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are divided, and create a general .common cause with the irrecosspirit to bear up against the calami- cileable enemies of the conftituties by which we are surrounded. tion." -As to the specific plan of
Mr. Pitt observed, that the ques- reform, proposed by Mr. Grey, he tion was not, whether some altera- thought it was at once highly ex. tion might be attended with advan- ceptionable in theory, and unfuptage, but whether the degree of ported by experience. benefit might be worth the chance Mr. Sheridan denied that the of the mischief it probably, or pof- horrors of France were produced fibly, might induce. It would not by the rights of man. Bloody calabe prudent to give an opening to mities there had been, but they did principles that aimed at nothing not originate in those principles. less than the annihilation of the There was not one individual who constitution. But what he appear- had been concerned in writing or ed to have most at heart, as was publishing them that was cuncerned very natural, and what it was the in any of the massacres. Excels principal tendency of his speech was the natural consequence of all to refute, was, the alleged incon- revolutions; when men shook off fistency of those who had formerly
had formerly their flavery, under the neceflity supported parliamentary reform, in of recovering their liberty by force, opposing it now.-There was no . they were naturally intemperate. inconfiftency, he faid, in foregoing If the question were put to him, a present advantage for a future who were the real authors and benefit, or for the sake of avoiding abettors of the French mafiacres, impending evils. Could we believe he would not hesitate to place that men, who semained unmoved certain despots in the front of his by the dismal example which their accusation. The minister had deprinciples had produced, whose fired the public to look upon rcforpretensions rose or fell with the mation as a latent mode of overturnsuccess or the decline of jacobinism, ing the constitution. He knew not in every part of Europe, were ever why universal fuffrage had been actuated by a similarity of motives brought into such contempt. He and of objects with those who pro- remembered Mr. Pitt's having secuted the cause of reform as a signed his name, with the duke of practical advantage, and maintained Richmond, at some ineetings, in fait on conftitutional views.
« From your of reform and annual parliathe period, said Mr. Pitt, when the ments. Mr. Sheridan mentioned new
and alarming æra of the French feveral circumstances of confort and revolution broke in upon the world, hope, in his own particular fituaI found that the grounds on which tion, which rendered it incredible the question of reform rested were that he should entertain any design fundamentally altered. I do not or wish to throw things into anarbelieve that the temper of moderate chy and confusion.- For this, in reformers will lead them to make our opinion, Mr, Sheridan is en
* We do not consider it to be necessary, as if we were members of parliament, speaking in parliament, to adhere to all the circumlocutions of " right lignourable gentlemen opposite to each other, &c. &c."
(257 titled to full credit: and having of our ancestors, than if we were said this, it will not be imputed as the inhabitants of a foreign land. any personal attack on that gente- “ Indeed, laid fir Francis, with all man, if, contrarily to our usual our boast of wealth, the mean and custom, we make a remark on a hard lot of poverty falls to the Mare speech, the substance and tendency of the mass of the people : and that of which, only, it is our bufinels, comfort, which ought to be the rein the character of annalists, to re- ward of honest labour, is seized by port. This obfervation, that the the griping hand of a rapacious maslacres of France did not origi- government. But all thele things nate in the principles of the rights are drawing towards a conclufion. of man, though commonly resorted That which was once a matter of to by the defenders of innovation, choice, is now a matter of necefis not worthy of the philofophi- fity; and the chancellor of the cal accuracy and precision of Mr. exchequer, though an enemy to Sheridan, who knows the distinc- liberty, has, by his concluet, contion between efficient causes, or tributed to revolution." Sir Franrather the one EFFICIENT cause, cis concluded a concise but enerand natural causes or occafions. Mal getic speech, glowing with the fire sacres cannot arise out of mere of freedom and the sentiments of abstractions, whether entertained humanity, with declaring, that the in the brain, or represented by prelent motion fhould have his symbols or writing ; but notions hearty support. concerning rights, mingled with, From the generous concern of and brought into play, every evil fir Francis Burdett for the opprefled pallion. An explosion is effected mals of the people, whose patient not hy nitre alone, but by the ac- and filent fufferings seldom find a tion of fire on nitre mixed with fincere advocate in such a place, fulphur.
we can neither with-hold nor fupSir Francis Burdett, among a press our fincere approbation and variety of pointed observations, applause. Of what use is a fourishsaid, that without a reform of par- ing revenue, if it cannot be applied, liament, corruption would become by political management, to the the euthanasia of the constitution. relief and com!ort of the great body Corruption had reduced us, wiih of the people? * all the advantages of our foil and Sir Richard Hill did not omit, on climate, to a state, that no more the present occafion, to harp on the resembled, in point of liberty, that common string of the ministers in
We have formerly had occasion to observe that most of our laws, multiplied almost beyond the power of enumeration, relate to the augmentation of the revenue, and the preservation, not to say the extension, of the powers of the executive government. Few are the laws of a truly paternal and patriotic kind. Nay, when measures have been proposed for reducing the enormous price of provisions, we have seen a minister of ftare setting his face against them. On the twenty-second of June, this year, Mr. Mainwaring moved the order of the day, on a bill for the better preventing of forestalling and regrating of live cattle. Mr. Dundas opposed this bill, on the ground that it would hurt the landed interest of this country, hy diminishing, through a reduced price of provisions, the value of farms. Though a committee of the house of coinmons, in 1796, had deVol. XXXIX.
cidedly cidedly pror.ounced that the high price of provisions was owing to forestalling and tegratirg; to collufion between the salesman and the carcase-butcher, the bill was i rown out of the house, on a motion for its being read a second time on June 29. Other reasons for its reje&tion were allegedi; but the reason that first occurred to Mr. Dundus, we may presame, was none of the weakvit.
confifiency, in setting his face against against the motion, from the comthe present motion, though he had mon topic of concessions to the peoformerly made a motion in favour of ple, and encouraging and imbibing reform. He thought the conftitution demands without end, made an obwas not well; and if he saw a pa- servation on Mr. Grey's plan, which tient almost expiring, he would na- was new, ingenious, folid, and turally ask the doctor, “ have you worthy of serious confideration. any experiments to try?” Physi- Though it was intended, by that cians we had, who had followed plan, to enlarge the representation the plan of Dr. Sangrado, in bleed- of the small boroughs, yet, he undering too much. Some other plan food, that the great cities and ought to be followed. Though he populous towns were to be divided believed there were but few on according to their population; in either side of the house who had which cale, it was obvious, that the any religion, he believed there was, metropolis would have a preponmuch virtue in both, and he should derance over all the rest of the kinglike to see them united to save the dom; and become the republic of country, which was, as it were, be- England, as Paris was of France. tween two mill-stones, almoft ground Mr. Barham, though he had been, to powder. He wished well to re- through life, an advocate for parform, and he thought the best way liamentary reform, objected to Mr. to fet this on foot, was, for every Grey's motion, because, it was not, man to reform himself. He wilhed in his opinion, called for by a mawe had paid more devotion to the jority of the people; and, because, will of him without whose power this was not the proper time for we could do nothing. Yet, after agitating the important question, all these observations, on the ne- The motion was also opposed by fir cefsity of self-reformation, and our Gregory Page Turner, who " always inability to do any thing of our felt for the conftitution, and nothing felves, he trusted that he should else, when he got up in the mornnot be thought inconsistent in voting ing, and when he lay down at for Mr. Grey's motion.
night.” But it was supported by Sir William Geary could not al- Mr. Smith, Mr. Pollen, fir William fent to Mr. Grey's propofition, as Dolben, and Mr. Fox. it was so nearly allied to universal It would carry us far beyond our suffrage.
bounds to give even a brief analysis Mr. Milbank wished for a par- of Mr. Fox's speech on this occasion. liamentary reform, as the best means And it is the less necessary to do so, of destroying that confidence in that his sentiments, on the subject minifters which had produced fo of a parliamentary reforın, have many evils in this country. again and again been set forth in
Sir William Young, after arguing this work, on fundry occafions. The following appear to us to be came unpopular, and the king's among the most striking and weighty ministers lost the confidence of the of his observations and arguments nation; yet, on the general elecin the present debate.-He saw tion which followed the dissolution nothing, in what is called, the la- of parliament, in 1780, not more mentable example of France, to than three or four persons were addprove to him, that timely acquief- ed to the number of those who had, cence with the desires of the peo- from the beginning, opposed the ple was more dangerous than ob- disastrous career of the ministers in ftinate resistance to their demands. that war." The situations of Great Britain and The grand topic of declamation France were so essentially different, against the minister, and that on there was so little in common be- which, notwithstanding his defence tween the character of England at of changing times and circumthis day, and the character of France Itances, he was constantly teized at the commencement of the revolu- and badgered, was, his alleged apostion, that it was impollible to reason tacy, from his profefled principles upon them from parity of circum- of parliamentary reformation. And Itances or of character. It had that not only by the speakers usually been said, that the house poflefled in opposition, but even, in fome inthe confidence of the country as stances, by others, on the whole, by much as ever.
This, in truth, no means adverse to administration. said Mr. Fox, is as much as to say, This inftrument of attack, though that his majesty's ministers polless so common, was not disdained by the confidence of the country in the Mr. Fox; but he wielded it with same degree as ever, since the ma- his usual fuperiority of address. jority of the house fupport and ap- I remember, laid Mr. Fox, that lord plaud the measures of the govern- North, after the general election ment, and give their countenance just mentioned, made use of the same to all the evils which we are doom- argument precisely as is now made ed to endure. Is confidence to be use of, and the present chancellor of always against the people, and never the exchequer made ajustand striking for them? It is a notable argument, use of it to demonstrate the necelthat, because we do not find, at sity of a parliamentary reform. Rethe general election, very material ferring to the general election, ftill changes in the representation, the decidedly in favour of the ininister sentiments of the people continued of the day, as to a demonstration of the same, in favour of the war, and the neceflity of a parliamentary rein favour of his majesty's ministers. form, he faid, “ you fee, that to
fo T'he very ground of the prefent dif- defective, fo inadequate, is the precullion gives the answer to this ar- sent practice, at least of the elective gument. Why do we agitate the franchise, that no impreslion of naquestion of parliamentary reform? tional calamity, no conviction of Why; but because this house is not ministerial error, no abhorrence of a fufficient representation of the disastrous war, is sufficient to stand people? We must argue from ex- against that corrupt influence which perience. Let us look back to the has mixed itself with election, and period of the American war: it be which drowns the popular voice.”
Upon this statement, and upon this the whole course of his administraun nswerable argument, the right tion, and particularly during the honourable gentleman acted in the course of the present war, every year 1782.
When he propofed a prediction that he has made, every parli mi tuy reform, he did it ex- hope that he has held ont, every prellly on the ground of the ex. prophecy that he has hazarded, has perience of 1780), and he made an failed; he has disappointed the exexplicit declaration, that we had' no pectations that he has raised; and other security by which to guard every promile that he has given has ou le'ves against the return of the proved to be a fallacy and a phansame evils. Herupeated this warn- tom. Yet, for these
declaraing in 1783 and in 1785. It was tions, and notwithstanding these the leading principle of his conduct. failures, we have called him a wife
Without a réform, faid be, the minister. We have given him our nation cannot be safe; this war confidence on account of his pre-, may be put an end to, but what dictions, and have continued it upon will protect you a cainit another ? their failure. Though no one event As certainly as the fpirit, which en- which he foretold has been verified, gendered the present war, actuates we have continued to behold him the secret councils of the crown, as the oracle of wisdom ! But, in the will you, under the infuence of a only inftarce in which what he really deleciiterepresentation, be involved predicted, as if by divine inspiraagain in new wars, and in fimilar tion, has come to pass, in that we calamities.”
have treated him with stubborn This was his argument in 1782, incredulity! In 1785, he pronounthis was his prophecy; and the ced the awful prophecy, without right honourable gentleman was a a parliamentary reform the nation true prophet. Precisely as he pro- vill be plunged into new wars; nounced it, the event happened; without a parliamentary reform you another war took place, and I am cannot be safe against bad minifters; fure it will not be confidered as an nor can even good ministers be of aggravation of its character, that it use to you.” Such was his preis at least equal in difaster to the diction and it has come upon us. war of which the right honourable It would feem as if the whole life gentleman complained. “The de- of the right honourable gentleman, fect of representation, he said, is from that period, had been destined the national disease; and, unless you by Providence for the illustration of apply directly a remedy to that dif- his warning. If I were disposed to eale, you must inevitably take the confider him as a real enthusiasts confequences with which it is preg- and a bigot in divination, we might nant. With fuch an authority, be apt to think that he had himself can any man deny that I reason taken measures for the verification right? Did not the right honourable of his prophecy. He might now gentleman demonstrate his case? exclaim to us, with the proud ferGood God! what a fate is that of vour of success, “ you see the conthe right honourable gentleman, and sequence of not listening to the in what a state of whimsical con- oracle! I told you what would haptradiction does he stand! During pen; it is true that your destruction