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Scotland,

Meeting of the British Parliament.--His Majesty's Speech from the Throne
refpecting the high Price of Provifons and recent Communications from
the French Government.— Addresses of Thanks.-- Amendments proposed.-
Debates.- Proceedings relative to the Dearth of Prorifions.--Divers Bills.
-Royal Proclamation.-Industry and Zeal of the Legislature in devijing
Means for alleviating the public Distress.
THE riots which had taken place that is, of the great mass of the peo-
in many parts of England and ple, and indeed of many who ought

on account of the high rather to be clasled in the middling price of provisions, and which have rank, were so great, that every canalready been noticed in our lali vo- did mind was lefs offended at the

were neither so violent nor commotions of the populace, than obstinate as they would have been ftruck with their fórbearance and in countries where there is less mo- patience. There were, indeed, not deration of character in the peuple, a few men in the enjoyment or exand less confidence in means of con- pectation of places under govern.

The privations ment, who presented to the suffer. and fufferings of the lower orders, ing multitude a frowning and hoftile

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Vol. XLIII.

aspect, and who shewed a disposi- establishment of regular law and tion rather to maintain the public government. For commotions extranquility by that mighty armed cited by extreme want, however force which was now on foot, and incontilient with political order, and distributed in all parts of the united however fraught with future evils, kingdoms, than by the lenient me- have nothing in their nature that thods of due fympathy, considera- fhocks humanity. All quellions of tion, and allistance. Among the right, and all presages of future cazealots for strengthening the handslamities, might have been lost in of government, at all adventures, the general tide of sympathy and by all forcible means, murmurs were compassion; which would have given heard, that it was now high time to the popular fide the force of for all men of property to look well moral, perhaps even religious, fento their own interests; por did they timent. hesitate to affirm, that the numerous The folicitude that was Mewn by bodies of volunteers in arms, were individuals of all ranks to alleviate fully as necessary for the prevention the sufferings of the poor, and the of internal insurrection, as the re- care of government to provide as pultion of foreign invation. Sulpi- much, and as speedily as poflible cions were entertained by those men, for their wants, gave consolation of the alacrity of common soldiers in and hope to the people. The hand this cause of coercion. They placed of private charity was still, as it had their chief confidence in the volan- been, opened liberally. Allociations, teers: among whom, indeed, there in cities and parishes, were every 'were not wanting individuals who where formed, and resolutions taken would have been as ready instru- for the relief of those who stood in ments in the hands of the severelt most need of assistance, In the government, for the purpose of re- month of October, 1800, petitions ftraining and subduing their own from the city of London and other countrymen, as for that of repelling places were presented to bis maexternal aggression. In short, there jesty to convene the parliament, were lome symptoms of a tendency without delay, that measures might to a marked and fatal division be- be taken for relieving the distress of tween men of property or of hopes, the people. The king gracioudy and men of no property and no intimated that he had already given hopes. And if the vigilance, pru- orders for an early meeting of the dence, and moderation, which was legislature for the dispatch of busiexercised, in the prevention or quel- ness. The parliament accordingly ling of mobs by the acting magif- allembled on the 11th of Novemtrates, had not formed a counter- ber. The king, in a specch from balance to the spirit of violence that the throne, declared that it was a was manifefied, not by government, tender concern for the welfare of but by fome of the retainers, and his subjects, and a senfe of the disli. what may be termed the expectants culties with which the poorer clafles of government, an aspect of affairs particularly had to struggle, from the might have been suddenly prelent. prefent high price of provifions, ed, more terrible than any that has that had induced bim to call them menaced this country since the full together at an earlier period than he

had had intended. He expressed an ing to the subject of the recent earnest delire, that, by their care communication between him and and widom, all such measures might the French government,* asserted be adopted, as might appear best his earnest desire of peace, and laCakulated to alleviate this fevere mented that his wilhes had been preture, and to prevent the danger frustrated by the determination of Gints recurrence, by promoting the the enemy to enter only on a sepapermanent extenfion and improve- rate negotiation, in which he could Dent of agriculture. For present not engage consistently with public inlief, he recommended the most faith, or with a due regard to the azple encouragement for the im- permanent security of Europe.-pertation of grain from abroad; at. Whenever the disposition of the luution to frugality, and economy French should afford a prospect of in the consumption of corn; and an honourable peace, he would proa' in the state of the laws relpecin mote it to the utmost of his power;

the commerce in the various but while such a peace was imatasiicles of provision. If it should tainable, he trusted that his parliaappar that the evil necessarily ari- ment would support him with the

s from unfavourable seasons, had fame firmness and loyalty which bu an increased by any undue com- had been signally evinced during b'nations or fraudulent practices, the whole progress of a very imtreg wo: ld feel an earnest defire of portant contef. - An address of täqually preventing such abuses; thanks to his majesty for this speech at the fame time, he was sure, that was moved, in the HOUSE OF hey would be careful to distinguish Lords, by

practices from that regular and The duke of Somerset, who reLag-experienced course of trade, commended a review of those laws, which experience had Mewn to be which either directly or indirectly itenlable, in the present state affected the production and the t: fociety, for the fupply of the vending of corn, and, if necessary, markets, and for the fubfistence of to repcal, amend, and improve, fuch bis people. He expressed his con- parts of them as might be any ways cern at the temporary disturbances defeclive. He had heard it said, which had taken place in some parts that the legislature fhould let trade of the kingdom, which he ascribed take its courle, and not endeavour lo de instigation of malicious and to improve that which always sucdilafected persons, whole conduct ceeds best, if left entirely to the *as doubly criminal: as such pro- management of those individuals ceedings must necellarily and im- who are immediately interested in Brediately tend to increase the evil its success. There might, perhaps, complained of, while they, at the he observed, be fome foundation for lame time, endangered the perma. this remark, had the legislature al. D# tranquillity of the country, on ways been indifferent, and confewhich the well-being of the indul- quently impartial to the concerns of trious classes of the community must agriculture and commerce; but always depend. His majesty, paff- where much has been done, fume

• of which an account has been given in our last volume.

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thing thing more must frequently be done, high price of provisions, his lordship to render what is already done ef- observed, that such was the defifectual. Where medicine has been ciency of the harvest in 1779, that, administered, it must be frequently if the alarm of scarcity had not been continued. The numerous regula- rung in the last seflion, and a motions established in this country with tion of a right reverend prelate for regard to agriculture and commerce, lessening the consumption of private required the frequent attention of the families acceded to, the evil felt at legislature, either to enforce thote that hour would have been consi. regulations, or to rescind, amend, derably aggravated : for, although and alter them, as a change of cir- the agreement propoled in that mo. cunstances and different states of tion was not signed by all of their society might require. With regard Jordfhips, the spirit of it was folto the riois, the pretence for which lowed by many who did not sign it, had been the extreme scarcity, the and was attended by the very best duke oblerved, that the folly of such effects throughout the country. To proceedings, on such grounds, might that alarm, to the voluntary economy excite pity rather than indignation; produced by it, and to the compulsory but yet that it was for the interest reduction by the increase of price, of society, that, if persevered in, he afcribed our escape from the the authors of them hould not severest disiress: for it was now escape. It might perhaps be ne. known, that had not the harvest of cessary for their lordships in the the current year, 1780, been much courle of the session to consider of earlier than usual, the granaries some means for the conviction, or were so completely exhaufted, that, the niore easy fuppression of popu. in many parts of England, the conlar tumults. He was confident that dition of the people would have the farming capital of the kingdom been most dreadful. From the exmight be increaled, agriculture im- tenfion of agriculture, recommendproved, and provisions brought ed from the throne, much was to

cheaper to market, if the property be expected; but this was a diftant. of the farmer were rendered more remedy. Present relief was the obsecure, by the more effectual pre- jea to which their lordships attenvention of riot, theft, and confia- tion was more particularly directgration; but of these mischiefs he ed; and the most immediate relief considered theft, though the least that occurred was importation, iriconspicuous, as the most prejudicial. vited by enconragement: but that The duke, after going over all the allo, he obferved, was precarious ; topics touched on in the speech from and, therefore, what he should rely the throne, proposed, or, in par- upon, was, economy at home, and liamentary phraleology, moved an the fubftitution of other grains to address, containing affurances, cor- make up the deficiency of wheat. responding to the observations and Lord Hobart had seen with consentiments expressed. The motion cern, in the pnblic prints, and parfor an address to his majesty was ticularly in resolutions of the counfeconded by

ty of Middlesex, that the high price Lord Hobart. With respect to of corn had been attributed to the the leading topic of the speech, the war. This he considered as an in founded and pernicious doctrine. restored, was a question he would He shewed, thiat, from the expe- not undertake to discuss. It would rience of the present war, no man be wise to treat with the existing could be justified in maintaining this government, and to conclude a doctrine: that, if we examined into peace, whenever it could be efthe periods of former wars and times fected, consistently with good faith of peace, we should find the balance to our allies, and a due regard to the of price against the latter; and that, honour and security of this country, in fact, the fluctuation had always Lord Holland contended that the depended on the course of the sea- war was one, though not perhaps lon. With regard to the latter part the principal cause of scarcity. Not. of the speech from the throne, he with standing what had been stated expressed his fatisfaction that a pe- by lord Hobart, he feared that scarriod bad now arrived, when a go- city and war were almost necessary vernment had been established in companions. He concurred in opiFrance, with which his majesty's nion with the duke of Portland, minifiers could enter into negotia- who, in a letter communicated to Lions for peace. Though he had the public, condemned the clamour voted againg treating with Buona- which had been excited against fupparte, when he made uvertures of posed monopolists, and deprecated peace last year, it might not be im- all attempts to interfere in the ope. politic to negotiate at present. As rations of the dealers in grain; but to the probable permanency of his with the general conduct of minil government, he was not competent ters he continued to be exceedingly to lay much; but he could forelee disgusted. Whether Buonaparte's none, on the permanency of which, design be peace or war, he said, all circumstances considered, we the conduct of our ministers gives should be so well justified in found him uncommon advantages. if his ing our speculations. As far as an wilhes be really for peace, he may opinion could be formed from the be entitled to demand from thein public prints, it appeared to be greater securities as a test of their quietly submitted to by the people incerity; and, if his fecret defire of France; and that country had be war, while he profelles peace, Dow arrived at the ftuation, in then, by their former conduct, he may which all others, after fimilar con- obtain his object, and throw all the vulsions, had been placed. He il- odium on them. Look back, said he, Jastrated the truth of this position, to the whole history of the war, by a remark of Mr. Hume's on the and it will be seen, that every point fuccessful usurpation of Cromwell, which he had to accomplif, he * By recent as well as ancient ex- has been allisted in obtaining by the ample, it was become evident, that impolicy of our ministers. Lord illegal violence, with whatever pre. Holland moved an amendment to tences it might be covered, and the address, in which there appears whatever objects it may pursue, most to be greater asperity than is ufually inevitably end, at last, in the arbi. discovered on limilar occafions in Irary and despotic government of the house of peers, of, indeed, in a single person." Whether the houle that of the commons.

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