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remained unaccomplished, and as far out of the reach of all reason able expectation, as at the first moment of its being attempted. All parties seemed, at this period, to unite in the like strain of reasoning. Numbers of those who had warmly espoused the cause of the minister, thought that a sufficient trial had been made of the various schemes he had brought forward, in order to compel the French to revert to their former situation; and that, having failed, prudence enjoined him to desist, and to leave the reestablishment of the French monarchy to a future period, and more auspicious opportunities.

That party, which had opposed the war from its very commencement, were loud in their reprobation of its continuance, and reproached ministers with a total want of foresight, in not seeming to have apprehended the difficulties they would have to contend with, and, with equal inability, to encounter them. As the events of the war countenanced these reproaches, the public joined in them, and the government was thought very reprehensible in persisting against reiterated experience, in a contest that threatened to waste the strength of the nation ineffectually, and the aim of which, were it attained, would not prove an indemnification for its


don led the way, and, in a commonhall, the votes, for a petition, were four thousand, and only one hundred against it.

The terms in which it was conceived were extremely pointed. "None of the ends proposed by the war, (to use the words of the petition) had either been, or appeared likely to be, obtained, although it had been carried on at an unprecedented expence to this coun try, and had already produced an alarming increase of the national debt, augmented by subsidies, paid to allies, who had notoriously violated their solemn engagements, and rendered no adequate service for large sums actually received by them, and wrung from the credulity of the generous and industrious inhabitants of this island." It concluded by expressing a firm and decided conviction, that the principle on which the war appeared to be carried on, neither was, nor could be, essential to the liberty, the glory, or the prosperity, of the British empire.

Other addresses, in a similar style, were resolved on in several of the principal cities in the kingdom. The adherents to ministry endea voured, on the other hand, to procure counter petitions: but these were faint and languid in comparison to the former; those who framed them, did not venture to speak in justification of the war; they went no farther than to leave to ministers the choice of their own time for pacific negociations.

Ideas of this nature were now generally predominant, and became, at last, so prevalent, not only among the multitude, which had long been swayed by them, but among the A circumstance that had greatly more reputable classes, that a variety indisposed the mercantile and tradof associations were formed, anding classes against ministry, was, the meetings held, for the avowed pur- refusal to permit the Dutch people pose of petitioning the legislature in of property to deposit their money favour of peace. The city of Lon- and effects in England, without pay

ing the customary duties. Had this Had this permission been granted, upwards of twenty millions of specie, and other treasure, would, it was said, bave been brought into this country. The reason alleged, for denying the request of the Dutch merchants, was, that if they were allowed to transport their effects into England, it would operate as a discouragement to their countrymen, and prevent them from acting with vigour against the French, who, having subdued the Austrian Netherlands, were then preparing to carry their victorious arms into the United Provinces: but the reply to this allegation was, that the French party was so powerful in Holland, that it was easy to foresee that all resistance would be vain. It would have been good policy, therefore, to have encouraged the monied-men, in that country, to have lodged their property in England; as most of them were manifestly inclined to do, in arder to preserve it from the rapacity of the French, whose wants were such as would infallibly induce them to supercede all considerations, in order to provide for them as soon as they should find themselves in possession of a country, the wealth of which was competent to supply them with what they needed.

This refusal, on the part of the British administration, was generally deemed a very unseasonable oversight. It threw into the hands of the French an immense quantity of money and wealth of every denomination, which might evidently have centered in England, together with its owners. This would, in a very considerable measure, have compensated for the loss of Holland to the confederacy, and amply indemnified Great Britain, by the prodigi

ous accession of real property that must have been the necessary cons sequence of the emigrations of rich individuals from the United Pro


Another oversight, no less real, though less noticed, was an article in a treaty which had been agreed on with the American States, by which their trade to the British islands in the West Indies was restricted to ves-els of an inferior size. This, instead of diminishing their commerce thither, tended rather to increase it, by adding to their number of seamen whether in large, or in small vessels, this commerce was so profitable to them, that whatever obstacles were thrown in their way, would quickly be overcome by their industry and activity: the profits of trade would be more divided, but the number of hands employed in it would produce the double consequence, both of gradually extending it, and of augmenting the number of American seamen.

These various considerations contributed materially to displease the generality of people. The burthens of the war were so heavy, and such multitudes felt their weight, that discontents and murmurs abounded every where. The different motives assigned, at different epochs of the war, for its continuance, were also highly prejudicial to ministers, as they led many to think that the real motive was purposedly kept out of sight, and was of too invidious a nature to be frankly acknowledged.

Ideas of this nature were now universally current among the disapprovers of the war, and were asserted and circulated by them with considerable effect. But that circumstance which was the most un


fortunate and alarming, in the midst of this general dissatisfaction, was, that it had arisen, in many, to such a degree of rancour at the authors and abettors of the war, that the attachment, which men naturally feel for their country, and its con cerns, had given way to sentiments of the most violent hatred and hostility to government. It was no longer a simple disapprobation of the war; it was a fervent desire that it might terminate to the disadvantage of this country, and that the French might prevail against the English. So extraordinary and unnatural an antipathy arose, however, from other causes besides the war with France: the persuasion that no reforms would take place in the go. vernment, while it was able to main tain its ground against France, prompted the determined advocates of these reforms to express, with marked anxiety, their wishes for the success of this inveterate enemy to England. They seemed unconcious, or heedless, of the consequences that must necessarily follow, were the French to succeed in their designs against this country, to that extent which they had projec ted, and which the generality of their well-wishers in England appeared to desire with no less fervour than themselves.

But the animosities, produced by internal divisions, had, in truth, taken such unhappy possession of most men, that those who sought to reconcile them to moderation, became equally odious to both parties: no medium was allowed; whoever deplored the war, as pregnant with calamities that might have been avoided, was reputed a foe to his country; whoever pronounced it just, and Decessary, was deemed a conspirator

against its liberty, and an abettor of arbitrary power.

In this unfortunate disposition of mind the nation continued during the whole year 1795. The summer, in particular, was marked by a variety of tumults and riots. These were occasioned by the methods practised in the enlisting of men for the army: what with the general averseness of the common people to the war; what with the iniquity of the practice itself, those who were concerned in it became such objects of execration to the multitude, that their persons and dwellings were equally exposed to its resentment and fury. Several houses, either tenanted, or made use of, by those who are vulgarly known by the appellation of crimps, were demolished, or stripped of their furniture, and the owners put in danger of their lives. So great was the rage of the populace, that it was not without some difficulty those riots were suppressed by the soldiery. Several of those who had been active in these disturbances were executed; but the public highly disapproved the condemnation, to death, of indi viduals, guilty of no other offence than giving way to a sudden impulse of indignation at the vir tence offered to their fellow subjects.

Such was the temper of the commonalty, previous to the meeang of parliament, about the close of October, 1795. A fermentation of the most alarming kind seemed to pervade the whole mass of the peo ple. The various associations of individuals, united for the purpose of obtaining a parliamentary reform, were, at this period, peculiarly 0. ticed for their boldness and activity. That which was known by the name of the corresponding society, dis [B4] tinguished

tinguished itself, by the resolute two objects being incompatible with

speeches of its principal members, at the several meetings that took place in the course of the year. That which was held, near Copenhagenhouse, in the neighbourhood of Islington, was the most remarkable. The numbers that attended, either through zeal in the cause, or through curiosity, were computed at about fifty thousand. Some very daring addresses were made to the multitude: the conduct of ministers was arraigned in the most unqualified language, and a remonstrance to the king, on the necessity of peace, and of a reform in parliament, was universally agreed on.

The proceedings, in these assemblies, were highly offensive to ministry. As they consisted of individuals void of all hopes of rising by interest or favour; and who, to a man, were inimical to the measures of government, they condemned them with a freedom of speech that knew no bounds. Often times too, those meetings were attended by persons of parts, who seized those opportunities of venting their discontent at the system of the times, and of representing administration in the foulest colours, and imputing to them the most flagitious designs. Nor were there wanting, among the members of those societies, though almost entirely composed of the commonest classes, individuals who, though deficient in education, had received talents from nature, which frequently shone through coarse and vulgar language. The avowed aim of the divers institutions of this nature was to oppose government, and to bring about the two great objects, at this time, in general contemplation; a peace with France, and a reform in parliament. These

the views of ministry, the point at issue between these, and the various associations that were increasing in every part of the kingdom,was clear. ly this, that either the latter would overturn administration, or that administration would overturn them.

Prompted by this consideration, the principal heads of government had, it was rumoured, come to a determination, to take the first plau sible opportunity of putting an end to the meetings of these societies, which they represented as wholly made up of the lowest populace, ready to imbibe every notion offered to them by evil-designing men, and to break out into the most dangerous excesses of sedition. Under the pretext of instructing them in their rights, the disaffected availed themselves of their ignorance, to misrepresent the conduct of government, and to excite them to hold it in hatred and contempt; but a circumstance, still more alarming, was, that among those who took such pains to inflame the passions of the multitude, there were emissaries from France, who, though natives of Great Britain, or Ireland, had thrown off all attachment to their country, and were become its most violent and rancorous enemies. The danger accruing from such characters was obvious; the difficulty of detecting individuals connected with our foes, enabled them to assume the appearance of patriotism, and to delude, with facility, the majority of their bearers, into a persuasion that they spoke and acted from principle, and had no other intention than to expose abuses, and to induce the people, at large, to assert their rights.

Such was the description, given by the adherents to government, of


the numerous assemblies, and associations, that had been instituted in opposition to its measures. It was not, on the other band, denied, that the outrages, still adopted in most of the popular meetings, was an object that called for suppression. The warmest friends to the principles inculcated by them, did not deny the impropriety of attacking the ruling powers with such acrimony of speech, and prognosticated, that, through want of moderation in their invectives, these meetings exposed themselves to certain dissolution, as the powerful adversaries they were continually provoking, would cer tainly labour to silence them, and probably find the means of doing it. To the agitation occasioned by political disputes, another was, at this period, superadded, of a stil more dangerous consequence. A scarcity prevailed throughout the kingdom, and was woefully felt by the poorer sort, several of whom perished for want. The means of procuring sustenance were narrowed from various causes; but the discontented attributed this evil to the war; and the sufferers, through defect of employment, were ready enough to believe those who represented all the calamities that afflict. ed the nation, as proceeding chiefly, if not solely, from that cause. This prepared them for the commission of those excesses, to which men are 30 prone, when they find themselves aggrieved, and imagine they are punishing the authors of their griev


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The state of the nation, from these various circumstances, appeared so critical, that it was judged necessary to call parliament together at an earlier period than usual. It met, accordingly, on the twenty-ninth of

October, a day that will be long remembered, on account of the events that attended it, and of the consequences that followed them, and of which they were the immediate cause.

A report had been spread, that an immense multitude, of discontented people, had agreed to take this opportunity of manifesting their sentiments to the king in person. This, of course, excited the curiosity of the public, and the park was crowded in a manner unprecedented since the king's accession to the throne. In his way to the house of lords, which lay through the park, his coach was surrounded, on every side, by persons of all descriptions, demanding peace, and the dismission of Mr. Pitt. Some voices were even heard exclaiming no king, and stones were thrown at the state-coach as it drew near to the Horse-guards. In passing through Palace-yard, one of the windows was broken, it was said, by a bullet, discharged from an air-gun. These outrages were repeated on the king's return from the house, and he narrowly escaped the fury of the populace, in his way back from St. James's Palace to Buckingham House.

All reasonable people were deeply affected at this treatment of the king. They were duly sensible that it would produce effects highly disagreeable to the public, and, instead of answering the purposes proposed, by those who were so misled as to approve of it, that, on the contrary, it would tend to strengthen the hands of ministers, by enabling them to bring forward such restrictive measures, as would considerably abridge the freedom of speech and action, hitherto enjoyed by the people at large.


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