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rized the magiftrate to commit to
immediate imprisonment whomever
they thought proper to charge with
fe litious language, or behaviour, in
any popular meeting. This they af-
ferted was to conftitute them, at
once, judges and jury. The earl
of Moira took pointed notice of an
expreffion that had been ufed by the
The words
earl of Weftmorland.
of that nobleman were "fend the
people to the loom and to the anvil,
and there let them earn bread in-
ftead of wafting their time in fedi-
tious meetings." This, faid lord
Moira, was degrading men below
the condition affigned to them by
the Almighty, who certainly could
not have intended that any part of
mankind fhould be doomed merely
to work and eat like the beats of
the field. They too were endowed
with the faculty of reafoning, and
had certainly the right to ufe it.


Strong and cogent arguments were produced by lord Thurlow, to prove that the government of England could not, in juftice to the nation, fetter it with new laws, merely to prevent the poffible confequences, in this country, of thofe principles, the importation of which, from France, was apprehended. After fignifying his general difapprobation of the bill, he pointed out its variations from the provisions of the acts of Charles II. and George I. refpecting feditious proceedings. By the latter, known by the name of the riot-act, people unlawfully affembled did not, however, expose themselves to capital punishment, unlefs they perfifted in acting in a diforderly and tumultuous manner during a whole hour after the act had been read to them. But, by the prefent bill, if people were affembled, in order to take a fubject relating to the public into confideration, and con

tinued together, however peaceably
to the number of twelve perfons, an
hour after proclamation made, they
were adjudged guilty of felony,with-
out benefit of clergy; and the pre-
fiding magiftrate was authorized to
ufe violence, even to death, in ap-
prehending them. This claufe was
fo unjuftifiable, that he thought him-
felf bound to oppose the bill, were,
it folely from this motive.

The lord chancellor made a long
and elaborate reply to lord Thur-
low's objections, without advancing,
however, any thing new in fupport
The queftion for its
of the bill.
going into a committee was carried
by one hundred and nine votes againft

The houfe of lords went, accordingly, into a committee upon the bill, on the eleventh of December, when the duke of Norfolk oppofed the claufe extending the operation of the bill to three years, and moved that it fhould be limited to one. He was feconded by lords Scarborough, Darnley, Radnor, and Romney. But the term of three years was fupported by lords Grenville, Spencer, and Mulgrave, and voted by forty-five; to eight. On the fourteen of December, 1795, the bill was read a third time and finally paffed.

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No law, enacted by the British legislature, was ever received by the nation with fuch evident and general marks of ill will and difapprobation as thefe two celebrated bills, on which the public befiowed the appellation of the Pitt and Gren-· ville acts, in order to fet a mark upon their authors, and hold thein. out to the odium of the people.

Thele two acts were confidered the moft reftrictive of any that have been paffed by an Engli parliament fince the reigns of the. Tudors; a family of which the remembrance

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membrance is far from being agree
able to the people of England; not-
withstanding that it produced an
Elizabeth, whose tyrannical difpofi-
tion and maxims tarnished the luftre
of all her great qualities. The defpo-
tifm of that houfe was indignantly
recalled to notice on this occafion,
and the severity of the two acts in
queftion, compared to the moft arbi-
trary and oppreffive proceedings of
the fovereigns of England, previous
to the commencement of the feven-
teenth century.

It was owned, at the fame time,
by every candid mind, that if, on
the one hand, there was danger
to be apprehended, from measures
tending to defpotifm, there was on
the other, danger in allowing an un-
reftrained freedom of haranging the
populace; a freedom that tended to
anarchy and confufion. If, on the
one hand, it be the nature of power
to mount, with hafty steps, into the
throne of defpotifm, it seems to be
infeparable from liberty, on the
other, to push its claims beyond a juft
and reasonable degree of freedom.
Amidit a fcarcity of grain; an accu-
mulation of taxes; an unsuccessful,
not to fay unneceflary, war; difficul
ties abroad; diftrefles at home :--
when the elements were troubled,
and a form fo greatly threatened,
filence was impofed on the fhip's
crew, and each man was fixed to his
particular ftation.

The danger to be apprehended from the operation of thofe laws did not confift fo much in any immediate, reftraint they might impofe on a reafonable freedom of difcuffion, and prefentation of petitions to the legiflature, whether for the redrefs or the prevention of grievances, as in the tendency they had to enervate the fpirit of liberty. The confequences

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of many, nay moft, innovations are not prevented at firft: otherwise they would, in many inftances, be immediately refifted. By the time that pernicious innovations are perceived, cuftom and habit have rendered them lefs odious and intolerable. Precedents, growing into authorities, rife into abfolute dominion, by flow degrees: by acceffions and diftant encroachments, each of which, fingly confidered, feemed of little importance. The vanity of resistance at last breaks the fpirit of the people, and difpofes them to unreferved fubmiffion. Their political importance being wholly gone, they are degraded, more and more, and fubjected to greater and greater oppreffions and infults.-It was obferved by many, even of those who were difpofed to admit the temporary expediency of the two unpopular and odious acts, that the greater part by far of our new laws have a reference, either to public revenue or to the fecurity of the monarchical part of the conftitution; and that few, of any extenfive operation, are of the clafs that may be denominated popular and paternal.

The only alleviation that accompanied the two acts, was the time li mited for their duration. This kept up the fpirits and hopes of the people, that however their reprefentatives might have been prevailed upon to fufpend the exercife of thofe privileges, on which the national freedom depended, they were too wife, as well as too honest, to trust them in the hands of the executive power, any longer than they might be convinced was requifite for the fermentation of the times to fubfide, and for the people to revert to their former temper.


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In the House of Commons, Regulations respecting the Sale of Flour, and the Making of Bread.-Motions by Mr. Lechmere and Mr. Whitbread, refeating the Causes of the Scarcity of Wheaten Flour, and the Hardships incident to the Labouring Poor-Negatived.-Bill for Encouraging the Cultivation of Wafle Lands.-Motions for the Support of the Land and Sea Service-Strictures on the Conduct of Miniftry in the War Department.Replied to by Mr. Wyndham.-Debates on the Erection of Barracks.~~ A Statement of the Expences of 1796, amounting from twenty-feven to twenty-eight Millions ferling.-Debates concerning the Terms of the Loan. -Vote approving the Conduct of the Minifier on this Subject.--New Taxes.-Debates thereon-Meffage from the King, intimating his Difpofition to enter into a Negociation with the prefent Government of France. -An Addrefs moved, expreffing the Readiness of the Houfe to concur in fuch a Meafure.-Amendment thereon, moved by Mr. Sheridan.This rejected, and the Addrefs carried-Motion for Peace, by Mr. Grey.—Negatived.

URING thefe parliamentary

and popular agitations, the houfes were not unmindful of the critical ftate of the country, through the alarming fcarcity of corn that had prevailed for fome time. On the thirtieth of October, 1795, the fecond day of the feffion, Mr. Pitt moved, that the bill, allowing the importation of corn, duty free, fhould be extended to another year. He

propofed at the fame time several regulations relating to the fale of flour, and the making of bread.

It was obferved by Mr. Lech, mere, that no remedy could be applied to the fecurity without inveftigating its caufes; the principle of which he believed to be the monopoly of farms, and the jobbing in corn. Public granaries ought, he faid, to be erected, where every


It is one of the most pleasing as well as important tasks imposed on the journalitę to record, with due approbation, and point out as much as poffible, fuch public counfels and actions as originate in found patriotifm, and are eminently conducive to the public good. We with that Mr. Lechmere's obfervation on the baneful effects of monopolization of land had met with more attention, and been made a fubject of parliamentary inquiry and regulation. It is with great fatisfaction that we notice the efforts of feeling and enlightened men, who, whether by fpeaking or writing, recommend at teption to the labouring poor. Whoever perufes Mr. Newte, of Tiverton's Tour in England and Scotland,” and “An Effay on the Right of Property in Land,”' afcribed to profeffor Ogilvie, of Aberdeen, will be abundantly fatisfied, that by a due encourages ment of agriculture, and the fisheries, which may be confidered as a fpecies of agricul thre, fources of unfailing profperity might be opened to this island, amidst all the poffible



one might purchafe without the therefore moved for an inquiry into intervention of corn-dealers. He the causes of the scarcity.

veerings of commerce, and even under progreffive taxes. But the best stimulant to agriculture, according to the juft obfervation and reasonings of the very worthy, as well as ingenious and well-informed authors just mentioned, that could poffibly be devised, would be to invent fome means, whereby the actual labourer might be animated with the hope of rifing to the fituation of an actual cultivator of the foil; fuch as reftraints on the exceffive monopolization of land; long, and in fome cafes perpetual leafes; a judicious diftribution of wafte lands, and various contingencies improveable by the legiflature in favour of the peasantry of this country, without injuring the great proprietors of land, but even promoting their intereft in particular. That this is practiable has been experimentally proved by the duke of Bedford, the earl of Winchelfea, the carl of Suffolk, and other real patriots and benefactors to their country. There is a ftrong temptation to throw different farms into one, in the circumftance, that by this means the landlord avoids the expence of keeping up different farm-steads. order to counteract this inducement, to the exceffive enlargement of farms, it was wifely enacted, in the reign of king Henry VIII. that the landlord fhould be at liberty to difpofe of his lands as he pleased, but that he must nevertheless keep up in good repair all the ancient manfions and farm-fteads. The preamble to this law, which has now unfortunately become obfolete, is worthy of ferious attention at the prefent day.


It is a melancholy confideration, that the most profperous career of arts, manufactures, and commerce, in any individual nation or empire, (not their migration into different countries,) carries in itself the feeds of corruption. Mechanical arts and manufactures, bringing together great crowds of people into factories and great towns, confining their bodies to close and narrow spots, and their minds to a very few ideas, are prejudicial to the health, the morals, and even the intellectual powers of a people. There is more ftrength, felf-command, natural affection, and general knowledge and contrivance among tillers of the ground, paftoral tribes, and even savage nations; all of which conditions of men are accustomed to employ their cares, and to turn their hand to a vaft variety of occupations.

While the wants of men are encreased by luxury, their natural refources are di · minished: they become inactive and flothful, less and lefs fitted to bear up under hardfhips, and to adapt their labour to different exigencies and circumflances. They know but one art. The manufacture in which they are employed fluctuates with the artificial ftate of fociety, out of which it fprung. The enervated artifan is thrown on the mercy of the public. A fimilar ratio holds with regard to nations; each fucceeding generation becomes more luxurious than the laft; each becomes lefs capable of exertion. There is for a long time a curious struggle between the wants and exertions of men and of nations: but the exertions at last yield to the enervating influence of luxury, and hence we may fay of the reign of the arts, what Salluft obferves of political empire, "that it is in the courfe of things always transferred from the bad to the good." The immenfity of our national debt, which imposes on the hand of industry the fetters of immoderate taxation, added to all these confiderations, cafts an air of melancholy over our political horizon.

This gloom, however is not a little brightened up by three circumstances.

First, there is yet a very large fcope in this inland for the extenfion and improvement of agriculture, which breeds a race of men innocent, healthy, and hardy.

Secondly, there is still a greater fcope for the extenfion and improvement of our fisheries and navigation, which nourish a hardy race of mortals, maintaining great activity and virtue, amidit occafional exceffes.

While any land remains to be cultivated, cultivation is better than manufactures, not only in refpect of the health, happinefs, and morals, of the people, but of public revenue. This reasoning is confirmed by the wife economy of America; by the economifts of France, and the writings of their difciples in this and other countries. See particularly "The Lential Principles of the Wealth of Nations, illuftrated in oppofition to fome False Doctrines of Dr. Adam Smith, and others."


After a long difcuffion of the taufes of the carcity, they were found to be of fo complicated a nature, that it proved difficult to remove them. A bill was however brought in to prohibit the manufacture of ftarch from wheat and other grain; to lower the duties on its importation, to prevent the difiilling from it, and all obftructions to its free tranfportation through every part of the kingdom.

It appeared, in the mean time, from the information laid before the Committee of inquiry into the high price of corn, that, with an excepbon to wheat, the harveft had been very productive: thus by mixing flour of different grains good bread might be made; a meafure the more indifpentible, that from a variety of caufes no fufficient fupplies of corn Could be expected from abroad; a bounty of twenty fhillings was however agreed to for every quarter imported from the Mediterranean, until the importation amounted to three hundred thoufand; a bounty of fifteen fillings a quarter upon that from America, till it amounted to five hundred thoufand; and five fillings a quarter on Indian corn, till it amounted alfo to five hundred thoufand.

The hard@hips incident to labourers, tradefmen, and manufacturers, were, on the twenty-leventh of November, brought before the confideration of the house by Mr. Whitbread, who obferved, that the highest extent of wages to husbandmen was fixable by the magiftrate, but not the loweft. On the ninth of December he brought in a bill to authorife juftices of peace to regulate the price of labour at every quarter feffion. Herein he was fupported by Mr. Fox, Mr. Jekyll, Mr. Honeywood, and other memVOL. XXXVIII.

bers; and oppofed by Mr. Burdon, Mr. Buxton, Mr. Vanfittart, and Mr. Pitt. The latter was of opinion, that in a matter of this kind the operation of general principles ought to be attended to, preferably to uncertain and precarious remedies. It was dangerous to interfere, by regulations, in the intercoufe between individuals, engaged in the various bufineffefs of fociety. Many of the diftreffes complained of originated from the abufes that had crept into the execution of the laws relating to the poor, which required much amendment. They did not fufficiently difcriminate between the unfortunate and the idle and diffipated. All application for relief fhould be founded upon unavoidable misfortune, and, if poffible, the relief fhould confift of employment, which would not only benefit the individual applying, but the community itfelf, by an increase of labour and induftry to the common flock. He recommended the inftitution of friendly focieties, to relieve poor families proportionably to the number of their children, and the loan of fmall fums, payable in two or three years. After a laborious difcuffion of this fubject Mr. Whitbread's motion was negatived, as well as that which had been made for the benefit of the actual labourers, or cultivators' of the foil, by Mr. Lechmere.

The opinion of the public did not coincide with that of miniftry. The wages of labourers and of workmen in all fituations ought, it was univerfally affirmed, to bear a due proportion to the price of the necefiaries of life. This alone would prevent diftrefs, and ultimately diminish the number of poor to be provided for according to law. In order to alleviate the wants of the indigent [E] claffes,

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