« PreviousContinue »
BOOK that formidable confederacy which seemed already
to threaten the very existence of Britain.
The fourteenth parliament of Great Britain was of parlia- dissolved by proclamation on the 1st of September.
On the event of this dissolution, amidst the mul
tiplicity of election advertisements usual on such ocReinarka- casions, a very remarkable address from sir George Ofsir George Saville, member for the county of York, to his con
stituents, was published, well deserving the notice of history, as exhibiting the sentiments not merely of that eminently distinguished patriot, but of all intelligent, reflecting, and disinterested persons, at this alarming period. In renewing the tender of his services, he confesses, that "it has not been without much serious consideration, and more than common hesitation, that he determined upon it. The satisfaction and honor," says this Aristides of Britain, “ of attending your business have ever over-balanced the labor. But my attendance during the last parliament has been something worse than laborious - it has been discouraging, grievous, painful. Look back for a moment upon the things which have been done, or, being done, have been approved of by that body of which I have been a constituent part. In comparing the present with the past situation of public affairs, one consolation only remains, that of being able to assert that there has been no measure of all those that have proved so ruinous and fatal, which I have not, as an individual, resisted to the
utmost of my power :--a poor, barren, ineffectual BOOK negative is indeed all the claim I can plead to your favor; and truth obliges me to add, that I at length return to you with hardly a ray of hope of seeing any change in the miserable course of public calamities. On this melancholy day of account, in rendering up to you my trust, I deliver to you your share of a country maimed and weakened-its treasure lavished and misspent, its honors faded, and its conduct the laughing-stock of Europe ;-our nation in a manner without allies or friends, except such as we have hired to destroy our fellow-subjects, and to ravage a country in which we once claimed an invaluable share.-Forbearing as well the forward promises as the superficial humbleness of phrase in use on these occasions, I make it a solemn duty to lay before you, without disguise or palliation, the present state of your concerns, as they appear to me, and the gloomy prospect which lies before us. Some have been accused of exaggerating the public misfortunes —nay, of having endeavoured to help forward the mischief, that they might afterwards raise discontents. I am willing to hope that neither my temper nor my situation in life will be thought naturally to urge me to promote misery, discord, or confusion, or to exult in the subversion of order, or the ruin of property. Trust not, however, to my report: reflect, compare, and judge for yourselves. +. But, under all these disheartening circum
THERE WOULD BE A HOPE.
I look upon
BOOK stances, I could yet entertain a cheerful hope, and
undertake again the commission with alacrity as well as zeal, if I could see any effectual steps taken to remove the original cause of the mischief: THEN
Till the purity of the constituent body, and thereby that of the representative, be restored, THERE IS NONE. restoring ,election and representation in some degree --- for I expect no miracles to their original purity, to be that without which all other efforts will be vain and ridiculous."
For the accomplishment of this most important purpose, he concludes with expressing his earnest wish, “ that whatever is thought of may be pursued with that true spirit of firmness and moderation which belongs to the cause of justice; and above all, that, by every means that can be devised, a good understanding and union may be insured amongst respectable men of all ranks and descriptions, who agree in the main principles of liberty, , whatever differences may subsist in smaller points,
or in matters not calling for immediate discussion. Meeting of At the meeting of the new parliament, (October parliament, 31, 1780) Mr. Cornwall was, for reasons which 1780, Mr. require no comment, chosen speaker of the house speaker.
of commons in the room of sir Fletcher Norton, on a division of 203 voices to 134. The KING, in his opening speech, declared “ his satisfaction in having an opportunity, by the recent election, of receiving
the most certain information of the disposition and BOOK wishes of his people, to which he was ALWAYS inclined to pay the 'UTMOST ATTENTION! He acknowledged the arduous situation of public affairs ; but the late signal successes of his arms in Georgia and Carolina would, he trusted, have important consequences, in bringing the war to a happy conclusion."
An amendment to the address, consisting in the omission of several complimentary paragraphs, was moved in the house of commons by Mr. Thomas Grenville. The BLESSINGS of his majesty's reign being recognised in the proposed address, in highflown terms, as inspiring sentiments of reverence and gratitude, Mr. Fox declared, “ that in this part of the address he could not conçur, as he was yet to learn what those BLESSINGS were. reign had been one continued tissue of disgrace, misfortune, and calamity. How long,” he exclaimed, « shall the sacred shield of majesty be interposed for the protection of a weak administration! As to the honorable mention made of the late successes in America, and of the gallant officers by whom they had been obtained, he should answer that he would not concur in applauding his own brother, who was now serving in America, for any success he might obtain. He never had joined, and as long as he lived he never would join, in a vote of thanks to any officer whose laurels were gathered in the American
BOOK war; for he regarded that war as the fountain-head
of all the mischief and misery under which this country now labored : and he was well convinced that the ministerial prospects of success, however transiently flattering, would be closed in disappointment and delusion." The address, as originally moved, was at length carried by a majority of 69 voices; which, when compared with the majorities of former times, afforded some faint gleam of hope that better days were gradually, though slowly, approaching.
Nothing meriting specific notice passed in either house previous to the recess of parliament; but on the 25th of January, 1731, two days only after they had re-assembled, lord North delivered to the house of commons a message from the king, in which his majesty acquainted them, “ that, during the recess of parliament, he had been obliged to di. rect letters of marque and general reprisal to be is. sued against the States General of the United Provinces. For the causes and motives of his conduct he referred to his public manifesto, which, with various other papers, he had ordered to be laid before the house." At the close of a long speech, justificatory of the late measures of government, lord North moved, “ That an address be presented to his majesty, assuring him that the house would, with a firm and determined resolution, support the just and necessary war against Holland, for the maintenance of the honor of his crown, and the