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BRITISH AND FOREIGN

HISTORY

For the Year, 1797

CHAPTER I.

General Refleâions 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 the Address in the House of Lords. Extraordinary Proieft of Earl Fitzwilliam. De. bate on the Address in the House of Commons. Apprehensions of a French Invasion. Measures proposed by the Minister for the Defence of the Country, Debate on these Proposals in the House of Commons. Debates on the Supplementary Militia Bill

. In the Commons. Bill for' amending the Supplea mentary Militia Ad. "Debates in the Commons on the Cavalry and Games keeper's Bill. Further Debates on the Bill for embodying Gamekeepers The Measure abandoned." Debates on the Army and Navy Augmentation Bill in the Commons. Progress of those Bills througļ the House of Lords, &c. Bill for allowing Catholics to serve rejected by the Lords. Scotch Militia. Bill.

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HE year 1797 has been diftinthe present revolutionary period,

guished by events the moft Innovation was then produced by remarkable perhaps in the annals principle; it was fanctioned by: of modern Europe. That fplendid piety; it was guarded by morals æra, when the whole civilised world In the present state of society, the appeared to awake from a ftate of friends of liberty, of order, and of intellectual' torpidity,' when the religion, must discover, with pain, chains that superttition had forged that policy, not principle, seems and Itrengthened for ten centuries the groundwork of those changes þefore, were broken by the strong we have recently witnefled. The effort of reason and of truth; even French revolution unquestionably that extraordinary period is dimi. originated in the spirit of liberty; nished in its importance on a com but that sacred name was too soon parison with the present times. The disgraced by the violence and mir period of the reformation was how, conduct of faction. By the un. ever marked by happier characte, fortunate and impolitic combina ristics, and happier presages, than tion against the nascent liberties of

France,

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France, the national spirit was ex. position was first formed in this cited, and the love of liberty was country, the party hoftile to mi. loft and forgotten in the strong im- nisters has perhaps never been pulse of patriotism. Repeated vic- weaker than at that of which we tory has tinctured the patriotism are now treating. The state of par. of France with the lefs laudable, ties' was indeed very fairly put to though not less energetic, pation, trial at the general election, which ambition; the vanity of a people, took place in the mouths of June naturally or habitually oftentatious, and July, 1996. With a few exhas taken the fatal direction of the ceptions, where the private charac, desire of conquess, 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 European politics now naturally the tide of success, in the counties tend, he must be indeed a hold man and boroughs, ran proudly in fawho will presume to predict. vour of the minister and his fup.

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 numerous, an appearance of oppoof the year. Abroad we have seen fition was displayed. In the city the enormous increase of the power of London, Nr. Combe, one of of France - we have fèen Italy the popular candidates, was elected conquered, and Germany awed into by a great majority; and, what submillion. At home we have wit-, is still more extraordinary, nearly nered an event which was formerly three thousand liverymen came for. regarded as one of the most awful ward, almost unsolicited, and withand calamitous that could be fall ys 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 Pickett. 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 serise 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 paflion ministerial candidate, admiral fir or alarm.

Allan Gardner. At Leicester, Der. One' consequence might indeed by, and Nottingham, fome gentle. have been naturaliy expected from men stood forward on the saine con. the disastrous state of the public ftitutional principles as Mr Pickett affairs. A partial change, at least, in London, and obtained respect: of minifters might have been re- able support. At Coventry, the opgarded as a necefla:y confequence pofition candidates were successful; of unsuccessful counsels'; yet even and at Liverpool general Tarleton this poliiical phænomenon has been gained his election against his broexhibited, of an adminiftration de ther, whon the ministerial party feated in almost every project, fail there had brought forward to oping in almost every pron.ife, and pose him. From Bristol, Norwich, mistaken in almost every specu- and some other places, invitations, lation, and yet possessing still the it is said, were sent to different per confidence of the publice, Singe fons connected with opposition; but the period, when a regular op the gentlemen to whom these over

tures

tures were made, were deterred by disastrous to the enemy as its comthe fear of involving themseives in mencement had been aufpicinus." the ruinous expences, which are After his majesty's speech had now, :o the disgrace and misfor. been read in the house of lords, tune of the country, the conttant lord Bathurst rofe to move the ad concomitants of contested elec- dress. He had no doubt but that tions.

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 eariy - viz. the 6th of O&to. delivered. He adverted to the ima ber, 1796. The speech from the portant contest in which we were throne ufforded much fatistaetion engaged; to the meaiure which to the nation, and was welcomed had been determined on), of fending as the harbinger of returning peace. a person to Paris with full powers It intimated that his majesty had to treat for peace, and the neceflity omitted no endeavours for settingon there would be (in case this negoti. foot negotiationto restore peace to ation 1:ould fail in its effect frora Europe; in consequenceol which, the haughty demeanour or extraa way was now opened to an im- vagant terins which imight be de. mediate 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 lord ship 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 the determination and the resources of the manufactures, revenues, and to oppose the enemy; especially as commerce of this country, and there was an open design professed concluded with a panegyric on his of attempting a descent upon these majesty for his assurances of its bekingdoms.

ing the wish nearest his heart to see * That, by the skill and exertions cure the prosperity of this country of the navy, our commerce bad by an honourable peace, and to - been protected almost beyond ex. maintain inviolate the privileges

ample; the fleets of the enemy had and liberties of his people. been blocked up in their own ports; The earl of Upper Offory, in the operations in the East and Weft riling to second the address, obo Indies had been productive of great served, that one part of the speech tratiogal advantages; and though alluded to the projected descent of the fortune of war on the contin the enemy upon our coasts, and that bent had been more various, such his majelty had treated such a dea turn had been given to our affairs fign with the contempt it deserved ; by the spirit of the Austrian forces though some precautions would be under the archduke Charles, as neceifary to prevent, or turn it to might inspire confidence that the the confusion of the enemy. He end of the campaign would prove as hoped that this peace, if we could

obtain

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