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CHAP. XXXIV.

Meeting of parliament.-Confideration of the Westminster fcru

tiny.--Debts of the Nabob of Arcot.--Mr. Burke's speech on the subject. --Mr. Pitt's plan of parliamentary reformintroduced into parliament-negatived by a great majority.

State of Ireland.-Propositions of Mr. Pitt to settle trade on the basis of mutual reciprocity. --Resolutions for that purpose.- Additional propositions.--Petitions against them. After considerable modification they are passed into a law.--Sent over to the Iris) parliament.-Mefrs. Flood and Grattan oppose the propositions. Their eloquence stirs up their countrymen to rage and indignation.They are abandoned by the British government.Their real merit. - Mr. Pitt's statements of finance, and intimation of a plan for paying the national debt.The session rises.-Affairs of Europe.Dehgns of the emperor upon Bavaria - supported by Rusia -opposed by Prusia and Hanover.---France, though in elliance with Auffria, adverse to Foseph's ambition. The emperor relinquishes his designs upon Bavaria.

Abandons the navigation of the Scheldt, and concludes peace with Holland.--Treaty' beturen France and Holland.--Internal State of France.- Projects - for diminishing her enormous debts.— Theories of the philosophical æconomists.- Influence the practice of politicians and statesmen.-Multiplicity of ingenious writers.-Vitaries of innovation.- Doctrines of Voltaire and Rufeau regarded with enthusiastic admiration.- Prevalence of infidelity.--Great and increasing prosperity of Britain.-Confidence of the monied interests in the talents and integrity of Mr. Pitt.- Supporters of the Minister.---Butts of opposition, wit, and satire.--The Rolliad and birth-day odes.- Question of literary property. Return of Mr. Hastings.--- A great subject of temporary literature,

PARLIA.

Meeting of

xxxiv.: PARLIAMENT met on the 26th of January 1985,

and the chief object recommended by his 1785.

majesty to the attention of the legiNature, was the parliament, adjustment of such points in the commercial inter

course between Great Britain and Ireland, as had not before been arranged. The success attending measures which were embraced in the last session for the suppression of smuggling, would encourage them to persevere in their application to those ime portant concerns; they would also consider the re. ports suggested by the commissioners of public accounts, and make such regulations as might appear necessary in the different offices of the kingdom. Notwithstanding the dissensions on the continent, his majesty continued to receive assurances from foJeign powers of their amicable disposition towards

this country.

The earl of Surrey opposed the address, or rather objected to it on account of what he conceived to be wrongly omitted; especially because no mention had been made of the reduction of the army. Lord North, conceiving parliamentary reform to be intended by one recommendatory expression, declared his sentiments very strongly against any alteration of the constitution; and Mr. Burke blamed the total filence relative to the affairs of India. Mr. Pitt replied to the objections ; the observations on the reduction of the army were premature, until the supplies of the year fhould be before the house : parliamentary reform was a subject of the highest importance, but at this early period of the session it was impossible to state his plans specifically: all his ideas were not yet tho

roughly

XXXIV.

toughly matured; the subject comprehended a CH A P. great variety of confiderations, and related to effentials and vitals of the constitution; it therefore 1785. required considerate and delicate attention; and though it was a path which he was determined to tread, he knew with what tenderness and circumfpection it became him to proceed. There was not a general debate, and the address was carried without a division.

The scrutiny of the Westminster election was confideraagain brought before the house in the month of tion of the

Weitminfter February. Mr. Fox had contended, that the elec- scrutiny. tion ought to be tried by Mr. Grenville's act, and had imputed the perseverance in the scrutiny to the persecuting spirit of the minister. Mr. Pitt argued, that Mr. Grenville's act was for trying electionsvirtually made, but that there being no return from Westminster, the law in question was not applicable: a scrutiny had been demanded by one of the candidates, the returning officer had complied, as official duty required; far from having any personal motives to promote a scrutiny, the very reverse was the case; it would have been more con. venient and easy for minifters to have suffered Mr. Fox to take his seat without question, but instead of attending to their own accommodation, they had consulted the rights of the electors, and the purposes of substantial justice. The house continued in the fame opinion as to the legality of the scrutiny ; but finding in its progress that, though there were objectionable votes on both sides, a majority, nearly the same in proportion as at the close VOL. IV. F

of

XXXIV.

Debts of the nabch of Arcot.

CHA P. of the poll, remained in favour of Mr. Fox, they

judged it expedient and equitable to direct the high 1785. bailiff to make a return; and the following day

that officer returned lord Hood and Mr. Fox.

On the eighteenth of February the nabob of Arcot's debts to Europeans were the subject of parliamentary discussion. In Mr. Fox's India bill the new commissioners had been instructed to examine into the origin and justice of the claims; by Mr. Pitt's law the examination was appointed, but referred to the court of directors, who were to enjoin their presidencies and servants to enquire into the case, and in concert establish a fund from the 1.2. Bob's revenue, for the discharge of the debts which should be found just, that they might be liquidated according to the respective rights of priority of the several creditors, and consistently with the rights of the company, and the honour and dignity of the rabob. Conformably to this clause, the directors had prepared orders; but after inspection, the board of control rejected them, and gave new instructions, which admitted the greater part of the debts to be just, alligned a fund from the revenues of the Carnatic for their discharge, and established the priority of payment among the several classes of credi. -tors: these directions had been publicly read at a - meeting of such creditors as were in England, - Motions were made in both houses, that copies of the letters or injunctions issued by the court of directors might be produced; the object of this requisition was to prove, that the board of control, in originating the contrary order, had departed from

the

XXXIV.

the express purpose of their institution, and had vio. CH A P. lated the act of parliament. Mr. Fox having opened this subject in the house of commons, and affum- 1785. ing the position that was to be proved, expatiated with copious eloquence on the arbitrary power which was usurped by the board of control, and the mischievous consequences that the present act must produce to the interests of the Carnatic, and of the India company. Mr. Dundas argued from the act of parliament, that the power exercised was not an usurpation, since, by the strict letter of the statute, the board was enabled to originate orders in cases of urgent necessity, and to direct their transmillion to India. In the present exercise of that power, the board of control had acted upon the most complete information that could be received, and had directed the arrangement in question, on finding it the most fair and just to all the parties concerned. It was expedient not to keep the nabob's debts longer afloat; the final conclusion of the business would tend to promote tranquillity and harmony, and the debtor had concurred with the creditors in establishing the validity of the claims. After these general observations, he, by a particular detail of their respective circumstances, undertook to justify the several debts which were admitted by the board.

On this subject Mr. Burke made a very long ora- Mr. Burke's tion, which displayed a most extensive knowledge the subjecte of the history and state of India ; but it was much more remarkable for narratives, imagery, and philosophy, to inform, delight, and instruct a reader in his closet, than for appropriate arguments to the

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