« ForrigeFortsett »
VOL. XIX. No. 51.]
LONDON, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26, 1811.
“ The whole of my case is now before your lordships, and I leare it for your consideration, with that *• hope as to the result, which the reputation of British justice wouli encourage me ti erieziain. • But, again, I would request your lordships to recollect the nature of the catalunya prceived; «s to consider whether, after such provocation, I deserve punishineut. I will sy no more about mny *s sufferings, on account of the present prosecution--about my expences, about my loss of time, and • my subsistence depending as it does, upon the exertion of my talents. I hope I shall be able to sup. “ port my punishment with firmness; but although I were to be confined in the dungeons of Dionysius, I « would not exchange places with my prosecutor. I must conclude, with expressing a conviction " that every part of the alledged libel being true, as I am ready to prove, it is jo. jociły justifiab?«."Mr. Finnerty's Speech, in the Court of King's Bench, Feb. 7, 1811. 1569)
[1570 TO THE READERS.
the substantial charge, which he before
brought before the public, preferring to After the next Number, which will close suffer himself, though of that suffering he the present Volume, I shall publish only had had so dreadful a taste, to any even ONE NUMBER in the Week, and that the smallest sacrifice of the cause of truth on the SATURDAY, as formerly; and, I Mr. Finnerty no one can now doubt of.
and of Ireland.--The ill-treatment of shall not publish any Double Number at Sir Francis Burdett and Mr. Broughthe end of eacb Month as I used to do; Ham asserted, that friends of theirs had but merely one Number in a week, and a asked to see him and were refused. I know sheet with Tables and Inder at the end of land, who, not long ago, was at Lincolir
a very respectable gentleman from Scoteach Volume.
and who wished to pay Mr. Finnerty a
visit as “ a mark of that respect which," to SUMMARY OF POLITICS.
use his own words, “ had been excited in
« his mind by Mr. Finnerty's conduct Mr. Finnerty.The Petition of this o when before the court of King's Bench.” gentleman, together with the Debate there. The request of this gentleman, though on, will be found in another part of this manifest, evidently to the eyes of any one sheet.
- I have seen with real pleasure, who saw him, a man of respectability, and that, upon this occasion, no one thought it who went, I believe, in company with a right to raise his voice in support of abuse gentleman of Lincoln; the request of this of power, a thing which has given me sin- gentleman was refused, and that, too, as he gular satisfaction, because I have never informed me, without any cause assigned, before heard of any abuse, however enor- other iban that “ people were not permitted mous, of any conductin a public functionary" to see him.”_Ís ihis treatment, I do however infamous, which did not, in some not say for a gentleman, I do not say for a one or other, find a defender, or, at least, man of great literary talents, because if some one to endeavour to palliate it. such men commit crimes, they ought to exMr. FINNERTY's conduct in this instance, pect punishment as well as men of inferior like his conduct in the Court of King's station and endowments; but, is it treat. Bench, has been just what it ought to have ment for any man whose offence, at the been, and will, I am sure, secure him the utmost, bears no other character or name applause of every man, whether in Eng. than that of a misdemeanour ? If this sort of land or in Ireland, who is a friend, aye, treatment, a cell to lodge and be in day and every man who is not a sworn enemy, of night, except an hour, or 3 hours, to be freedom and humanity.--His petition brought out to more his limbs; if this is a plain statement of facts; it is a com- treatinent, precisely that of the worst of plaint couched in decent and firm lan- felons, can be given to Mr. Finnerty, or to guage; good taste is discovered through any one imprisoned for a libel, why inay the whole of it; and, so far from any it not be extended, at the will of the whining or crying; so far from any recan. Keeper and Magistrates, or, whoever has tation of what he had before said, he sets the power, to any one who has committed out by re-asserting the substance, repeating a common assault? Or, indeed, to any
one who has done any thing as a punish- | felon; if, in shori, he be liable to be ment for which imprisonment is inflicted ? treated as Mr. Finnerty has been treated,
The liberty of the press ! Do we talk of what an honourable state the press is in that; do we boast of that, if a gentleman, in “this lund of liberty;" and how anxious who is imprisoned for baving made what literary men must be to labour in the has been determined to be too free a use of prevention of any thing that would prohis pen ; if such a man is to be treated like bably lead to a change in their situation ! the worst of felons, shall we still have the Being in so comfortable and honourable a impudence to revile Napoleon for his op- state, they must be the most stupid as pressions of the press ? 'He caused to be well as most ungrateful of men, if they do shot the Bookseller Palm, whom, by the not devote their days and nights to such bye, he accused of reason. But, suppose exertions as are calculated to ensure the this accusation to be false ; suppose Palm stability of such a state of blessedness! 20 hare been guilty of nothing more than - It must, however, be acknowledged, the crime of writing and publishing that the unnecessary severities and aboagainst acts of tyranny, public robbery, minable insults, accumulated upon Ma. or the most cowardly and base cruclty ; FINNERTY, do not appear to bave received suppose this, it was mercy to shoot him in the approbation of the Secretary of State, preference to such treatment Mr. who (and how it comes to be so I know Finnerty complains of. The situation of not) appears to have a sort of controul in the cell, in which this gentleman is con- matters relating to the King's prisons. fined, is the most unwholesome that can He does not appear to have approved of be imagined ; a nasty smell in it at all this treatment of Mr. FINNERTY, and he times from the sewer going just under the seems to have lost no time in inquiring floor. This, as every one must know, is into the matter, though his inquiries were very disagreeable at any time and under any not quick enough, or, rather, the answer circumstances; but, what must it be in a
to them, to prevent the Petition froin care where the inhabitant of the apart- coming before Parliament. But, be said, ment has but that one; where he is con- that certain indulgences, allowed to Mr. fined to it twenty-three hours out of the Finnerty, had been taken away in consetwenty-four; where he cannot get out to quence of misconduct. Now, what were change the air; in short, what inust it be these indulgences? Why, being permitted where a man is contined in a Privy, day to come out of his noisome cell during and night, and that, loo, with the full ex. three hours in a day and to walk in a yard pectation of being compelled to remain amongst other prisoners! And these are inthere for eighteen months' We have heard dulgences, are they? These are indulgences accounts of the tyranny of Napoleon ; we to a gentleman, charged with no other have heard that he has Bastiles all over ottence than that of making too free an France; we have been told of his cruel. use of the press, and who, by the mode of ties towards those who offend him with proceeding against him, was precluded tongue or pen; but, if he has ever from proving the truth of every word that exercised any cruelty greater than this he had said ? These are indulgences foupon any of those offenders, I have never wards such a man, are they? Where is seen any thing like proof of it. But, why the felon; where is the wretch who has tell us of Napoleon? Why attempt to committed unnatural crimes; where is justify any thing that is done here by re- the murderer of neighbour, friend, broferring to worse done in France or else, ther, mother or wile; where is the wretch, where? What comfort is it to me when however infanus or horrid his crimes, my finger is chopped off to know that who has not the same indulgences Frenchmen have their hands chopped of? Yet, even of those indulgences his misThe question is, whether such ireatment conduct was to deprive him. This misas Mr. Finnerty has received be filling to conduct was not nimed distinctly; but it be given to any man in England; aye, was designated pretty clearly by the even to a felon. But, as I said before, words inuecent and indecorous; and, I dare what a pretty state is the press in, his say, the reader will easily divine the full finely is it honoured, if any man for merely extent of it. I am no advocate for inusing it too freely (for that is the amount decent and indecorous conduct; but, if of the charge); if a man, for this, be this conduct amounted to no more than liable to be irealed like a felon; if he be what we witness in a great portion of men, liable to be put upon the footing of a every day of our lives, and what no law
and no usage visits upon any one as a was observed by the Secretary of State, crime, why was it to serve as the ground that he was sent thither by his own request, of inflicting additional punishment upou and for the sake of his health, Lincoln being MR. FINNERTY? Why was he, more than one of the most 'wholesome prisons in Eng-, any of the rest, or all the rest of mankind land.----- The Secretary of State has to be put under this new kind of "moral re- forgotten, or never knew, what passed straini?” Unnatural, hypocritical, abomi- upon this head, as will clearly appear nable pretence! I do not say, that this from the following extract from Mr. EJNwas a pretence on the part of the Secretary NERTY's speech, on the last day of his apof State ; for he does not appear to have pearance there :-" Here I must take said that he looked upon it as any ground leave to submit an observation, which I at all for abridging Mr. Finderty of his “think due, in justice to myself; and indulgences ; and he seems to have stated “ which I offer without any disposition it merely as the ground of justification “ to reflect upon the character of any set with the keeper and the magistrates.
In consequence of my conduct Bat, as Sir Francis Burdert observed, it al." in opposition to their favourite candimost always happens, that, when a mancom. « date at the Middlesex Election of 1902 plains, either in behalf of himself or others, “ and 1804, I understand that the maif it be, in any way, a complaint against 'gistrates of that county are collecpeople in power, he is sure immediately 10 " tively and individually, if I am rightly be answered by some charge against himself. “ informed, some of them even avowediy, For instance ; if a man were to publish a “ my enemies. Now as Cold Baih book against selling sears in the House of “ Fields' prison is notoriously under their Commons, or trafficking in them, whether controul, I submit to your lordships the with Redding or any body else ; if a man "impropriety of committing me to their were to do this, he would be answered by “ custody. In fact, from what I learn of assertions or insinuations against his loyalty, " that prisen, and from the state of my or against his credit, or against his chastity, health, to send me there would be to or against bis wisdom ; or against his con- consign me to actual death under the senduct when he was a bry; and, if nothing “ tence of a nominal imprisonment.
It eould possibly be raked up against himself, “ would be more humane, my lords, at he would be answered, his charge against once to dispose of me as Buonaparié seat sellers, against the vile traffickers in " is said to have disposed of Palm, the this worst species of corruption; this « bookseller: for rather should I meet death charge would be answered by telling him " at once then be compelled to endure the leof what his parents or some of his relations, “ dious agonies of that dissolution, which at some time or other, had done. Thus, in “ must be the consequence of a CLOSE IM. this case, Mr. FINNERTY is shut up twenty - PRISONMENT. This statement I subone hours out of twenty four in a gloomy, “ mit to your lordships, assured that you noisome, poisonous cell, with no friend “ will give it a due consideration, bearing permitted to come near him; and, when « in recollection that wise maxim of he complains of this, and further, that the " Blackstone, which all wise judges should twenty one hours are augmented to twer:ly “ have present to their minds, namely, three, leaving him but one hour in the " " that second to the duty of administertwenty four to be free from the stench of
“ving public justice, it is the duty of a his kennel; when he complains of this judge to give public satisfaction."" worse than felon-like treatment, we are ---This was what Mr. FINNERTY said ; told, that he had been indecent and indeco- this was his request to the court. He berous in his airing hours! I have never sought them not to send him to Cold heard the story about this indecorum ; but, Bath Fields, and for what? Why because I think, it now ought to be told out in the the close imprisonment he expected there, full ; nothing ought to be left to imagina- would kill him. But, was this requesting tion; justice to Mr. Finnerty demands that to be sent to a distant jail ? Oh, no! but, his accusers should speak out here; and, if on the contrary, in that part, of the same they do, we shal!, I am certain, have to speech, which I have taken for my motto, present the world with a pretty specimen he points out to the Judges how ruinous of the indulgences shewn to this gentleman. the prosecution had been to him, seeing
In answer to what Sir FRANCIS that his subsistence depended upon his talents ; Burdert said about the ruinous effects of and it was very evident that he could not sending Mr. Finnerty to a distant jail, it employ those talents in the country, and,
that, therefore, he could not wish to be punishment to be rendered unusually severe. tent to a distant prison, if he must be sent If I had not read this in two or three so some prison or other.--However, let papers, I should not have believed the us suppose, that, with regard to bis health, words to have been uttered. What ! at any rate, the Judges wished to be mer- Is it thus then in England ? Wbat ! ciful to him; and this is the notion when a man is in prison has the proseclearly conveyed, and, indeed, expressed cutor still a power over him! What! is by. Mr. Ryder, for, he says, that, on ac- the prosecutor still to be consulted as count of bis health and at his own request to how the man shall be treated ! And this he was sent to Lincoln, that being one of in this fine free country too!
-No, no, the most wholesome prisons in England. no. It is not so. Mr. Ryder does not apWell, now, if this be true; if the Judges pear to have said this. No: be does not did send him to Lincoln for the sake of his say, that Lord Castlereagh bas still a pozder health; if they did send him there, be. over Mr. Finnerty, and that that gentlecause he represented that close imprison- man is liable to be treated in any way that mene would be a sentence of death under Lord Castlereagh pleases. No: he does not the name of imprisonment; if they did say that. But, what does he say, then? send him there because he represented to What does he say; and why does he bring them that it would be more merciful to in Castlereagh's name? If Castlereagh shoot him, as Buonaparté was said to have has no power over Mr. Finnerty, either done with Palm, than to send him to waste directly or indirectly, if he has and away in close imprisonment ; if it was with can have no influence as to that genthis view, if it was that he might not be tleman's treatnient ; if Mr. Finnerty thus killed, that they sent him to Lincoln, is now completely out of his clutches and how has their view been accomplished in the hands of impartial and invariable He has been kept in close confinement; he law and justice; if this be the case, why was put into a felon's cell; he was denied mention Castlereagh's wishes upon the the access of friends; he was allowed subject; why state what Castlereagh wishless time for air even than the felons ed to be done or left undone ; why make themselves; and, to crown the whole, any statement about Castlereagh's wishes the dark and gloomy place in which he any more than about the wishes of Redwas confined, was constantly noisome, ding or any body else? What! Is Mr. foul, stinking, to a degree sufficient to ruin Finnerty to hear upon being taken out of his the health of a man of constitution the most stinking cell, that Castlerengh does not wishi robust. This is the way in which have him to remain there? Mr. Finnerty knows been fulfilled the benevolent intentions, upon his man; he knows well what value to set which, as Mr. Ryder says, the Judges upon this declaration of Castlereagh's acted in regard to Mr. Finnerty's health! | wishes; and, if I know any thing of his He was, under a sentence said, as to the character, he would rather end his days in locality of the prison, to bave proceeded his cell, than he would owe his release from the Judge's mercy as to his health; from it io those wishes. Indeed the manly, he was, under this sentence dying in that the excellent, outset of his petition prores very close imprisonment, which, as he bad this. He there re-asserts the substance of resented to them, would be the certain what he had said before, and what he may cause of his death! Who, then, was the say again, in another form, and in a situacause of this close imprisonment? Who tion and under circumstances rery different was it that contravened this object of the from the present. That change I live in hopes place of imprisonment. And, above all, of seeing; and if I did not confidently who was it that was the cause of making expect to see that day, I should not, as far the imprisonment so intolerably severe? as politics are concerned, care a straw if I Who made it, in short, what it is repre
never saw another.
Here I must stop sented in the Petition, ai which, I must for the present; but, I shall not fail to say for the Honourable Blouse, every one resume the subvject in my next, the treatappears to have been struck with horror? ment of Finnerty being an object as much
-Mr. Ryder took occasion to introduce more important to us than the battles of the name of Lord Castlepeach upon this Lord Talavera, as our own rights, liberties, occasion, and to say, that, as soon as that and lives are more important to us than the Lord heard of the way in which Mr. question of who shall be masters of Spain FINNERTY was treated,' he hastened to and Portugal. declare, that he by no meuns wished the
BUONAPARTE'S SPEECH, and the other therefore he had a motion made in the subjects, on which I should like to offer Court of King's Bench, for the postpone. some remarks here, I have nottime for now. ment of the said trial, which motion was They must, therefore, be postponed till rejected; contrary, as he understands, to
the usual practice of that Court. PetiWM. COBBETT. tioner being unable to establish any deStale Prison, Newgate,
fence in the absence of his witnesses, Tuesday, 25th June, 1811.
thought it expedient to let judgment go by default, without, however, any con
sciousness of guilt, being, as he offered, MR. FINNERTY,
when brought up for judgment, ready to Debate in the House of COMMONS on pre
prove by the most irrefragable testi
mony, the truth of his allegations; parsenting the Petition of Mr. Finnerty. ticularly with respect to the infliction of -June 22, 1811.
torture in Ireland in the months of May MR. WHITBREAD said, he had a Peti- and June, 1798.
That Petitioner was, tion in his hand from a person confined notwithstanding, sentenced to 18 months in the Castle of Lincoln, complaining the imprisonment in Lincoln Castle, where he treatment he there met with, as not war- has experienced, and continues to experanted by the judgment of the Court rience, a degree of rigour unprecedented which had sent him there. It was from a in modern times - unauthorised by the gentleman pretty well known in the terms of his sentence and in direct hos. House, Mr. Finnerty, who had been found tility to the mild and merciful character guilty of a libel. He had read it througb, of the British Constitution. and as he perceived nothing improper in “ That upon the night of his arrival at it, and as it was accompanied by certifi- this castle in the month of February, cates of ill health, and the opinions of his Petitioner, although evidently in a bad medical advisers that a less rigorous mode state of health, was committed to a felons? of confinement was essential to his reco- apartment, where he is still compelled to very, he could feel no hesitation in pre- remain. That finding his appeal to the senting it. He had in the first instance jailor's consideration quite ineffectual, Perecommended to Mr. Finnerty to peti- ritioner had a remonstrance presented to tion the Prince Regent, through the the visiting magistrates of the prison, of Secretary of State for the Home Depart. which the following is an abstract :ment. He had accordingly done so, and “ I am confined upon a ground floor, in the Right Honourable Gentleman had a cold gloomy apartment, the door of written to the High Sheriff of the County which is nearly opposite to my bed, and to procure information ; but within these opens into a yard about twenty-five feet few hours no answer had been received.
square, enclosed by a wall about thirty Under these circumstances he had ap- feet high-so high, indeed, as to exclude proved of submitting the Petition to the the free current of air. In the centre of House, and it was precisely the same as this yard is a grate, from whence issues that intended to be laid before the Prince. the most offensive smell, owing, as lun.
The Petition was then brought up, and derstand, to the common-sewer of the read as follows:
debtors' prison, which runs underneath,
and which smell annoys me even in my “ To the Hon. the House of Commons cell. By this smell I am prevented tak
of Great Britain and Ireland, in Par. ing any exercise in that yard, while I am liament assembled, the Petition of denied the opportunity of enjoying air Peter Finnerty sheweth
and exercise in the area wbich surrounds “ That in consequence of a letter pub- the prison, and to which all the other prilished in the Morning Chronicle, com- soners are admitted throughout the day, plaining of grievous injury sustained by excepting only the common felons and Petitioner and by his countrymen in Ire- myself. Of this privation I have the more land, Petitioner was indicted for a libel at reason to complain, because from the state the prosecution of Lord Viscount Castle- of my health, being subject to indigestion reagh. That upon receiving notice of and violent spasmodic affections in the trial for the said libel, Petitioner found stomach, I have been uniformly advised that the witnesses most material to his by all Medical men whom I have had ocdofence were absent from England, and casion to consult, to seek the enjoyment