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have? What provocation to op- had the superiority over the compose the aristocracy of this land or mercial, or the commercial was the monarchy: He had possessed, greater than the landed ; the ques. during the time he had filled an of; tion was, whether the crown had fice of confiderable trust, fome con not a domineering influence over fidence from the monarch. He had both; and if this was the case, been honoured with the diftin, they ought not, they could not guished favour of an illustrious long refiit the imperious demand of personage; he had been treated the people for a reform. But it had with civility by many of the first been said, at what point will you families of this country; he knew stop? To this the answer was easy : of no occasion to regret the want if you concede in time you may of attention from that house; he fix your own bounds; protract the therefore expected credit for his measure until calamity shall have fincerity, when he declared that he made men desperate, and it may be fupported this motion, because he impoffible to reform at all. It had thought it tended to restore to the been urged as a proof, that the pre, people the purity of their excellent sent house of commons spoke the constitution, and to save the state sense of the country, because, at from ruin.
the general election, the people had Sir William Young avowed hin- it in their power to chuse men who felf an eremy of every plan he had had opposed the war, and their ever heard suggested for the altera- having done the contrary was a tion of the form of our reprefenta- proof of its popularity. Before this tion; and the present, in his opi- argument could be admitted, it nion, was as objectionable as all must be assumed that the voice of the preceding. Every such plan the people was free, and the elecwould finally extend to universal tion spoke the genuine sense ; if suffrage, and the multitude would that were true, there would be no convert it into the most mischie. necessity for reform. But it was obvous consequences.
vious that where popular spirit did Mr. Barham thought, that in this prevail, men gained or lost the elecseason of so much difficulty and tion as they had opposed or supalarm, it would be unwise to call ported the present war-be was an the attention of the house to a sub- instance himlelf of this fa&; and ject which must excite very strong an honourable baronet had lost his emotions in the country, and create ele&tion in the same place, because divisions injurious to the common be had given his countenance to the interest. When the proper time minister. arrived he would give his counte Sir Gregory Page Turner pronance to a well-digested scheme of fessed never to have had but one retorın, by which the house of con- opinion; that it was inadness to mons should be the efficient repre- change a system which had been sentative of the country.
handed found and entire down to Mr. W. Smith warmly espoused the days of his father: and if every the motion. Parliamentary reform, body would confide in administra. he said, could no longer be treated tion as he did, this country would with indifference by good subjects foon be enabled to contend with or real patriots; it little fignified the combined force of France and whether the landed reprefentation Spain,
Mr. Polleu voted for the mo- when he (Mr. Fox) was in an of tion.
fice high in his majesty's service, Mr. Fox arose, and in a long and and gave it his itrenuous assent. able [perch lamented the want of Again, in 1785, when the right unanimity upon a subject which honourable gentleman was in place, iavolved our dearest interests, and and renewed his proposition, it reour future security.' He expressed ceived from him ihe same countehis regrets and his astonishment that nance, and invariably had he conthere hould be any difference in tinued to declare himself a friend senciment respecting the circum- to parliamentary reform, by whomstances of the country, or the mea- foever proposed. Now, particiisures which its situation so obvi- larly, he could have no hesitation ouliy required. Arguments had in saying, that it was become a debeen used, he said, to persuade us fideratum to the people of Great we were in a state of peace and Britain. Between the alternatives tranquillity, that we enjoyed inter- of base and degraded (lavery on the nal concord and outward prosperi- one side, or of tumultuous, though ty. To persons who made such as- probably short-lived, anarchy on the fertions, every proposition tending other, though no man would hesi. to meliorate our condition must be tate to make a choice — yet if there a subject of jealou sy and alarm, and, was a course obvious and practica. if the difference of opinion was so ble, which, without violence or wide, ke saw no probability of an innovation, might lead us back to agreement in any measure which the vigour we had lost, to the could be proposed. According to energy that had been ftitled, to the his own views, he could not but independence that had been underthink every argument against re- nined, and yet preserve every form, which pointed out the dan- thing in its place, a moment ought ger of innovation, was strangely not to be loft in embracing the misplaced; and it was only by are chance which this fortunate provi. form that we had a chance of rescue, fion of British system had made for not only from extreme danger, but British safety. Mr. Fox then touch. , from absolute perdition. Mr. Fox ed upon Ireland: had reform been took notice of the frequent insinua- conceded to the tighty or ninety tions thrown out by the gentlemen thousand moderate petitioners, we on the other side of the house of par Mould not have had this day to dety feelings; and he particularly wish- plore the union of one hundred ed that his reflections, proceeding thousand men, bent on objects so from a principle of free enquiry, extensive, so alarming, so calamimight not be attributed to the bit- tous. Every argument which had terness of party. He said it was been used that day in the house had necessary for him to remind the been used at Dublin. Unwarned, chancellor of the exchequer, that untutored by example, would we he hir self had brought forward the still go on with the same con, subject of reform in the year 1782, temptuous and stubborn pride? He which was a time of war and of said he did not mean to affert that public calamity; and that the mo- Great Britain was at this moment tion had had his feeble support. in the situation, or presented the The right honourable gentleman aspect of Ireland; but he depre, again brought it forward in 1783, cated the course pursued in that
country. What England is now "of England." So spoke lord North; Ireland was in 1791 : what was and yet it was notoriously othersaid of the few they had now ap- wife-fo notoriously, that the preplied to the many; and as there sent chancellor of the exchequer were discontents in this nation, made a just and striking use of this which we could neither diffemble fallacious argument to demonstrate nor deny, let us not, by an unwise the necessity of a parliamentary reand criminal disdain irritate and form. - You see (said he that to fret them into violence and disor " defective, so inadequate is the der, nor leave to the operation of present practice, at least, of an chance what we might more cer " elective franchise, that no imtainly obtain by the exercise of rea s preflion of national calamity, no fon. It had been affirmed that the 6 convi&tion of ministerial error, ministers poffefled the confidence of no abhorrence of disastrous war the country in the same degree as " is sufficient to stand againit the ever, since the majority of the house corrupt influence which has supported the measures of the go " mixed itself with elections, and vernment, and gave their counte
66 drowns and stifles the popular nance to all the evils we were doom “ voice." Upon this statement he ed to endure. He was surprised to acted in 1782, and repeated this hear the noble lord advance a pro- 'warning in 1783 and 1785: it was position so unaccountable, when a the leading principle of his connumber of petitions had been pre- duet : “Without a reform (these fented to his majesty for a dismissal were the words) the nation cannot of his ministers. Why was the 66 be safe; this war may be ended, question of reform agitated, but 6 but what will protect us against because a generaì election did not is another? As certainly as the spiafford the people the means of ex • rit which engendered the present prefsing their voice, because this 66 actuates the secret councils of the house was not a sufficient represen 6 crown, we shall, under the intation of them? When we contend “fluence of a defective representa(said he) that ministers have not their “ tion, be involved in new wars confidence, they tell us that parlia- “ and similar calamities.” This ment is their faithful representative; was the right honourable gentleand when we prove that the house man's prophecy (continued Mr. does not speak their sentiments, Fox), and it has been fully accomfrom the petitions to the throne, we plithed-another war didiake place, are desired to observe the general equal in disaster, and at least equil election, as, at this period, they had in disgrace! In what a state of an opportunity of choosing faithful whimlical contradiction did he now organs of their opinion. Lord stand! After having complained of North had made use of the same " the defect of representation being argument in the American war: the national disease, and unless we “ What! can you contend it is applied our remedies here, we must o unpopular, after the declarati- submit to the inevitable ill conse" on in its favour which the peo- quences;” after having affirmed, « ple have made by their choice of “ that without a parliamentary rese representatives? The general form we could not be fafe against " election is the proof that it conti- bad ministers, nor could any good “ nues to be the war of the people ministers be of use;" it feems as if
his whole life, from that period, and reform, should be presented, a had been destined by Providence motion was made for thanks to for the illustration of the warning! earl Moira and himself, on account During the whole course of the of the steps taken to induce gopresent war every prediction which vernment to attend to the critical the chancellor of the exchequer state of that kingdom, but the thehad made, every hope that he had riff declared he could not put the held out, every prophecy he had question, not because he personally hazarded had failed; he had disap- obje Eted to it, but because it did pointed the expectations he had not make part of the business menraised, and all the promises he had tioned in the requisition. Mr. Fox given had proved fållacious. Yet, said he did not mean to complain of for those very declarations, and not this refusal as wrong, but to thow withstanding teir failure, we had the power of the flieriff in such a called him a wife minifter; though case; and it was an example to no event he had foretold had been prove, that, however well the peoverified, we had continued to be- ple might be disposed to parliamenhold him as the oracle of wisdom; tary reform, they could not iotrobut in the only instance in which duce the matter into petitions agreed he really predićted what had come upon by meetings called for a dif'to pars, we had treated him with ferent purpose: but granting that ftubborn incredulity! But the gen- the people did not yet call for a retemen on the opposite fide of the form, was it not probable that the house tell us that a reform in the universal demand for it, which had representation of the people is not just burst from the people of Irecalled for by the country; and land, would be spee lily communithough petitions have come up for cated to England. The nearness of the dismillal of minifters, they have the two countries, the sympathetic not expreffed a wish for reform. In intereft, the fimilarity of language, answer to this argument it was one of constitution, almost of futfering, ly necessary to observe, that the re. made it likely that one nation would firictions recently laid on meetings catch the disease of the other, unof the people, and on popular dis- less we interposed a seisonable cure, cuffions, accounted for the question or rather a preventative, of the maof reform not being mixed with lady. France was the plantom that that which was the subject of their was continually held out to terrify immediate consideration. The pur us from our purpose; let us then pose of the meeting was necessarily look at France ; it would not be (pecified in the requisition to the denied that the stood upon the theriff; and if any other business broad basis of free representation : was attempted to be brought for whatever other views its governward, the Periff would have the ment might exhibit, and whicli power of difperfing the meeting - might afford just alarm to other naThis had actuaily been experienc- tions, it could not be denied that her ed; for at a meeting of a respect- representative fyftem had proved able county in Ireland (Antrim), itself capable of vigorous exertion s after the business for which they that it had given her, in truth, gihad assembled was transakted, that a gantic strength. Europe felt it too petition for the dismissal of the mi- sensibly for denial. Mr, Fox avownifter, and Catholic emancipation ed, that he had no with we should
imitate France : yet we ought to fions which they engender, their
* If this be the best reason for the strength of democratic governments (and it is to be feared it is) namely, the promoting a spirit of national aggranduement, every philanthropit would prefer a monarchya