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Rejection of the Reversion Bill, de. ner in which the former finance committee were prevented from making their report by the sudden dissoluțion of parliament, at the moment that report was ordered to be presented ; the manquvres practised by the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. PERCEVAL, to prevent some of the most active members of the former com-, mittee from being re-elected on the new committee, under the mo-, dest pretence, “ that they could not be considered as the friends of “ those with whom he acted;" the appointment of new members on the committee, the professed friends of ministers, and of Lord Melville, we adduced as evidence to prove the justice of our opinion. Succeeding events have proved that we were not mistaken. It is well known that the first measure recommended to the house of Commons by the committees of finance was the abolition of the practice of granting offices in reversion, or in other words of granting offices from generation to generation. Thus Mr. PERCEVAL (and this instance may serve as a specimen of the nature of the business.) had a valuable reversion granted to him when he was an infant in his cradle; and the only qualification (as Mr. WHITBREAD recently observed,) necessary to the fulfilment of the arduous duties of his office, was, being able to count the guineas, the amount of his salary ! Agreeably to the recommendation of the committees an address was voted and presented to his Majesty, requesting him not to grant such reversions in future till a given period, and in the mean time a bill was brought in for the final abolition of the practice. This bill which last session passed the Commons without opposition, was thrown out by the upper house ; Lords ARDEN and Melville, both of whom are such practical friends to the old system, and are so well acquainted with its benefits, were very warm in reprobating this innovation on the King's prerogative. The house of Commons, however, on the motion of the chairman of the committee of finance, Mr. BANKES, again addressed bis Majesty on the subject, requesting him not to grant any place in reversion for a limited time. A new bill was lately brought into the house of Commons, and passed with the single negative of Mr. DUNDAS, a nephew of Lord MELVILLE's. In the upper house it has met with the same fate as the bill of last session. There are however some extraordinary circumstances attending this affair, Ministers, it is pretty evident, although they were no friends to the bill, thought it best to save appearances with the public, and therefore did not oppose it in toto, but Lord, HAWKESBURY, proposed an amendment limiting its operation to the year, 1810.. We can no otherwise account for so singular 'a clause bnt on the supposition that his lordship was somewhat ap. prehensive that he and his colleagues should by that period be mo longer in place, and that he wished the sincerity of the professions of others might be tried by their conduct, in renewing the bill or suffering
* Rejection of the Reversion Bill, &c.
it to expire. A powerful party, however, headed by three of the royal family, the Dukes of YORK, CUMBERLAND,' and CAM BRIDGE, together with the bench of bishops, raised such an opposition to the bill, that at the motion for the third reading it was thrown out by a large majority! The question naturally to be asked on tbis occasion is : * Were ministers sincere in suffering the bill to pass through the Commons, and in voting for it in the Lords? If they were, then there is a secret party, a junto which 'possesses a greater influence in the state than its responsible servants: but the whole business has more the appearance of ministerial collusion, and indeed is of a piece with the professions of the “ no popery ministers," on some other occasions. The melancholy fact, however, cannot be controverted : there is no hope that even the first elements of reform will be assented to by the legislature, so long at least, as the people shew their indifference on the subject. The grand arguments of the opposers of a bill so strongly and repeatedly recommended by the committees of finance, as the first step towards the reforniation of abuses, are comprised in the maxims of that, entightened legislator, political and religious, Lord RÉDESDALE.--Whatever tends to invade the established prerogative or diminish the influence of the crown, should at all times be résisted. One innovation leads to another; therefore all innovations are dangeroust! . . .
Another instance in wliich ministers have shiewn their contempt of economy, is in their pension to the two next heirs of Lord LAKE, the grant of which was resisted by Sir FRANCIS BURDETT who very properly divided the house on the question. As to the merit of the deceased, he was well known for personal courage; this however is only a relative virtue : and when we recollect his-sanguinary proclamations in Ireland, and some parts of his conduct in that kingdom, we confess we do not class amongst the warmest of his admirers. But if what Mr. PAULL has advanced in a letter to the electors of Westminster, be correct, his lordship in his life tinxe was amply paid for all his services. Mr. PAULL affirm's that his
lordship independent of his regiment, and the government of Ply· mouth, was appointed in 1800 commander in chief, and senior member of the council of Bengal with a fixed salary, exclusive of patronage of 16,000l. a year, ipaid montbly in a country where the legal interest is 12 per cent : That his share of prize : money resulting from his victories in the East amounted to at least 130,000l. that he afterwards received a sum of 56,000l: that bis son Lieut. Col. G. LAKE who went out with his father ito India as military secretary received 8000l. a year, paid monthly, which I with other sums stated by Mr. PaulL to have been received by his father, made a total of upwards of 300,0001, in six years. What his lordship did with all this wealth, is not the question. The granting a Rejection of the Reversion Bill, &e, &c. pension,'as before stated is another proof that all the fine professions of economy, made by ministers, at their entrance on office, were used for nothing but the purpose of deception! .
• IMPORTANT ALTERATION IN THE MUTINY BILL.
Such has been the supposed or real defects of our military system, that every succeeding administration during the past seven years have altered the plans of their predecessors. The alteration recently proposed, of inviting, or allowing men, which in most instances amounts to the same, to enlist in the army for life, must surely strike the mind of every friend to virtue and to his country with disgust. Every one is acquainted with the allurements sometimes held out to our soldiery, not unfrequently at a thoughtless moment, to comply with the wishes of their employers; and of the inconveniencies, not to say hardships, if they discover reluctance to, and more especially if they refuse such compliance. But Lord MELYILLE it appears, was so partial to this new mode, that he “ condemned the measure of limited service altogether. But it is ." said (his lordship added) that better men were acquired by limit. “ed service. What did they mean by better meu? Fatter, or “ thinner, taller or shorter ? No.What then? Men who were “ more correct in their moral principles and practice:- but were “ such men more fit for the army ? Certainly not. The men ser“ viceable in the army were bold, thoughtless profligates, who were “regardless of life, becuuse they were insensible to the blessings of “ existence."* The Duke of GLOCESTER's virtuous indignation was kindled at bearing such a description of British soldiers. “ Accord& ing to his (the duke's) conception of the subject; according to his “ experience of the character of the soldier, that man was most pa. “ tient under sufferings in the service of his country who held most " sacred the personal and social duties.” Referring to some important periods of ancient history, his royal bigliness demanded “ From what portion of the annals of military enterprize did the “ noble Viscount draw his inference, that profligates were most suited “ to the purposes of national defence?" The alteration proposed was, however, adopted without a division. Whatever we nay think of Lord MELVILLE's theory, we must acknowledge bis lordship spoke like a practical and experienced statesman ; and it cannot be denied that men without “ moral principles," men of “profligate " characters,” are not unfrequently judged most serviceable, not only for the army, but for some other departments of state: but we should have thought it almost unsafe for any one out of the British senate to have given such a description of the British army:
Important alteration in the Mutiny Bill. - Petitions for Peace. lif
every one however must agree with his lordship, that the dew sys. tem has the most direct and powertul tendency to reduce, or exalt our army to the character so extolled by his lordship ;--to his favourité description of is best soldiers,” alias the greatest profli“gates.": "But we hope' to 'stand' excused for expressing a little anxiety, lest persons of a similar description should be thought the best qualified for other state services beside the military!
... PETITIONS FOR PEACÉ. i historis" Resolutions on the subject of the war, 'representing it as unjust in its principle, and ruinous in its effects, together with petalienis for peace, have been agreed upon by the major part of the facturers of Yorkshire and Lancashire. We have before e resu: our regret, that similar resolutions did not appear at an eåri'rtriod of the war; and that the numerous petitioners' had not ex. pressed their sense of its injustice and folly long before they were so severely suffering from its fatal consequencés. . As to the Liverpool merchants and traders, who are complaining of the orders of council, we confess we do not greatly symphathise with them. These men, with some exceptions, bave for a long series of years been reaping the harvest of iniquity by the coast of Africa ; they have long been deaf to the most piercing cries of justice and humanity; and had their wishes been realised, that disgrace to human nature and civilization, the slave trade, would have been continued to this day in all its horrors. We hear nothing from Liverpool but complaints of the impolicy of some of the measures of admiuistration'; áud as there appears to be no sense of the injustice of the war in its principle, no expression of disapprobation of our conduct towards neutral states, it is not for the sake of the petitioners that we wish their complaints may be regarded. At Bristol a numerous and respectable meeting of the inhabitants has been held, at which various resolutions were agreed to; the principal of which are the following:-" That this meeting conceives it highly expedient, that peti** tions should be sent to parliament at this alarming and distressing “ crisis of the country: but viewing, with a lively sense of regret, “the unfortunate fate of the petition of their fellow-countrymen “ of Liverpool, they are not so infatuated as to indulge in the hope .“ of redress, nor even for a fair consideration of their sufferings, .in the present corrupt state of the representation. Neither has “ this meeting any just ground of hope that a humble petition to “ the throne would be attended with better success, surrounded as “his Majesty is at the present time, by sycophants and pensioners, "" whose very existence depends on an accumulation of the sufferings . Petitions for Peace. . . “ of the people. That this meeting is therefore fully confirmed " in its original opinion, that the only possible means of legal re “ lief depends on a fair, free, and substantial representation of the " people!—That the independent electors of Westminster have set “? the glorious example ! That Sir FRANCIS BURDETT has amply “performed his duty:-and that to such disinterested electors, " and to such honest representatives, have the people now only 10 " look up, with hope and confidence, for their preservation “from the horrible dangers that surround them.” The sentiments conveyed in these resolutions are in general just, and we earnestly wish our countrymen were throughout the whole king. dom impressed with a sense of their importance; but we still think that petitions on the subject of peace, and statements of our grievances may be of use ; we are confirmed in our opinion by the alarm which the public meetings already held have given to certain gentlemen in the house of Commons. Although petitions may pot be immediately attended to, they may eventually be productive of much good. They may prove the means of informing the repre: sentative body, and of awakening it to a sense of public wrongs and distresses. After all our complaints of ministers, and parlia. ments, it is certain that the people are not without blame: it is their constitutional right, which they way exercise at pleasure to repre sent their grievances, and petition for redress. It is their duty therefore to make use of all the means towards effecting their relief which providence has put into their hands.; and we are firmly persuaded that nothing would have a greater tendency to bring our ministers and our representatives to their senses, than the firm and united voice of the people. At any rate, by this means honest men may discharge their consciences, and let what may happen, they will possess the satisfactory reflection that they have done their duty,
in VOL. 1A.
:: REMARKS ON COBBETT'S WEEKLY REGISTER. • In our last sve presented our readers with a specimen of Mr. COBBETT'S
execrable sentiments on war, and the virulent abuse, slander and falsehood with which he had assailed the character of Mr. Roscoe, and the people of America. His numbers since published contain, if possible, greater outrages on truth, and on every feeling that adorns humanity, than those we have already noticed. One or two quotations will convince our readers of the correctness of our statement, Mr. Roscoe, in his excellent pamphlet, alluding to certain detestable opinioqs which of late years have disgraced the pulpit as well as the press, informed his readers that,“ By one reverend divine, we were some time since told from the pulpit, “ in the face of a learned university, that the nations of the earth have no * laws in common, and that where there is no law there can be no transgref.
sion : that they are to be considered, as so many 'wild beasts; and that 6 the strongest, when it has the power, has also the right to destroy the .