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object which had fuggefted it, was vilible. The commillion was active in the offers that were held out to encourage counter defertions, and their milionaries infinuated themfelves into all thofe places, where their industry was likely to be most inaufpicious to the intereft of the ftadtholder. Of confequence the defections in the army of Zeift were by no means inconfiderable. In the mean time every thing began to wear the appearance of war. General van Reyffel had already obtained the principal command of the troops of Holland, and the rhingrave of Salm and M. de Ternant were now refpectively appointed commanders in chief, on the part of the republicans, of the troops in the provinces of Utrecht and Overyffel.

There was one fubject, which at this time deeply engaged the attention of the adverfaries of the prince of Orange. There is nothing, which is commonly more eagerly defired by all parties in a cafe of civil diffention, than to fecure the forms and acknowledged principles of the constitution on their fide. It was for this reafon, and for others yet more material, that the patriots had regarded the late proceedings of the affembly of the ftates general with great mortification. Though there was no explicit prerogative in that body, which fhould enable them effectually to interfere in the prefent contention, their fupport however na turally gave a refpectability to the party they efpoufed in the eyes of foreign nations, and yielded fuch a fanction to the efforts made on that fide, as had evidently produced the greatest effect in the late queftion of the obedience of the regimental officers.

The minority in the ftates general confifted of Holland, Overyffel and Groningen; the majority, of

Guelderland, Zealand, Friefland and Utrecht. The legality of this laft voice might be regarded as fomewhat equivocal, and the town council of Utrecht, in having afferted the irregularity and nullity of the affembly of Amersfort, had virtually denied the right of the provincial deputies appointed by that affembly. Still however they fat in the ftates general, and even formed the cafting voice, that gave colour to the proceedings of the reprefentative of the whole republic. But this could be tolerated by the municipal government of Utrecht no longer. In combating the fuppofed abufe, they might either merely protest against the legality of thefe deputies, and thus endeavour to reduce the voices in the ftates general to an equality; or they might adopt a mode of conduct, more fpirited indeed, but not lefs reasonable and political, nor even lefs likely to be crowned with fuccefs. This was, confidering the great importance and preponderancy of the capital, that they were oppofed by only two towns, Amerffort and Rhenen, and these under military compullion, to resolve to follow up their condemnation of the convention of Amersfort, by calling a new affembly of provincial states, and commiffioning new deputies to the ftates general, who fhould demand the exclufion of their adverfaries, and their own admiffion to the functions of their office; thus inftantly converting the ftadtholderian majority in the national affembly into a minority. This was the measure, which after mature deliberation, was adopted by the republicans. The new states of Utrecht affembled for the first time on the eleventh of June, and their meeting appears both in numbers and rank to have been highly refpe&table.

CHAP.

CHA P. IV.

Meeting of Parliament. Addrefs. Commercial Treaty with France. Debates. Treaty approved by both Houses.

T

WO events, that took place fubfquent to the conclufion of the third feffion of the prefent parliament, came immediately under the notice of that affemb y, when they met for their fourth feffon on the twenty third of January 1787. An attempt had been made on the fecond of August 1789 to affaffinate the king, and, though it does not appear to have been tormidable or well conducted, it naturally excited confiderable alarm among the loyal inhabitants of this country, and occafioned a great number of addreffes to be prefented, congratulating his majesty on his fortunate efcape. The author of the artenpt was a poor woman, by name Margaret Nicholfon, who had formerly lived in the capacity of a fervant maid, but was now infane. The mode the selected for her undertaking, was that of concealing a knife under a paper, which fhe held in her hand, and prefented to the king in the manner of a petitioner. She was prefently difarmed, though not till fhe had made one thrust at the king's breast; and he is faid immediately to have exclaimed, "I am not hurt. Take care of the poor woman; do not hurt her." Upon her examination before the privy council it did not appear that she had any accomplice, and the declared, that the crown of England was her property, and that he wanted nothing but her right. The diforder of her inteljects, having been afcertained, fhe was conducted to the hofpital of

Bedlam, to remain there probably for the rest of her life.

The other event was of great intrinfic importance. It was the figning at Verfailles on the twenty fixth of September of a treaty of commerce between the courts of England and France, which had been negociated by Mr. William Eden, envoy extraordinary and minifter plenipotentiary of the king of Great Britain, on the one part, and M. Gerard de Rayneval, commiffioner and plenipotentiary of the court of Verfailles, on the other. This treaty was, at leaft in appearance, the triumph of liberal fentiments and comprehenfive views over ancient animofity and mercantile jealoufy. It tended to make two nations, the most civilized and refined in the world, mutually useful to each other, and thus to ftrike off as it were from the number of probabilities, which might involve them. in future acts of hoftility and war. Its general principle was to permit the mutual exchange of every fpecies of commodity, except that of warlike ftores.

It was about the fame time that a confiderable addition was made to

the English peerage. The earls of Shannon and Tyrone, and lord Delaval of the kingdom of Ireland, were advanced to the rank of barons of Great Britain: the dukes of Queensbury and Athol and the earl of Abercorn from the Scottish peerage, were respectively raised to the dignities of baron Douglas, earl Strange, and viscount Hamilton:

aud

and fir Harbord Harbord, fir Guy Carleton, and Mr. Charles Jenkinfon were created lords Suffield, Dorchester, and Hawkesbury. Lord Hawkesbury was alfo appointed chancellor of the duchy of Lancaf ter, and a new committee of privy council for matters of trade and plantations was nominated, of which that nobleman was prefident, and fuch perfons, holding offices in the kingdom of Ireland, as the king fhold name privy counfellors of England, were admitted to be members. Lord Dorchester had in the preceding April been appointed governor of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

The fpeech from the throne at the commencement of the feffion oferved upon the apparent tranquillity of Europe, and recommended the treaty of commerce to the fanction of parliament. It alfo referred three specific meafures to their approbation: a convention, refpecting the cutting of logwood, with the catholic king; a plan, which had been formed for tranfporting a number of convicts to a part of the island of New Holland, known by the appellation of Botany Bay; and certain regulations for the accommodation of the mercantile part of the kingdom, and for fimplifying the public accounts in the various branches of the re

venue.

The addrefs which, befide re-. peating the topics of the fpeech, congratulated the king upon his recent escape, was moved in the house of lords by the earl of Rochford and lord Dacre; and in the house of commons by viscount Compton, fon to the earl of Northampton, and Mr. Matthew Montague; the latter of whom gained fome ap plaufe for the elegance and fpirit of his harangue upon the occafion.

45

Mr. Fox, who concurred in the addrefs, thought proper at the fame time to throw out fome animadverfions in relation to the commercial treaty. By the gentlemen who moved the addrefs, the un ertainty of war had been contrasted with the bleffings of commerce, as if it were, fuppofed, that this country had ever gone to war for the fake of extending her dominion, or of gratifying an inordinate ambition. In the opinion of Mr. Fox the fact was directly the reverfe. Through the courfe of all our late, if not of our earlier wars, as often as we had. fent our armies into he field, or covered the ocean with our fleets, our enterprizes had originated in a principle of felf-defence, or in the view. of heitering the invaded liberties of furrounding itates. Mr. Fox expreffed a doubt, whether the treaty was to be confidered as having a political tendency, or were to be : regarded as merely commercial; and remarked that the prefent policy of France, while it had the. fame object in view, was more alarming in its nature than the policy of Louis the Fourteenth. Formerly her engines were oppreffion and power; engines, which could not fail to route a general indignation, and to excite the refiftance of every power, that poffeffed an atom of fpirit, generosity, or rectitude. What was the engine which was at this time employed by France ? Influence: that fecret and almoft. irrefiftible power, with which ambition infured its object, almost without being perceived, but much more effectually than with any o ther. It ought alfo to be recol lected, that Louis the Sixteenth poffeffed more power than ever Louis the Fourteenth could boat; and that that fuperiority, great as it was, would in all probability fo

be confiderably augmented. Mr. Fox enquired, what were the fymptoms of the fincerity of France in her prefent pretended amicable difpofition towards us? Had minifters felt the influence of her government ❤perating in our favour with those powers with whom we were negociating treaties? Did it manifeft itfelf in the court of Lisbon, in the court of Madrid, or in the court of Petersburgh? At this time France, who had formerly poffeffed the moft powerful army of any European power, ranked in this refpect only as the fourth upon the continent. She had diminished her land force, and was directing all her attention to her marine. Was that a favourable fymptom for this country? Mr. Fox added, he might poffibly be mifreprefented, as a man prepoffeffed by vulgar and illiberal prejudices. But, be that as it might, he could not eafily forget, that thofe prejudices had been produc tive of no ill confequences to this country, and that the wars, in which they had engaged us, had contributed more than any other circumftance to make us great and glorious. He compared the conduct of the minifters of the prefent day to that of the tory adminiftration of queen Anne, who had endeavoured to reprefent all apprehenfions of the inordinate power of France, as no better than a bugbear. The addrefs was carried nemine contradicente.

As one of the principal operations of the French treaty related to the duty upon wines, one of the topics chofen by oppofition for the fubject of their remarks, confifted in the enquiring, how far the trade with Portugal, and the treaty in which that trade had originated, commonly called the Methuen trea

were compatible with this new

object. The article of woollens was alfo a principal object of the Portugal trade, and was likely to be in fome way affected by the commercial treaty. It was therefore moved by Mr. Minchin on the twenty ninth of January, and by Mr. Pelham on the fecond of February, that certain papers fhould be produced relatively to the Portugal trade, in order to enable the houfe to judge of the value of this object, and of the way in which it would be affected by the French treaty. The motion of Mr. Minchin, after fome debate was withdrawn. The papers moved by Mr. Pelham were, an account of the value of the imporrs and exports between Great Britain and Portugal from 1703 to 1786; an account of the duties upon beer, malt and malt fpirits for the four last years; and a general account of the exports and imports of Great Britain for the years 1784 and 1785. Mr. Pelham alfo read two other motions, one for a general account of the exports of woollen, and the other for a particular account of our trade with Spain in that article.

These were withdrawn at the request of Mr. Pitt, who conceived the difclofure to be pregnant with mischief to this country, and who ftrongly objected to a principle stated by Mr. Pelham, which had a tendency to bring under the examination of the house treaties, already in negociation, and not yet concluded. at the fame time moved for an account of the exports and imports between Great Britain and France from 1714; and an account of French wines imported and confumed, between the fifth of July and the twenty ninth of November 1786.

Mr. Pitt

On Monday the fifth of February it was moved by Mr. Pitt, that

the

47

of the proceeding, and the bill had never fince been heard of. On that fubject he had been made completely to change his mind, in confequence of the lights which he received by prudent delay. Mr. Fox added, that a convention had been exchanged, and at length ratified, which was in fome refpects as totally diffimilar from the treaty, as the twenty Irish propofitions had been from the original eleven, and the copies of this convention had only been distributed that very day. He could affign no reason for the extreme urgency of the minifter. unless he fufpected that the people were loud in their praife, more from the novelty of the object, than from a conviction of its merits, and unless he intended to fnatch at the feasonable moment of tranfitory delufion. Mr. Pitt replied to the arguments of Mr. Fox. He maintained, that the charge of precipitation was abfurd, fince the treaty had already been concluded more than four months, and that the propofed call of the houfe was unneceflary, as the attendance was at prefent very full, and as it was not likely that a call would be at all calculated to increase it. He retorted upon Mr. Fox the charge of precipitation in the cafe of his Eaft India-bill; a meafure, which from its novelty filled every thinking mind with terror and alarm; a measure, which, as if conscious of its own malignity, had crept under darkness, and fhrunk even from a whifper, till the moment of its publice difclofure; a meafure, which had ftigmatized its abettors with univerfal odium, and would hand them down to pofterity as objects of everlasting reproach. At that time Mr. Fox had refused that delay, which was ufual on the most trivial and ordinary occafions; and

the house do on that day feven-
night refolve itfelf into a commit-
tee, to confider of fo much of the
fpeech from the throne, as related
to the treaty of navigation and
commerce, concluded with the most
Chriftian king. To this motion
an amendment was propofed by lord
George Cavendish, uncle to the
duke of Devonshire, to defer the
confideration till that day fortnight,
in order to give time for a call of
the house. Mr. Fox fupported the
amendment, and remarked, that,
in confequence of the numerous
opportunities he had had to obferve
upon
the exceffive warmth and pre-
cipitance of the difpofition of the
miniter, he felt a flighter degree of
aftonishment at difcovering the vio-
lence, with which he now urged
the houfe to the confideration of a
molt important measure. The
meafure in contemplation was a fy-
ftem, in which not only the ela-
blished doctrines of our ancestors
were foregone, but the great and
effential principles of our com-
merce, principles, which, whether
wife or erroneous, had made us
opulent, were completely changed.
On the fubject of the Irish propo-
fitions Mr. Pitt had deprecated de-
lay. He had defired then as now,
to hurry on parliament without
confideration, without time for en-
quiring and collecting the opinion
of those, who were most competent
to judge of the expediency of the
meafure. Fortunate for the coun-
try had been the wife caution of the
houfe in that inftance; fortunate
for the minifter, who had been ref-
cued by the wisdom of parliament
from the dangers of his own rafh
nefs. He had alfo brought in a
plan for a commercial treaty with
America, and that would admit of
no poffible delay. The houfe how
ever had taught him the rafhnefs

Mr.

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