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LONDON MAGAZINE,

ENLARGED AND IMPROVED,

FOR JANUARY, 1784.

PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY.

o a large proportion of our readers, whose curiosity is anticipated by the

daily perusal of the whole mass of undigested materials, from which great part of our information must necessarily be drawn, this department of our work, We are fenfible, muft appear uninteresting. The lapse of a few years, we doubt not, will give it that weight in their estimation, to which, at present, it may not seem entitled; and to those who, from want of leisure, or a situation semote from the great theatre of public transactions, are excluded from more copious or more early intelligence, and yet wish to know something of the conduct of ftatesmen and ftate affairs, such an epitome must be eminently useful. Confidered as an impartial regifter of parliamentary proceedings and the politics of the time, for the benefit of poiterity; and we, with that laudable vanity which ought in some degree to actuate all who aspiring to entertain or inform the public, are willing to flatter ourselves that our labours will descend to posterity; as elucidating events and unfolding characters, by exhibiting the arguments on which every public measure was defended oroppoféd, recording the opinions of leading men, and Thewing how they differed from one another, and frequently how each differed from himself, as he happened to be minister e patriot, its utility and importance are too obvious to be insisted on. Animated by these confiderations, and the liberal support of a discerning public, we proceed with confidence and alacrity in the plan we have prescribed ourselves. In the prosecution of it, we shall meet with specimens of eloquence if not the charteft, the most argumentative and powerful, the most animated and glowing. We shall see men, on the sole strength of talents for parliamentary debate, riting from humble stations to the highest offices of the state, in opposition to wealth, to influence, and to power; and we shall see these men but too often facrificing every confideration of the public weal to their private views of ambition, insomuch that that we might almost be justified in adopting for a motto, Per nofira tempora, quicunque rempublicam agitavere, honestis nominibus, bonum pube

licum fimulantes, pro fua quifque potentia certabant,
CHE speech from the throne which first objects of parliamentary attention.

closed the last feffion was as The principal events during the recess blunt, reserved, and concise, as that were the conclufion of definitive treaties which opened it was diffuse, pompous, of peace with France, Spain, and the and affectedly communicative. It con- United States of America; and the tained little else than a promise of call- ratification of preliminary articles with ing the two Houses together again at an the United Provinces. The commerearly period, and an intimation of bring- cial treaty with America was broken ing forward the affairs of India as the off, The people of the United States,

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as in other countries, short-fighted, the state of things at the opening of the cruel, revengeful, into whose hands fourth session of the present parliament, it was evident the government had de- of which we have already given an ac- volved, were very remote from such a count. All good men were unanifpirit of concliation as might promise mous in wishing that the contests of any commercial preference to the mo- party might at length subside, that mither country. Ireland, instead of wise- nifters might apply their power, with ly availing herself of those liberties lenity and wisdom, to heal the wounds and privileges, which had been as libe- of their bleeding and exhausted counrally and magnanimously granted as try; and that those whom they had they were resolutely afierted, was oc- supplanted might assist theirendeavours, cupied in considering what claims yet and correct their errors. How far these remained to be made. The volunteers, wishes were gratified or disappointed an active body of men, collected and we are about to fee. kept together by the pomp and circum- ' Nov. 12. The Earl of Mansfeld, atitance of arms só well suited to the dif- tended by the Earl of Scarborough, positions of a people emerging from a Viscount Hampden, and several other state of abject barbarity to freedom, Lords and Bishops, went in procession having with firmness and temperance to St. James's with the address of the effected the emancipation of their coun

House of Peers. try from the control of external power, In the House of Commons, the conceived no attempt too arduous for Hon. Keih Elphinstone took the oaths their prowess or their wisdom, and find- and his feat for Dunbartonshire. ing nothing further that could reasonably Ordered all papers relating to the be demanded of Britain, turned their recall of Sir Elijah Impey, Chief- Justice minds to internal, and chiefly to a of the supreme court of judicature at parliamentary reformation, with a zeal Calcutta. and unanimity that threatened de- Lord George A. H. Cavendish moved struction to whatever should oppose a congratulatory message to her Mathem. A peace with the Mahrattas, jesty on the birth of another Princess, which many thought insecure, and the and her Majesty's happy recovery, which death of Heider Ali, one of those ex- was ordered. traordinary characters, who may be The select committee for inquiring considered as the rods of Heaven and into the administration of justice in the scourges of mankind, though events Bengal was revived. abundantly fortunate for our empire in The address to his Majesty was then the East, could not cure the radical de- read, and agreed to. fects in the company's government, nor

Nov. 13. The House went in prorestore unanimity to their fervants cession to St. James's, and presented both civil and military, distracted by the address. their greediness and emulation for ra- Nov. 14. In the House of Peers, the pine and plunder. From the duration Earl of Mansfield reported his Majefof the war, che accumulation of taxes ty's answer to their address. on many articles, and the consequent Lord Powis reported that her Majcíty temptation to elude paying them, the had been waited upon with the conpractice of smuggling had grown to gratulatory message of that House, on fuch a height, and was practifed in fo the birth of a Princess, &c. as had openand viaring a manner, as to threaten been ordered on the uth, and her the total ruin of many branches of the Majesty's answer. revenue, and the subversion of all order in the House of Commons, the and civil authority in collecting others. Speaker reported his Majesty's answer 7 he coalition, far from betraying any to their address, as did Lord yoke Ca. fymptons of defection or disunion, as vendish her Majesty's answer to their its enemies had rondly predicted, seemed message of congratulation.

ile mere firmly on its bafis, and Mr. Fox presented copies of the derr ftability from time. Such was

finitive treaties.

Nov. 17,

5 Nov. 17. In the House of Peers, territorial and commercial acquisitions in the Duke of Portland presented copies the East; or as the daring and concerted of the definitive treaties.

scheme of a prevailing faction, to secure In the House of Commons Mr. Fox to themselves a perpetuity of power, by ave notice of his intended motion seizing and appropriating the whole relative to India,

patronage and influence of the greatelt 3- Thomas Davenport, in the absence and moit powerful corporate body in the of the Attorney-General, moved for a world, and by that means to enlave Crny of the record of the conviction of alike the monarch and the people, Chritopher Atkinson, Esq. a member was one of the most important ever deof that House, in the court of King's- bated. Nor was it more remarkable Bench, of wilful and corrupt perjury, for boldness of design and the magniand intimated his intention to follow tude of its object, than for the abilities, op the motion with the most rigorous the eloquence, and the vigour, which proceedings against the convict. carried it through the House of Com

The annual eftimates, and a variety mons against the united efforts of oppoof other accounts and papers, were moved fition and the Company. The jealousy for.

of the Lords, and the secret disapproNor. 18. The House of Lords heard bation of the crown overthrew it, when ecunid on the appeal of Mitchell and the genius that planned it, and the tido Grzy againft Lord Rodney and General of oratory that vanquished every obl'aughan. Lord Thurlow moved the jection could support it no farther. foliuwing question to the judges; “ Is Mr. Fox grounded his motion on the plaintiff entitled to recover from the extreme distress and embarrassment this fpecial verdict," and it was ordered of the Company's affairs, which were " that they deliver their opinions on

in such a state as threatened to involve Le 24th."

their own interests and the credit of The House of Commons ordered, the nation in one common ruin, unless " that C. Atkinson Esq. do attend in upheld by the timely interposition of his place on the 24th."

government. For the proof of this he À petition was presented from the referred to the proceedings of the House jatices of the county of Gloucester, for the last two years, and to the reizing, that from the delay in sending ports of the secret and select commit

: the convicts sentenced to trans- tees. Both these committees had agreed portation, the crowds in the gaol had in ascribing the difficulties that opprefccafioned the gaol distemper, which fed the Company to disobedience of tad carried off sereral of the prison- the orders of the Court of Directors, Ets, and had also spread into the and to the rapacity of their servants in

India. In obedience to a vote of that A total change in the system of Eaft- House, the Court of Directors had blia

government was a measure which made an order for the recall of Mr. al men, except those who were parti- Hastings, which the Court of Proprifiziy interested in the subsistence of etors rescinded. The Directors obeyed the present form, had agreed to be the sense of their constituents, and made bichly neceflary; and we, who have up their dispatches accordingly. The tur little confidence in the patriotism of Secretary of State, when these dispatches fatesmen, are inclined to think, that, came to be reviewed by him, finding independent of a ftruggle for power, them so opposite to the sense of the DEuch of the present contest is whose House of Commons, by virtue of the tried and needy dependents shall be power vested in him, would not fuffer feat to fatten on the gleanings of orien- them to be sent out to India. The tal csorin. Mr. Fox's bill, in what- whole continent of India had been fier light we view it, whether as a bold made acquainted with the resolution of to: pecessary experiment on the success the House for the recall of the Goverof which depended the falvation of our nour-General, and the resolution of

the

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the Court of Proprietors, by which he establish a board to consist of SEVE was to be confirmed in his government, persons, who should be invested wi was kept back; so that in fact, he was full power to appoint and displace of in a place of eminence without autho- cers in India, and under whose co rity, and of power without energy. trol the whole government of the While the act for regulating the go- country should be placed; the oth vernment of India hould remain in its class to consist of eight persons, to present form, it was in the power of called alliitants, who should have charg the Court of Proprietors to defeat the of the sales, out-fits, &c. of the Com very best measures that the Court of pany, and in general of all commercia Directors, in conjunction with the ser- concerns, but still subject to the con vants of the crown, could take. The trol of the first seven. The board h direction was generally filled by two would have held in England under th defcriptions of men, who had become very eye of parliament. Their proceed Proprietors for commercial, or political ings should be entered in books for the purposes. Those who looked to po- infpection of both Houses. Thei litical connexions, could not gratify servants abroad should be obliged to their wishes more than by fupporting make minutes of all their proceedings . Governour-General, in whose hands to be transmitted to Europe; and i was lodged so great a power to oblige ever they should find themielves under his friends. Those whose fo!e object the neceflity of disobeying an order was to make the most of their money from the board, as cases inight occur were generally inclined to support that when such disobedience would be even Governour, through whose' means the meritorious, a minute should be enterdirectors were enabled to make large ed, ftating the reasons for so doing. dividends: so that having first peculated On the same principle, he meant to for his private advantage, and robbed oblige the council at home to minute the people committed to his care, he their reasons, as often as they should was next to plunder them to raise the think proper not to recall a servant dividends : that his principals might who acted contrary to their inftrucnotcall him to account. The Company's tions; and thus avow what they would finances were in a state as deplorable as justify as the expedient ground of their the internal government of their terri- conduct. For the present, he intended torial acquifitions. They had peti. that parliament should name all the tioned parliament last year for leave to persons who should fit at this board, borrow 500,000l.on bonds, for 300,000l. but only pro hac vice. Hewould have the in Exchequer-bills, and for the remif- board established for three or five years, fion or fufpenfion of a debt of 700,000l. or for such a length of time as should due for customs. Notwithstanding appear fufficient to try how far it might the legal restriction to accept bills for be useful. If experience should prove no more than 300,000l. without the its utility, the seven first should in consent of the Lords of the Treasury, future be nominated by the King; any there were bills actually coming over vacancy by death among the eight af. for acceptance, to the amount of fiftants should be filled up by the Court 2,000,000l. They owed 11,200,00ol. of Proprietors. There were other and had stock in hand to the amount of points on which he intended to touch about 3,200,000l. which would leave a to prohibit the Company's servants from balance of 8,000,000l. against them, a receiving presents from the Indian fum to the higheft degree alarming, princes, a practice which still subsitled, when compared with the capital of the in contempt of repeated injunctions proprietors. He then entered into a from the Court of Directors, and an detail of the oppressions, extortions, express act of parliament to the conpeculations, and abufes of the govern- trary, and was the fource of all the ment in India, and produced moli shock- rapacity, disobedience, injustice, and inginttances of each. To remedy these cruelty that had difgraced the British multiplied grievances, his plan was to government in India; to abolith all

monopolics

great

muespolies as pernicious to commerce; the creed of flaves. He thought it one and to fecure to the landholders or ze of the most bold and forward exertions zindaries the undisturbed poffeffion of of power that was ever adopted by any

their lands, upon the payment of certain ministers, and therefore wished it not i Esed rents or tributes. The first duty to pass without a call of the House. i of goremours was to make the go- Mr. Fox said he had no objection to a

remed as happy as possible, and such call. The motions were put and carsaferer be the wish of a British House ried. Mr. Fox, Lord North, Lord John & Commons; it was in their power to Cavendish, and Mír. Erskine were ordeommunicate the spirit and efficacy of red to prepare and bring in the bill. A car laws to our Indian subjects, to call of the House was then ordered on rescue them from rapine and plunder, the ad of December. and to put them in a state of perfect Nov. 19. Lord John Cavendish gave peace and security: that this would be notice that he would to-morrow move the grand aim of his bills, and he for leave to bring in a bill to explain and would rely for support on the zeal, the amend the act paffed last fellion for imliberality, and the justice of parliament. pofing a tax on receipts, that no doubts He lamented the absence of his nobie might remain concerning it, and that friend Lord North) whom illness de- persons might not be expofed to penaltained at home. The abilities of the ties, where no evasion of the act was noble lord would have afforded him intended. folid fapport in his arduous undertaking. In a committee of supply on the navy

he acknowledged, a strong estimates, Admiral Pigot rose to move for teafure, but thinking it necessary to the the complement of seamen necessary for fávation of the Company, and with the the year 1784. He said the force Company of the state, he had applied to in India would make it necessary to move it with earneftness, and brought it for- for a greater number than would be wantward without the loss of a moment. ed for a peace establishment. He then He thea moved, “ that leave he given moved, that 26,00omen be employed for to bring in a bill, for veiting the affairs the sea service, for the year 1784, incluof the Eart-India Company in the hands ding 4495 marines. The motion was of certain commissioners,

for the benefit agreed to without opposition, and 4l. of the proprietors and of the publick.” per man, per month, for 13 months, His second motion would be; “ that voted for maintaining them. lezve be given to bring in a bill for the Nov. 20. Lord John Cavendish moved better government of the territorial for leave to bring in a bill to explain quiftions and dependencies in and amend the receipt tax: signing an

unftamped receipt to be penal; but a Ca. Worth seconded Mr. Fox, and clause of indemnification for part breachRegiced at the exposition of a system so es of the act. This afforded an opmalterly and so feasonable.

portunity of again traversing the whole Mr. W. Pitt was well assured that ground of objection to the tax. Lord fers great and enormous abuses had John Cavendish said that when parliabeen inffered in the management of ment laid, a duty of one penny on every ladia afairs; and great indeed they quart of wine, the publick submitted That be to juftify a meafure, which was without murmuring to an exorbitane an entise abrogation of all the ancient addition of five-pence by the vintners, charters and privileges, by which the though the state was not benefited by Company had been first ettablished, and it. Why then should men murmur had ance exifted. The bill was said to at the payment of a comparatively be founded on neceffity. Necessity small tax, every fhilling of which had been the plea of every illegal stretch found its way into the publick cofof power, or exercise of oppression: fers ? — The motion was carried withthe pretence of every usurpation, of out a division. cpery infringement of human reason. Mr. Fox brought upthe bill for vesting li was the argument of tyrants: it was the affairs of the East-IndiaCompany &.

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