« AnteriorContinuar »
that were pressed by the English heirs : large sums of money were government on the Scottish nation granted by parliament for the con. not a little against its will, pre struction of useful works and the pared the way for the reign of encouragement of industry: a liberty, the spirit of enterprize, committee of parliament was apand the introduction of general im- pointed for the improvement of provemept. The military genius the grand and natural fund of of the Scots was called into exer- wealth in Scotland, the fisheries : tion by the magnanimity and wis- the wisest and most salutary acts dom of the great Mr. 'Pitt*, with for that important end, passed by brilliant success. The share they the legislature +: liberal subscriphad in a glorious war, roused them tions of individuals both in England to exertions in commerce, arts, and and Scotland for the same purpose, the investigation of science. The were happily committed to the diancient dress ofthe Highlanders was rection of men of abilities, honour, now restored: the forfeited estates and patriotic virtue: enlarged and were given back to their natural liberal, yet prudent and economical
* The late Lord Chatham.
t For the institution of the society for extending the fisheries and improving the sea-coasts of Britain, the public is indebted to the enlarged views and the patriotie zeal of George Dempster, esq. representative of a district of Scotch burghs in seven successive parliaments ; during which period he maintained the most uniform, and noble consistency and propriety of conduct. Disregarding and even rejecting the offers of personal advantages, he kept a steady eye on what he conceived to be the public good; and this he constantly pursued, “ with firm but pliant virtue ;', yielding some points, in order to gain others. Though oftener found in the ranks of opposition than in the train of the ministry, he never opposed, and was never ac, cused or suspected of opposing government from any factious, or otherwise unnorthy motives. No man was more forward than Mr. Dempster to applaud the mea. sures of administration when they appeared to deserve applause, or to strengthen their hands when they seemed to be well employed. It appears by the accounts that we have of the debates in the House of Commons, that immediately after the close of the late ruinous war, Mr. D. in a review of the state of the nation, proposed various expedients for restoring and improving our finances. He was the first who suggested the idea in the House of Commons, of appropriating 1,000,0001. a year towards the reduction of the National debt. He recommended a review of our reyenue-laws, and the adoption of a system less þurthensome to commerce and trou: blesome to our traders ; and called the attention of the nation to the state of our British fisheries. The ministers suffered a committee to be named to inquire into this last source of national wealth. To that committee it appeared that the best way of improving the fisheries, was to encourage the inhabitants living nearest, the best fishing stations to become fishers ; and, as it was found that the northwestern coast of Scotland, though abounding with fish and with fine harbours, was utterly destitute of towns where people might have permanent abodes, and be freed from tyranny, and independent on the caprices of Lords, and Lairds, a society was formed under the auspices of that committee for buying lands, and planting towns in those parts. The act of parliament incorporating the society states that the building of free towns, villages, harbours, quays, piers and fishing-stations in the Highlands and Islands of north Britain, will greatly contribute to the improvem; ment of fisheries, agriculture, manufactures, and other useful objects of industry
plans for the improvement of the in parliament; and the effect of all northen fisheries were adopted ; these causes was heightened by the and these plans were pursued revolution in France, not yet an with ardour and every ap. object of aversion and horror. In pearance that could justify a hope a word there had not been any of success : frequent appeals had period in the history of Scotland, been made to the House of Peers, since the Union, when so many and not in vain, against elections circumstances concurred to stimubeing carried by nominal and fic- late the genius, and awaken in all titious votes *: a convention of ranks an attention to the affairs delegates from the royal burghs of the nation. The general elecpersevered, though with due mode- tions in Scotland in 1790, were ration, in reclaiming to the burghers materially influenced by this fertheir ancient rights, in opposition mentation in the public mind. to various usurpations of self-elected A greater opposition than ever was magistrates : a meeting of land- known in this part of the country, holders, as well as of inhabitants was made to the court candidates, of towns, was held by regular and also to the vast and unbounded adjournments, for the purpose of influence of the great landed proobtaining an equal representation prietors.
CH A P. in that part of the kingdom, in which the dispersed situation of the inhabitants had hitherto proved a great impediment to their active exertions; and that their being collected into fishing-towns and villages, would be the means of forming a nursery of hardy seamen for his Majesty's navy, and the defence of the kingdom.” Mr. Dempster was not more distinguished by the incorruptable integrity of his public conduct than the suavity of his manners, and the benevolence of the whole of his deportment and conduct in the intercourses of private life. And it was by the excellence of his moral character that he was enabled, though not devoted to any party, to render a very great number of services to individuals, as well as some of no small importance to the public. He possessed good sense and general knowledge ; and expressed his sentiments in an easy, fluent, modest, and gentleman-like manner. But in respect of talents and accomplishments, he had in the British senate many equals, and some superiors. To what cause then was it owing, that he was always heard with singular and almost unrivalled attention? The expression of his countenance and the tone of his voice announced the sincerity and sensibility of his heart. His character gave weight to his opinions, and credit to his professions. Professors of Rhetoric, by the example of Mr. Dempster may illustrate the connection between eloquence and virtue.
The dawn and rising of the French Revolution were auspicious, and hailed_by Mr. Dempster, with many others, with sentiments of humane congratulation. The event proved how erroneously they judged of the moral advancement of society and the principles and passions of human nature. But had a decided majority in the national councils of Great Britain and France entertained the same sentiments and views with Mr. Dempster, it might have been possible for the two nations to have lived in peace, good neighbourhood, and mutual good-will ; and instead of war to have entered on a career of virtuous emulation.
By the creation of nominal and fictitious votes, a great predominancy of political power in Scotland has been usurped by the great families of the nobility possessing extensive landed property; while the consequence of the lesser freeholders and gentry in the middle ranks of life, has been proportionably diminished.
A new Parliament. Speech from the Throne. Various observations
thereon. Motion for the Papers reluting to the Affair at Nootka Sound in both Houses. Negatived Motion for an Address to his Majesty on the Spanish Convention in both Houses. Debates thereon. Motion carried. Plan for defraying the Expences of the Spanish Armament. Impeachment of Mr. Hastings not abated by a Dissolution of Parliament. Petition of Mr. Hastings, and Motions in Parliament for continuing the Session until his Trial should be brought to a Conclusion. That complied with. War in India. Motions in Parliament for the Production of_Papers relative to the Attack of Tippoo Sultan on the Lines of Travancore. Agreed to. Motions for censuring the War with Tippoo. Negatived. Resolutions approving the Ilar. Agreed to. Motion for leave to bring a Bill into the House of Commons for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Negatived. A Bill passed for the Relief of the Protesting Catholics. Motion for the Relief of the Scots from the Test Act. Negatived.
on the 25th of November, powers, and of endeavouring to put 1790, when Mr. Addington was an end to the dissentions in the again chosen Speaker of the Com- Netherlands. From Europe, and mons, with the unanimous appro- the relations of Britain with the bation of the whole House. On European nations, bis Majesty the 26th, his Majesty opened the passed to the distant dependencies session, by a speech from the of the British empire. He lamented throne; in which he expressed the interruption that had taken great satisfactoin in informing the place in the tranquillity of our Inparliament that the differences dian possessions; but informed which had arisen between him them that there was a favourable and the court of Spain had been prospect of the contest there being brought to an amicable termina- brought to a speedy and successful tion. After a declaration of the conclusion. And he particularly objects which he had in view called their attention to the state in that transaction, he acquainted of the province of Quebec, and rethem that a foundation had been commended it to them to consider laid for a pacification between of such regulations as the present Austria and the Porte, and that circumstances and situation of the he, in conjunction with his allies, province might seem to require. was now employing his mediation On the usual motion for an adfor the purpose of negociating a dress, which was made by Mr.
Mainwaring, and seconded by Mr. If ever there was a period when Carew, Mr. Fox, disclaiming any this country might pick and chuse intention to oppose, could not adopt her allies, it was the present. She the principles, nor give his sanction had nothing to do but to ascertain to all the collateral observations what number of foreign allies it advanced by the honourable gen- was absolutely necessary that we tlemen who supported the address. should have, and then proceed imHe proceeded to consider the ob- mediately to form such alliances, ject first notified in his Majesty's and on such conditions, as to their speech, the Spanish convention : best judgment should appear ad. He agreed in opinion with Mr. viseaħle. As to India, no more Mainwaring, that the convention was intended than to defend our was not a fit matter for considera- ally when attacked: this line of tion on that day, as the papers re
conduct would meet with his hearty lating thereto were not yet laid approbation. But if, under the before the House. He declared, pretext of a quarrel between two however, that, in his opinion, peace native princes, our object was to was preferable to war, under almost obtain for ourselves new territorial any circumstances, and most espe, acquisitions, he should enter his cially desirable for this country in determined protest against the inthe present moment. He next of justice of such proceedings. course, adverted to what had been Mr. Pitt admitted, that to vote said on the subject of the Austrian for the address did not imply an Netherlands :-It had been stated, approbation of the convention with that it was good policy in this coun- Spain.
Spain. On the subject of foreign try to promote the return of the alliances, he said, his Majesty's Netherlands to the dominion of ministers were neither so idle nor the House of Austria, in order to so inattentive to their duty as to prevent them from falling into the overlook any favourable opportu. . hands of another power, likely to nities that might occur for the improve dangerously inimical to this provement of former, or the procountry. He conceived that the motion of new treaties. As to power alluded to must be France. the affairs of India, he did not deBut how had France so suddenly termine it either just or prudent to become a greater object of terror make war for the purpose of exto us now than at any other period ? tending territory; but contended The interference of the French that, in case of a fortunate termi nation, for obvious reasons, in the nation of the war, we should have present conjuncture, was very little a right to demand a reasonable into be dreaded. With regard to demnification for ourselves, and an the affairs of Europe in general, adequate compensation for our inthe interests of different powers jured ally. had taken so new and singular a
On the 3rd of December, copies turn, that it was the undoubted of the declaration and counterduty of his Majesty's ministers not declaration, exchanged at Madrid, to overlook this circumstance, but July 24th, 1790 ; and of the conto convert it to the public good. vention with Spain, signed the 28th
of October, 1790,* together with accrue to Britain from the stipulathe expences of the late armameat, tions acceded to on the part of were presented to both houses of Spain, particularly those relating to parliament. On the 13th, a mo- the whale fishery and the fur trade. tion was made in the House of But Mr. Fox observed, that in Commons for the production of all this negociation the two objects the
papers relative to the affair of principally to be considered were, Nooika Sound, on the ground that ist, Reparation for the insults reculpability might be fixed where ceived. 2ndly, The arrangements it ought, if the convention should that had been made for the prevenappear to be a bad one; or if a tion of future disputes. In the good one, that the House might be altercation respecting the Falkland enabled to testify an approbation, Islands in 1771, reparation was the which would be valuable in pro- only object in view, and it was obportion to the minuteness of its in- tained in its fullest extent; Spain quiry. To this motion it was ob- on that occasion agreed to place all jected, that the production of pa- the matters in dispute in the same pers was not only unnecessary, but situation as before the insult comthat it might be mischievous, by mitted ; and she punctually fulfilled communicating negociations with her agreement. In that case there our allies, and with other courts, was a complete restoration; in the which it would not be proper to present only the declaration of a bring under the public eye. On a disposition to restoration. The division, the numbers for the ques- restitution promised, appeared to tion were 134; against it 258; ma- Mr. Fox, at best, but incomplete; ; jority 124. A similar motion, by nor, he said, had even the little that Lord Kinnoull, in the House of was promised been performed. On Peers, met with the same fate. the subject of the arrangements
Mr. Duncombe, one of the mem- made for the prevention of future bers for Yorkshire, having men- disputes, he declared his opinion, tioned how little interruption the that these consisted more of condispute with Spain had occasioned cessions on our part than that of to trade and manufactures, a cir- Spain. Previously to the comcumstance with which he was more mencement of the present dispute, immediately acquainted, from the we had possessed and exercised commercial situation of his consti- the free navigation of the Pacific tuents, and expatiated on the value Ocean, as well as the right of fishof a connexion between this and ing in the South Seas, without rethat country, moved in the House striction. But the admission of a of Commons on the 14th of De- part only of these rights was all that cember, an address to his Majesty, had been obtained by the convenon the late negociation with the tion. Formerly, we had claimed court of Madrid. The principal the privilege of settling in any part arguments in favour of Mr. Dun- of South or North-west America, combe's motion, were the great from which we were not precommercial advantages likely to
cluded by previous preoccupancy.
* See these among the other state papers in Vol. XXXII. 1790.