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as the organ of the nation : clubs, which are commonly proofs of a minority, ought in all events to be sedulously kept in the back-ground, and even dispersed, if tending to obscure the dignity of the legislative body: the spectators of a fenate ought to testify their respect' by an invariable Hience.
Under the prefent constitution of France, it is a moft difficult province for a minister to retain the confidence of the king, and of the assembly. On the tenth of March Louis notified that M. de Grave had been nominated to the war-department, in the place of M. Narbonne. This nomination was followed by the impeachment of M. Delessart, the minister for foreign affairs. The chief articles against him were, that he had neglected his duty and betrayed the nation, in not producing to the affeinbly the papers proving a concert among other nations againft France; in delaying the measures necetfary for the safety of the country; in deferring till the first of March any account of the official notice of the emperor, dated the fifth of January; in meanly fuing for peace, and giving prince Kaunitz improper information concerning the state of the kingdom.
The disorders of the realm were in the mean time far from being composed, nor could unanimous tranquillity be expected after so great, fo recent, fo fudden a change ; and while the sunshine of foreign peace continued to nourish every petty feed of faction, In the affair of Avignon the assembly fhewed no eminent prudence from the beginning, and it is now said that the aristocratical party have seized the castle, and maintain it against their opponents. Surely, as we before hinted, the afembly ought to pay particular attention to this acquisition, and curb its native fanaticism, by a competent garrison of national troops. The admiffion of Rochambeau and Luckner to the rank of marshals of France, while de la Fayette received not that honour; the sudden unpopularity of the latter, grounded, as is faid, upon his freely declaring his opinion that France ought to prefer peace to war, are circumstances not easily explicable.
The sudden death of the emperor, on the first of March, excited great consternation among the aristocrats, and afforded joy and exultation to the supporters of the constitation:
The assembly proceeded to the fequeftration of the effects of the emigrants; and it was decreed that the debts due to them should be paid into the chamber of sequestration; that the produce of the sale of their goods by a creditor Thall be paid into the chamber of the district, three months after the adjudication;
and that the estates of the emigrants, who shall return withia the month after the publication of this decree, hall be held by the nation, until the expences of the military preparations, occafioned by their emigration, shall be known, and the amount of their indemnity shall be regulated by this sum.
An answer froin the king of Sardinia was read to the assembly, in which that prince afferts that he has given proofs of his wishes for peace, and expects a similar return; that his troops are beneath the peace-establishment; that he has sent no artillery into Savoy, but on the contrary the garrisons there have not their compliment: and he declares his resolution to maintain peace and good neighbourhood with the French nation, and that he considers any fufpicion to the contrary as an injury
The death of the Swedish king, on the 29th of March; was doubtless a fortunate event for the French revolution. Fresh fpirits were diffused through the nation; and the superstitious vulgar imagined that they beheld the peculiar protection of heaven, in the removal of the two chief foes of France in one month.
Meanwhile that veteran and haughty statesman prince Kau. nitz, ever remarkable for the pride of his measures, and for their failure, continued to hold the reins of government under the new king of Hungary. On the tenth of March he had returned an answer to the requisition of France, importing that the assembling of troops by his master and the German princes, was only to maintain the peace of their states, disturbed by the French example, and by the machinations of the jacobins ; and that the league between the court of Vienna, and the most refpectable powers of Europe, should be continued till the French nation paid more respect to kings.
In the progress of these negotiations, the young Hungarian king, excited by the influence of Pruffia, began to exhibit more enmity and severer terms. At length, on the 5th of April, M. de Noailles, in his cispatches to the French minifter for foreign affairs, explained the propositions of the court of Vienna, that satisfaction should be given to the German princes proprietors of Alsace, that Avignon should be restored to the pope, and that the internal government of France should be invested with such efficiency, that the other powers may have no apprehensions of being troubled by France. Those terms produced a declaration of war against Francis I. king of Hungary and Bohemia, decreed by the assembly, and ratified by the French king, on the 20th of April. M. de Noailles, in his dispatches adds, that the Prussian en
voy at Vienna has hastily departed for Berlin ; that requisitions have been sent to the circles of the empire for contingents in men and money; and that Francis I. is inclined to distrust the king of Prussia, who presles him with eagerness to war.
Amid these important objects, we have omitted to mention that the affembly has issued a decree against the distinctions of the habits of ecclefiaftical dignitaries : and that lord Gower, the English ambassador at Paris, has presented a conciliating note on the affair between a French and English frigate in the East Indies, apparently arising from faults on both sides, which it is to be expected will prevent any disagrecment arising from this cause.
BRITAIN AND IRELAND.
The most important object, under this division, is the wait now carrying on in the East Indies; but having already, under the latter title, mentioned its progress, there is no occasion for any repetition here.
The chicf articles in the marriage-treaty, between Prussia and England, have been laid before the public. The Pruffian monarch gives to the princess a portion of 100,000 crowns. A formal renunciation is made, in favour of the male fucceffion, of all right of inheritance arising from the houfe of Prussia and Brandenburgh, as usually done on the marriages of the Prusfian princelles. The sum of 4000 l. sterling is annually affigned for pin-money and other expences; and 8000l. annually of jointure, in cafe of the death of her husband.
PARLIAMENTARY PROCEEDINGS. Many important affairs have been debated, but few decided in the present session of parliament. The minister's popularity had been considerably injured by the injudicious preparations for a Russian war; in which Europe was astonished to behold, for the first time, Britain acting in a fubfervient capacity to the narrow and interested politics of Prussia. It was easily perceivable that something must be done to appease the public clamour; but the usual imprudent conduct of opposition furnished the minister with the fureft defence.
In declaring our sentiments with the freedom of impartial fpectators, unconnected with all parties, and influenced only by our earnest wishes for the public tranquillity and advantage; it is hoped that no reader wül impute our occasional applause 8
of the minister to a blind confidence in his measures, or our occasional censure to any inclination towards the opposition. Whatever party be in office, the present, the opposition, or any other composed of both, or inimical to both, we consider it as the peculiar duty and special privilege of the press, tó watch over the power of ministers, ever dangerous, whether they be monarchical, aristocratical, or democratical. By our happy constitution little can be apprehended from the royal prerogative; but every thing is to be feared from ministers, those temporary kings, whose power, not being hereditary, nor of any fixed duration, is frequently enlarged to excess, on purpose to secure itself. We would wish to see a philosophical enquiry into the origin, nature and tendency of this new fpecies of magistracy, which in most European kingdoms forms an important branch of the government and constitution; and yet has never been considered by any political writer as even a member of government, while it is in fact the chief wheel of the machine. A comparison might be instituted between this high office and that of temporary magistrates in republics, of vizirs, and maires du palais; and even that of elective monarchs, particularly the popes, the fingular government of wbich last it not a little resembles, in its duration upon a medium taken, and in other respects, especially in the sacred privilege, here called confidence in the minister, and at Rome infallibility:
Setting this aside, we believe that were Mr. Pitt out of ofa fice, it would not be casy to find a better minister to supply his place. Yet we applaud not the praises of our constitution, echoed by the minister, and even put into the royal mouth on the meeting of parliament: such praises are injudicious, and the voice of a happy people is in this case the only acclamation which ought to be heard.
To disperse the fhades of unpopularity, the minister, instead of imposing more taxes to defray the expence of the Russian armament, as expected, liberally took off some small taxes which chiefly harraffed the poorer class of people. This might have been regarded as a mean compensation for committing the national honour to no purpose, and for a wanton waste of public money; and even as an avowal that many of our taxes were unnecessary, except to keep ministers in power by bribing our representatives, had not an infatuated opposition fallen headlong into the snare laid for them. Instead of filence, or infincere applause, the opposition feemed eager to secure the public hatred, by objecting to any diminution of taxes; and, on a future occasion, by a proposal to increase the allowance of the duke of York. ---Happy is the minister who has such enemies !
In the debate on the Ruffian armament, a measure reprobated by the nation, it was contended that the British liament may soon become a type of the parliament of Paris, and be only employed to register the edict of the minister. - A Night vote of censure indeed appeared proper ; but though the miniftry had, in this instance, been miled, yet their former merits were such, that the house had no reason to suppose the public opinion in their favour much changed, and therefore continued their support.-To overpower the charge by concealment of papers, and by mere majorities, was, however, rather odious, considering the progress of reason and liberty in the public mind. The charge against a certain member, for improper conduct in the Westminster election, was suppressed in a similar way; and the public wondered that darkness should have become absolutely necessary.
On the reduction of the army and navy, and the increase of pay to the former, we shall not comment. The trial of Mr. Hastings has proceeded slowly. The debates on the Indian war, another object of no popularity, were terminated in the usual way, by a majority.
The bill for an alteration in the choice and distribution of justices of the peace, in Westminster and other departments adjacent to London, seems a laudable measure. It has, however, been objected that the influence of the crown, that is of the miniiter for the time, must be thereby increased ; and that the trading justices, with all their infamy, are necessary evils, as they are attended by men experienced in detecting criminals, Perhaps the latter magiftrates might be allowed to retain their offices, for this purpose, while the new juftices might determine more creditable matters.
The arrangement for the payment of the national debt, of which nine millions are already cleared, was revised and improved.
Mr. Fox's bill on libels flumbers in the house of lords, though more conciliation might have been expected,
The bill for the abolition of the slave-trade was at length carried; but a gradual abolition will, it is believed, be preferred. We with that this measure may not prove injurious to our colonies, and to the enifire: as philanthropists we applaud, but as politicians doubt. Little would be the advantage even to humanity, if in a century or two our colonies became the property of the African aborigines, a race who since the cre, ation of the world have not produced one civilised nation, and in whose hands the field of industry would soon become a desert waste,-Wę adore the footsteps of providence in the