutely, of the House, or whether it was of such a they would find the doctrine contrary not dangerous tendency as to require the inonly to fact, but to the language of the terposition of the House, rather than to Statute book, which declared that the be left to the ordinary course of justice. government of this country was not simply However, he should vote for the motion. a monarchy, but a government in King, Sir W. Dolben said, he had come down Lords, and Commons. My own difficulty to the House in the opinion that the book (said Mr. Fox) is, what the conduct of was a libel, but the speech of the secrethe House should be on this occasion. I tary at war had made such an impression profess myself an enemy to prosecutions upon him of a contrary kind, that he for libellous attacks; and yet, at such a would vote against the motion. time as this, when Mr. Reeves's associa. The original motion was then put and tion are spreading their pernicious doc- carried, with only two dissenting voices, trines abroad, I am anxious that the Mr Sheridan having, with the leave of House should express their disapproba- the House, withdrawn his amendment. tion of principles recommended by that as- Mr. Sheridan then said, that the House sociation. I wish to get at the author of having adopted 'his motion, it was proper this pamphlet ; and this is so material an that some proceedings should be grounded object, that I think the better way would upon it. He had been made more anxious be, for the House to keep this business in pushing this proceeding, because he in its own hands.
did not consider the publication to be a Mr. Buxton considered the pamphlet to solitary libel, but to have issued from a be a libel on the glorious Revolution, and quarter possessing extensive means of cirhoped that steps would be taken to bring culating attacks against the constitution. the author to exemplary punishment. He stated the various modes of proceed
Mr.J. T. Stanley thought it a fortunate ing that might be adopted, and referred circumstance that the pamphlet in questo precedents in former times. At a petion had been brought to the consideration riod when party ran very high, a pamof the House. The debates occasioned phlet by Swift on the Public Spirit of the by it proved, that many Englishmen still Whigs, a very innocent and useful work, barboured in their bosóms an affection for was ordered by the House to be prowhig principles. The administration he ceeded against.* Under the circum. was sure would not have to repent their conduct. Some of their lost confidence
* See Vol. 6, p. 1260.
stances of the present case, what he con- committee, on the plea that it might tend to sidered to be of most importance was to
criminate himself. And being finally asked come at the person of the author. He whether he persisted in refusing to answer had reason to believe that Mr. Reeves was
any questions the committee might put to
hirn ? he replied, yes. the author, and since he came into the
Mr. John Lake being examined, said, that House he had been confirmed in his be he knows Mr. Wright, the printer, in Peterlief. He had been given to understand borough-court, as also Mr. Street and Mr. that a formal disavowal would be made Stump. And being examined, whether he of the fact, but he considered that which ever heard these persons speak of a pamphlet had been made by the secretary at war intituled, “ Thoughts on the English Go
And being to be by no means satisfactory. He had vernment?”, he said, he had. great objections to instituting any oppres. the author of the pamphlet? he said, yes ;
asked, whether he ever heard them speak of sive prosecutions against a poor printer and that he heard Mr. M‘Dowall's brother or publisher, who looked for security to acknowledge that he composed the press for the character of his employer, and could the pamphlet, particularly those parts which have no idea that he would receive any have been deemed libellous by the House of thing of a libellous or unconstitutional Commons; and also that Mr. Reeves had tendency from the chairman of a loyal as- been backwards and forwards at the office, sociation. In order that proper steps and the pamphlet was commonly known might be taken to come at the author, he throughout the office by the name of Mr. would adopt a precedent of 1707,* and the printer, was commissioned by Mr. Reeves
That, Mr. Wright, conclude with moving « That a Commit.
to get a person to publish the said pamphtee be appointed to inquire who was the let; and in consequence Mr. Wright ap, author of the said pamphlet.”
plied to several booksellers, who refused Mr. W. Smith said, that he had such io publish it, Mr. Wright refusing to give up strong objections to all prosecutions for the author; and Mr. Owen, in Piccadilly, unpolitical pamphlets, that he should move, dertook to publish it, and Mr. Wright's in case of a discovery, that the proceed- porter delivered it, by the name of "Mr. ings of the House be confined to a cen
Reeves's pamphlet, to Mr. Owen; and the
witness thinks Mr. M‘Dowall's brother said, sure upon the author.
that Mr. Reeves made some interlineations The motion was agreed to, and a Com.
at his frame, while composing, and that Mr. mittee appointed.
Reeves generally corrected the press.
Mr. Charles M.Dowall being examined, Dec. 1. Mr. Sheridan brought up the said, that he is compositor to Mr. Wright. following
That he recollects the pamphlet, intituled, REPORT
“ Thoughts on the English Government,"
being printed at his office. And being asked, From the Committee appointed to inquire whether the press was corrected during the
who was the Author of the Pamphlet, printing of the pamphlet from the manuscript intituled, “ Thoughts on the English sheets ? he said, it was. And being asked, Government--addressed to the quiet what persons he saw superintending the good sense of the People of England ; press, and correcting the proofs; he replied, in a series of Letters-Letter the first, on
no one, but Mr. Reeves.
And being asked, the National Character of Englishmen- if he knew Mr. Reeves by sight; he said, the Nature of the English Government- yes; he lives in Cecil-street.
And being the Corruptions caused in both by the asked, whether he saw Mr. Reeves frequently introduction of French Principles-the during the printing of the pamphlet, supereffects produced by the Reformation and intending the work? he said, yes. And being the Revolution upon Political Principles asked, if he ever saw Mr. Reeves write on or the conduct of the Whig Party—the Cha- correct any of the proofs? he said, he was not racter of the modern Democrats :- Lon- certain. And being asked, whether he don, printed for J. Owen, No. 168 Picca
ever spoke to Mr. Reeves at Mr. Wright's; dilly-1795."
he said, yes; frequently. And being asked Mr. John Owen being examined, said, that whether Mr. Reeves's conduct at Mr. Wright's he is a bookseller, and lives in Piccadilly.- was such as to lead the witness to believe And being asked, if he knew a publication, him to be the author of the pamphlet, he reintituled, " Thoughts on the English Govern: plied, yes. And being asked, whether he ment”? he replied, yes; his name was signed | knew the hand-writing of Mr. Reeves ? he to it. After this declaration, Mr. Owen de- said, yes, the hand-writing that goes for his. clined giving any farther information to your And being asked, was the hand-writing of
this pamphlet, in his opinion, the same as the * The case of Mr. Asgill; see Vol. 6, p. hand-writing that goes for Mr. Reeves's, he 600.
William Augustus Miles, esq., being exa, lencies of our constitution by its excellencies mined, was asked whether he has any, and for they plead far more eloquently in its fawhat, reason to know who is the author of ( vour, than either your writings or those of Mr. the pamphlet, intituled, “ Thoughts on the Burke. The misfortune is, that you coufound English Government?" he said, yes. In the the abuses of government with the government first instance, from Mr. Owen's having pre- itself; and having by far a much greater and sented it to him as Mr. Reeves's pamphlet; more decided interest in the preservation of the and in the course of a few hours afterwards, one than of the other, your anxiety for the latter meeting Mr. Reeves turning out of the trea- is merely a contigency on the former, and besury, he (the witness) informed him, that he comes a mere secondary consideration. I had received a pamphlet written by him. will tell you very candidly, that I thought Mr. Reeves asked him the title? He told you were going greater lengths than either him.-Mr. Reeves then inquired, if John facts or policy warranted, in November 1792; Owen had informed him, that'he (Mr. and I am inclined to believe, that your preReeves) was the author? From delicacy to sent labours are more likely to do mischief the bookseller, he said, no; but the secret than good. What you have said in pages 13 was revealed by a printer's man, who, by Mr. and 13, would, in the reign of George ist, Owen's declaration, he understood to be Mr. have sent you to the pillory; and if ministers Wright's man.-Mr. Reeves then earnestly discharge their duty, they must discourage recommended him to read the pamphlet; the publication in question—for it is no less and to the best of his recollection, Mr. Reeves incumbent on them to discountenance attacks desired him to let him know what he thought on the constitution from one description of of it. That the witness, on his return, read men than from another. Whether it is asit, and found the following passage:
sailed by the intemperate zcal of royalists or “ In fine, the government of England is a republicans, it ought to be defended; for it
monarchy; the monarchy is the ancient has equal danger to apprehend from the ex“ stock from which have sprung those travagant pretensions of the one, and the ran
goodly branches of the legislature, the corous animosity of the other, and as an indi. “ Lords and Commons, that at the same time vidual interested in its preservation, I will op“ give ornament to the tree, and afford shelter pose, coute qu'il coute, any innovation on the " to those who seek protection under it. But part of the crown, as vehemently, as I would " these are still only branches, and derive on the part of democracy; and if you held “ their origin and their nutriment from their the blessings of a free constitution in as much “ common parent; they may be lopped off, reverence, and the smiles of lord Hawkesbury 6 and the tree is a tree still : shorn indeed of as cheap, as I do, your name would not be so “its honours, but not like them cast into the generally detested, and the part that you “ fire. The kingly government may go on, would have taken in those political questions « in all its functions, without Lords or Com which unhappily divide us, would have been “mons,” so repugnant to the principles of much more to your credit, though not so luthe Revolution of 1686, that the witness im- crative.- I should not have said thus much, mediately sent a transcript of it to the chan- if you had not pressed me to read a pamphlet cellor of the exchequer, accompanied by a let- that is very ill calculated to allay the ferment ter; and on the morning following the wit- in men's minds, and which I consider as a ness wrote a letter to Mr. Reeves; a copy of libel on the constitution—injurious to the in. which letter was delivered in to the commit- terests and to the dignity of the crown, and tee, and read, the witness requesting it might an insult to that good sense to which you stand a part of his examination; and is as have appealed.-I have only to add, that I follows:
shall most cordially rejoice when these dis “ Pall Mall, November 6th, 1795. putes are at an end, and when questions of “I have read your pamphlet, sir, with this nature cease to animate our conversaequal attention and concern; with attention, tions, and to sour men's dispositions towards because you recommended it strongly to my each other--such questions cannot benefit perusal, and with concern, because I was hurt the cause you wish to serve, but they may that any man, acquainted with the principles ruin it; and it well behoves you, sir, to pause of the English constitution, should have the and think! I am, &c.” indiscretion or effrontery to misrepresent them
• To John Reeves, esq. in a manner so very gross and unpardonable. Cecil Street, Strand." Such writings tend to bring monarchy much And the witness being asked, whether he more into disrepute than the harangues of received any answer from Mr. Reeves, disaMr. Thelwall and Co.; and monarchy in this vowing his being the author of the pamphlet? country does not require to be sustained by he said, he did not. And being asked, if he trick and contrivance ; it has the support of has any reason to know that Mr. Reeves rereason, policy, and experience. The nonsense ceived the letter? he replied, yes; from Mr. and falsehoods of writers, who only prove Reeves's having exposed it to Mr. Wright, in their ignorance or servility, will endanger it; consequence of a paragraph in the Morning and if my advice should be asked, I would se- Chronicle of the 9th instant, in which the ofriously recommend you to defend the excel.' fensive extraet was included; in consequence of which Mr. Wright came to Mr. Owen, and And being asked, upon what principle he refound fault with him for having accused Mr. fused to answer the question ? he said, one of Reeves of being the author, informing Mr. the first lessons inculcated on a printer upon Owen that he (the witness) must have sent his initiation into his profession is, that the that extract to that Morning Chronicle; in name of the author of a manuscript committed consequence of which the witness wrote to to his care or keeping is a most sacred deposit, Mr. Reeves a letter, of which the following is from which he is never to part without the a copy; which was read; viz.
assent or permission of the author, unless “ Pall Mall, Nov. 11, 1795.
compelled by public justice. And being asked, the libellous extract from your pamphlet, brought to his office? he said, no, by no means; “ Sir; -Your printer has insinuated, that whether he should think himself justified in
printing any manuscripton any political subject which appeared in the Morning Chronicle on the 9th instant, was sent by me; and he draws tion which he possesses, in determining whe
he would exercise that judgment and discrethat conclusion from having seen the private ther it contained matter of a libellous nature, letter that I addressed to you on that subject, whether public or private, or any thing that the 6th instant. It is merely to refute a falsehood, which may be the foundation of –That he has endeavoured to exercise that
was against what is called contra bonos mores. much calumny and misrepresentation, that I assure you I was perfectly ignorant of the judgment in all the publications which he had
been concerned in. extract, or any comment on it, having been ther he had read the pamphlet in question ?
And being asked, whesent to any of the public prints. It is however incumbent on me to add, that I per; he thought objectionable he would not have
he replied, yes; and if he had seen any thing fectly approve of the exposure, from the full conviction I have, that such 'doctrines have printed it. And the witness being asked, a direct tendency to mischief, and to alienate him a work weigh with him as well as his
would not the authority of the person bringing the affections of the people from his majesty private judgment? he replied, the authority and his government. As you have judged it of the person bringing him a work to print expedient to expose my correspondence in part, I call on your candour to produce the
would weigh with him (as he believes je whole of it, or I shall be under the necessity private judgment. And being asked, whe
would with every other printer) as well as his of sending copies of my letter to the different ther he had ever conversed with Mr. Reeves papers in defence of myself. I am &c. “ WILLIAN MILES.
on the subject of the pamphlet in question ?
he said, yes. And being asked, whether he And being asked, whether he ever heard meant to say, that he had not conversed with Mr. Reeves give any directions respecting | Mr. Reeves for this month past, on the subthe circulation of this pamphlet? He replied, ject of the pamphlet? he said, not as the auon Saturday the 21st instant, Mr. Reeves thor of it, to his knowledge, but as the person came into Mr. Owen's shop, and enquired who superintended the correction of the press. how the pamphlet attributed to him went off, And being asked, in what respect did Mr. or words io that effect. Mr. Reeves then put Reeves superintend the correction of the one or more pamphlets into his pocket, and, press ? he said, in correcting the proofs which in the witness's hearing, desired six cupies of he might do for a friend. And being asked, the pamphlet in question to be sent to lord when the publication was printed, to what Hawkesbury's office.
publisher did he send it? he replied, to the Mr. Benjamin Hinton being examined, said, person whose name is at the bottom of the that he is porter to Mr. Wright the printer, pamphlet. And being asked, whether he did and delivers out the publications. That he not know that person was Mr. Owen? be remembers delivering out a pamphlet, inti- said, certainly. And being asked by whose tuled, ." Thoughts on the English Govern- advice or direction did he send tlie pamment.” That he delivered it to Mr. Owen phlet to Mr Owen? he said by the advice the bookseller in Piccadilly. That he had and direction of no person – it was his heen printing an address from Mr. Reeves own doing entirely – he employed Mr. to the king. That when he delivered the Owen. And being asked, whether he had pamphlet to Mr. Owen, he (the witness) said ever any conversation with Mr. Reeves resit was Mr. Reeves's pamphlet. That he has pecting Mr. Owen being the publisher? he seen Mr. Reeves come into Mr. Wright's said, not previous to it; but as Mr. Reeves printing office. That he knows Mr. Reeves's had corrected the painphlet, he mentioned it persun. As near as the witness can guess, to him as the gentleman who had corrected the pamphlet came into his hands about 3 the pamphlet. And being asked, had this fortnight ago: and before that, he had seen pamphlet not answered in point of sale, frous Nir. Reeves at the office several times. whom should he expect to be paid ? he said
Mr. Thomas Wright, a printer, being ex- from no one; the loss would have been his amined, was asked, whether he knew the own, and he understands the profit would author of the pamphlet, intituled, “ Thoughts also be his. And being asked, from what are on the English Government?” He replied, he thority he understood the profit of this pamdeclined giving up the name of the author. phlet would have been his, if it sold well?
he replied, from the gentleman from whom (plied, most certainly. And being asked, whehe received the manuscript. And being ask ther he has any part of the original copy ? he ed, who was that gentleman? he replied, the believes tbere may be some about the house. gentleman who corrected the pamphlet. And And being asked, if there are any proof sheets being asked, was not that gentleman Mr. about the house, corrected by Mr. Reeves? Reeves ? he answerer, he had said that above. he said, he is inclined to think there are. And the evidence being read to the witness, Mr. Wright being again examined, was he was asked, whether he had any explanation asked how long Mr. Jones had superintended to add to the answers he had already given ? his business ? he said, four or five years. And he said, he had not.
being asked, whether he had ever had reason Mr. John Gillet being examined, and shown to doubt of Mr. Jones's veracity or accuracy? the pamphlet, intituled, “ Thoughts on the he replied, that he never had the least doubt English Government,” he was asked, Whether of his veracity or accuracy. Then, he had not heard Mr. Owen delare that Mr. Mr. Jones (having been directed hy the Reeves was the author of that pamphlet? he committee to endeavour to find the proof replied yes, in his own shop frequently: sheets alluded to in his evidence) returned, and
Mr. Thomas Gillet being examined, was was again examined; and being asked, if he asked, whether he was not in Mr. Owen's shop bad found any of the proof sheets ? he replied, on or about Saturday the 21st November? he he had brought the first he could lay his hands said, yes. And being asked to relate any con- on. They are not complete. Then the witversation he heard respecting the circulation of ness produced the said sheets, and said, that a the pamphlet, intituled, " Thoughts on the few of the alterations in the niargin may be English Government?" he informed your com- his own, which would be confined to typogramittee, that Mr. Reeves came into the shop, phical errata : that he cannot speak posiand he said to Mr. Owen, “ Where is this tively to all the others, but some are Mr. pamphlet, that is ascribed to me." Mr. Owen Reeves's to the best of his recollection. And pointed to the pamphlet. Mr. Reeves took being asked, whether he had not himself seen one up, and doubled it, and put it in his Mr. Reeves write upon some one of the papers pocket, and asked whether it had sold well- now delivered in by him to the committee ? he he then desired him to send half a dozen to said, he had seen Mr. Reeves make alterasome person's office in Westminster, but he tions on certain of the sheets, but he could not (the witness) did not distinctly hear to whose from memory state which they are. And office.
being asked whether he knew Mr. Reeves's Mr. Stephen Jones being examined, said, he hand-writing? he said, he thinks he does. He is employed in Mr. Wright's office as overseer was then desired to look over the proof sheets in his business, and is superintender of all the delivered in by him, and point out what notcs publications in his office. Being shown the or observations are, to the best of his knowpamphlet, intituled, “ Thoughts on the Eng. ledge. Mr. Reeves's hand-writing. And the lish Government,” he was asked, whether he witness having looked over the said sheets, he superintended the progress, through the press, said, he finds all the passages now marked by of that pamphlet? he said, he did. And be- him with a cross are, to the best of his belief, ing asked whether he corrected the proofs ? he Mr. Reeves's hand-writing. And being again said, he did. And being asked, whether he ed, whether he had not himself actually and he alone, corrected the proofs ? he said seen Mr. Reeves in the act of marking the no—he corrected them in conjunction with proof sheets, or some of them, now delivered Mr. Wright. Mr. Wright invariably corrected in by him? he said, he had. And being asked, them the first or the second time-no sheet in whose hand-writing is the separate paper went to the press without his reading it. And included in the sheets delivered in by him, being asked, did no other person superintend which separate paper appears to be part of the the correcting the press besides himself and title of the said pamphlet? he said, he beMr. Wright? he said yes, there did. And lieved it to be Mr. Reeves's. And being asked being asked, who was that person ? he said, whether he has had knowledge of Mr. Reeves Mr. Řeeves. And being asked if he received printing other publications at Mr. Wright's directions from any persons superintending or ofñce ? he replied, yes, very many.
He has correcting the press of a manuscript printed at been in the habit, and had the opportunity of his house, should be think himself bound to knowing Mr. Reeves's hand-writing. And attend to those directions, unless he considered | being asked, with those means and opportuthe person giving them as the author or act- nity of knowing his hand-writing, has the witing for the author? he said, he should not; he ness any doubt, that this separate paper, and should not suffer any one correction to be the observations and notes in the sheeis are in made under such circumstances. And being Mr. Recves's hand-writing? he said, he had asked, whether he attended to any direction not. And being asked, what Mr. Reeves, is or correction given to him in the case of print the person referred by him, as the corrector ing the pamphlet in question, from Mr. of the proof sheets, and superintender of the Reeves, he replied, yes. "Then, in point of publication of this pamphlet? he answered, Mr. fact, he was asked, did he consider Mr. Reeves John Reeves, the chairman of the Association as the author, or acting for the author ? he re- for protecting Liberty and Property against (VOL. XXXII.]