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his speech, a quotation from Vattel, who says that tas tions at war ought carefully to abstain from all harsh exprerfions of hatred, animosity or contempt, of each other.'“ This rule of policy and decorum,” said he, “ had been totally neglected by the noble lord. But the indecency of his late memorial was by no means its worst feature : it disclosed a principle of war entirely. new in the history of mankind, viz. that we were entitled to take upon ourfelves the execution of the Divine vengeance, and, if applied in its full extent, some millions of men must be put to deatli before we could negotiate for peace. To infer the righteousness of the cause in which we were engaged from the partial success we had obtained was impious and presumptu.
We should be at least Glent till we saw the termination of hoftilities. Vengeance was the prerogative of the Divinity, to whom alone it ought to be left-a prerogative too high and dangerous to be arrogated or exercised by a being so limited in his powers and capacities as man.” He concluded with moving an address to his majesty, expressive of the displeafure of the house at the memorial in question ; and stating, that the minister who presented it had departed from the principles on which the house had concurred in the measures for the support of the war. '. Mr. Pitt entered into an elaborate defence of lord Aukland, and uttered a vehement invective against the Convention; and the motion was rejected by a vast majority of the house.
Some time after this; Iord Aukland being returned to England, a resolution was moved in the house of peers by lord Stanhope, importing, “ that the meaning and intention of the said memorial was to bring the French Conventional commissioners delivered up by Dumouriez to trial, in order to put them to death." His lordship styled the memorial an infamous, horrid, and diabolical paper ; and said, that if the resolutions he should move were carried, he should think it his duty to proceed against lord Aukland as the author.
Lord Grenville took up the defence of lord Aukland with violence, and declared that the memorial was framed in the spirit, if not in the letter, of the ambassador's instructions : and he moved an amendment, pronouncing it conformable to the sentiments of his majesty, and consonant to those principles of justice and policy which it became the honor and dignity of the nation to express. Lord Aukland vindicated his own memorial, and avowed it to be his opinion, « that those who caused the death of the king of France were murderers, and that murderers ought to be brought to justice.” And the amendment of lord Grenville was carried without a division.
As the charter of the East-India Company would expire inthe year 1794, it was the wish of very many enlightened patriots that the trade to the East Indies should be thrown open, and their system of commercial monopoly for ever destroyed. But Mr. Dundas, in the present session, completely extinguished all hopes of this nature by bringing in a bill, which foon after passed into an act, to renew the charter for twenty years, upon terms which varied little from the existing regulations.
On the 2d of May Mr. Grey made his promised and celebrated motion for a reform in the representation. Many petitions were previously presented to the house, pointing to the same object, but, for the most part, by the obnoxious mode of universal suffrage and annual parliaments,—the moderate reformers being almost universally converted into alarmists. That this popular plan of reform would be unattended by those terrible consequences which have been so generally apprehended is extremely probable ; but the odium under which it had the misfortune to labour was a sufficient reason for the judicious to abandon the idea of it. But the circumstance most remarkable in these petitions was, that the majority of the petitioners claimed the adoption of this plan upon the principles of the duke of Richmond, as a matter of absolute abstract right, and not
upon any mere ground of national utility and policy. Nos thing certainly can lead to more absurd and dangerous consequences than the admission of a claim of this nature; or, indeed, to suppose that any political right can exist which does not originate in political utility: but there is good reason to believe, that though the petitioners, in consistency, with their principles, could not ask less than they imagined to be their undoubted and indefeasible right, they would, for the most part, have been well satisfied with fuch a moderate and temperate melioration of the present system as would have sufficed to attain the chief practical purposes of parliamentary reform.
The petition from Sheffield was figned by no less than: 8000 names; from Norwich, 3700; from Birmingham, 2700 ; from London and Westminster, 6000. But the most remarkable by far of the petitions of this day was that framed by the Society of the Friends of the People, and presented to the house by Mr. Grey. It was of such length as to take up near half an hour in reading; and it contained a most masterly recapitulation of the abuses of the present parliamentary system of representation, expressed in very dignified and correct language ; and praying the house for an effectual reform of these abufes, in animated terms, without specifying any particular mode of redress.
“ Your petitioners complain (say they) that the number of representatives assigned to the different counties is grossly disproportioned to their comparative extent,. population, and trade.
“ Your petitioners complain that the elective franchise is so partially and unequally distributed, and is in so many instances committed to bodies of men of such
limited numbers, that the majority of your honourable house is elected by less than 15,000 electors, which, even if the male adults in the kingdom be estimated at fo low a number as three millions, is not more than the two-hundreth part of the neople to be represented.
si Your petitioners complain that the right of voting is regulated by no uniform or rational principle.
“ Your petitioners complain that the exercise of the elective franchise is only renewed once in seven years.
“ Your petitioners thus distinctly state the subject-matter of their complaints, that your honourable house may be convinced that they are acting from no spirit of general discontent, and that you may with the more ease be enabled to inquire into the facts, and apply the remedy."
After a very accurate statement of the extensive mil.chiefs arising from these sources, they add-_~ Your petitioners must now beg leave to call the attention of your honourable house to the greatest evil produced by these defects in the representation of which they complain, namely, the extent of private parliamentary patronage—an abuse which obviously tends to exclude the great mass of the people from any substantial influence in the election of the house of commons, and which, in its progress, threatens to usurp the sovereignty of the country, to the equal danger of the king, of the lords, and of the commons. Your petitioners are confident that, in what they have stated, they are supported by the evidence of facts; and they trust that, in conveying those facts to your honourable house, they have not been betrayed into the language of reproach or disrespect. Anxious to preserve in its purity a constitus tion they love and admire, they have thought it their duty to lay before you, not general speculations deduced from theoretical opinions, but positive truths susceptible of direct proof; and if, in the performance of this task, they have been obliged to call your attention to affertions which you have not been accustoned to hear, and which they lament that they are compelled to make, they intreat the indulgence of your honourable house."
Whoever reads this celebrated petition, and still retains the opinion that the parliamentary representation of this kingdom needs no reform, may be regarded as in a state,
of mind far beyond the reach of facts or of argument. The allegations of the petition were dwelt upon by Mr. Grey with great eloquence and ability; and all the chief speakers in the house took part in the debate, which was protracted to the unusual length of two days. Mr. Pitt opposed the motion for referring the petitions to a committee, upon
the plausible pretext of the danger which would, at the prefent crisis, be incurred by what he styled a change in the constituțion-holding up in terrific prospect the events which had recently taken place in France, though between the political situations of the two countries there existed not the most diftant analogy. It could not escape notice, that although Mr. Pitt had,' from the commencement of his political career, pledged himself never to lose fight of this great object, that perfidious minister had, since his access fion to power ten years fince, made only one feeble effort for its accomplishment: and he had moreover opposed, almost invariably and with effect, every liberal measure which had from time to time been brought forward in par. liament for the extension of the general system of constitutional liberty ; demonstrating, by this means, the necessity of that radical reform which he now professed fo vehemently to deprecate. The house at length divided, the votes being 41 for, and 282 against, referring the petitions to 4 committee.
On the 21st of June (1793) the king prorogued the parliament. In his speech on this occasion his majesty noticed the rapid and signal successes which had, in an early period of the campaign, attended the operations of the combined armies; the respectable and powerful force which he had been enabled to employ by sea and land; and the measures which he had concerted with other powers for the effectual prosecution of the war, all of which afforded the best prospect of a happy iffue to the important contest in which we were engaged. - But events unfortunately proved that infallibility is not one of the prerogatives of royalty.