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ciety, distinguished itself, by the re- two objects being incompatible with solute speeches of its principal mem- the views of ministry, the point at bers, at the several meetings that issue between these, and the various took place in the course of the year. alsociations that were increasing in That which was held near Copen- every part of the kingdom, was clearhagen-house, in the neighbourhood ly this, that either the latter would of Ilington, was the most remark- overturn administration, or that adable. The numbers that attended, ministration would overturn them. either through zeal in the cause, or Prompted by this confideration, through curiosity, were compated the principal leads of government at about fifty thousand. Some very had, it was rumoured, come to a daring addresses were made to the determination, to take the first plaumultitude: the conduct of ministers fible opportunity of putting an end was arraigned in the most unqua- to the meetings of these focieties, lified language, and a remonftrance which they represented as wholly to the king, on the necessity of inade up of the lowest populace, peace, and of a reform in parlia- ready to imbibe every notion ofment, was universally agreed on. fered to them by evil-designing
The proceedings, in these allem- men, and to break out into the most hlies, were highly offensive to mi- dangerous excelles of fedition. Unnistry. As they consisted of indivi- der the pretext of instructing them duals void of all hopes of rising by in their rights, the disaffected availed interest or favour; and who, to a themselves of their ignorance, tu milman, were inimical to the measures represent the conduct of government, of government, they condemned and to excite them to hold it in hatred them with a freedom of speech that and tontempt; but a circumstance, knew no bounds. Often times too, still more alarming, was, that among those meetings were attended by those who took fr.ch pains to infame persons of parts, who feized those the paffions of the multitude, there opportunities of venting their dif- were emissaries from France, who, content at the system of the times, though natives of Great Britrin, or and of representing administration Ireland, had thrown off all attachin the fouleft colours, and imputing ment to their country, and were to them the most flagitious designs. become its most violent and rancora Nor were there wanting, among the ous enemies. The danger accruing members of those focieties, though from such characters was obvious ; almost entirely composed of the com- the difficulty of detecting individuals moneft clariés, individuals, who, connected with our focs, enabled though deficient in education, had them to assume the appearance of received talents from nature, which patriotism, and to delude, with facifrequently shone through coarse and lity, the majority of their hearers, vulgar language. The avowed aim into a perfuafion that they spoke of the divers institutions of this na- and acted from principle, and had ture was to oppose government, and no other intention, than to expose 'to bring about the two great ob- abuses, and to induce the people, jects, at this time, in general con- at large, to afiert their rights. templation; a peace with France, Such was the description, given and a reform in parliament. Thele by the adherents to government, of
the numerous assemblies, and associ- Odober, a day that will be long reations, that had been inftituted in membered, on account of the events opposition to its measures. It was that attended it, and of the consenot on the other hand denied, that quences that followed them, and the outrages, still adopted in most of of which they were the immediate the popular meetings, was an object cause. that called for fuppreffion. The A report had been spread, that warmest friends to the principles in- an immense multitude, of disconculcated by them, did not deny the tented people, had agreed to take impropriety of attacking the ruling this opportunity of manifefting their powers with such acrimony of sentiments to the king in perfon. speech, and prognosticated, that, This, of course, excited the curiosity through want of moderation in their of the public, and the park was invectives, these meetings exposed crowded in a manner unprecedentthemselves to certain diffolution, ased fince the king's acceflion to the the powerful adversaries they were throne. In his way to the house of continually provokiny, would cer- lords, which lay through the park, tainly labour to filence them, and his coach was furroundod, on every probably find the means of doing it. fide, by persons of all deferiptions,
To the agitation occafioned by demanding peace, and the dismision political disputes, another was, at of Mr. Pitt. 'Some voices were even ihis period, fuperadded of a ftill heard exclaiming no king, and stones more dangerous consequence. A were thrown at the state-coach as scarcity prevailed throughout the it drew near to the Horte-guards. kingdom, and was woefully felt by In passing through Palace-yard, one the poorer fort, several of whom of the windows was broken, it was perished for want. The means of said, by a bullet, discharged from procuring sustenance were narrowed an air-gim. Thele outrages were from various causes; but the dif- repeated on the king's return from contented attributed this evil to the the house, and he narrowly escaped war; and the fufferers, through de- the fury of the populace, in his way fect of employment, were ready back from St. James's Palace to enough to believe those who repre Buckingham House. sented all the calamities that afflicted All reatonable people were deeply the nation, as proceeding chiefly, affected at this treatment of the if not solely, from that cause. This king. They were duly fenfible that prepared them for the commission it would produce effects highly dif. of those exeelles, to which men are agreeable to the public, and, instead fo prone, when they find themselves of answering the purposes proposed, aggrieved, and imagine they are by those who were fo milled as to appunishing the authors of their griev- prove of it, that, on the contrary, it ances,
would tend to strengthen the hands The state of the nation, from these of ministers, by enabling them to various circumstances, appeared fo bring forward Tuch refirictive meacritical, that it was judged necessary fures, as would considerably abridge to call parliament together at an the freedom of speech and action, earlier périod than nsual. It met, hitherto enjoyed by the people at accordingly, on the twenty-ninth of large.
The speech from the throne, was, Mr. Sheridan was extremely fein the mean time, allowed to be vere in the reply which he made as well appropriated to the cir- on this occasion. Among other incumstances of the time, as any that vectives, he reproached ministers had been delivered since the com- 'for their unikilful management in inencement of the war. It men- the Weli Indies, where the force tioned the disappointment of the employed was totally inadequate to · French in their attempts in Ger- the objecis proposed, and numbers iany, and the internal dificulties of the men had been lost through under which they continued to. la- negligence, and want of medical bour. Their present fituation af. ailliance, in that unwholesome cliforded a well-founded presumption, mate. He accused ministers of that they would liften to equitable deligning to restore despotilin in and moderate terms of peace. In France. He called upon them to order to obtain such terms, it would act as Spain and Pruslia had done, be necessary to sew that Great by treating with thate persons whom Britain was able to maintain the the republican armies looked upon contest, till such a peace ensued, as as entitled to their obedience. He accorded with its dignity and in- advised ministers to beware of a terest. The other particulars of the connection with the house of Bourspeech referred to the preparations bon. It was through such confor a vigorous continuance of the sections that the Stuart's had been war, the treaties concluded with expelled. The Bourbons had invariforeign powers, the prosperous fiate ahly proved the enemies to Great of commerce, and the neans of pro, Britain ; and this enmity would reviding against the present scarcity. vive, were they to be re-established
Lord Dalkeith mored the ad- on the throne of France. The rallı, dress, and was seconded by Mr. and fruitless, attempts to restore that Stuart: the latter gentleman dwelt family ought, therefore, to be totally chiefly on the exhausted situation of relinquished, and government should France, and the oppreflive methods declare itself willing to treat with it was reduced to adopt for the the Frencia republic. raiting of lupplies. The fituation He was replied to by Mr. Jenkinof this country was the reverse: son, with the many arguments, so whatever money was demanded was frequently repeated, in juftification intiantly found, without oppresling of ministerial measures. He added, thie subject; the confidence of mo- that the retention of the United Pronied men in government keeping vinces, by the French, rendered all pace with all its exigencies. Nuch treating with them inadınillible. It bad been faid of the conquest of' was necciary, therefore, to comLlolland by the French, but they pel them to abandon this new conwere obviously indebted much more quest, or to make fuch acquilito fortunate casualties, than to their tions as might counter-balance it, own prowefs, and could place little and induce them to give up the reliance on the attachment of the polletion of that country. Had patives, who were now convinced the members of the coalition aced of their imprudence, in trusting to with fidelity to the cause they had the friendhip of the french. espoused, the French would, by this
time, have been forced to abadon the depreciation of its paper curtheir lofty pretentions.
rency: but was this an argument In answer to this, the prospect proper to be adduced by men acof affairs was represented, by gene- quainted with the transactions of the ral Tarleton, as very disadvantage. American war, and who must be con
The numerous army, with scious of the futility of pecuniary which the French had lately obliged calculations, when people were de the king of Spain to come into their termined to suffer every hardship own terms, would now be employed that human nature could bear, and in the invasion of Italy, while our to try every expedient that necelefforts against the French poslef- fity could suggest, rather than admit fions, in the West Indies, would the idea of fubmiffion? It was time probably be frustrated, as they had to abandon fo hopeless a cause as been on the coast of France, through that of the roval family of France: misconduct on our side, and the dif- The opinions of fo mighty a nation ficulty of the very attempt itself. were not to be subdued by force It was vain to repeat exertions that of arms. When preiled to listen to had been so fucceffively foiled. Mi- pacific language, minifters aileged nisters were no longer deserving of the incapacity of the French governconfidence; their evident incapacity ment to maintain the usual relarequired their immediate dismiilion, tions of harmony between different and the trial of new men, as well as states: but had such objections held of new measures.
good in the cause of Spain, Prusia, He was followed by Mr. Fox, and even the king of Great Britain who inveighed, with great anima- himself, in the quality of elector of tion, against the allertions made by Hanover. Had not this far-fetched ministry, as fallacious and delusive. and ablurd obitacle vanished before Instead of the flattering defcription the reasonableness of putting an end they had given of the filuation of to the calamities of war? It was this country, the fact was, that one ridiculous to insist upon danger from hundred millions had been added treating with the French, because to the national debt, and four mil- they had subverted their former, and lions a year to the standing taxes. adopted a new constitution: the In lieu of reducing the enemy within permanence of a treaty depending bis former bounds, he was master of on its equitableness, and corresponall the Austrian territories on the dence, with the reciprocal interests west of the Rhine; nor was there of the contracting parties. It was any well-grounded hope of our re- become nugatory to talk of our alcovering them. He was preparing lies: we had, indeed, mercenaries to invade Italy with a great and in our pay, whom we could only victorious army. The scarcity that retain by excesive bribes, and afflicted the kingdom had been fore. who were, every moment, lielitatold; but ministers dildained to listen ting, whether to accept of them, or 10 the warning, though enforced of the terms proffered by our cnefrom the most relpeciable quarter. mies, to detach them from this counThe propriety of perfitting in the try. Adverting to the scarcity fo war was argued from the distress heavily complained of, Mr. Fox obto which France was reduced by ferved, that war, and its fatal concomitants, tended, undeniably, to of pecuniary resources? However 'impede cultivation, and to defolate successful on their frontiers, through the countries where it was waged: military efforts, and the chances of the most fertile parts of Europe hav- war, the lyftem of the French was ing lately been the continual scenes lo radically heinous, that it could of this destructive war, the produc- ' not last. Were the European powers tions of the earth had been necef- to reunite against them, they could farily diminished, and it was un- no longer tiand their ground. The realonahle to deny that the war was, interior parts of that large kingin a very considerable degree, the dom were in a state of the utmost caule of a deficiency in the necefla- wreich dness. Trade and commerce ries of life. He concluded by mov- were annihilated, and induítry found ing, that such conditions of peace no occupation. Hence proceeded fhould be offered, to the French, as the facility with which the French would consist with the safety and recruited their armies, and the des. dignity of Great Britain.
perate fpirit, that animated men, The ideas of peace and security, who could procure no fuftenance were, in answer to Mr. Fox, repre- but at the point of their lwords. fented by Mr. Pitt, as incompatible But energics of this kind were not with the filuation of this country in their nature durable, and would relpecting France. Every motive certainly terminate in a short lapse militated for a perseverance in the of time. So great was the difficulty conteft. The enemy felt his in- of procuring fpecie for the moti creasing debility, and, notwithstand- urgent demands, that necellary aring his fuccelies in the field, betrayed ticles, in kind, were given in paya consciousness that his friength was ment, and people were glad to acmaterially diminished. Hence it was cept of any thing that bore the that he had latterly shown a dispo- femblance of pay. Would it not, tition to peace. But the interest of therefore, be the height of imprue this country required a deliberate dence, after reducing them to fuch consideration of the state of France, a fituation, to pass by fo favourable in order to judge of the expediency an opportunity of reducing thein of entering into negociations at the still lower, and of ecuring, to ourpresent moment. Such was the fall felves, the advantages relulting from of the French paper in circulation, their evident and undeniable depresthat it was now lunk to one and a fion? After adducing farther arguhalf for every hundred of nominal ments, in vindication of his conduct, value. Seven hundred and twenty a divifion took place, when two hunmillions sterling had been fabricated dred and forty voted for the address, and made current, and this enor- and fifty-nine for the amendment, nous quantity was still on the in- moved by Mr. Fox. ercale. Was it credible that a na- On the next day, which was the tion, reduced to such Itraits, would thirtieth of October, the address was be able to make head againit the moved, in the house of lords, by lord formidable enemies that were pre- Mountedgecomb, who supported it paring to allail it with redoubled vi- with much the same reasonings that gour, and whole fituation was so had been used in the house of commuch more advantageous in point mons. He was seconded by lord.