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much force upon the two 10001. prosecutors, he said, were the bank notes, traced to the private knights and burgesses of the united use of the noble defendant, which parliament of the British empire, a had been issued for naval purposes; body every way qualified and armed and observed, that if their lordships with due authority and power to enwere convinced that the noble de- force their accusations, and from fendant had criminally misapplied whose discrimination and collective onc shilling of the public money, and wisdom it was impossible for guilt had converted it to his own private to shield itself. The managers of use and advantage, he was guilty in the prosecution were mon of splenthe eye of the law. He insisted, in did talents, and high character, pusthe strongest terms, that neither sessing great assiduity and zeal, and lord M. nor Mr. T. were authorised every way competent to the task to make private use of the money assigned them.-Yet, with all that entrusted to them; that balances of power, assiduity, and zeal, he should many thousand pounds remained in prove, and he hoped most satisfac. the hands of lord M. unaccounted torily, that there was not the smallest for, from 1784 to 1800; that his foundation for the charges pretordship's declaration, that he would ferred. When he said that, he did not tell how he had disposed of cer. not mean to impute blame to the tain sums, was a gross and daring house of commons for prosecuting violation of the law of the land ; and the charges. There had unquesthat the representation of Mr. Trot. tionably existed great abuses in many ter, in which he stated that lord M. of the public departments of govern. had rejected an application of his to ment, and perhaps more particularemploy the public money for his ly in the office of treasurer of the lordship’s adiantage, was an insult navy-it was therefore proper the to the discernment of the house. public should have the matter sifted
to the bottom. ---Iad that been done TIE DEFENCE.
in the first instance, no member of Mr. Plomer, the succecding day, the house of communs would have entered upon lord Melville's defence, violated the first principle of justice, and continued, through that and the by condemning a man unheard. L'nfollowing day, to enforce his lord- fortunately a different course had ship's innocence, and the propriety been pursued-an address had been and justice of his acquittal. Tie carried to the foot of the throne, began by stating, that his mind was prejudging, the case of the novie relieved from much of that anxiety lord, and guilt presumed before it which he had originally felt, inas- had been clearly proved and estab. much as he was now justified in lished. In consequence of such unsaying, after having heard the case just proceedings, the noble defenon the part of the prosecution, that dant had been severed from his ma. the noble defendant was not called je-ty's councils for ever, and in that upon to answer for any malversa- act he had suflered the worst of p1tions of his own, but for the mal. nishments that could be inflicted versations of those in whom it had upon an honourable and feeling been his misfortune to place implicit mind.-- But in what light must such and unlimited confidcuce. The premature punishment appear, when,
after sisting his case to the bottom, tion. Let their lordsbips look to the main po ut, that of a criminal the facts proved - they would find participation in the gains and emo. that lord Melville had shown a ini. luments arising froin the use of the form disregard of money, and that public money, had been fully nega. his babits and general conduct tived by the witnesses brought for. through life precluded the idea of ward for the prosecution? Yet he his devoting his time or attention to would repeat, that the character of pecuniary matters, when connected the house of commons would not with his own private interests. In. suffer, if the result was favourable to deed the honourable manager him. the defendant. Still it must be ad- self had told their lordships, that he mitted, that his lordship was the vic. believed the noble dciendant to be a tim of a peculiar species of prose. man of a generous and unbounded cation, which outraged every prin. spirit, and if he should now be ciple of justice and humanity- proved guilty, he had only to reborne down by positive charges of gret that he should bare departed guilt, calumpies uttered behind his from his rectitude at a time of life back, and promulgated in an as. when it was natural to think that seinbly where he could not be heard, other than vicious inducements and those calumnies registered would have influenced his conduct. among the records of the kingdom. Here the learned counsel enume. Notwithstanding such was his lord. rated the many high and distinguishship's unparalleled case, he trusted ed offices filled by the noble defentheir lordship’s would come to the dant. He had been secretary of question with minds pure and un- state, he said, both for the home and biassed. The learned counsel then foreign department, and he had been recapitulated the charges, and con. the sole manager of aitairs with re. tended that there was no pretence spect to the British empire in the for supposing that the noble defen- east; and argued from thence, that dant had corruptly appropriated the it was impossible an individual so public money. Had the charge of honourably employed should have criminal participation been made leisure or disposition to pursue so out, he should have claimed no fa. vicious and so mean a propensity, as vour or indulgence. Had it been that of amassing wealth by employing proved in any one instance, that his the public money in speculations of lordship’s mind had been influenced great risk and hazard. With regard by corrupt motives, or if the noble to the first charge, he said, the no. defendant had violated his duty for ble defendant was controlled by no the purpose of private advantage or statute or constitutional law of the emolument, then would he have de. kingdom. The only obligation upon livered him over to condemnation. him to prevent his making use of the But no such proof appeared in evia public money, was the warrant by dence, and all that had been made which his salary was augmented. out was, that lord Melville was a There was no law to the contrary ; negligent man as far as regarded pe. and the treasurer of the navy was cuniary matters, and placed too firm as fairly entitled, at that period, a reliance on his dependants. What to make use of the public money, be advanced was not merely asser. as the paymaster of the army, or
the receiver-general of the land-tax, and called upon their lordships to The learned counsel then alluded say whether a man, by the humane to the case of lord Holland, who principles of British justice, bad was a great public defaulter, and re- ever been deemed criminal for his marked, that when an inquiry was silence. It was possible the noble instituted in the house of commons, defendant might have used it for other in the case of Powell and Bain- than naval purposes, but that did bridge, Mr. Fox, and others equally not prove that he had used it coreminent for wisdom, asserted, that ruptly. The noble defendant was if a public accountant was held re- aware of the obloquy that might be sponsible, it was a matter of indife attached to the concealment he still ference to the public what private persisted in ; but he would be con. use he made of the public money, tent to endure the odium of their provided the public service was not lordships, and the unjust suspicions injured, and he was ready to pay which such conduct might give rise up his balances when called upon. to, rather than violate the obliga. The great earl of Chatham, he said, tions he owed to public duty and was also of that opinion. Mr. private honour. Had not the late Grenville, he said, when paymaster, chancellor of the exchequer felt desired two months to settle his ac- himself at liberty to divulge the counts he would ask, why requirė 40,0001. advanced to Boyd, Bentwo hours, if the use of the public field, and co. the noble defendant money had been held to be unlaw. would never have disclosed the apful? The fact was, that it was not plication. An indemnity had
passed then considered to be so; nor was it for that advance then why not in point of fact illegal, and he meant give the noble defendant credit for to go the length of contending, having applied the 10,000l. in an that the act passed in 1786 made equally meritorious way? He then no alteration in the old law; and commented at length on the testi. therefore the applying the first mony submitted on the part of the 10,0001. before and after the pass. prosecution, and censured the ma. ing of that act, was precisely the pagers for the way in which they same thing. Still he did not mean to had endeavoured to obtain evidence assert that the application of the against the noble defendant. They public money to private purposes had not contented themselves, he was not a violation of the warrant; said, with diving into the private ac. and if any loss had accrued, the de- counts of individuals at bankers, fendant would have been liable to a but had climbed into the attic of a civil suit. No such loss had taken poor widow woman with a view to place. The noblo defendant had gain evidence. They had in a man. paid every shilling of his balances in ner stript the noble defendant like due course; and yet he was now an insolvent debtor, and exposed called upon to answer criminally for every circumstance of his life for making use of money entrusted to half a century past. One of the his discretion by the state. The managers too had acted in the triple Jearned counsel then touched upon character of a prosecutor, a witness, the 10,0001. which his lordship re- and a carrier of a box; and the re. fused to say how it was applied; sult of all was, that such evidence
had never before been brought public money out at interest for against any individual, either in a their mutual adrantage. There was, civil or criminal court of judicature. however, another charge of great The learned counsel next alluded to magoitude, he meant the destruction the removal of the money from the of vouchers : to which he should bank to Messrs. Coutts's, and also only reply, that the evidence to the chest and current accounts brought to support it (as far as respoken of; with which he said the garded the noble defendant) had public had nothing to do, provided most completely refuted the imputhey suffered no loss. He also re. tation derived from the act. Mr. marked, that the managers had never Trotter had distinctly avowed the contended that the money was not act to have been his own; that it taken from the bank for naval ser- was done without the knowledge of vices outright, but that it was not lord Melville, and with no view taken for the immediate service of whatever to promote the interests of the navy. He would ask, where his lordship. Such was the evidence could the money be more securely of Mr. Trotter, who had cvery in. placed, while in the progress of pay. ducement to speak against lord Mel. ment, than at Coutts's? or more ville, if in his conscience he could safely deposited than in an iron have done it, as by that means he chest, ready for issue when the pub. would have cleared his own characlic service required it? He then re- ter from imputation. But that was ferred to what he termed the unjust was not all; he had as distinctly popular clamour raised against lord sworn that the use made of the pubMelville for violating an act of par. lic money was for his own exclusive liament, which he was himself the advantage; and that he never renprincipal instrument in framing. In dered the noble defendant any ac. reply to which, he would contend, count of the gains he had made, or (and he firmly believed he did not intimated, in the slightest manner, mistake the meaning of that act,) that he was deriving any such advanthat the noble defendant had neither tage from the use of the public violated the spirit nor the letter of stock. The learned counsel then that act. Lord Melville, he said, went through the whole of the evinever meant, when he framed that dence, commenting, as he proceedbill, that it should interfere with the ed, upon its import, and contended, course of office; and its principal that the only thing that could be object was to secure the transit of urged against his lordship with any money from the exchequer to the colour of justice, was the charge of bank, and not to direct the applica- negligence, and that was in a degree tion of that money after it was cxcused by the many important ave. drawn from the bank, provided it cations he was engaged in. He had was ultimately applied to the pub- to provide against domestic danger Jic service. He thought he had said and foreign alarm; and it was not to enough to obliterate from their lord- be wondered at if he was negligent ship's minds all ideas of a corrupt of calculating with extreme accu. participation on the part of the po. racy the pounds, shillings, and ble defendant, or that he confede- pence, of accounts rendered him by rated with Mr. Trotter to place the an individual who possessed his un
bounded bounded confidence. Upon the secretary of state until the time of whole, therefore, he should contend, his resignation, amounting in all to that previous to the passing of the a sum of 26,0001. act, in 1786, there was no statute The attorney general replied to law to prevent the treasurer from the legal doctrines advanced by Mr. using the public money; that the vio- Plomer, and remarked, that they lation of his contract with the pub. were as erroneous as they were lic was only the subject of a civil novel and dangerous. He then ea. suit; and further, that after the tered at great length into the mean. passing of that act the old law stilling and import of the several statutes remained in force, and was no way regulating the office of treasurer ; altered by the new enactments. But and insisted, that it was impossible if he was mistaken in the law, then for the most subtle reasoner, or exthe evidence was not sufficient to pert casuist, to convince their lord. support the charges as against the ships that lord Melville had not vio. defendant, and he must be acquitted. lated the act of 1786. The learned gentleman concluded Mr. Whitbread proceeded to make by stating, that lord Melville, so far his reply. He began by expressing from being that avaricious person his surprise at the very extraordi. described, or being capable of so nary arguments the learned counsel mean a propensity as that oi deriving (Mr. Plomer) had been driven to : advantage from speculating with the embracing principles, he said, not public money, he should prove that only dangerous to the public prospehe had freely and willingly given up rity, but to the very existence of the profits of his office, to the the country. Ile could not help reamount of 26,0001. and left it to marking also upon the way in which their lordships to say, whether it the learned counsel had treated was possible a man, who could so him ; but he disregarded the peract, would, by uplawful means, en. sonalities directed against him ; deavour to defraud the public by pe- and only felt regret, that a culation in his office, or could justly man of great legal authority and be suspected of high crimes and mis. celebrity should have degraded him. demeanors.
self by advancing doctrines to supMr. Adam went over the same port the innocence of his client, ground of argument, and contended, which ought never to have been that the act of 1786 never meant stated in a British court of justice that the public money should be doctrines calculated to put an end Jocked up in the bank-it only to all responsibility in public acmeant that it should be deposited countants, and to leave the public there in the first instance when im. purse at the mercy of every indivipressed from the exchcquer, and dual who had any control over it. afterwards drawn out at the di... With respect to the topics urged cretion and will of the treasurer of against himself, he supposed the the navy as the public service re- learned counsel imagined, that by quired.
adopting biting sarcasm, he should Several witnesses were then called irritate his feelings, and throw him to prove the fact that lord Melville off his guard. If so, he would be refrained from receiving the salaries, disappointed. He should imitate fees, and profits of his office of third the conduct of an individual describ