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of the two fulting from
bills as re
ters of their
other hand, powerful as he is in force, is extremely CHAP. circumfpect and difcriminate, as to the extent and bounds of operation most conducive to the purpose. Mr. Fox, adopting a principle in itself right, often adopts it too implicitly, and carries its application to greater extent than the exact case justifies. Mr. Pitt much more accurately fixes the line of demarcation, which the principle with the exifting cafe requires. The India bill of 1783, confidered in relation to certain ends, was ably, skilfully, and effectually devised; but attending to efficacy, its author neglected control. The wheels ftrongly constructed, but wanting the drag, by the force and rapidity of their motion, might have overturned and crushed the conftitution. The plan of 1784, in forming a power for specific ufe, guarded more cautiously against eventual abuse.
During this feffion, the Weftminfter election occupied confiderable attention; a fcrutiny having been granted by the high bailiff, at the inftance of fir Cecil Wray, the unfuccessful candidate, its legality was questioned by Mr. Fox: according to that gentleman, the election ought to have been referred to a committee, under Mr. George Grenville's bill. The difcuffion produced an aftonishing difplay of legal ability and knowledge, both from Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox; when the question was put, the arguments of the former were found to have prevailed, and the fcrutiny was ordered to be continued.
Debate on minfter elec
A very humane and equitable measure was this Mr. Dundas feffion proposed by Mr. Dundas, indeed equally restoration meritorious as a scheme of individual juftice and of the fir
CHAP. national policy: this was the restoration of the eftates forfeited in the Scottish rebellions to the representatives of the fufferers. He enlarged on the wisdom and juftice of the principle, and adducing the opinion of a Chatham as an authority in favour of his arguments, he quoted the celebrated paffage in one of that illuftrious orator's speeches, which defcribes the merits of the Scotch highlanders. He drew an aufpicious omen from reflecting, that the first blow had been given. the profcription by the earl of Chatham; and trufted, that the remains of a fyftem, which, whether dictated at firft by narrow views or by found policy, ought certainly to be temporary, would be completely annihilated under the adminiftration of his fon.
A law is paffed for
He made the panegyric of perfons under this predicament, who had distinguished themselves in the last war. He faid there was not one of those families, in which fome perfon had not atoned for the errors of his ancestors, and fpilt his blood in his country's cause; and he would boldly affert, that the spirit which had rendered the inhabitants of the highlands difaffected to the prefent government, had long fince difappeared, and that the king had not at this moment a set of more loyal fubjects in his dominions. It would be magnanimity to treat them like true and faithful subjects, and cancel for ever the offences of their ancestors; nor would the liberality of the proceeding be greater than its policy. The spirit of emigration in the highlanders was fuch, that nothing could extinguish it but the return of their long loft patrons, and the affection and reverence
which the inhabitants of that part of the island felt, CHA P.. for their natural lords. It was obvious, that a property held for the benefit of the public, was not fo well managed as if poffeffed by private proprietors: the restoration of the estates would tend very much to the improvement and profperity of the country. The bill experienced fome oppofition in the house. of lords; the objections proceeded not from the fubftance, but the latenefs of the season, and the form in which it was introduced; all thefe, however, were over-ruled, and it was paffed into a law.
Labours of investigating
Mr. Pitt found himself neceffarily engaged in the laborious bufinefs of winding up the accounts of the war, and was compelled, by the burden of floating debt, and the general state of the national finances, to negociate a loan, though in time of peace; but as this measure was obviously unavoidable, in order to make thé terms as favourable as poffible, instead of granting enormous profit to private or political favourites, he difpofed of it to the best bidders. The fum borrowed was fix millions: Supplies. the taxes were chiefly upon articles of accommodation and ornament in drefs, furniture, and equipage, or poftage, by the reftrictions of franking, with fome additional duties on liquors. The principle of impoft with which he fet out, was to bear as lightly as poffible on the poorer claffes: befides Loan and this loan, there was a large debt unfunded, chiefly in navy and exchequer bills, and ordnance debentures. Of these fix million fix hundred thousand pounds were funded, and the rest neceffarily deferred to the following year. On the 2d day of Auguft, the feffion was ended, by a speech from the
CHAP. throne, in which his majefty expreffed his warmest thanks for the eminent proofs exhibited by parliament of zealous and diligent attention to the public fervice. The happiest effects were declared to be expected from the provifion made for the better government of India, and from the institution of a tribunal fo peculiarly adapted to the trial of offences committed in that distant country. The fovereign observed with great fatisfaction, the laws which were paffed for the preservation and improvement of the revenue. He applauded the zeal and liberality with which the houfe of commons had provided for the exigencies of the ftate, though he felt and regretted the neceffity in which their exertions originated. A definitive treaty, the king informed the house, was concluded between Britain and the States-general; and the aspect of affairs, as well as the pofitive affurances from foreign powers, promised a continuance of general tranquillity.
Britain refumes her attention to the affairs of the continent.State of foreign powers.-Situation and views of Catharine. Character and conduct of the emperor Jofeph.-Catharine courts his alliance.-Treaty between these princes. -Catharine's invafion of the Crimea.-Seizure of that country.-Measures of internal improvement.-It is the intereft of Ruffia to cultivate amity with Britain.-Catharine's conduct to Britain not confiftent with her usual wisdom.-Reforming projects of the emperor.-Suppression of religious orders.-Schemes of naval and commercial aggrandifement.-Dismantles the fortresses of the Netherlands.-Propofes to open the Scheldt.—The emperor prefers his claims.-Arguments on both fides. Jofeph's allegations entirely contrary to juftice.-The Dutch prepare to defend their rights.-Ruffia fupports the pretenfions of the emperor. —Pruffia and France unfriendly to the emperor's demands. —Britain disposed to protect Holland.—Britain's speedy recovery from the evils of war.-Flourishing commerce. Miscellaneous occurrences.-Death of doctor Johnson, and a fhort view of literature and science at his decease.-Improvements of the prefent age in natural philofophy and chemistry.-Invention of air-balloons.-Ascent of Lunardi from the Artillery-ground.-General aftonishment of the metropolis at this phenomenon.
1784. Britain re
FOR the last twenty years, England had been fo CHA P. much engaged in her own inteftine and colonial diffenfions, and afterwards with the American war and its confequences, that the bestowed much lefs attention on the general concerns of Europe, than at any former period of her history fince the revo
fumes her the affairs of