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directed a sum of 10,000l. to be paid out of the civil list, in addi. tion to his former allowance; he had the satisfaction to observe, that the prince had given the fullest assurance of his determination to confine his future expences within his income, and had settled a plan, and fixed an order in his æconomy, which, it was trusted, would effectually secure the due execution of his intentions. He farther recommended to the commons to direct, that the works of Carlton-house should be properly finished. In answer to this message, 161,000l. were voted for the payment of the prince's debts, and 20,000l. for the completion of Carlton-house.
ADDRESS ON THE King's SPEECH AT THE OPENING OF THE
November 27. THIS day the King opened the session with the following speech 1 to both Houses :
“ My lords, and gentlemen; At the close of the last session, I informed you of the concern with which I observed the disputes unhappily subsisting in the republic of the United Provinces. Their situation soon afterwards became more critical and alarming, and the danger which threatened their constitution and independence, seemed likely, in its consequence, to affect the security and interests of my dominions. No endeavours were wanting on my part to contribute by my good offices to the restoration of tranquillity, and the maintenance of the lawful government; and I also thought it necessary to explain my intention of counteracting all forcible interference on the part of France in the internal affairs of the republic. Under these circumstances, the King of Prussia having taken measures to enforce his demand of satisfaction for the insult offered to the Princess of Orange, the party which had usurped the government of Holland applied to the Most Christian King for assistance, who notified to me his intention of granting their request. - In conformity to the principles which I had before explained, I did not hesitate, on receiving this notification, to declare, that I could not remain a quiet spectator of the armed interference of France, and I gave immediate orders for augmenting my forces both by sea and land. - In the course of these transactions, I also thought proper to conclude a treaty with the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, by which I secured the assistance of a considerable body of troops, in case my service should require it. - In the mean time, the rapid success of the Prussian troops under the conduct of the Duke of Brunswick, while it was the means of obtaining the reparation demanded by the King of Prussia, enabled the provinces to deliver themselves from the oppression under which they laboured, and to re-establish their lawful government. All subjects of contest being thus removed, an amicable explanation took place between me and the Most Christian King, and declarations have been exchanged by our respective ministers, by which we have agreed mutually to disarm, and to place our naval establishments on the same footing as in the beginning of the present year. - It gives me the greatest satisfaction that the important events, which I have communicated to you, have taken place without disturbing my subjects in the enjoyment of the blessings of peace; and I have great pleasure in acquainting you, that I continue to receive from all foreign powers the fullest assurances of their pacific and friendly disposition towards this country. I must, at the same time, regret that the tranquillity of one part of Europe is unhappily interrupted by the war which has broken out between Russia and the Porte. - A convention has been agreed upon between me and the Most Christian King, explanatory of the thirteenth article of the last treaty of peace, and calculated to prevent jealousies and disputes between our respective subjects in the East Indies. I have ordered copies of the several treaties to which I have referred, and of the declaration and counter-declaration exchanged at Versailles, to be laid before you,
“ Gentlemen of the House of Commons; I have ordered the . estimates for the ensuing year to be laid before you, together with an account of the extraordinary expences which the situation of affairs rendered necessary.--I have the fullest reliance in your zeal and public spirit, that you will make due provision for the several branches of the public service. I am always desirous of confining those expences within the narrowest limits which a prudent regard to the public safety will permit; but I must at the same time recommend to your particular attention to consider of the proper means for maintaining my distant possessions in an adequate posture of defence.
"My lords and gentlemen; the flourishing state of the commerce and revenues of this country cannot fail to encourage you in the pursuit of such measures as may confirm and improve so favourable a situation. — These circumstances must also render you peculiarly anxious for the continuation of public tranquillity, which it is my constant object to preserve. -I am at the same time persuaded you will agree with me in thinking that nothing can more effectually tend to secure so invaluable a blessing, than the zeal and unanimity which were shewn by all ranks of my subjects on the late occasion, and which manifest their readiness to exert themselves whenever the honour of my crown and the interests of my dominions may require it.”
An address in the usual form was moved in the House of Commons, by the honourable Mr. Dudley Ryder *, and seconded by Mr. Brooke, member for Newton, Lancashire. The substance of the address met with the general concurrence of the House; but a short debate took place upon a few topics arising out of it. Lord Fielding, after expressing the strongest approbation of what had
* The present Earl of Harrowby.
been done by ministers upon the late occasion, suggested a doubt, which had arisen in his own mind, whether or no they had fully availed themselves of the favourable opportunity that had pre. sented itself, and whether they might not, and ought not, to have gone farther, and done more for the future security of this country against the ambition of France. The object, he said, which he had particularly in his view, was the demolition of the stupendous works that were projected and carrying on at Cherburgh. He stated his opinion of their vast importance, not only as rendering our rival more formidable in herself, but as being evidently in their design hostile to this kingdom. He conceived, that as the manifest superiority of this country had put it within our power to enforce, so the great expence, which we had been obliged to incur, would justify the demand of some compensation from the French court. The object he alluded to had been shamefully overlooked, or corruptly relinquished, in the last treaty of peace; and he therefore desired to enter his protest against any construction of his vote, that should pledge him to approve of the minister's conduct, if it hereafter appeared that he had again neglected this important object.
Mr. Fox rose and observed, that he should contradict every political principle and sentiment that he had acted upon through life, were he not to give his most hearty concurrence to the sum and substance of the speech from the throne, and the address that had been moved upon it, because he took the substance of both to be a public avowal from the throne, and as public an acknowledgment on the part of that House, that those systems of politics, which had on former occasions been called romantic, were serious systems, and such as it was the true interest of this country to be governed by; namely, systems established on that sound and solid political maxim, that Great Britain ought to look to the situation of affairs upon the Continent, and to take such measures upon every change of circumstances abroad, as should tend best to preserve the balance of power in Europe. Upon that maxim he had founded all his political conduct, and convinced as he was of its justness, he should continue to adhere to it, and consequently could not withhold his ready and sincere assent to an address admitting the maxim completely
It was now, he observed, confessed by government, that it was necessary to come to the lower orders of the people, those who were labouring under the heaviest burdens, those who paid for their candles, their windows, and all the various necessaries of life, and say, “ severely taxed as we know you are, you must nevertheless contribute something towards the expence of keeping political power upon a balance in Europe.” This was open and manly; it was dictated by sound policy. Let, therefore, the expence of effecting and enforcing the late measures in the republic of Holland have been what it might, he should think the money well laid out, and would give any as sistance in his power to the voting it cheerfully and freely. There was, however, in the address, a loose word, that might possibly have been suffered to find its way into it through accident, and which he could have wished had not been there. Some passages of it also referred to points that might require a good deal of discussion; but, as the address was wisely put together, and those matters that were most likely to create debate, mentioned with a reserve for consideration on a future day, when that House should have the documents before them necessary to give them that information, without which they could not in a parliamentary way proceed to investigate their policy and wisdom, it was not necessary for him to discuss them at that moment. He took the beginning of the address, containing an avowal, that the situation of affairs in the republic of the United Provinces seemed likely, in its consequences, to affect the security and interest of the British dominions; and that his majesty had acted with success upon that circumstance, to be the essential substance of the address, and to that he gave his full assent. One observation he had to make upon the address in that particular, and that was this most obvious one: the address expressly stated, that the king of France had notified his intention of granting the request of the party who had usurped the government of Holland: he did not suppose the address contained any thing but truth, because no minister would presume to put any thing but truth into the mouth of his majesty; but although the address contained this assertion, and directly stated that the king of France had notified his intention of assisting the party who had usurped this government, yet, if the counter-declaration was looked into, it would be there found, that it was roundly asserted, that the court of France never had any such intention. He did not, however, wish to rest upon a French declaration, or upon any French professions, whether perfectly made or clearly expressed or not. The fact undoubtedly was as his majesty's speech stated it to be, and there was no doubt, but that France had assured the party who had seized upon the government of the United Provinces, of her determination to assist them.
Mr. Fox reminded the House, how repeatedly he had urged the perfidy and treacherousness of France in the exertion of her influence in foreign states, and that when the commercial treaty was under discussion last session, and he, among others, had expressed his dislike of that treaty, and his conviction, that it would not prove the bond of amity, and secure to us the continuance of the blessings of peace, how much was said of the pacific intentions of France, and of the sincerity of her
United Fox remin treach
professions of regard and friendship towards this country, and yet they were now told in that House from the highest authority, that this new friend and commercial ally had interfered in the affairs of the United Provinces, and promised to support that party, who were termed, in the very same speech, the usurpers of the lawful government, and, at a time too, when those who held the legal government were in alliance and conñected with France. The charges of treachery and perfidiousness, which he, and various others, had on different occasions urged against France, had at the same time been sometimes thought too strong; but, strong as they might be, they were weak, indeed, compared with the charge contained in the speech from the throne, for there his majesty had declared explicitly, that France had signified her intention of assisting the usurpers of the legal government of the United Provinces, when those who held that legal government were in amity and alliance with her.
Mr. Fox laid great stress on this circumstance; and then proceeded to observe, that he did not think it at all necessary to enquire into the legality of the constitution of a foreign state; in the speech, the “lawful government” was the term made use of. He had ever thought it his duty, and the duty of every member of parliament, to consider himself the representative of the people of Great Britain, and to attend to the interests of Britons, let them be where, in what country, and at what distance they might. The preservation of our own constitution, for the sake of the preservation of our liberties, and the prosperity of Great Britain and all her dependencies, were objects immediately worthy their attention and proper for their consideration; but, he was far from thinking it was either wise or becoming for that House to apply itself to an inquiry into the legality of the constitution or form of government of a foreign state. It was sufficient for him and for the House, to consider which party in the republic of the United Provinces was most inclined to be friendly to Great Britain, and to renew a natural alliance with us, in preference to an unnatural alliance with France. His opinion, therefore, was, that the word “lawful” applied to the word “government” in the address was redundant.
Mr. Fox took notice that Lord Fielding had declared he was not ripe to say, that ministers ought not to have gone farther, and pushed the opportunity beyond the mere pretension of the forcible interference of France. In this he perfectly concurred with the noble lord; but he did not mean with rem spect to Cherburgh; he meant merely that ministers would not have gone far enough if they had stopped with the pacification with France. Še took it for granted, that they had