UK, House of Lords, “Canada—Colonel Prince”, vol 47, cols 1033-1034 (27 May 1839)
By: UK (House of Lords)
Citation: UK, HL, “Canada—Colonel Prince“, vol 47 (1839), cols 1033-1034.
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Lord Brougham wished to ask the noble Marquess on his left hand, if he had any objection to state whether any steps had been taken to stigmatize a person in the militia of Canada of the name of Prince, who if there was any truth in the reports of his conduct had disgraced the name of a British officer, and degraded that of an English Colonel—he meant that person who had ordered to be shot in cold blood four miserable persons taken prisoners by the Indians, and afterwards released, that they might be reserved for the tender mercies of an English Colonel of Militia, who instantly drew them out one after another, and ordered them to be shot on the spot. That was true, because it had been reported by Colonel Arthur. He vindicated that, by saying that Colonel Prince was in a state of excitement at the time. There was but one state of excitement which could justify his conduct if tried by a jury, and that was, that he was at the time he perpetrated the act, of unsound mind. He butchered these four persons without trial in cold blood. Colonel Arthur stated that, and he asked whether Colonel Prince was still allowed to hold a commission in her Majesty’s service.
The Marquess of Normanby said, the matter had been inquired into, and on the report made to her Majesty’s Government, they had signified their disapprobation of Colonel Prince’s conduct. The noble and learned Lord had brought forward all the circumstances of aggravation attached to the case without taking into consideration the circumstances of mitigation.
Lord Brougham thought there could be no harm in moving for a return of the evidence given upon the investigation. He had read the sentence; that was anything
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but satisfactory. He had stated no circumstances of aggravation—these men had been taken prisoners, and quarter was given them by the officer who took them. They were brought in at once, and an hour or two afterwards they were taken out separately, and ordered to be shot by Colonel Prince without a trial, for which Governor Wall was hanged, and Colonel Prince was guilty of murder. That was the fact; he was guilty of murder. Governor Wall ordered a man to be massacred; he flogged him to death without trial by Court-martial, and he was hanged for that. He had no hesitation, as a lawyer, in stating, that Colonel Prince was guilty of murder.
The Marquess of Normanby—If the noble and learned Lord moved for the papers he would have no objection to their production; at the same time he would observe, that her Majesty’s Government had conveyed their disapprobation of Colonel Prince’s conduct even after his explanations had been given.
Lord Brougham—It was long after the action—after surrender—after quarter bad been asked—in the streets—in the presence of ladies. “Disapprobation” of murder, no doubt there would be, there will be—but there must be something more, there must be punishment and severe punishment, also.