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1789

But, when informed of his election, he left his peaceful retreat and his favourite occupations, and embarked once more on the troubled sea of public life.

On his journey towards New York he was greeted throughout with the joyful acclamations of the people. The Philadelphians, who had the remembrance of the protection which he had afforded them fresh in their memory, surpassed all others in their demonstrations of respect. Being met on his way by the whole body of the citizens, he was escorted by them into the city, where he was entertained in the most sumptuous manner.On his arrival at New York, on the thirtieth of april, he was solemnly inaugurated president of the states, and took the oath enjoined by the constitution in the following words: “ I do swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will, to the best ss of my ability, protect and defend their constitution.” —The chancellor then proclaimed him president of the United States.

Mr. Washington was assisted in the discharge of the duties of his station by John Adams, as vice president._Under a system of government apparently well constituted, administered by men chosen by themselves for their wisdom and experience, the Americans might reasonably look forward to a degree of happiness and prosperity which they had not enjoyed since the revolution.-Their constitution is upon a new model. And time only can prove whether an elective president and an elective senate, in which chiefly it differs from that of Great Britain, are more propitious to social peace and comfort, and better calculated for an effective administration of government, than an hereditary monarch and an hereditary house of peers.

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GREAT BRITAIN.

1790.

1790

WHILST many of the European states were rent by civil dissension, oppressed by despotism, or burthened or distressed by wars brought on them by the ambition of their sovereigns, Great Britain now enjoyed the fair fruits of liberty and peace.-Notwithstanding the late war had left the kingdom burthened with an enormous debt, yet, such had been the rapid improvements made in agriculture, such the advancement of manufactures and trade in consequence of the commercial arrangements with the American colonies and the late treaty with France, that industry now received its due reward, and the nation wore an aspect of affluence and prosperity. The customs, at the same time, had received such an increase from the extension of trade, that the minister was enabled, in his statement of the revenue and expenditure, to communicate the satisfactory intelligence, that the former exceeded that of the preceding year in the sum of half a million sterling: that the exports of the last year amounted to .18,513,000; surpassing by three millions the average of six years, before the American war. The affairs of India, also, which may now be considered as intimately connected with those of the state in a political as well as a commercial view, were in so prosperous a condition under the wise, just and humane administration of the earl of Cornwallis, that, according to Mr. Dundas's annual statement of the revenue of Bengal, it had exceeded the charges by a sum of £.2,136,711. Which excess was 178,000 above the estimate of the last year, a

. In • Annual Register. 84,

1790

In the mean-time, the important revolutions which were taking place in France, where the old government was completely thrown from its base, and not a wreck of the former feudal system was suffered to remain that might remind the people of its existence, could not but be viewed with

anxiety by this and other neighbouring nations: some men, actuated by the
· love of novelty or an aversion to legal restraint, hailed the approach of

those days when mankind would be blessed with the full enjoyment of
liberty: others, from interested motives, were desirous of any change that
might afford them an opportunity of improving their condition or repairing
their broken fortunes : others, affrighted by the progress of principles
which gave to the people a power of new modelling their forms of govern-
ment if not correspondent to their wishes, were carried by their dread of
anarchy into the contrary extreme; whilst the sincere well-wishers to the
established constitution looked forward with extreme solicitude to the final
issue of things; apprehensive lest that glorious system of government
under which the nation had so long flourished might be undermined in its
principles by designing men, or might go to ruin amidst this crash of
empires.—Those who considered France as the rival of our commercial
prosperity and political grandeur, who had observed with concern the strug-
gles made by that kingdom to augment its naval force, even during its
decline, and thought, with Mr. Burke, that the works which had been con-
structed at Cherburg, for the security of that fortress and the accommo-
dation of their navy, were more vast in their design than the pyramids of
Egypt, and as threatening perpetual molestation to the British coasts, felt
their apprehensions for a moment calmed, when they saw that powerful
rival disabled from contending with us by her domestic dissension.-On the
other hand, we find a numerous society in the metropolis at this time
congratulating the national assembly of France on the event of “ the late
“ glorious revolution” in that country. 6-The reader from the contem-
plation of facts, will be best enabled to judge of the motives and the
merits of the parties which divided the kingdom during this turbulent
period.
The contrast of sentiment on the subject of this momentous revolution

was Belsham. 4. 268.

1790

was manifested, on the meeting of parliament, † in the speeches of several
members of the lower house.—In a debate on the army estimates, Mr. Burke
contrasted the prosperity and security enjoyed in this country with the
fallen and disordered state of France; and painted in glowing colours the
disastrous consequences of the revolution. « In the last age," said he, “ we
“ were in danger of being entangled, by the example of France, in the
“ net of a relentless despotism; a despotism, indeed, proudly arrayed in
manners, gallantry, splendour, magnificence, and even covered over with
“ the imposing robes of science and literature. Our present danger, from
" the example of a people whose character knows no medium, is, with
regard to government, a danger from licentious violence; a danger of
“ being led, from admiration, to imitate the excesses of an unbridled,
“ plundering, ferocious, bloody, and tyrannical democracy, of a people
“ whose government is anarchy, and whose religion is atheism.”-Mr.
Fox and Mr. Sheridan agreed with Mr. Burke in deploring the miseries
of France, and execrating the acts of barbarous outrage perpetrated in
that country: but these they imputed to the old despotic government, not
to the efforts by which the people had violently relieved themselves from
it. Mr. Pitt and other members expressed their warm approbation of
Mr. Burke's sentiments: and the estimates of the army were then voted by
the house.

One of the first objects which engaged the attention of parliament was the repeal of the test act. The dissenters, who were much disappointed by the issue of Mr. Beaufoy's motion, encouraged by the small majority against it, had been indefatigable in their labours to strengthen their party, and were still sanguine in their hopes of success. Their cause was now espoused by an abler patron : Mr. Fox, moving the repeal, recommended the measure as a mean of promoting peace. “ Persecution," said he, “ is “ a bond of union. Remove the barriers which separate the dissenters from

the body of the citizens, and, in their collective capacity, they would “ be no longer known. Men unite to resist oppression: but, cease to oppress, and the union is dissolved.”—The premier opposed the motion

upon + January 21.

# March 2. Belsham. 4. 275. Ann. Regist. 69.

1790

upon the grounds of the propriety of investing the executive power with a right of judging of the fitness or unfitness of the persons who are ta occupy public stations. He insisted on the expediency of a church establishment: that toleration, not equality, should be enjoyed by dissenters.And he enforced his sentiments by adverting to the present conduct of the dissenters: “ who, at the moment when they were reprobating a test, had “ discovered an intention of forming associations throughout the country, for the purpose of putting the members of that house to a test, and of “ resolving to judge of their fitness to fill their seats by their votes on this “ single question.”—He was followed by Mr. Burke: who proved the justness of the premier's remarks by citations from the writings of some dissenting divines upon the subject of ecclesiastical establishments, of a tendency dangerous to the constitution.-The result was, that the motion was rejected by a majority of 294 to 105 votes.

A few days after this decision, a matter of great importance was submitted to the consideration of the house, in which its own welfare and repute, as well as the national good, were much interested, by a motion made by Mr. Flood, for a more equal representation of the people in parliament. The grounds upon which he went were these: “ that as, by the general law of “ the constitution, the majority is to decide for the whole, the representa“ tive of the nation ought to be chosen by a body of constituents, where of the elective franchise may extend to a majority of the people.”-To supply the defect of our constitution in this respect, Mr. Flood proposed " that one hundred members should be added, and that they should be « chosen by the resident householders in every county.” And he supported his motion in an elaborate speech, to demonstrate the necessity of such a measure for the preservation of that balance among the constituent parts: of the state, which is essential to its welfare. It was opposed by Mr. Windham, as dangerous in the present ferment of the public mind. And the premier, agreeing with him in his sentiments, declared himself stills an advocate for reform; but said that, were the motion before them the same proposition he had himself formerly offered; he should now vote against it from a conviction of its actual impropriety: but that, at a more seasonable opportunity, he would certainly again submit his ideas upon the

subject Bisset. 232. Belsham, 282.

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