Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

were bound to decide on the matter at they lhould not defert. It was their proissue, and to give their verdict generally; vince to condemn or acquit the defendant ; that is, on the law and the fact combined and on their consciences they could never together. Indeed, there could, in his fulfil what they had so pledged themselves mind, he but ope opinion on the fubject ;

to their God to do, if they allowed anofor as a learned lord, who was long an

ther person to determine the guilt or inno. ornament to the bench, but whom he did cence of the libel. not now see in his place, observed, a jury,

This fine chain of sound reasoning the by exercising that power, and giving their noble lord pursued to fome length, and verdiet accordingly, and that verdict stand with an eloquence that did credit to the ing incontrovertibly found and legal, it subject. He said he should conclude with was clear, that they were frictly legal in moving fome additional questions to be doing fo. He was aware it might be said put to the judges. They went to the in answer to this, that a variety of cases purport of demanding whether a jury were exifted, where the judges took upon them competent to decide upon the truth and to decide the inuendoes, leaving nothing the falfhood of matter alleged in the libel? to the jury to determine but the fact of Whether in certain cases truth was a libel, publication. This was true, and it went in which he included the publication of to the very point which the bill upon the incendiary letters, treason, &c. table was now to determine. Doubts had In respect to what was a libel, he con. exifted, and for the honour, safety, and ceived it to be no great difficulty to define freedom of the subject, it was requisite that it: to defame a man's character, and thofe doubts should be removed. There blacken his reputation without a just cause, was, however, much more to be put to was a moit gross libel ; but to give a free the judges, if it were neceffary at all to opinion upon political subjects, and the call in their affistance on the occafion, oficers of government, or persons in pubthan what was contained in the two quef- lic trust, in their official capacities, he ţions moved by the learned lord. There held to be no libel, where the charges should not the smallest particle of douht were founded in truth. Freedom was the be permitted to remain. The whole of constitution of this country, and we mult this business should fairly be brought for- never depart from it. ward, and where there was possibility of

The lord chancellor observed, that the difference of opinion, that difference should motion made by lord Kenyon must be first be done away. He referred to a future disposed of, unless the learned lord (lord

day his fentiments at large on the law of Loughborough) made his by way of 11 libels, when he trusted there would be a amendment.

general agreement on the subject. He Lord Longhborough said, they were took a retrofpective view of a variety of additional motions, and as he had no fort cases on libels, and quoted the authorities of objection to those moved by lord of the most eminent judges to strengthen Kenyon,

he should make his afterthe idea he had formed, that where issue ward. was joined, the jury were to decide ge

The lord chancellor observed, that the nerally. He allowed, that where the best way of seeking popularity so as to do matter was point of and that the justice to the country, was to put the jury, thought themselves incompetent to existing laws in force, and the judge who decide upon it, the judge had an un acted in such a manner would always be a doubted right to direct ; but where the popular one.

He should never go into law was blended with the fact, and the the holes and corners of the law to look defendant allowed the publication, it cer. for fame, but meet every question boldly

tainly was the right of the jury to inquire and openly, and defend it on those prinOB

whether there was any guilt in the fact.- ciples which the wisdom of our ancestors, They were not to say to the judge, we, and time and experience, had proved to who are sworn upon oath to do justice in be just and advantageous. He adınired this cause, find that the paper called a the eloquence of the learned lord, but libel was published, but although by our could not coincide with his argument. oaths we are bound to decide on the merits He conceived what the judges had done of the case, we leave those merits to your for centuries was right; but in this determination. Would any noble lord he did not wish it to be considered that he take upon him to say that this was the ad- was for abridging the liberty of the subministration of justice? Surely not. What ject. He thought it was necessary to ask the jury upon cath were bound to perform, the opinion of the judges, and as there

[ocr errors]

wh

[ocr errors]

3 M 2

was

was no other matter at issue, he thould they endeavoured to exercise a power with rest for the present there.

which they were not legally vested. Lord Porchester infifted that the law of Lord Grenville said, that the conftitu. libels wanted explanation, even from the tion vested in a jury the trial of the law difficulties into which the learned lord had and the fact in respect to libels, and that plunged it. He moved some additional he never wished to see it taken out of those questions to be put to the judges. hands in which it had been so judiciously

Lord Mulgrave contended, that the placed. The times were pregnant with question ought not by any means to go to mischief, and various incendiaries were at the judges. He inlifted that they were work to corrupt the minds of the people; parties concerned, and that, in giving but there was this great rock on which the their opinion, they, in some measure, British constitution rested it was the best were to decide upon their own authority. fabric of government ever erected by the It was a new matter, to call in the judges wisdom of man; it had the love, the veto allift in the deliberations of the house neration, the respect of the people ; and upon the second reading of a bill, and the as their own happiness was at stake, there more especially so where the clauses of that was not even so much as a distant idea to bill went to deprive those judges of part be formed that they would ever attempt ta of that authority which many of them had destroy it. Considering it in this point of exercised. He was clearly of opinion that view, he was clearly of opinion, that those the right of deciding the law and the fact who were the guardians, should in fact be rested with the jury, and ought to be ex- the judges of their own rights, and there. ercised by them.

fore, that where a matter was joined in Lord Lauderdale quoted the case of the issue with both parties, the jury, and not dean of St. Afaph, where the judge took the judge, was to decide on the crimi. upon him to direct the jury in their ver- nality. di&t; but which mardate the jury with The motions of lord Kenyon, lord great propriety disobeyed. This, he said, Loughborough, and lord Porchester, proved that judges did not, as was said, were all put and carried. submit to the opinion of juries, and that

(To be continued.]

[ocr errors]

AFFAIRS of POL A N D. POLAND, ever fince the death of guarantee of the constitation as it then

king John Sobieski, in the year 1696, existed, although it was such as was in, has been subjected to all the miseries of compatible with the real interest and hap. internal hoftilities, occasioned by the fre- pinels of the nation, and kept it in a per. quent contests for the succession to an petual and degrading state of dependence elective monarchy, and to all the conse- upon foreign powers, and upon Russia in quent degradation of a foreign interference particular, in those contests. The power of the king Russia, however, being engaged in a was too limited to be efficient; the nobi- war with Turkey, the king and some pa. lity, arbitrary and tyrannical, were, in triotic nobles took advantage of this and reality, the fovereigns; the citizens were other fortunate circumstances, and, on the 'oppressed; and the peasants were Naves. 3d of May 1791, effected an entire revoPowerful neighbours took advantage of Įution in the constitution of their country; the weakness which resulted from such a a constitution unanimously approved of by situation; and, in the year 1972, formed every person of worth and character in a cor federacy, by which some of the finest Poland, as founded, upon what all go. provinces of Poland (amounting to about vernment ought to be founded, the reci a third part of the whole) were wrested procal rights of the governors and gofrom the republic, and annexed to the do- verned *. minions of Catherine of Russia, the em Whatever difference of opinion may exit peror Joseph II, and Frederick III, king in this country respecting the ever meof Prussia. To this injustice, the empress morable revolution in France, we havę Catherine added infult; for, in order to but one with as to that of Poland; which preserve the unbounded influence she had is, that it may triumph over the opposition acquired in the court and diet of the re- of a few discontented nobles, who, en. public, the insisted upon becoming a raged at the loss of some privileges, havz

See Universal Magazine, Vol. LXXXVIII, page 394.
1

invited

1

war.

invited an ambitious princess to second fell upon one of the Polish advanced posts their efforts to destroy the new constitu near Tolczyn, consisting only of eighty tion, by invading their country. By this men, who, after a vigorous defence, renew constitution, while Catholic faith was joined their main body, carrying off their declared to be the established religion, a

dead and wounded. toleration was extended to all other religi A letter from prince Poniatowski's head ous persuasions; the citizens were exalted quarters, dated May 24th, says, “We to their proper rank in the state ; and the have just now advice from lieutenantpeasants were emancipated from that de- colonel Grachouwiki, that the cossacks of plorable state of Navery, in which they had the enemy were repulsed by our patroles been considered as mere appendages to the near Czerniejower, and pursued to Sereftates of their powerful lords. The king, bow, where they found a body of Russian moreover, was invested with such powers infantry, with twelve pieces of cannon. as the first executive magistrate, as gave From such a superiority of numbers, our his authority all the efficiency which a pa- troops retreated in good order, and were triot monarch could desire; and, to pre- obliged to abandon to the cossacks, who vent a repetition of the calamities attend. poured upon them in great numbers, all ing a contested succession, the crown was the ammunition they had taken from the declared hereditary, and was to be offered, enemy. under certain limitations, to the house of The Polish diet have published a severe Saxony.

decree against the emigrants in Russia, To overthrow this glorious Constitu- summoning them all to return in three tion, the empress of Russia, now released weeks, or justify their conduct in staying from the embarrassment of the Turkish where they are; or not obeying the letter war, is exerting all her efforts, and, un of this, their effects in Poland will be deder the pretext of being guarantee of the clared forfeited and their persons proold constitution of Poland, has entered fcribed. They have also determined that that country

with

a powerful army. On the taxes shall be doubled during the the 18th of May, the Russian minister at Warsaw presented an official declaration, The diet is prorogued, and the king which announces the entrance of the Rur- was soon to set out to put himself at the fian troops on the territory of Poland, and head of the army. National patriotism the formation of a new confederation. shines with great brilliancy. Noblemen War is therefore declared. The republic, and others daily offer themtelves, armed, assured that all Europe is fully convinced to serve their country:-The Polish Tarthat it neither merited nor provoked such tars have sworn by their Koran to defend a step, has taken such measures as may sup- the constitution and the king; they will ply the deficiency in point of forces; and form a separate corps of volunteers. among other resolutions adopted by the diet, Many patriotic presents are made every a decree was issued the 11th of this month, day. Sendomir" has given twelve pieces entitled, a Measure for a just Concurrence of cannon several private persons have of Citizens for the general Defence of the presented three or fix pieces of cannon, Country; the substance of which is, that with horses, drivers, and every thing newhoever in the present war suffers by the cessary for action. inroads of the enemy, shall be indemnified Prince Radzivil has caused the artillery by a fraternal contribution of the whole which was buried during the troubles to nation, agreeable to the report of an ex be dug up, and presented to the king and traordinary commission, which shall be the republic. It consists of 143 pieces of appointed to examine their claims; but ordnance, of different sizes. those Poles who prove rebels and traitors In the mean time, in order to animate to their country, Thall forfeit their fortunes, the whole nation in their present noble and suffer the death they deserve.

and unanimous defence of their country, The diet have entrulted the entire con the king has published the following ad. duct of the war to the king, who has ap:

mirable pointed his nephew, prince Poniatowski,

CIRCULAR LETTER. commander in chief.

The Russian army has entered the terri The declaration of the empress of Russia, tory of the republic in several columns, delivered by her minifter at Warsaw, and each of which is accompanied by some of communicated to the provinces, is known the discontented nobleffe. Upon their first at this moment in every part of the terrientrance, a detachment of about 800 men tories of the republic. Every Polish citi

zen

zen will learn from it the situation of our well, with the interest of Russia. It was country, since its publication. In this far from agreeable to the Russian governa declaration, the sovereignty and dignity ment, to lee Poland shake off the odious of the republic, are treated with contempt. guarantee, to find her sensible of her anA diet to which the nation has delegated cient anarchy (which reducing her to the all its power, a diet connected with the lowest degradation, would have brought her whole nation, by a confirmation of the to unavoidable destruction) etablish a firm confederacy, in all the dietines, and by and lasting government, raise fufficient zhe election of double representatives, a forces to defend her liberty and indepen, diet the most important and interesting in dency, provide an income equal to the all its proceedings and regulations, and public expenditure; in a word, become a distinguished in the last dietines by an nation well regulated at home, and reunion and obedience to laws, hitherto una spected by her neighbours. The confpiknown, that diet, by an insupportable in. racy of those degenerate fons of their coun. fuit, is called a prevailing party, and de- try, whom Ruflia calls a legal confe, clared illegal. A new meeting of a diet deracy, happened conveniently to her is announced, the support of foreign views; and drawing from it a specious troops, promised to unlawful leagues; pretext, the enters forcibly our territories, repentance and retracting the rejection of and supports the conspiracy of those dethe guarantee, held forth to the itates and tested citizens, who (according to the to all citizens firm in their duty, as the tenor of the declaration) have folicited the only means of avoiding hostilities. The assistance of the empress, and now jointly inhabitants by circulating this publication, with her armies, do not shudder to attack excited to broils and disturbances, to an the lives and fortunes of their brethren. infurrection against lawful authority, to We acquaint you, therefore, respectthe horrors of a civil war, falfe affertions able citizens, in our names and that of allediged, to magnify the pretended in the assembled confederate states, that the juries, in defiance of all public faith, the present state of Poland, is that of selfinvasion of Russian armies, with a de defence against the Russian power ; that nounced and alrcady effected threat, of Russia has declared war against Poland; proiccuting in their lives and fortunes, all but at the same time let us inform you, those who will not join them, against their that confident of the courage and spirit of own country

the nation, the more efforts our enemies There is no instance in the annals of make to destroy our government and mankind, of one nation, of one govern- country, the more vigorous will our ment, using such contemptuous language measures be to repel this foreign in. to another. The abovementioned decla- vasion. ration breaks and violates all the laws of Worthy citizens, the fate of your dear paiions, addressing Poland not like a foc country is now at stake ! such as you vereign state, but as if issuing arbitrary shall preserve it by your courage and vir, orders to a conquered province.

tue, will it pass to your remoteft pofterity. Whatever sensation this writing has oc- You are going to fight, in defence of your cafioned to us, to the assembled states, and country, your privileges, your freedom to the whole community, you Polish citi. and your fortunes, in defence of your pa. zens, undoubtedly share it all. A few rents, wives and children; in fhort, of all unworthy Polanders (painful reflection) that is most dear to man. hostile to their country, provoked against We have an army raised by your zeal the diet, for not having in its endeavours and aslistance, supplied with every redo raise the republic, conformed to their quisite, which will be your protection. private views, went to Petersburgh, in. There is an heroic spirit and courage, culpated the diet and the nation, and have which promises to fupport it. Such a no, ing applied themselves to destroy that work ble ardour in defence of the country and erected with so much labour and expence, national liberties, as is only to be found which constitutes the freedom and inde- in free nations, inspires us with the most pendency of the republic, which restores flattering hopes. We receive from all the ancient fplendour of the Polish same, parts news the most consoling to our paand recovers the rank and dignity of our ternal feelings, with what eagerness, citination in Europe, they have obtained the zens of all conditions, at the call of their abovementioned declaration, and have in- country, enlist and join the national army, troduced a foreign army into the country. The love of our country pervades all Their impious efforts, coincided but too individuals, and excites their generosity,

in the public fupport. There is no class present from this power? As soon as of citizens, who, inflamed with a patriotic Russia has seduced you, the will renew zeal, do not contributé, according to their the antient wounds of our country, the capacity. We have a certain confidence, will renew all our misfortunes. The no. that the same gracious power, who has in- bility and citizens will only feel the heavier Spired the whole nation with such a noble the pressure of a newly enforced yoke, for ardour, considering the justice of our having dared to become free and indepencause, and the purity of our intentions, dent; the poor villagers, our labourers, will not refuse us his irresistible aid. and husbandmen, whom the law (benefita

But above all, respectable citizens, seeking all the Polih inhabitants) has received for the safety of your country in union and under its protection, will be driven in firmness. We have fufficient strength to numbers from their fertile fields, into deoppose our enemy, but nothing can save fert wastes; and lastly, the partition of us from the effects of division and discord. the republic, and the final extinction of A foreign war is never fo dreadful to a the Polish name, will be the fatal consenation as the internal difunion of the ci- quence of the disunion of Polanders. tizens. Has any power been able to effect

Citizens and dear countrymen, this is any thing against Poland, while all the the advice and warning you receive from citizens, joining their king, have boldly your king and father, and from the conItood forward in defence of their national federate states of the republic. But your laws, immunities and territory? You virtue, the love of freedom, fo natural to will soon hear, dear citizens, the voice of every Polander, assures us that fraternal falsehood and deceit; you will receive concord will unite you in the defence of writings full of treachery and fraud. your country; that, inspired with the same

Those whose blindness and obstinacy have fpirit which guides your king and father,
carried them so far as to make them insen- you will assemble round him, and will
fible to the horror of raising their arms a. make a rampart impenetrable to all the
gainst their own country, and of bringing attempts of the enemy.
foreign soldiers against her, will calum In the present convulsive state of the re-
niate the present government, will create public, you plainly perceive, that it is ima
diftrust againit us and the virtuous diet, proper either to put an end to the diet, or
will try to divide and separate you, know- to dissolve the confederation, without en-
ing that they cannot resist your united dangering the sovereignty and freedom of
strength and endeavours.. Arm your- the nation. There remained, indeed, but
felves with fortitude and virtue, and give little to accomplish ; but in the moment
proof of such unanimity, such concord, when action is required, when we go in
in the defence of your country, in resisting person to head a nation entrusted to our
perfidy and deceit, as you have demon- care, peaceful deliberations must be fuf-
krated in accepting, in voluntarily swear- pended. From this motive we, evith the
ing to maintain this happy constitution, assembled confederate states of the repub-
and lately on the same occasion in the ex- lic, find ourselves obliged to terminate the
pression of your patriotic sentiments, so present fittings, and to prorogue the dict
dear to our paternal feelings. They who and confederacý to a more diftant period.
have brought a foreign army against your The writing presented by the Russian
country, deferve your vengeance, and not minister, under the name of a Declaration,
your confidence. That

army
which comes

does not acknowledge the present diet, it for the purpose of destroying your go treats it with contempt, though distinvernment, prepares only the return of guished by a double representation and the your former llavery inttead of liberty. universal will and consent of the nation, You have already experienced at how dear consequently it insults the will of the a rate Ruffian protection is obtained. whole nation, who has not only delegated Violently carrying off from our residence, its power to this diet, but by a voluntary and during the diet, fenators, ministers, oath, and a universal expresion of thanks, and nuntios; the contemptuous treatment has given the most folemn fanétion to its of our nobility, the violation of property, proceedings. The dignity then of the the oppression of towns, the seizure and fupreme national authority demands the forcible transportation of peasants and their continuation of this diet.' The invasion families; and, finally, the difinembering of foreign troops cannot be reconciled with of the republic these are the effects of the the freedom of dietines. The rememguarantee imposed upon us by Ruffia. brance is but too recent of those unfortuAnd can you expect any thing better at nate diets, when the election of nuntios

was

« PředchozíPokračovat »