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Republic of France. Pitt, for the reasons before stated, was decidedly opposed to war. The portion of the aristocracy that supported him were for war; but, they were for their leader too, because, if he quitted his post, Fox came in with the tribe of Whigs at his heels. Besides, a vast majority of the people, whether Pittites or Foxites, were against the war. So that Pitt had reason, to fear, that, with a war on his shoulders, he would be unable to retain his power. But the Foxite portion of the aristocracy, seeing the common danger, and seeing the grounds of Pitt's opposition to war, went over and joined the Pittite party; leaving Fox with a small party about him, to carry on that " constitutional opposition" which was necessary to amuse and deceive the people.
27. Thus supported by the two bodies of the aristocracy united, Pitt went into this memorable war, which, though attended with numerous important consequences, was attended with none equal, in point of ultimate effect, to the measures by which paper-money was made a legal tender in 1797. The aristocracy, in resorting to this expedient, were not at all aware, that, though it gave them strength for the time, it must, in the end, bereave them of all strength; that it must take from them the means of future wars, or compel them to blow up that system of debts and funds, which had been invented by them as a
rock of safety, and without the existence of which the whole fabric of their power must go to pieces.
28. In the meanwhile, however, on they went with the war, and with the struggle between them and the people on the score of Parliamentary Reform; the people ascribing the war and all its enormous debts and taxes to the want of that reform, and the aristocracy ascribing their complaints to seditious and treasonable designs, and passing laws to silence them, or punish them accordingly. When this war began (1793) thé Septennial bill had been in existence seventynine years, and that it had produced its natural fruits is clearly proved by the following undeniable facts; namely, that, at the time of the "Glorious Revolution," in 1688, one of the charges against King James was, "that he had “violated the freedom of election of members to " serve in parliament"; that, one of the standing laws of parliament is, "that it is a high crime "and misdemeanor in any peer to interfere in the "election of members to serve in the House of "Commons"; that, in 1793, Mr. Grey, now Earl Grey, presented a petition to the House of Commons, signed by himself and others, stating, "that a decided majority of that House was re"turned by one hundred and fifty-four men partly 66 peers, and partly great commoners, and by the "6 ministry of the day;" that he offered to
prove the allegation by witnesses at the bar of the House, and that he was not permitted to bring his witnesses to the bar; that there was an appendix to this petition, containing a list of the names of all the peers and great commoners, who thus returned the members, exhibiting the number of members returned by each, and that this list is recorded in the Annual Register for the year 1793; that, in 1779, the House of Commons had resolved, that an attempt to traffic in seats in that House was "highly criminal in a "minister of the king; that it was an attack on "the dignity and honour of the House, an in"fringement on the rights and liberties of the "people, and an attempt to sap the basis of "our free and happy constitution;" that, on the 25th April, 1809, LORD CASTLEREAGH, then a minister of the king, having been proved to have thus trafficked, the House resolved, "that "it was its bounden duty to maintain, at all "times, a jealous guard on its purity, the at"tempt, in the present instance, not having been "carried into effect, the House did not think it 66 necessary to proceed to any criminating reso"lutions"; that, alas! in only sixteen days after this, Mr. MADOCKS, member for Boston, accused this same Castlereagh, together with two other ministers of the king, not only with trafficking in a seat, but of having completed the bargain, and carried it into full effect; that,
having made this charge, Mr. Madocks moved, that the House should inquire into the matter; that the House then debated upon this motion; that there were three hundred and ninety-five members present; and that (hear it, every honest man on earth!) three hundred and ten voted against all inquiry, and that, too, as the speakers in the debate openly declared," because this "traffic was as notorious as the sun at noon day"!
29. Such was the state of things in the year 1809. The next year George III. became, from insanity, incapable of performing the office of king; then, therefore, began the Regency of his eldest son and heir apparent, and it is of this ten years' regency, and of the ten years' reign that followed it, that the following is the history.