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tain that he was not wrong in so do After a short explanation from ing. But he hoped that no person Mr. Burke, Mr. Sheridan rose and would thence infer, either that he sid, that the very reasons which was a friend to democracy, or ap- Mr. Burke had given for expressing proved of the excesies which had the sentiments, which he had that day been committed in France. With uttered, namely, an apprehension of respect to the former point, he de- being supposed to acquiesce in the clared himself equally the enemy of opinions of those, for whom he enall abso. ute forms of government, tertained the highest regard and wether an absolute monarchy, an with whom he had uniformly acted, absolute aristocracy, or an absolute operated also on his mind, and made democracy, and approved only of a him feel it a duty to declare, that he mixed government, like our own. differed decidedly from that right Bat though he thould never lend honourable gentleman in almoft himself to fupport any cabal or every word that he had uttered refcheme, formed in order to intrc- speeting the French revolution. duce dangerous innovations into our Mr. Sheridan added fome warm excellent conttitation; he would compliments to Mr. Barke's general not, however, run the length of de principles; but said, that he could claring, that he was an enemy to not conceive how it was possible for every fpecies of innovation, because a person of such principles, or for that constitution, which we all re any man who valued our own convered, owed its perfection to inno- ftitution, and revered the revolution vation. He differed greatly from that obtained it for us, to unite with Mr. Bu ke in his opinion of the re such feelings an indignant and unvolution of 1688, in which he con qualified abhorrence of all the proceived that many innovations had ceedings of the patriotic party in taken place, and he thought that case France. was certainly more parallel to the He conceived, he said, theirs to revolution in France than his right be as just a revolution as ours, prohonourable friend seemed willing to ceeding upon as found a principle allow. With regard to the scenes of and a greater provocation, and vebloodthed and cruelty which had hemently defended the general views been acted in France, no man could and conduct of the national assem have heard of them without lament. bly. He joined with Mr. Burke in ing them; but still when the severe abhorring the cruelties that had been tyranny, under which that people committed; but what, he said, was had so long groaned, was considered, the awful lesson that was to be gathe exceffes which they committed, thered from the outrages of the poin their endeavour to thake off the pulace? What, but an abhorrence yoke of despotism, might, he thought, of that accursed fyftem of despotic be spoken of with lome degree of government, which fets an example compaslion; and he was perfuaded of depravity to the flaves it rules that, unsettled as their present itate over: and if a day of power comes appeared, it was preferable to their to the wretched populace, is it to be former condition, and that ultimate- wondered at, however it is to be ly it would be for the advantage of regretted, that they act without any that country.
of those feelings of justice or hu
manity, which the principles and this country, and established, on a practice of the governors had strip- permanent basis, those sacred prinped them of ?
ciples of government, and reve. Mr. Sheridan went into several rence for the rights of men, which other topics respecting the French he, for one, could not value here, revolution, and charged Mr. Burke without withing to see them diffused with being an advocate for delpo- throughout the world. tism, and with having spoken of the Mr. Burke made a short reply to national assembly with an unwar Mr. Sheric., after which Mr. Pitt rantable freedom of speech.
and several other members exprefled After paying some higii compli- their concurrence with Mr. Burke ments to the marquis de la Fayette, in the sentiments he had delivered, monsieur Baily, and others of the and their sense of the obligation he French patriots, Mr. Sheridan con had conferred upon his country by cluded, with expressing a farther the part he liad that day taken. difference with Mr. Burke with re The estimates delivered in for the fpect to our own revolution of 1688, service of the army and ordnance, He had ever been accuitomed to were then voted by the house withconsider it as the glorious æra that out alteration. gave real and efficient freedom to
CH A P. IV.
The disenters encouraged, by the small majority by which the motion for the
repeal of the test and corporation act was rejected the left feffion, to reneru their application. Steps taken by them to support it. Alarm of the friends of the established church. Mr. Fox's speech upon moving for the repeal. His general principles of toleration. His opinion of the impolicy and injustice of the teft laws. Argues from the merits of the disenters. Urges the example of France. Censures the conduct of the bishop of St. David's. Concludes with declaring his determination to support the question he had brought forward upon every future occasion. Motion opposed by Mr. Pitt. He objects to its extent, and the principles on which it was supported. 'Ts of opinion it might affe&t the security of the church. He considers the test acts es proper restraints on the prerogative of the crown. Animadverts on the attempts of the disenters to influence members of parliament. Thinks it would be dangerous to trust them with power. And that iests, the severity of which could be occasionally mitigated, weré necessary to enable government to ward og danger in cases of necesity. Mr. Burke concurs with Mr. Fox in his principles of toleration; but thinks the difenters, at the present moment, noi intitled to indulgence. Charges them with factious and dangerous practices, and reads various papers in support of his charge. Suggets the propriety of a new test, and of a committce to enquire into their recent conduct. Mr. Fox's motion rejected by a majority of 294 to 105. Motion by Mr. Flood for a reform in parliament. States the inadequacy of the preferit mode of representation. Proposes one hundred additional members to be cbefen by refident housekeepers. His arguments to prove the necessity of a reform. Answers obiections. The motion opposed by Mr. Wyndham. He asserts that
the house of commons, as at present constituted, is adequate for all beneficial purposes. Arifwers the objeétions relative to the American war. Deprecates innovations founded upon theories. Objects to the time as dangerous. Mr. Pitt objects to the motion as ill-timed. Sir James Johnstone's objections, Mr. Fox supports the 100tion, and answers the objection of its being illtimed. Mr. Burke in reply. Other speakers on both sides the question. The motion agreed to be withdrawn.
HE very small majority by On the other hand, the friends of
which Mr. Beaufoy's motion the established church, alarmed by for the relief of proteftant diflenters the activity and confidence of their had been rejected last year *, justi. opponents, exhibited some symptoms fied the perfeverance of that body of vigour in preparing for its dein renewing their application to par- fence. Appeals were answered by liament, and could not fail of giving appeals, and in one instance, at least, them fangưine hopes of success
. an eminent preiate of the church Another application was immediate was found to have used his influence ly determined upon, to be made in amongit his clergy in opposition to a the present sessions, and the interval parliamentary candidate,expressly on was employed, with indefatigable in account of his having voted for the duftry, in making every possible ex- repeal of the corporation and teit acts. ertion to fortify their cause, both by But what contributed most especially general appeals to the people, and to prejudice the public mind against by an active canvas of individual the claims of the diffenters, was the members of parliament. The cir- violence with which fome of their cumstance of an approaching gene- leaders engaged in the politics of the sal election was also thought fa- times, their known correspondence vourable to their attempt, on ac
with France, ard their open avowal, count of their great weight and that the repeal of the offensive act influence in many counties and cor
was not sought for as their main obporations, and their avowed deter- ject, but as a step towards a total mination to exert them, on the en demolition of all church establishfuing occasion, in the support of such ments. Even some of the moit mocandidates only, as were known, or derate and most respectable of their should promise, to be their fup- own party, alarmed or disgusted at porters. At the same time it ap- the spirit of their proceedings, repears, that they wished to consoli- fused to concur in the proposed apdate with their own, the interest of plication. the Roman catholic diflenters, and On Tuesday the second of March, probably expected, that they should Mr. Fox, agreeably to the notice he derive fome accession of strength had given, brought the subject befrom that quarter, by extending their fore the house of commons, which application fo as to include in it the was one of the fullest that had been members of that persuasion. Their for some time assembled. He because, thus promising and thus sup- gan his speech with observing, that ported, it was resolved to entrust, in he had not obtruded himfelf upon the house of commons, to the zeal the occafion, but that he came for, and talents of Mr. Fox.
ward at the express with and folici, See Annual Register for the year 1789, page 14%.
tation of the persons most interested been to exclude anti-monarchical in the success of the motion he was men from civil offices; but he would about to make: that it was a subject ever reprobale such a procedure; it of some triumph and exultation to was acting under false pretences ; him, to see those men, who on its tendency led to hypocrisy, and former occasions had acted with the served as a restraint upon the good most violent hostility towards him, and conscientious only. Instead of desirous, notwithstanding, of entrust a formal and direct oath of allégiing their deareft interests to him. ance, there was an indirect, politi
The argument which Mr. Fox cal tett resorted to, by means of a chiefly iaboured to establish was of religious teft; although the obligathis kind : that religious tests were tion of all direct political tests had juftifiable only upon a supposition, been justly exploded by the practice that men who entertained certain of the country. Why not have prospeculative opinions, would be led posed a monarchical test at once! by those opinions to commit actions It would have answered the end ba that were in themselves immoral and far more effectually than the present hurtful to society. Now it was un teft; for the test now given welt warrantable, he contended, to infer only to guess at a man's opinior: a priori, and contrary to the profes- it might admit those whose politial fions and declarations of the persons sentiments might be inimical to the holding such opinions, that their constitution, while it operated do opinions would produce act: injuri- rectly against others who were ous to the commonweal. To pre- mongit its staunchelt friends. Wih sume to judge of other men's opi- respect to the church, he ridiculd. nions, and to know the consequences the opinion, that it might be endalof them better than themselves, was gered by the repeal of the acts, is the constant practice, and was of the of all others the most unfounded and very effence, of persecution. How absurd. The only danger that tle little speculative opinions were, in church had to apprehend, was fron fact, to be considered as disqualifi- the fupine indolence of the clerg), cations for being admitted into civil and the superior activity and zeal ( employments, was evident from va the dissenters in the discharge of the rious instances. Those who were duties of their sacred functions. the most strongly attached to the Mr. Fox then argued from the present constitution of the house of merits of the dissenters, first histori. commons, would not contend, that cally; and then contended generally, the duke of Richmond ought to be that the political principles they were disqualified from being matter-gene- supposed to entertain were less ini. ral of the ordnance, or Mr. Pitt from mical to the British constitution, being first lord of the treasury, because than those of the high churchmen. they were of opinion that the pre With respect to French politics, sent mode of representation was de- he did not see what the present ques.. fective and called for amendment. tion had to do with them. He reFor the same reason, he did not see probated the injustice of imputing why the church should be supposed to any body of men the exceptionto be in danger, though Dr. Priestley able conduct of a few individuals himfelf were at the head of it. The amongst them, and contended, that object of the test laws, at first, had his inotion owght to be decided upon
general principles. Yet he saw no unpopularity of the cause he had una reason but the example of France dertaken ; that he knew that some ought to have its influence; the of the persons, whom he most vachurch there was now suffering for lued and respected, differed with him its former intolerance. However he in opinion upon the subject; that he' might rejoice in the cmancipation bad no particalar connexion with of near thirty millions of his fel. the parties, who considered themłow.creatures, and in the spirit which selves as aggrieved, but, on the congave rise to the revolution ; yet he trary, that they had been ainongst was free to own there were fome his most violent political enemies şi acts of the new government which but regarding their cause as the he could not applaud. The fun- cause of truth and liberty, he should mary and indiscriminatc forfeiture 'give it his warmest support both of the property of the church came upon the preient and on every fuunder this description. But the vio- ture occasion. lence of this proceeding might, in The act of the 13th of Charles II. fone measure, be attributed to form- « for the well governing and reguel ecclefiaftical oppreffions; and, in “ latin: corporations, &c." and the particular, to the impolitic revoca act of the 25th of Charles II. “ for tion of the edict of Nantes. Before "preventing dangers which may that period, there exifted no teft in “ arise fron poplih recusants, &c.” Fance; proteitants and catholics having been previously read at the wire indiscriminately admitted into table, Mr. Fox moved, -" That this ci'il and military offices: but by house will immediately resolve itself that rash meafure, liberality and to into a committee of the whole house, leation were thrown away; the
to consider of so much of the said ats and manufactures were driven acts as requires persons, before they into other countries, to flourish in a are admitted to any cffice, civil or more genial foil, and under a milder military, or any place of trust under fam of government. This should the crown, to receive the sacrament farve as a caution to the church of of the Lord's supper according to England; persecution may prevail the rites of the church of Engfæ a time, but it generally termi-' land,” nites in the punihment of its abet The motion was feconded by Sir
Henry Hoghton, and opposed in a After animadverting upon the long and able speech by Mr. Pitt. conduc the bishop of St. David's, He began by expreiling his obligawho had, about that time, fent a cir- tions to Mr. Fox for his clear and calar letter to the clergy of his dio candid Aatement of the precise object cese, diffuading them, in the strongest of the diffenters in their present apterms, from giving their votes for a plication, and of the full extent to certain member of the house of coin- which his motion was intended to mons, on account of his having fup- be carried. Whatever doubts he ported the petition of the diflenters, , might before have entertained relaand thereby attempted to overthrow tive to the expediency of admitting our ecclefiaftical constitution; Mr. any alteration in the acts, which had Fox concluded an able, temperate, been read, he certainly could not and judicious speech, by declaring, hefitate a moment in opposing their that he was sufficiently aware of the direct and total abolition.