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Summary of Proceedings in Parliament, tive government, were greatly lefsened (Continued from p. 743.)
and debilitated. Hence clamours (prung
up within doors; and hence, as was pero May 7.
féaly natural in the moment of anxiety, MR:
TR. W. Pitt rose to open the long, to procure an ad-quate and fit remedy io
expected motion for a parliamen- a praétical grievance, a fpirit of fpeculatary reform. The house, and all the Arion went forth, and a variety of wild avenues to the house, were crouded by schemes, founded in visionary and ima noon, though the business did not come pracicable ideas of reform, were suddenon till half after four.
ly, produced. It was not for him, he He introduced his resolutions with a Kuid, with uphallowed hands to touch the masterly oration on the excellence of the venerable pile of the constitucion, and deEnglish Constitution ; a Constitution, face the fabric; to see it stand in need of which, while it continued as it was first B repair was fufficiently mortifying; but framed by our ancestors, įvas distinguish- the more he revered it, the more he wifiod by the surrounding nations as the pro od to seeure its duration, the greater lie duction of the most confummate wisdom. felt the neceßity of guarding against its Raised by that constitution to greatness decay. Innovations, he knew, were at and to glory, England has been at once all times dangerous, and at no time more the envy and the admiration of the world. hazardous thin the present, when all men No man looked upon the glorious fabric C were politicians, and all men bad opiniwith greater veneration than himself. In ons of their own, which, of course, were deed there was no form of government, those only that were fit to be adopted. on the known surface of the globe, that Pausing upon this, he had relinquilsed was to nearly allied to perfect freedom. the idea which he luggelted to the House Bux, said hic, a melancholy series of e- last year (sce p. 63), aod wished rather to vents, which lately eclipsed the splendour renew and invigorate the Spirit of the old of Britain, exhibited a lamentable reversed constitution, than to new model its anof fortune, which could be accounted for cient form. When he submitted this only upon this principle: That, for the subject to the confideration of the House last fifteen years, there had been a devia- last year, he was told it was ill-times tion from the principles of that happy our attention was then einployed about constitution under wbich the people of many things the objection was not England had been wont to perform ex•• without its force. Ac present, we are ploits that dazzled the neighbouring na once more happy in the enjoyment of tions. As an incontrovertible proof of peace, and now is the time to improve
E the truth of what he had advanced, lie the blessings of it -An Englithman who need only, he said, advert to the history would compare the fourithing state of of a few years recently passed, which this country some twenty years ago with would exhibit such a picture of disasters the fate of humiliation in which he now and disgraces as this kingdom had long beholds it, must be convinced that the been unaccustomed to bear.--He then ruin which he now deplores must have stated the ruinous consequences of the F proceeded from a fom.thing radically American war; the immense expenditure wrong in the constitution ; of this radia of public money; the consequent heavy cal error all are convinced; nay, the burden of taxes; and the preilure of the House itfelf bad discovered that a secret collateral difficulties produced by mea influence was fapping the very foundation fures the most oppofite to wisdom and of liberty by corruption; that its influ. common sense, infomuch that the people, ence had been felt within those walls, and out of temper by little and little, and at Ghad often been found strong enough ip last provoked to extremity, began to turn stifle the sense of duty, and to over-rule their eyes inwards, in order to see if there the propofitions made to satisfy the wishes was not something radically wrong at and delires of the people; that it had home, that was the chief cause of all the risen to such a height that men were misfortunes they felt from abroad. In afhamed any longer to deny its existence, searching for the internal sources of their and the House had at length been driven foreign fatalities, they naturally turned to the necessity of voting that it ought to their attention to that House, where they be diminished. Many expedients had been found that, by length of tiine, the spirit suggested to effect this lalutary purpose. of liberty, and the powers of check and Among those which had been desired to cóntroul upon the Crown and the execu• bar the entrance of such influence into GENT. MAG. 03. 1783,
this House, he had heard principally of read his three resolutions, which were, in three. . One was, to extend the right of substance, as follow: voting for members to all the inhabitants 1. " That it was the opinion of that of the kingdom, without distinction.' “House, That measures were highly neThis he utterly rejected and disclaimed. “cetary to be taken for the prevention Another expedient he had heard of, was,
A. of bribery and expence at elections. to abolish the franchises of those places 2. “ Thát, for the future, when the commonly distinguished by the popular “majority of voters for any borough aprellation of Rotten Boroughs. Hc con " should be convicted of gross and noto. felfed there was something very plausible “rious corruption before a select com. in this idea ; but still he could not rea “mittee of that House, appointed to try dily adopt it. It must, he said, be ad- B“the merits of any election, such borough mitted, from a variety of circumstances, “ should be disfranchised, and the midos which it was unnecessary for him to ex “rity of voters, not so convicted, should plain, that borough members, considered “ be entitled to vote for the county in in the abstract, were more liable to the “which such borough is situated. operation of that influence than those 3. “That an addition of the knights members who were returned by the coun " of the fbire, and of representatives of ties; and therefore, though he was afraid “the inetropolis, should be added to the to cut up the roots of that influence by c" present state of representation." disfranchising the borough, because he Mr. Pilt said, if he should be so happy was afraid of doing more harm than as to succeed in carrying these resolus goud, still he thought it his duty to tions, his intention was, to bring in a bill counteract, if possible, the malady, by ap- upon their respective principles, in which plying a specific. This brought him na the number of knights, and all such other turally to the third expedient that he had regulations as to the House should appear often heard mentioned, which was, to add necessary, might be inserted. a certain number of members, to be cho Mr. Duncombe seconded the motion, on sen by the counties and the metropolis. Dthe ground that the resolutions of the This expedient appeared to him the fittest right hod. mover met the wishes of the to be adopted, because it was the least ob- county (York] which he had the honour jectionable. It had the merit of promis- to reprelent; and therefore it should bare ing an effectual counterbalance to the his support. weight of the boroughs, without being Mr. Powys rose next, and after coman innovation on the form of the consti- plimenting the right hon. Gent. on the tution. He would not then say what transcendent powers of elocution with number of members ought to be added which he had introduced his three resoto the counties; he would leave that to lutions, observed that, though they were be inserted in a bill he intended to bring a dreadful phalanx to combat, yet he in if the resolutions he should move were would not wholly desert the field. He carried; but still, in his opinion, the num- had his doubts. He had another opinion ber ought not to be less than a bundred. to give; he doubted, he said, if the evil It was true the House would then be of which the Right Honourable Genmore numerous than he could with ; but ptleman complained, really existed; and, even for this he would suggest a remedy, " if it did exilt, his opinion was, that the which was, that whenever the majority remedy proposed was not adequate to reof electors in any borough should become
As to the existence of the evil, so notoriously corrupt as to be bribed to which alone could justify the intended send members to that House, the borough innovation (for so he must call it, how, Should lose its franchise, and the honest ever varnished,) how could it be provedi électors be permitted to vote for knights c If proved, would the people be satisfied
the , . roug!is would either be preserved free seconded the motion had said, it met the from corruption, or their number would wishes of his constituents; but, if he gradually diminish. And in that case could judge from the resolutions of the they would have no riglit to complain, York Aliociation (then in his hand), because the crime would sanctify the pu- four things must be done before the free nishment. After anplifying and illus. holders of that county would be satistrating his subject with an infinite variety Hfied; one,
e, that the rotten boroughs be abowif arguments, and insisting on the necel lished; anotber, that a' certain number of fity of something being done in compli- knighits bould be added to tlie counties ance with the withes of the people, le à tbird, that the Septennial Act fhould be
View of the Cathedral of Lifieux in Normandy. From an original Drawing communicated by a Correspondent.
repealed; and the fourth, that the right trade, wealth, and happiness? This of election should be enlarged. Hence he well-pointed irony set the House in a was led to think that the prefent expe- roar.] The freeholders of the county dient, if adopted, would not satisfy the and city of London were not so neglicounty of York. He thought it surpris. , gent. Their grievances are most patheing that he had not heard the petitions A cically set forth: their case was hard inread and compared, so as to ascertain deed! The citizens of Westminster ton, what it was the subscribers wanted; and their case indeed did not so forcibly strike it seemed to him equally strange that the his mind as the others, because the pows, signatures were not counted, so as to lhew erful abilities of their representatives bow they stood, in point of comparison, made them ample amends for the defect with the great body of electors through-g in their right of election. It had been out the kingdom. He knew, he said, B noticed how happy, how virtuous, hoiv that millionaries had been active in chaste, we were once in our representaspreading do&trines, which, because ad- tion, and these halcyon days had been dressed to the passions, had gained many dwelt on and decorated with all the proselytes, who would not be contented flowers of oratory.
His memory, he with any thing less than having the rightfaid, was none of the best, and he should of election extended to all the men in be glad to be reminded in what reign, England. To these, he said, he should Cand at what period, that virtuous repreadd a noble and respectable character, of sentation, so much admired, had raised high rank and great talents, who was a England to the highest pinnacle of greatmaster-mover, and one of the main pil- ness and glory. The rights of election, lars of this baseless-fabric of equal repre- he knew, were of long Nanding. And sentation; one who over-looked the nar- rights annexed to property were a serious row bounds of practice, and dealt in the matter of confideration; and before those more wide and ample field of theory; a. rights could be altered, or that property
letter from whom (Duke of Richmond]” invaded, something culpable thould be to the York Committee he read; on suggested, some delinquency inade out to which he remarked, as well as on some justify the usurpation. He considered the resolutions of the Quintuple Alliance, in political and moral world in the same a style of sarcastic irony that set the point of view; 'and that, in each, men House in a roar. He said, the county of were free agents, and accountable only York was a great county; it had four to those from whom they derived their heads, and, in consequence, was entitley E existence. He did not, he said, recollect to a quadruple degree of respect. An any augmentation of members before the increale of its rights would Itrengthen reign of Charles I. ; nor could he think its aristocracy; no wonder then that York the disease that had infected Parliamene was anxious for the total destruction of fo inveterate as fame doctors affected to the boroughs, as that destruction would have it believed. Parliament, in its most add weight to the counties. But there p debilitated state, had brought about the were reasons ; reafons which did not
F Revolution; it had eftablished the prestrike him so forcibly as they might other fent royal family upon the throne; and persons. Manchester, Birmingham, and of late it had done all that it was necesa Sheffield, he should be glad to hear. fary for the most virtuous Parliament to They were great trading cowns, and effect. He was therefore so well satisfied their petitions ought not to be patient with what it had done, that he was far over in the usual inanner of reading the from wishing to fee it new modelled. To title and prayer. He therefore delire Gmend a conftitution that wanted no rethe clerk to read them. [Tbe clerk turn-pair, put him in mind of a man with a ed over and over again, but could find lame leg, who, walking along the street, none;] Find none! Said Mr Powys; was accosted by a phyfician, wilo said he whac a misfortunel The numerous in could cure him. The lame man anhabitants of Manchetter, Birmingham, swered, he wanted no cure--the defeat and Sheffield, to neglect this important was natural--it was born with him; he business! What could they mean? Did felt no inconvenience from it; he could they not feel a decay of their trade, a de-H walk, run, or ride; he could perform cline of their manufactures ? a spirit of all his duties as a citizen, a husband, and discontent and murmuring among their a father; and as it answered all the purs starving workmen? How could they an. poses for which it was intended, he was swer it to their consciences, to neglect perfectly well faer fied. An over-officithe only means of restoring them to ous readiness to cure a political evil that