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That in a petition presented to the consideration the necessity of reform said house, and entered on its jour in the representation ; that he be renals, on the 9th of December, 1790, quested to renew his motion early in it was averred, that " seats therein the next session. And that we rewere as notoriously rented and commend to counties, cities, large bought as the standings for cattle towns, and boroughs, to press the at a fair,” which assertion was then subject on the attention of the house resented in that house as “ scanda- of commons, by respectful and earlous and libellous.” But when Lord nest petitions. Castlereagh was, on the 11th of May It was moved and seconded that last, accused of having sold a seat, a petition be presented to the hom he was screened from punishment on nourable house of commons, which the plea of the extreme notority of petition having been read and agreed the practice; a practice which va- to, it was resolved rious of its members unblushingly That the petition now read" be justified.
signed by the sheriffs and freeholin That when seats in the commons ders, and delivered to George Byng, house of parliament are bought and Esg. to be presented to the house. sold, the people, their laws and liber- That George Byng, Esq. and ties, are bought and sold.
William Mellish, Esq. our represenThat while these corruptions con- tatives in parliament, are hereby intinue to exist, the people are de structed to support the same. prived of their lawful share of the That the thanks of this meeting government, by representation in be given to George Byng, Esq. one the commons house of parliament of our representatives, for his genewhich share has been usurped by a ral conduct in parliament, and for corrupt and unconstitutional oligar- his efforts in favour of a constituchy of borough-mongers.
tional reform in the representationThat reform on constitutional prin- (Carried unanimously). ciples encourages us to hope that the That the thanks of this meeting expences, disorders, and tumults at- be given to Joshua Jonathan Smith, tending elections would be avoided — Esq. and Claudius Stephen Hunter, the rights and liberties of the people Esq. the high sheriff of the county, secured-taxes reduced—the unequal for their attention to the freeholders, and grievous impositions of the pro- in so promptly calling this meeting, perty tax removed, and future bur- and for their impartial conduct in thens prevented — corruption then the chair this day.--(Carried unaniwould be no longer necessary, much mously). less avowed to be necessary for the ad- That 'an address to his Majesty be ministration of public affairs.
now read and considered. That the King and his people have The address to the King having but one interest, but borough-mon- been read; gers have an interest separate from IT WAS RESOLVED, each, and inimical to both; and as a That this court having already complete reform in the representa- determined to present a petition to tion is the only means of destroying the house of Commons, any further the corrupt influence of the latter, petition or address is at present unneso it is particularly requisite in these cessary. times for the preservation of both That the thanks of this meeting King and people.
be given to Major Cartwright, for That the thanks of this meeting his perseverance and ability in the be given to Sir F. Burdett, Bart. for cause of parliamentary reform. calling on the house to take into That the above resolutions be
signed by the sheriff, and published known as the modern practice of memin the newspapers.
bers procuring their seats in your honourJ.J. SMITH,
... able house by purchase, nomination, or
Sheriff. by barter of patronage.
That every departure from this un
doubted right of the people to a substanThe following is a copy of the tial representation in short parliaments proposed petition :
was a violation of the fundamental prinTO THE HONOURABLE THE COMMONS OF ciples of the constitution, and is a griev
THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT ance dangerous alike to the liberties and
That this deplorable state of the reThe humble Petition of the Freeholders presentation co-operating with the sepof the County of Middleser, in full tennial duration of parliaments, has an County assembled.
alarming tendency to destroy the conSHEWETH,
stitutional balance which ought to subThat on the 6th of May, 1793, a sist between the three branches of the petition was presented to your honour- legislature, and threatens the free subable house, in which it is averred, that jects of these realms with a tyranny three hundred and seven of the honour- more hateful and degrading than a desable members for England and Wales potic monarchy—the usurpation of our only, are not returned to parliament by rights by an odious oligarchy of the prothe suffrages of the people, but are, prietors of boroughs. through numerous breaches, and eva That the elective franchise ought to sions of the freedom of election therein be entrusted to those, and to those only, fully set forth, appointed by one hun- who are likely to exercise it for the comdred and fifty-four peers and commoners. mon good, which, by the act passed in
That evidence in proof of the facts the late session of parliament to regulate "contained in such petition was tendered the disposal of seats in your honourable in support thereof, and the allegations' house, your petitioners conclude not to so stated in the said petition still stand be the case in the venal or depopulated on the journals of your honourable house boroughs. uncontradicted.
In the wisdom and justice of your That by the statute commonly called honourable house your petitioners the septennial act, the same house of confidently rely that your honourCommons may sit for a period equal to
able house will take their petition one half of the probable duration of hu into your early and most serious man life, taken at the most favourable consideration, and will grant them age.
such relief in the premises as shall That the right of the Commons to be most consistent with that leadsend representatives to parliament was ing principle of our happy constiby our ancient constitution vested in the
· tution—a full and free representar freeholders and the house-holders; and tion of the people in parliament long parliaments were heretofore as un And your petitioners will ever pray, &c.
ence between the United States and
Great Britain, which it seems Mr. NEGOCIATION WITH BRITAIN, Erskine has been authorised to arWashington, April 19.-Since the range in virtue of powers received arrival of Mr. Oakely at Washing- from his government by the British ton, Mr. Smith, secretary of state, sloop of war, now lying at Hampton, and Mr. Erskine, the British minis- subject to his orders. The following ters, have been, we understand, notes shew the happy result of these every day engaged in discussions in discussions :
. urig relation to the two points of differ
- Mr. ERSKINE TO Mr. SMITH. tant and honourable command, im
Washington, April 17. 1809. mediately ensued, his Majesty is SIR,--I have the honour to inform willing to 'restore the men forcibly you, that I have received his Majesty's taken out of the Chesapeake, and
commands to represent to the go if acceptable to the American go· vernment of the United States, that vernment, to make a suitable provi
his Majesty is animated by the most sion for the unfortunate sufferers on sincere desire for an adjustment of that occasion. the differences which have unhappi- I have the honour to be, with senly so long prevailed between the timents of the highest respect and two countries, the recapitulation of consideration, Sir, your most obe which might have a tendency to im- dient humble servant, pede, if not prevent an amicable
D. M. ERSKINE. understanding
The hon. Robert Smith Esq. It having been represented to his Secretary of State, &c. &c. Majesty's government, that the con-. Department of State, April 17. gress of the United States in their SIR, 1 have laid before the preproceedings at the opening of the sident your note, in which you have, last session, had evinced an inten- in the name and by the order of his tion of passing certain laws, which Britannic Majesty, declared that would place the relations of Great his Britannic Majesty is desirous of Britain with the United States upon making an honourable reparation an equal footing, in all respects for the aggression committed by a with the other belligerent powers, I British naval officer in the attack have accordingly received his Ma- on the United States' frigate the jesty's commands, in the event of Chesapeake; that, in addition to such laws, taking place, to offer, on his prompt disavowal of the act, his the part of his Majesty, an honour- Majesty, as a mark of his displeaable reparation for the aggression sure, did immediately recal the of committed by a British naval officer, fending officer from a highly imporin the attack on the United States' tant and honourable command; and frigate Chesapeake.
that he is willing to restore the men Considering the act passed by the forcibly taken out of the Chesapeake, congress of the United States on the and, if acceptable to the American Ist of March (usually termed the government, to make a suitable pronon-intercourse act), as having pro- vision for the unfortunate sufferers duced a state of equality in the re- on that occasion. lations of the two belligerent powers, The government of the United with respect to the United States, I States, having at all times enterhave to submit, conformably to in- tained a sincere desire for an adjuststructions, for the consideration of ment of the differences which have the American government, such so long and so unhappily subsisted terms of satisfaction and reparation, between the two countries, the preas his Majesty is induced to believe sident cannot but receive with plea
will be accepted, in the same spirit sure, assurances that his Britannic its of conciliation with which they are Majesty is animated by the same herbi proposed.
disposition, and that he is ready, in West In addition to the prompt disa- conformity to this disposition, to
vowal made by his Majesty, on be- make atonement for the insult and taring apprized of the unauthorized aggression committed by one of his The act committed hy his naval officer, naval officers in the attack on the rebran whose recal, as a mark of the King's United States' frigate, the Chesa
displeasure, from an highly impor- peake.
As it appears at the same time, having removed a painful.cause of that in making this offer, his Bri- difference, but as affording a fair tannic Majesty derives a motive prospect of a complete and cordial from the equality, now existing, in undertanding being re-established be the relations of the United States, tween the two countries. with the two belligerent powers, the The favourable change in the res president owes it to the occasion, lations of his Majesty with the Uniand to himself, to let it be under- ted States, which has been produstood, that this equality is a result ced by the act (usually termed the incident to a state of things, grow- non-intercourse act) passed in the ing out of distinct considerations. last session of congress, was also
With this explanation, as requi- anticipated by his Majesty, and has. site as it is frank, I am authorised to encouraged a further hope, that a inform you that the president ac- reconsideration of the existing differcepts the note delivered by you in ences might lead to their satisfactory the name and by the order of his adjustment. Britannic Majesty, and will consi- On these grounds and expectader the same with the engagement tions, I am instructed to communicontained therein, when fulfilled, as cate to the American government, a satisfaction for the insult and inju- his Majesty's determination of sendry of which he has complained. But ing to the United States, an Envoy I have it in express charge from the extraordinary invested with full pow. president to state, that while he for- ers to conclude a treaty on all the bears to insist on a further punish- points of the relations between the ment of the offending officer, he is two countries. not the less sensible of the justice In the mean time, with a view to and utility of such an example, nor contribute to the attainment of so the less persuaded that it would desirable an object; his Majesty best comport with what is due from would be willing to withdraw his his Britannic Majesty to his own orders in council of January and honour. I have the honour to be, November 1807, so far as respects with the highest respect and consi- the United States, in the persuasion deration, Sir, your most obedient that the president would issue a proservant,
R. Smith. clamation for the renewal of the inThe Hon. David M. Erskine, Esq. tercourse with Great Britain, and
Envoy Extraordinary, and Minis- thạt whatever difference of opinion ter Plenipotentiary of his Britannic should arise in the interpretation of Majesty.
the terms of such an agreement will Mr. ERSKINE tu Mr. Smith. be removed in the proposed nego
i Washington, April 18. ciation. SIR, - I have the honour of infor- I have the honour to be with sen ming you that his Majesty, having timents of the highest consideration been persuaded that the honourable and esteem, Sir, your most obedient reparation which he had caused to humble servant, be tendered for the unauthorised at
D. M. ERSKINE. tack upon the American frigate Che- Hon. Robert Smith, &c. &c. sapeake would be accepted by the Mr. SMITH TO Mr. ERSKINE. : government of the United States in Department of State, April 18. the same spirit of conciliation, with SIR-The note which I had the which it was proposed, has instruc- honour of receiving from you this ted me to express his satisfaction, day, I lost no time in laying before should such a happy termination of the president, who, being sincerely that affair take place; not only as desirous of a satisfactory adjustment
of the differences unhappily existing November 1807, so far as respects between Great Britain and the Uni- the United States, I have the hos ted States, has authorised me to as- nour of informing you that the pre, sure you, that he will meet with a sident will accordingly, and in purs disposition correspondent with that suance of the eleventh section of the of his Britannic Majesty, the deter- statute commonly called the non-inmination of his Majesty to send to tercourse act, issue a proclamation, the United States a special envoy, so that the trade of the United States invested with full powers to con- · with Great Britain may on the same clude a treaty on all the points of day be renewed, in the manner prothe relations between the two coun- vided in the said section. tries.
I have the honour to be, &c. &c. · I am further authorised to assure
R. SMITH. you that in case his Britannic Ma
PROCLAMATION. jesty should in the mean time with- By the President of the United States draw his orders in council of Janua- of America. ry and November 1807, so far as Whereas it is provided by the 11th respects the United States, the pre- section of the act of congress, ensident will not fail to issue a pro- titled “ An act to interdict the comclamation by virtue of the authority mercial intercourse between the Uniand for the purposes specified in the ted States and Great Britain and eleventh section of the statute, com- France and their dependencies, and monly called the non-intercourse for other purposes,” that“.in case act. I have the honour, &c. either France or Great Britain shall
R. SMITH. so revoke and nullify such edicts, as Mr. ERSKINE TO Mr. SMITH. that they shall cease to violate the
Washington, April 19. neutral commerce of the United · SIR,-In consequence of the ac- . States," the president is authorised ceptance, by the president, as stated to declare the same by proclamation, in your letter dated the 18th inst. after which the trade suspended by of the proposals made by me on the the said act, and by an act laying part of his Majesty, in my letter an embargo on all ships and vessels of the same day, for the renewal of in 'the ports and harbours of the the intercourse between the respec- United States, and the several acts tive countries, I am authorised to supplementary thereto, may be redeclare that his Majesty's orders in newed with the nations so doing, council of January and November And whereas the Hon. D. M. Ers1807, will have been withdrawn as kine, his Britannic Majesty's envoy respects the United States on the extraordinary and minister plenipo. 10th day of June next.
tentiary, has, by the order and in I have the honour to be, with the name of his Sovereign, declared great respect and consideration, Sir, to this government that the British your most obedient Servant, orders in council of January and
D. M. ERSKINE. November 1807, will have been Hon. Robert Smith, c.
withdrawn, as respects the United Mr. SMITH TO Mr. ERSKINE. States, on the 10th of June next :
Department of State, April 19. Now, therefore, I, James Madison. SIR, -Having laid before the pre- President of the United States, do sident your note of this day, con- hereby proclaim that the orders in taining an assurance, that his Bri- council aforesaid, 'will have been tannic Majesty will, on the 10th withdrawn on the said 10th June day of June next, have withdrawn next; after which day the trade of his orders in council of January and the United States with Great Bri