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Shelburne and Mr. Fox, secretaries of state: lord Camden president of the council; the duke of Graf. ton, privy seal; lord John Cavendish, chancellor of the exchequer; admiral Keppel, first lord of the admiralty; and general Conway, commander-inchief of the forces. The duke of Richmond was created master-general of the ordnance; lord Thurlow was continued lord chancellor; Mr. Dunning was created baron Ashburton, and appointed chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. The public measures for which the whig administration stipulated were said to be, that of peace with America; a reform in the expenditure, on Mr. Burke's plan; with a diminution of the influence of the crown, by the exclusion of contractors from the legislature, and of revenue officers from the power of voting at elections. The house adjourned for several days at Easter, and did not meet, after the formation of the new ministry, to transact any business, until April. On the 8th of that month, Mr. Eden, who had been secretary to lord Carlisle, late viceroy of the sister kingdom, exhibited to the commons a view of the political state of Ireland, somewhat indiscreetly introduced, explaining the means which were then forming for rendering the country totally independent of the British legislature; and concluded with moving for leave to bring in a bill, to repeal so much of the act of the sixth of George I. as asserted a right in the king and parliament of Great Britain to make laws to bind the kingdom of Ireland. Mr. Fox then rose and informed the house, that the state and affairs of Ireland had already undergone the discussion of several privy-councils, and that he would be prepared on the following day to propose a preliminary measure on the subject. Mr. Eden, whose conduct had given offence, consequently withdrew his motion. The next day messages were brought down to both houses, recommending such an adjustment as would give mutual satisfaction to either kingdom. The duke of Portland, now lord. lieutenant, sent a similar message to the Irish parliament; in consequence of which an address was moved by the celebrated Mr. Grattan, leader of the popular party. This representation fully and explicitly asserted the independent rights of the kingdom of Ireland; and proceeded to state the causes of those jealousies and discontents which had arisen in that country, namely, the act of the sixth of George I. the power of altering and suppressing bills in the privy-council, and the perpetual mutiny bill. It concluded with expressing the most sanguine expectations from his majesty's choice of a lord-lieutenant; and their confidence in the wise, auspicious, and constitutional counsels which they had the satisfaction to see his majesty had adopted. On the 17th of May, the repeal of the act complained of was moved in the house of commons, and passed without opposition; and the parliament of Ireland was rendered independent of that of Great Britain. In return for this liberal conduct of the British government, in relinquishing its claims, without any stipulation or condition whatever, the parliament of Ireland immediately voted a hundred thousand pounds for the purpose of raising twenty thousand Irish seamen for the service of his majesty's navy. They also voted fifty thousand pounds for purchasing an estate and erecting a mansion thereon, to be settled on Mr. Grattan and the heirs of his body, as a testimony of their gratitude for the emiment services which he had render to his country. The new ministers now proceeded rapidly with their plans of reform and economy. }. Were passed for disqualifying revenue officers from voting in the election of members of parliament, and for rendering contractors incapable of sitting in the
house of commons. On the 15th of April a message was brought from the king, recommending the adoption of a plan for the curtailment of expenses through all the branches of the public expenditure. Mr. Burke, now paymaster-general of the forces, revived his plan of reform, and proposed, as a part of it, a bill to enable his majesty to pay off the debt entailed on his civil list, to prevent the like from accruing in future, and to carry into a law the retrenchments which his majesty had graciously proposed to make in his household. Without entering into a detail of the reductions which were effected by this bill when carried into law, it may suffice to state in general, that its annual saving amounted to seventy-two thousand, three hundred and sixty-eight pounds. And he followed up this bill by another, for the regulation of his own office; the principal object of which was to prevent the possibility of any balance accumulating in the hands of the paymastergeneral. The two committees on Indian affairs, the secret and the select, continued to sit during this session of parliament. Their reports were voluminous, comprehensive, and universally allowed to be drawn up with great ability. Grounded on the reports brought up from the secret committee, Mr. Dundas, the chairman of that body, moved no less than one hundred and eleven resolutions ! These were divided into classes, each of which consisted of three distinct heads: the first two were of a public and general nature; the third related to personal culpability. The first class related to the general system of our government in the East: it contained a prohibitory condemnation of offensive war, and all schemes of conquest in India; and concluded with a censure on the conduct of Warren Hastings, esq. the governorgeneral of Bengal, and of W. Hornsby, esq. president of the council in Bombay, declaring the neces.
sity there was for their immediate recall. The second and third classes related to the affairs of the Carnatic; and on these a bill of pains and penalties was passed on sir Thomas Rumbold, for crimes of maladministration committed in that province; and on Peter Perring, esq. for similar offences. The reports of the select committee had not advanced to the same state of forwardness. The resolutions moved by their chairman, general Smith, were only ten in number. Of these, the first three went to censure the conduct of Mr. Sullivan, the chairman of the court of directors, for neglect of duty, in delaying to transmit the act for the regulation of the company's affairs to their servants in India, by which the regulation of the judicature and the relief of the native judges, who had been harshly imprisoned, were unhappily frustrated. A censure was also passed on Mr. Sullivan, for administering an oath of secrecy to one of the secretaries of the company, restraining him from giving information to the committee. The succeeding three related to the appointment of sir Elijah Impey, by Mr. Hastings, to an office held at the will of the governor-general, contrary to an act of his present majesty’s reign; and a resolution was agreed to by the house, for requesting his majesty to supersede the appointment. The two last resolutions were to ascertain the power of the governor-general and council of Bengal, by a special act, and to reduce into one act the various regulations of the company, amended and explained. Mr. Pitt, who began his political career with an ardour for the cause of reform and improvement quite characteristic of an ingenuous youthful mind, brought again before the house of commons the subject of parliamentary reform. The public mind had been long agitated by this question, and societies for the attainment of that object had become general and numerous, Mr. Pitt, aware of the difficulties that have always occurred in procuring an agreement to specific propositions, and desirous of avoiding them, moved, on the 7th of May, “that a committee be appointed to inquire into the state of the representation of the people of Great Britain in parliament, and to report to the house their sentiments thereon.” The eloquence of this distinguished young statesman was, for many days of this inquiry, employed in displaying the enormity of those abuses which it was his object to reform in the representa. tive branch of the constitution. Among innumerable cases of corruption, he stated one instance of improper influence, which of itself might form a motto for the cause of reform. It was the influence of the nabob of Arcot, who was notoriously known to possess no less than eight votes in the British house of commons! The motion for inquiry was ably supported by sir George Saville, Mr. Fox, and Mr. Sheridan; but the whigs were, in this instance, divided in opinion among themselves. Mr. Burke and several others contended that the ends of legislature were as sufficiently answered at present, as they could be by any new modification of the electoral franchise; and that experience had ever shown the impolicy of innovation where the evil was not enormous, and where the fruits of change were not certain. The motion was consequently rejected by a majority of forty votes. - The commission for examining the national accounts at this time laid before the house a statement of the late public expenditure. It exhibited in detail innumerable abuses in that department, which had received a kind of sanction from custom, and were yet to be pruned from the list of national grievances. The lateness of the season, however, wholly prevented the completion of many reformations which the new ministry had in view, and certainly would