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BRITISH AND FOREIGN
HISTORY;

For the Year 1797.

CHAPTER 1.

General Reflections on the present State of European Politics. State of

Parties in Great Britain. The General Election. The Ministry triumphant. The Meeting of Parliament. His Majesty's Speech. Debate on

Address in the House of Lords. Extraordinary Protest of Earl Fitzwilliam. Debates on the Address in the House of Commons. AppreRensions of a French Invasion. Measures proposed by the Minister for e Defence of the Country. Debate on these Proposals in the House of

ons. Debates on the Supplementary Militia Bill in the Commons. " amending the Supplementary Militia Act. Debates in the Com. " the Cavalry and Gamekeeper's Bill. Further Debates on the por embodying Gamekeepers. The Measure abandoned. Debates

Army and Mary Augmentation Bill in the Commons. Progress of Bills through the House of Lords, &c. Bill for allowing Catholics to serve rejected by the Lords. Scotch Militia Bill.

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year 1797 has been distin- the present revolutionary period. guished by events the most Innovation was then produced by ble perhaps in the annals principle; it was sanctioned by

in Europe. That splendid piety; it was guarded by morals. when the whole civilized world in the present state of society, the

o awake from a state of friends of liberty, of order, and of

torpidity, when the religion, must discover, with pain, .. superstition had forged that policy, not principle, seems wened for ten centuries the groundwork of those changes were broken by the strong we have recently witnessed. The

on and of truth; even French revolution unquestionably nich straordinary period is dimin originated in the spirit of liberty ;

s importance on a com- but that sacred name was too soon in the present times. The disgraced by the violence and mise reformation was how. conduct of factioa. By the un

by happier characte- fortunate and impolitic combinaPpier presages, than tion against the nascent liberties of

A2

France,

chains that superstition had and strengthened for ten centur before were broken effort of reason and of truth

nished in its importance on parison with the present tim period of the reformation ever marked by happier C ristics, and happier presage

France, the national spirit was ex- position was first formed in this cited, and the love of liberty was country, the party hostile to milost and forgotten in the strong im. nisters has perhaps never been pulse of patriotisın. Repeated vic- weaker than at that of which we tory has tinctured the patriotism are now treating. The state of parof France with the less laudable, ties was indeed very fairly, put to though not less energet!c, passion, trial at the general election, which ambition; the vanity of a people, took place in the months of June naturally or habituaily ostentavious, ant July, 1796. With a few exhas taken the fatal direction of the cepticos, where the private characdesire of conquest, and the ardour of ter of the candidate, or the infludomination. To what fatal point, ence of family connexions, weighto what awful conclusion, the state ed against his political sentiments, of Luropean politics now naturally the tide of success, in the counties tend, be must be indeed a bold man and boroughs, ran proudly in fawho will presume to predict. , vour of the minister and his sup

To recapitulate the events which porters. In some populous places, have given birth to these reflections, where the independent electors were would be to anticipate the history of numerous, an appearance of oppo. the year. Abroad we have seen the sition was displayed. In the city enormous increase of the power of of London, Mr. Combe, one of France; we have seen Italy con- the popular candidates, was elected quered, and Germany awed into by a great majority; and, what submission. At home we have wit is still more extraordinary, nearly nessed an event which was formerly three thousand liverymen came forregarded as one of the most awful ward, almost unsolicited, and withand calamitous that could befal us out the usual inducements of treats as a nation: the incapacity of the and banquets, to the support of Bank of England to fulfil its en alderman Pickelt. At Westminster, gagements. With all this, order Mr. Fox stood at the head of the and tranquillity have been happily poll, and nearly three thousand of maintained, and the sense and vir- the electors gave their votes to Mr. tue of the British nation have risen Horne Tooke, in opposition to the superior to the impulse of passion or ministerial candidate, admiral sir alarm.

Allan Gardner. At Leicester, DerOne consequence might indeed 'by, and Nottingham, some gentlehave been naturally expecied trom men stood forward on the same conthe disastrons state of the public stitutional principles as Mr. Pickett affairs. A partial change, at least, in London, and obtained respectof ministers, might have been re- able support. At Coventry, the opgarded as a necessary consequence position candidates were successful ; of unsuccessful counsels ; yet even and at Liverpool general Tarleton this political phenomenon has been gained his election against bis broexbibited, of au administration de. ther, whom the ministerial party feated in almost every project, fail. there had brought forward to oping in almost every promise, and pose him. From Bristol, Norwich, mistaken in almost every specu- and some other places, invitations, lation, and yet p assing still the it is said, were sent to different perconfidence of the public. Since sons connected with opposition; but the period when a regular op- the gentlemen to whom these overtures were made, were deterred by to the enemy as its commencemert the fear of involving themselves in had been auspicious." the ruinous expenses which are. After bis majesty's speech had now, to the disgrace and misfor- been read in the house of lords, tune of the country, the constant lord Bathurst rose to move the ad. concomitants of contested elec- dress. He had no doubt but that tions.

tures

the house would be unanimous in The new parliament was called agreeing to return their thanks for together at a season of the year un- the gracious communication just usually early : viz. the oth of Octo deli ered. He adverted to the imber, 1795. The speech from the portant contest in which he were throne afforded much sa:isfaction engaged; to the measure which to the nation, and was welcomed bad been deterouined on, of sending as the harbinger of returning peace. a person to Paris with full powers It intimated “that bis majesty had to treat for peace, and the necessity omitted no endeavours for setting on there would be (in case this negotiloot negotiations to restore peace to ation should fail in its effect from Europe; in consequence of which, the haughty demeanour or extraa way was now opened to an im- vagant terins wbich might be demediate negotiation, which must manded by the French directory) produce an honourable peace for us to unite as one man, and repel and our allies, or prove to what every hostile attempt in as brave cause alone the prolongation of the and gallant a manner as we had war was to be ascribed.

formerly done. His lordship next 'That his majesty would send a went into an eulogium on the skill person to Paris, with full powers to and courage of our naval comtreat for this object; but it was manders; he touched upon the war evident, that nothing could so on the continent, and extolled the much contribute to give it effect magnanimity of our ally the empeas the parliament manifesting both ror; spoke of the flourishing state of me determination and the resources the manufactures, revenues, and o oppose the enemy; especially as commerce of this country, and conthere was an open design professed cluded with a panegyric on his maattempting a descent upon these jesty for his assurances of its being

the wish nearest his heart to secure " That by the skill and exertions the prosperity of this country, by an of the navy, our commerce had honourable peace, and to maintain been protected almost beyond ex- in violate the privileges and liberties ample; the fleets of the enemy had of his people. been blocked up in their own ports; The earl of Upper Ogsory, in the operations in the East and West rising to second the address, obIndies had been productive of great served that one part of the speech national advantages; and though alluded to the projected descent of the fortune of war on the continent the enemy upon our coasts, and that had been more various, such a turn bis majesty had treated such a dehad been given to our affairs by the sigo with the contempt it deserved ; spirit of the Austrian foroes under though some precautions would be the archduke Charles, as might in- necessary to prevent, or turn it to spire confidence that the end of the the confusion of the enemy. He campaigo would prove as disastrous hoped that this peace, if we could

kingdoms.

obtain it, would comprehend the ho- purport of the proposed address? nour and security of our allies, and Why, it was neither more nor less applauded that prince to whom, than a recommendation to his maunder the direction of his gallant jesty to acknowledge and approve brother, we were indebted for a se- that system he had formerly reprories of military exploits, which in bated and opposed. If there were themselves were likely to expedite any wisdom in negociation now, the the negotiation.

same wisdom should have been maEarl Fitzwilliam addressed the nifested four years ago, for the house in rather an eccentric ha- same causes existed then, and provrangue. Their lordships, he said, ed the necessity of war, which exist would recollect that he had been at the present moment. an advocate for the war at its com- Was the system which had rouzmencement, from an opinion of its ed our attention, and demanded our necessity; and he was now the exertions, now extinct? Their lordmore confirmed in it, from the ex- ships ought to compare the views perience of a long train of events. of France at that period, with the When the war began, it was asked plans they had prosecuted now. whether it would be prudent to The great and powerful governdraw the sword, not only in the ments of Europe were not the first defence of an ally, but for the pre- who were attacked by the spirit of servation of the civil happiness of aggression ; but the inferior and Europe : it was generally admitted feeble states had felt theiroverbearing not only to be prudent, but indis- influence, and their subversive aupensable; the designs of the enemy thority. tended to the destruction of every Such instances andounced their established government, and the to- intention, and success was to afford tal subversion of order in society; the means of extending their prinnor had those designs been aban- ciples. He instanced Sardinia. No doned. He had trusted, that he sooner was the king compelled to should not have heard a word of submit to a peace with France, than negotiation like that which had it was succeeded by their interferbeen mentioued, and was surprised ence in the internal administration to find such expressions used as of his government; they insisted were common at the end of an on his restoring to their liberty, ordinary war. When he found the and to their effects, all the sorsous address re-echoed to the crown vague who had been condemned to imexpressions concerning negotiation, prisonment or penalties for the without the least attention to the propagation of anarchial doctrines. grand principle on which the war At Rome they signalized their commenced, he was constrained to triumphs by imposing the same dedeclare he should stand in opposi- grading conditions. In Berlin the tion to it.

standard of insurrection was reared ; To restore order; to defend the the national cockade was worn states of Europe against the dangers to attract partisans, and propagate which threatened them; to protect the principles of which it was the persons and property from a fatal emblem. devastation, and suppress the ten- Were their lordships prepared to dency of innovating and pernicious submit to such indignities, to allow doctrines, were the ostensible objects the national cockade to be worn in of the war. What then was the this country by every man whom

the the French directory might choose expose the country to these disasa to consider as a Frenchman? By ters, they would not concur in arms alone these attempts and these giving bis majesty an advice which disgraces were to be resisted; and would strike at the interest of the to these evils we expose ourselves if state, and weaken the security of his we conclude any peace with the government. enemies of established government, From an observation of the noble and of the moral and religious order lord who seconded the address, it of society. Whatever confidence appeared, that it was not merely for might be placed in the loyalty of ourselves but for our allies that this the people at home, what could negotiation was to be instituted. be said of our distant possessions? He doubted how far ministers were Were our colonies safe? Were authorized to include them in the the West India islands in a situation measures they were about to adopt: in which we could rely on their if we could gather the sentiments of tranquillity? What had been the the emperor from his conduct in effect of French principles in their circumstances apparently the most own settlements? What ravage desperate, he would not condehad they not extended to our scend to treat with the enemy of own islands of St, Vincent's and established order and government. Grenada?

There was a subject on which he The effect of their system was proposed a question to ministers : to overthrow all the barriers by Did they mean to recognize France, which property was protected, and circumscribed within her ancient the tendency was realized by the boundaries, or the republic of practice. Even in glancing over France, bounded by the Rhine and the proceedings of their legislative the Alps ? For a series of years bodies, he had found that one of our ancestors had struggled to limit their reporters states, that the sale the territories of France, and to of the national property (that is, maintain the balance of Europe; what was the property of individu- and it was no trivial consideration als) is the pivot of the revolution. whether this aggrandizement was to Were their lordships prepared to be acknowledged, and these acquisubmit to the mandates of the di- sitions sanctioned. This, however, rectory? At their command were was a secondary consideration with they ready to let loose all who had him; for bis prime objection was been doomed to punishment for se-' to treat with France constituted as dition, and attacks upon the con- that government was. But the efstitution of this country? to set fects which our commerce would at liberty Mr. Yorke? to recal from sustain by its aggrandizement were Botany Bay the Jacobins who not indifferent, it was no light rehad been transported thither ? flection that Holland was under the When they had consented to dis- controul of the enemy; tbat Legband our troops and dismantle our horn, once so important in war fleet, now in the height of its power, from the supplies which it furnishdid they imagine we should be able ed, and in peace as the great mart to cope with the forces of the of our commodities and manufacdirectory, wielding the combined tures, was now taken from us. Al streogth of the navies of Spain and the coasts of Europe were now shut Holland? If they did not wish to against our commerce. In Jtaly

the

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