Gambar halaman

Melville, who “ accommodated" Mr. Trotter, his pri. vate agent, and was IMPEACHED; and the case of Mr. Pitt, who“ accommodated” two members of parliament, and was INDEMNIFIED. "The case, by what lies upon the very surface, speaks for itself: but the EVIDENCE, as brought in the Weekly Political Registers above mentioned to bear upon the point, and to throw upon the transaction a clear light, will cause the warmest partizan of the minister to blush for a defence, which would have disgraced the lips of any but an Old Bailey Solicitor. And when such a minister who, as the partizans of Lord Sidmouth tell us, drove his Lordship out of the cabinet by “ the measures he pursued to rescue Lord Meta ville from the laws of his country, and by his profiligate waste of the public resources in the Atholl case,

"1 ventures, under the protection of such an indemnity, to brave the storm of public indignation ; and when his continuance in office must be a national disgrace, attended with no other prospect than that of new evils and new dangers to the state, pertinaciously clings to power to the last convulsive grasp, to what can it be attributed, but to a personal desperation, accompanied by a total disregard of consequences to the public !

In our courts of law, my Lord, we have such things as verdicts being set aside for having been contrary to evidence : and in a higher court also, we have precedents, which should make wicked ministers, although intrenched chin-deep with indemnities, tremble for their iniquities. Lord Coke in his 4th. Inst. c. 1. informs us of the fate of Empson and Dudley, although their oppressions had had the sanction of acts of parliament. And by the 1 Hen. IV. c. 3. in our statute books, we have“ a repeal of the whole parliament, " holden anno. 21. Rich. 2. and the authority given or hereby.".

This bold man intends, it is said, to dissolve the parliament. Such a measure must put us in mind of the conduct of the king we have just mentioned ; who, says Rapin, “ had already taken all necessary measures to

1 Times, 12th. July, 1806.




one of

[ocr errors][merged small]

« have a parliament at his own devotion. Some time
“ since, he had changed all the Sheriffst of the king-
*** dom and suffered none, but what had promised to be
“ subservient to his designs. He had taken the same
“ precautions, with respect to all officers that had cre-
“ dit and power in the boroughs and counties. So by
" means of the magistrates, and persons in public

posts, he had caused such representatives to be chosen

as he had secured before hand. If any were elected
“ not agreeable to him, the Sheriff's were ordered not
to return them, but to cause others to be chosen in
as their room.”

But this «
“ the principal causes of Richard's destruction, as will
« be seen hereafter. And indeed it is impossible, that

a nation can see their liberties in the hands of men,
“ whom they have not themselvee freely chosen, without

desiring to be delivered from such an oppression."2

All the acts," of the late parliament, “ were so
“ manifestly destructive of the nations' liberties, that
they were unanimously repealed.”s

“ After the rights and privileges of the people were
by these acis restored to the same state as before the

incroachments of Richard, the authors and advi-
sers of the usurpations, were called to an account."4

Perhaps this trier of a people's patience may find the nation is not now in a temper to witness a dissolution, for no other purpose than that he may oust from the Treasury Boroughs the creatures of Lord Sidmouth and put in his own ; as well as play off some other borough maneuvres,for counteracting the defections which have of late broken in upon the unanimity of the Borough Faction! Perhaps he will find that the nation is “ determined no longer to see their liberties in the hands

of men whom they have not themselves freely chosen;" and that it will not cease its exertions, until - delivered

from such an oppression!".

When we have heard it declared in the court of
King's Bench on a trial which took place in 1792, that


[ocr errors]

It was but in the preceding reign, that the election of the She-
riffs was taken from the people; See Blacks. Com. iv. 427.
2 I. 468.
3 1. 485.

4 I. 486.

[ocr errors]

at the election for Westminster in 1788, (Mr. Pitt then holding his present employments) that a large sum of money was paid for supporting the court candidate, and that, “ as it was furnished by the SecrETARY OF THE TREASURY, he best could tell whence it came,"1 and the speaker offering a proof of the fact; when we have heard it, in the house of Commons, directly imputed to Lord Castlereagh, that he employed the public money to purchase votes for carrying the Union in 1800 (Mr. Pitt then also holding his present employments, and his Lordship bolding his tongue under the imputation :) when we have heard the declaration of Admiral Markham, that, out of the fifteen millions a year voted for the navy, one third of it is swallowed up in abuse and corruption of one kind or another, and know it to be a very prevalent opinion, that out of the Navy Extraordinaries, (that service on account of its popularity being most liberally supplied) it is the custom to purchase men of war, for the minister's parliamentary line of battle ; and when by the system of bribing, we see openly practised upon parliament by places and emoluments, we are but too well warranted in believing, (what no human being I believe doubts) that bribery both in elections and in parliament is likewise practised in private ; when, I say, we have heard, and seen, and believe most of these things, and have strong reason to suspect the rest, the nation will not imagine that Mr. Pitt, circumstanced as he now is, will solely depend upon his popularity for securing a new parliament to his mind ; and how it will like to pay for a parliament suited to Mr. Pitt's necessities, necessities which cannot fail to make the terms of the contractors run high, remains to be seen.

Having thus noticed the introduction and early discussion of the question of Parliamentary Reformation, and indulged in such cursory remarks as arose out of that topic, let us now return to the point we were upon.

See a subsequent page:

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

FROM what has already been said, and from the statement of a few facts, and the use of a very few argumenis, the true cause of the war of 1793, will be clearly seen. When the auspicious beginnings of the French revolution bad re-awakened in England that spirit of reformation in what related to the essentials of our liberty, which Mr. Pitt's duplicity, procrastination, and art, had caused for a while to slumber; and he apprehended the day was approaching when his sincerity was to be put to the test, under circumstances not perhaps allowing him, by his private treachery, any longer to defeat his own public measures, he doubtless watched with deep anxiety what was passing in France. Had he been sincere in the cause he pretended to have at heart, and to patronise, he, like all other friends to liberty and virtue in this country, would have hailed with a friendly voice, the dawn of continental freedom and happiness; he, like them, would have thought it the time for renewing his own efforts ; and it might naturally have been expected of him, to have then represented to that person, who had left in his hands the matter of parliamentary reformation to be disposed of as he should think fit, that then was the time for using all the influence of both their stations for rendering the Commons House of Parliament what the constitution requires it should be ; so that our government might be quietly settled on its own proper foundations, before any characteristic fooleries of the French people,or any licentious insubordination springing from the intoxication of a nation of slaves suddenly made free, should cause the current of free opinions in this country to take any unexpected direction; or the English nation should be driven into a state of just discontent and well founded anger, on beholding the grand efforts

then making for public liberty in France, while an intolerable wrong striking at the root of their own freedom met with no redress, although he who had undertaken to be their advocate and champion, was then a minister more omnipotent than England had ever before experienced.

Feeling myself at that period, the powerful claims of the people upon Mr. Pitt, and the peculiar fitness of the time, I sought to know what was intended to be done ; and applying to one, high in rank and office, who eitherwas, or thought himself in the minister's entire confidence respecting the whole business of reform, this was the answer I received : “ We are waiting to see what will be done by the patriots of France.” Why Mr. Pitt for reforming the English government, should then wait upon French movements, I could not comprehend; but I have since learned to understand his meaning and his motives. Had he wished to reform at home, that wish would have beamed on his countenance, and the minister's sympathy would have heightened the glow felt in every patriot breast. But no: silent as the grave, and cold as death, safe locked in his iron bosom lay the dark purpose of his soul. His secrel meditations were not on reform, but on war : not how to restore, but how to trample on the liberties of his country. After what has already been said, can it be asked if there be grounds for this conclusion ? The best. Were

your nurseryman to send you a plant for a nonpareil, which afterwards produced crabs, would you believe the nurseryman or the fruit? Do you inquire why such should be his horrid choice ? why a preference so monstrous, so inexpressibly shocking, should be made for an explanation you must apply to the King's friends, to the faction behind the throne, and to their faithful allies, the faction of the boroughs. They if they please can explain this mystery. Meanwhile you may do well to search the human heart, to discover whether there be in reality depraved natures, in whose estimation it is a better to rule in hell, than « in heaven!”

But, my Lord, a tyrant is not so rare a character, ror hypocrisy so rare a vice, that we should be sur


« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »