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of the 8th instant, and notwithstanding my great wish to forward the trade at present (as far as it may lay in my power, without intruding upon the authority of his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, my master), I must confess that I found the same difficulty as the consul general did, in making out such a specific list of goods, formerly permitted to be imported into Portugal, as would set my mind, and that of all the merchants who wish to trade to the Brazils, at rest: but as I can at all times depend upon the noble and liberal principles of his Royal Highness, I hope I have hit upon a medium that will take off every difficulty, by inserting in a letter which I myself wrote to the Governor of St. Catherine's, the following postscript, which you may communicate to all persons concerned:-" Having met with an insur"mountable difficulty to ascertain every ar"ticle that was, or was not formerly admit

ted into Portugal, I must observe to you, "that in case you should find in the mani"festo signed by the Consul General, and

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countersigned by me, any article that was formerly prohibited, I beg you would ascribe the insertion to my ignorance of the fact, and not to any malice or bad faith on "the part of the shippers; therefore you "will be so good as to allow the sale of "them for this time, or request instructions

from the government of his Royal Highness."-One of the causes of the difficulty in making the list you desire proceeds from the circumstance, that some goods were prohibited as being of royal manufactories or monopolies, which at present may be wanted in the Brazils, and not received from Portugal, therefore I return the list that you may frame your manifest, excluding from it the following articles which were clearly prohibited in Portugal:Prohibited Goods.-Silks, not plain and flowered.-N. B. The uncertainty of this article is saved by the P. S. Salt, liquors and wines, not the growth of Portugal; lace of gold and silver; playing cards; cotton goods of every description.I do not know but that in future some of the above articles may be admitted, but I believe it much wiser to proceed now regularly, and to sacrifice a momentary privation to unnecessary trouble. I remain, &c.

CHEVALIER DE SOUZA COUTTINHO. Mr. John Nodin, Spring-gardens. Copy of a Letter from his Excellency the Portuguese Ambassador. London, Feb. 12. SIR, --In reply to your letter of this day, I have not only to refer you to my print

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ed letter to the Governor of St. Catherine's, but I am beside bound in honour not to conceal from you, nor from any of the con cerned, that in a letter, I myself wrote to the Governor, he is requested not to admit any ship to a clearance, whose master will not present to him the licence of the Privy Council, the manifest signed by me, and nry printed letter.--All my letters to the said Governor having been written in concert with his Majesty's ministers, and my report to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, made accordingly. I do not answer for any deviation from the established regulations.I am, Sir, &c.

To Mr. H. Nodin, Commercial Agent,
Tower-street, London.

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Transport Office.

SIR, -The Commissioners for his Majesty's Transport Service, and for the care and custody of prisoners of war, have received your letter of the

; and in return, I am directed to acquaint you, that it is the determination of his Majesty's government not to allow any more French officers to go from this country to France, until the French government shall make some return for the very great number of French officers already sent, or shall agree to a cartel of exchange upon the fair principle of man for man, and rank for rank, accord ing to the usual plan of civilized nations, and as repeatedly proposed by the coinmis sioners without effect. I am, however, to acquaint you, that if the French government will send over to this country a British pri soner of equal rank to effect your exchange, or will officially certify to the commissioners, that upon your arrival in France such British prisoner shall be released, orders will imme diately, on receipt of such certificate, be given for your liberation.-You will under these circumstances clearly perceive, that your detention here is entirely owing to your own government, to which any application you may think proper to make on the subject, will of course be duly forwarded.As it is probable, that you may not be suffi ciently acquainted with the English lan guage, to understand perfectly this letter, a translation of it into French, is given on the other side hereof.-I am, &c.

(Signed) By the Secretary.

Printed by Cox and Baylis, No. 75, Great Queen Street, and published by R. Bagshaw, Brydges Street, Covent Garden, where forner Nombers may be had; sold also by J. Budd, Orown and Miue, Pall Mall.

VOL. XIII. No. 16.]

LONDON, SATURDAY, APRIL 16, 1808.

[PRICE 10D

This motion of Mr. Biddulph, instead of at once putting the ministers to the proof; instead of shewing the country what it had to expect from them, in the way of economy; instead of doing this by a "proposition for abolishing such sinecures and pensions as never were merited by the parties enjoying "them; instead of this, the motion was calculated, like the "learned languages," to produce an effect "worse than useless; because, by the appointment of a committee, no reduction will be brought about, "and because, by such appointment, some persons will be led to believe, that a reduction will be brought "about. There have been such committees before; and still the amount of the grants has gone on in"creasing."POLITICAL REGISTER: 21st Feb. 1807.

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SUMMARY OF POLITICS. REVERSION BILL.-During the last session of parliament, a bill passed the House of Commons, the object of which was to prevent, in future, the granting of any place in reversion. This bill was thrown out in the House of Lords; and, another bill, of the same tendency, lately passed in the House of Commons, has, in the upper house, met with the same fate. A third bill is now before the former house, or, is, by this time, carried up to the latter. be sure, it is a monstrous abuse to give a place, or office, or employment, to any one, to be held by him after the death of the present holder. It is evident, that a thousand things may happen, to make it improper that the reversioner should fill the office, of which he has the reversion; but, the impropriety becomes glaringly manifest, when we consider, that the appointment in reversion is frequently, if not generally, to children, or to persons in trust for children, or for women. Lord Auckland's son, for instance was a mere child, when the rever: sien of Lord Thurlow's place, as a Teller of the Exchequer was granted to him; and, if any one will take the pains to look over the list of this sort of places, he will find almost every place granted two or three deep; that is to say, for an age yet to come. Yet, I wish to guard my readers against the notion, that the putting of a stop to this abuse would, of itself, do the nation any great good. I wish to show to them, that the bill, if passed, unaccompanied with any other measure of reform, would prove a thing of mere sound. In the first place, the offices in question are sinecures, that is to say, offices wherein the holders have nothing in the world to do but to receive the salaries attached to the said offices. In other words they are so many pretences for giving away the public money; so many fixed annual allowances; so many perpetually existing pensions. This being the real

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state of the case, I can perceive no mischief, likely to arise from the power of granting of a place in reversion, which is not full as likely to arise from the power of granting a pension to descend in enjoyment to a second or a third person, after the present grantee; and, as far as I have heard, it does not appear to be the object of any of the reversionabolishers, now in parliament, to prevent the king, or his successor, from granting pensions in reversion.The petitions, indeed, from the Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council, of the city of London, to both Houses of Parliament, go deeper into the matter. They complain, that there are numbers of abuses in the management and expenditure of the public money; that the peculators detected have not been punished; that there are many sinecure places and pensions which ought to be abolished, for that they not only greatly add to the burdens of the people, but create a pernicious and dangerous influence, corrupting and undermining the free principles of the British Constitution. True as this is, and useful as it is to promulgate such truths, I should not, had I been a Londoner, have joined in the petition; and, my objection would have been, that these sentiments were accompa nied with what was calculated to spread to be regarded as a beginning in the good abroad the idea, that the reversion bill ought

work of reform, than which, as it is evident to me, nothing could be farther from the truth. The petitioners say, that "they "viewed with much satisfaction the foun"dation of a committee of finance, and "hailed the introduction to prevent the "granting of places in reversion, as the "first step towards a salutary reformation."

Did Mr. Waithman, who was the proposer of this petition, recollect, when he was drawing it up, the origin of this famous committee of finance? The motion for the appointment of the committee, was, as was stated by me at the time, calculated to pre

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ter, the less frequent will be the occasions,
wherein it will be made the means of cor
ruption. The fact is, that the places in
question are, in general, granted only for
one life at a time. Such has been the greed-
iness, such the prevailing desire, to live up-
on the labour of the people, that the minis
ters, for many years back, have had no sine-
cure places to grant, but merely the reversion
of places. There is always in existence a
crew of place-hunters who wait for dead
men's shoes; and thus have the places been
engaged for half a century to come.
Aye," say the advocates of the reversion
bill, but, the only way to abolish these
"places is, first, to prevent the granting
"of them in reversion; because, until

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vent, or, at least, to retard, any real reform in the distribution and expenditure of the public money. The committee was "to inquire whether any, and what further, saving might be made by the abolition of "sinecure offices:"Just as if it was matter of doubt, whether any saving could so be made; and just as if there had already been savings in that way. Truly, such a founda. tion did not promise much good; and, whoever is disappointed at the result the fault is entirely their own. But, it does really surprize me, that so sensible, so well-in formed, so clever, and so sound a man as Mr. Waitman is universally allowed to be, and as I am convinced he is, should have given into the notion, that the reversion bill, a bill which did not even glance at the they become vacanty they cannot be aboabolition of any place, or the diminution of "lished." It is because the reversion bill any expence, was "the first step towards a affects to be founded upon this principle, salutary reformation," when the fact noto- that I dislike it, more than upon any other ac riously was, that the late ministers had no count. It is because a sanction is thus given other object in view, in bringing forward to the audacious doctrine, that, let what this bill, than that of preventing the king will happen; let the distresses of the people from making grants, which, if the bill be what they may, sinecure places are to be became a law, would fall into the hands regarded as private property, as a freehold of his successors, the first of whom was, of estate, and are to remain untouched, though course, the Prince of Wales. It does, indeed, the people, by whose labour the holders are surprize me, that Mr. Waithman, who is, supported, should be reduced to a degree of in general, so clear-sighted, and who is so misery, that would drive them to seek for much above the trickery and fraud of faction, relief, even under the yoke of a conqueror. should have allowed himself to become in- Half a century is too long for this nation to strumental in holding forth this measure, wait for the effects of "a salutary reformawhich had its birth in motives decidedly of "tion." - I hope to see a salutary reforma a party nature, as a step in the way of a tion much sooner than the end of the life great and public-spirited reformation. of even the oldest of the present, sinecure The subject has, I perceive, been taken up placemen. I was sorry to see Mr. by that rump of faction, called the Whig Waithman at the Whig Club. If he thinks Club, which, upon the exaltation of Mr. that any good is to be effected in that way, Fox, suddenly swelled to four hundred at a he is grievously deceived. The public are meeting, and which has now again re-dwin- sick of both factions. The wranglings of dled to a dozen. It is very well for that club the last year have put a finishing-stroke to to make speeches about their patriotic-prin- confidence in public men; and, though it ciples; but, will they show us any one act, is quite clear, that a great change must take which they did in the way of diminishing place, particularly in the management of the the public burdens, while they were in public money, not a soul will stir to assist office? Nay, will they now say, that they the endeavours of the present opposition, will, if again in office, reduce the number who, , as all the world perceive, have no other and amount of the sinecure places and pen-object in view than that of ousting their ri sions? This is the question for us to put to vals, and getting into their places.I them; for, if we are to continue to pay the shall be told, perhaps, that this was always full amount of those places and pensions, the case. But, the reading, which a comwhat is it to us, whether the grants be madé pilation of the history of the parliament has by the present, or by a succeeding king? compelled me to perform, has convinced me There is much soundness in the argument, of the falsehood of this assertion; an asser that, if the sinecures are to continue, the tion constantly made by all those, who are granting of them in reversion is less likely to interested in the support of a system of cor render the holders dependant, than if they ruption. It was not until about a century were granted for one life only; and, I think, ago; not, indeed, until after the Revolution, it is pretty clear, that the less frequently that a regular system of parliamentary oppos the ginifetunts into the hands of the minis- sition was organized and acted upon; and,

if that system had been organized before, there never would have been such a revolu̟-tion; never would have been a revolution, until the miserable people, assisted, perhaps, as the people of Spain now are, by a foreign invader, had risen, with despairing and bloody minds, to tear the whole fabrick to pieces. No: a regular opposition; a dead set opposition; a division of the representatives of the people into two distinct sets of pleaders, arrayed against each other upon benches deriving their names from the parties occupying them: this does not make a part of the constitution of England: it is a terrible evil, grown out of the neglect and violation of that constitution.Is it not a lamentable thing, to see, at a time like this, whole months spent in eager and angry contést; and, during the whole time, scarcely any one thing seriously discussed, or proposed, having for its real object the guarding of the nation against the dangers that await it? To see all the powers of the minds of so many men of such great talents, so eminently qualified, by nature as well as by experience, for the task of giving a right direction to the public mind, and of infusing into the whole mass of the nation courage and public spirit; to see all these powers wasted in despicable bickerings and vexatious propositions? To have, expected many indications of public-spirit might have been unreasonable; but, surely, selfish and corrupt as are the times, we might have expeeted to see some one, out of so many, hundreds, to set us an example of willing sacrifices to the good of the country; yet, no such example, amongst all the numerous candidates for power, have we seen.-I must now return to the reversion bill, for a moment, in order to notice the debate, which took place upen it, in the House of Commons, on Monday last, the 11th instant.The bill was new-modelled. In order to render it palatable in the House of Lords, it was made to suspend the power of granting places in reversion, during the

inquiry now pending in the House of "Commons LORD PORCHESTER Inoved an-amendment; making the bill what it was before that is to say, a prohibition of any future grants of places in reversion.———MR. STEPHEN opposed the amendment. He said, "that it had by no means been yet proved that the abolition of the practice of granting offices in reversion was injurious to the country, and it appeared to him to be at least a very questionable assertion to contend that it was so. He deprecated the disunion between the co-ordinate branches of the legislature, and condemned in warm terms

the attempts that were making at such a critical period as the present, when the executive government had but too many difficul ties to contend with to trench upon the prerogatives of the crown, and by that means to increase those difficulties in a tenfold degree.

"SIR FRANCIS BURDETT combatted the "arguments of the learned gentleman (Mr. "Stephens), who having rebuked others for "the temper shewn by them in this debate, "had himself exhibited more of what was

peculiarly denominated temper, than he "had often witnessed in that house. Indeed, the whole speech of the learned gentleman seemed to have proceeded from it, consisting chiefly of reflections cast up

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on persons no longer in office, and its "whole scope and tendency seemed to have "that in view, rather than the question, or "any of those important considerations na"turally suggested by it. To this must be "attributed the palpable defectiveness of the "learned gentleman's reasoning; which "appeared to him no less erroneous with "respect to principles of politics than of "law. The learned gent, had adduced the "situation of Europe, and the circumstances of the times as arguments in favour of prerogative; even if this granting of re" versions was an abuse, these were not times in which it ought to be restrained. "Was it possible we could cast our eyes' over the map of Europe, or the page of its

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History for the last fifteen years, and still "be advocating despotism, and putting our "trust in Standing Armies? Should we

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never learn that an armed peopie, proud "of, and devoted to liberty, was the only "method of making a country unconquer"able, and a government secure? What!

was it any want of prerogative that made "Austria, Prussia, Russia, and all the des"pots of Europe fall at the feet of France?" "Or was it the want of their subjects hearts' "that deprived them of energy and support;. "that left them in the hour of danger

abandoned and forlorn? This should "teach princes and states, that those who "had been accustomed to "crook the "pregnant hinges of the knee" before one"

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master, could as easily perform the same "baseness before another; which conside-" "ration might put them out of love with "flattery and fawning; and teach them, "that despotism was not less impotent than

cruel, not less marked by infamy than "folly; nor more to be hated than de"spised. -He had learnt, not only from. "those great writers whose theory, as the "learned gent. said, unfortunately diffred

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from the practice of the constitution-he "had learnt not only from them, but also from high prerogative lawyers, amongst others from Sir H. Finch *, the high prerogative lawyer, in the high prerogative times of that high prerogative king, "Charles the First, who lost his head for his prerogative, which he owed not a little to his high prerogative lawyers, that though the prerogative extended, as they "said, to every thing, yet it could not extend to abuse, because, being in its nature for the benefit, it could not be exerted to the injury of the public. Why, then, the question was, were those Reversionary places for the benefit or injury of the pub"lic? But, they were pointed out as a griev ous injury and abuse by the committee of this house. This house had adopted that plinciple, framed a bill acknowledging it, and abolishing it, but we were now to be told it was unpalatable to the lords, that we must yield it to their prejudices: but "it concerned too deeply the honour and character of the commons, which he would not consent to yield to the prejudice or the pride or the corruption of the lords, against which he would oppose the privileges of the commons. Nor would he "consent, that the commons, in a measure, no matter how small, of economy, of saving the people's pockets, of controlling public expenditure, should bate an inch of privilege, much less sacrifice the principle, which in fact, was the whole of this bill. The hon. gent, who brought forward this bill-now proposed, to be redered totally worthless, by a compromise "with ministers, (and for whom he certain

ly entertained a better opinion than he had "been pleased to profess he entertained for him) recalled, to his mind, upon this occasion, Bottom, the weaver, who playing the part of Lion in pageantry before the court, and being excessively apprehensive least he should cause any alarin, when he "makes his appearance in his lion's hide, pops his head through a hole in the neck, and says, " don't be alarmed, for I who act Lion, am not Lion, but Bottom the weater, don't be frightened, an if you were frighted, 'twere pity o'my life, I'll roar ye as gently as any sucking lamb " The learned gent, who had just sat down, had expressed his disbelief of the existence. of any unconstitutional influence exer "cised by responsible persons, and controling the responsible rainisters. This

*See Cobbett's Parliamentary History of England, Vol. I. p. 35.

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influence, however, was felt early in the

present reign, denounced first by my Lord Chatham, and he believed the public was "well convinced it did exist-a mysterious "and malignant power whose hand, felt, not "( seen, had stabbed the constitution to the "heart.But, of all the many curious "circumstances which had attended the progress of this bill, nothing appeared to "him more curious than the conduct of mi"nisters about it: they were not for it, and they were not against it: to the court "they apologized for themselves, saying""We are not against it, because it will do you no harm:" to the people, "We are not strongly for it, because it will do you no good; we do not wish to delude you, "the measure is trifling, (nugatory, said the Secretary at War,) it would be deceiving "and raising the expectation of the people, "only to disappoint, it; it would afford them no relief." Now, he perfectly agreed as to the inadequacy of the measure-the "smallness of the boon; but, it was a com

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mencement of reform, it acknowledged "the principle-the necessity; and there "fore, he should vote for it. He would "also observe, that it was the last drop that "made the cup to overflow; that the peo ple were full of grievances and sufferings, tossing and tumbling on the bed of sickness; that they at present turned their anxious eyes towards that house for "relief that they should beware how they disappointed them, and turned "their eyes elsewhere in despair."But, it seemed, that ministers objected to a measure so inadequate, so paltry, not "worth the people's acceptance. They "had better stomachs for reform-wanted "something more substantial. He supe

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posed they wished for some independent country member to get up and propose that the ancient undoubted right of the "people to annual parliaments, chosen by "themselves, should be restored-or that

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no person bribed, or who should be brib "ed by a place or pension should have a seat in the Commons House that the "good old laws of the land, Magna Charta, "Bill of Rights, and Act of Settlement, "should be restored, by repealing all those "unconstitutional acts which had nearly

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