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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.
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,
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
those days when mankind would be blessed with the full enjoyment of
was Belsham. 4. 268.
was manifested, on the meeting of parliament, † in the speeches of several
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.
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.