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the real question now before the house was, “ did not the prelture of the moment call for some remedy ?"
Mr. Pitt then went on to thew the necessity of ex. tending the power of the civil magistrate to disperse public meetings, public lectures, &c. and moved for leave to be given to bring in a bill “ for more effectu. ally preventing seditious meetings and assemblies.”.
Mr. Fox, after expressing a just horror at the attenipt which had been made against his Majesty, while he could not refrain his indignation at what had happened, even on that day, but this sensation was exceeded by what he had heard that night. After some farcastic observations respecting “Mansfield's Act,” he broke out into an exclamation, “ Behold (said he the ftate of a free Englishman! Before he can discuss any topic which involves his liberties or his rights, he is to fend to a magistrate, who is to attend the discussionthat magißrate cannot prevent ihe meeting ; but he can prevent the speaking, because he can alledge that what is faid has a tendency to disturb the peace and tranquillity of the realın."-After many pointed remarks, Mr. Fox added, “ suppose, for a moment, that the only object which the authors of this measure had in view, be to prevent a revolution in this country; how could they think to avoid such an evil by proceed. ing upon a plan which has no respect for the liberties of the people, no esteem for the experience to be derived from a perufal of our history? Good God! Sir, (exclaimed Mr. Fox) I have seen and I have heard of revolutions in different states; but they were not owing to the freedom of popular opinions, nor to the facility of popular meetings; they were owing to the very reverse of these; therefore we ought to put ourselves in a state as different from them as possible, &c.
Sir William Pulteny, Mr. Stanley, Mr. Halhed, Mr. Curwen, Mr. Wilberforce, &c, ail expressed their high regard for his Majesty's virtues as a man, and chief magistrate ; but respecting the bill, their opinions were various, and sometimes opposite.
On the ilth of November, the bill for the safety and
of the house for and against the bill, were nearly the
The Earl of Lauderdale and the Duke of Bedford
The house divided : Contents, 45.-Noncontents, 3.
Lord Lauderdale proposed, on the third reading of
A protest against the passing of this bill was entered, and signed
LAUDERDALE. While the bills were thus warmly discussed in both houses of parliament, the opposition without doors was the most steady and systematic that perhaps was ever manifested to any public measure ; and, if we consider the immense force of influence which was wielded at this period by the minister, we ought rather to wonder at the spirit and magnanimity which was displayed by the people, than to be surprized at the efforts which the partizans of administration was enabled to make in their favour.
We Mall just notice that the Whig Club of England met at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, on the rith of November. This meeting was uncommonly nume. rous. It consisted of all the members of both houses of parliament belonging to the Club, the Duke of Bedford in the chair. At this meeting they entered into strong resolutions to defend with their lives and properties the liberty of Englishmen-" That it was highly expedient, that meetings of the people in their respective districts, should be immediately called to consider this impor. tant subject, and for the purpose of petitioning parlia. ment against the said bill, or any other measure which might tend to infringe the just rights of the people of Great Britain."
The members of the Corresponding Society, and a vast body of the populace assembled on the 12th of November in a field near Copenhagen house. A petition to parliament against passing the bill, was, with other resolutions, unanimously agreed to. The meeting dis. persed in a peaceable manner.
The example of the Whig Club was immediately followed by the livery of London, the electors of Westminster, the freeholders of Middlesex; and by several counties, and by almost every considerable town in the kingdom: wherever a meeting was publicly called, the decision was almost unaniinous.
In the mean time, the associations against republicans and levellers, known by the appellation of Mr Reeves's Society, met at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, and agreed to address his Majesty, highly approving of the measures that had been taken, and of the two bills im. pending in parliament. To this similar petitions were obtained in support of the bills.
The utmost exertions of the ministerial party could, however, only procure 64' petitions, while those of the opposition amounted to the number of 94. The number of signatures to the latter, the popular "petitions, was 131,284, while those in favour of the minister were no more than 29,922.
The minister, however, was not checked in his headlong career by the voice of the people, and a confiding majority in both houses of parliament went cheerfully through their labour of dilapidating that fabric, cemented by the blood of their ancestors. A message from the Lords informed the Commons on the 16th of November that their Lordships had passed an act for the safety and preservation of his Majeity from treasonable acis, and desired the concurrence of the Commons in the fame.
The chancellor of the exchequer moved “ that this act be read a first time."
This motion was carried by 170 against 26.
Upon the motion for a second reading of the bill the house again divided. Ayes 151, Noes 25.
Upon the whole both were passed, but with very material alterations. The general out-cry which was raised against them throughout the nation pro, duced these falutary effects in the minds of admini. ftration,
The preceding pages represent the insult done to his Majesty in his pailing from the palace to open the ferHon of parliament, and the just indignation shewn by both houses at the atrocity of the attempt upon his per. C 2
ved able , attairs. Veity's
son on that occafion, and the refolutions against fimilar acts of treason. The speech from the throne opened by stating his Majesty's latisfaction that the general situation of affairs, notwithstanding many events unta. vourable to the common cause, was materially improved. The French had in Italy' been driven back, and were checked on the side of Germany. Their fucceffes, and the treaties of peace they bad entered into, were far from compensating the evils they suffered from the continuance of the war, and the unparailelled.embarrassment and distress of their internal fituation appeared to have produced in them an impression, that their only relief must result from peace and a settled government. The crisis in which they now were, must probably produce consequences important to the interests of Europe, If this crifis terminated in any thing affording a reasonable expectation of security in any treaty, the appears ance of a disposition to treat for peace, on just and fuitable terms, would, his Majesty added, be met, on his part, with an earnest desire to give it the speediert effect. The acceleration of this desirable end, required, however, that we thould prove our ability to protecute the war, till we could conclude it in a peace suited to the justice of our cause, and the fituation of the enemy. To this end, the most vigorous naval preparations were making for securing our fuperiority, and carrying on our exertions in the Welt Indies. The hostilities committed by the United Provinces, his Majesty observed, had obliged hiin to treat them as at war with the coun. try. The northern fleet had received the most active aslistance from the Empress of Russia. Treaties ot' alliance had been entered into with the two imperial courts; and the American treaty of commerce had been exchanged. The commons were informed, that, “ further additions to the heavy burdens which had been unavoidably imposed on the people,” would be neceffary. But this preslure would be alleviated by the flourishing ftate of the commerce and manufactures, and our expences being lessened by the present circumstances of the war,