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the Convention ? Little hope would be supinely repose ourselves, nor even atentertained of the permanency of that tempt to support it, for it must necessarily government, which had not efficient means decline. In former times, our arms pro. of protection and defence against such tected our commerce, but now we were violence and outrage; and as to the sup- come to the full enjoyment of ourindustry, position of these accounts being bare re. and we called upon our enemy not to disports, the hon. gentleman had forgotten, turb us; leave us as we are, leave us well; that while he treated them as such, le for if you do not, we are not possessed had himself brought forward uncertain of means to defend ourselves. reports of a treaty of peace between the
one of the arguments which the hon. genFrench Republic and Spain, as well as tleman had pretended to touch on lightly. other princes of Germany.
He would not speak out, he said, and The hon. gentleman had also considered there was no necessity, for he was perthe events that had happened since the fectly intelligible. But he could not help propriety of a negociation was last dis- noticing the inconsistency which commonly cussed. Whether the conduct of the prevailed in this mode of reasoning, where enemy was different now to what it was the arguments were shifted as occasion then, could not be easily decided : he had prompted, to suit the purpose of the speaker. stated, however, that there was an in- Sometimes they declaimed on the loyalty crease of power on their part, and a pro- of his majesty's subjects, and sometimes portionate decrease on ours, or what was they proclaimed them to be nearly infectnearly tantamount, that as our alliances ed with the contagion of the French Rewere weakened, theirs grew stronger. publicans. To what could such proceedOne prominent object, the defection of ings tend, but to lay the country prostrate our allies, was particularly expatiated on at the feet of the enemy? Read the vaby the hon. gentleman. To such a decla- rious declarations of France against this ration Mr. Windham opposed one broad country, and then judge of their inclinaleading consideration—the state of dis- tion to induce us to make peace. In a tress and state of opinions now prevalent discourse lately delivered to the conven. in France. Nothing but such motions as tion they state, “ that they will make that now brought forward, could prevent a no concessions to Greai Britain, nor will speedy termination of the contest in which they offer any terms of accommodation. we were engaged. Here, he confessed, there They are not afraid of war, and are therewas nothing but assertion against assertion, fore determined to continue it until they appeal against appeal. He then adverted have reduced the pride and power of this to the reasoning employed by the hon. gen. haughty country.” Were we to sit down tleman in order to induce the country to contented with such indignities, such insnatch at the first opportunity for peace. sults, and such aggravation? And here was He had affirmed, that its extent of terri- another odd inconsistency in the arguments tory was too great to be protected; that on the other side. When they vindicate its burthens were too severe to be borne ; | this conduct, they assert, that the war he had insinuated, that the country was produces these atrocities; but when they come to that pitch of prosperity which it argue for peace, then they say, “ Leave was well if it could keep, but in which them to themselves, and they will destroy every risk miglit be attended with fatal one other.” What then will be the situa. consequences. Such language was never tion of France when peace is made ? There heard before in that House; nor would the will be an internal dissention in their gocountry bave ever risen to such a pitch of vernment, which must ultimately produce honour, glory, and universal reputation a popular commotion; the armies, too, as it had done, if such had been the lan- will return, and assist to keep up the interguage of our predecessors. The hon. nal warfare. If we have sagacity enough gentleman should have recollected, too, to discover that such must be the consethat this reasoning was not confined to quences of their making peace, may they the present war, but extended to wars in not have sufficient sagacity to perceive future. He had openly proclaimed that our the same, and will they not instantly seek burthens had increased to their utmost ; new wars to keep their armies employed, that we had no means of defence ; that and prevent such calamities. The fact is our people were rebellious, and our ar- too notorious for comment. How could mies ready to assist them. We had reached the hon. gentleman delude himself so? the climax of our grandeur, and might Does he not know that with such a government, so feeble, so precarious, so inse. gentleman was, that peace would establish cure, we can have no stability? And does the power of those, who now preside in he not know that if the war should be re- France. And what sort of an argument newed, after an interval of peace of the was this? Would it establish the power ? shortest duration, that it requires a greater Was the hon. gentleman prepared to say, impulse, a greater energy throughout the that the change of government had so far nation, and is attended also with a changed the evil, as solely to have producgreater expense ? For it is in moral as in ed the alteration in his sentiments? If it mechanical powers, a strong force is ne- could, why could it not have done before cessary to put the machine in motion, in the administration of the bloody Ro. which continues its velocity with little aid bespierre ? According to their mode of - The hon. gentleman had reminded him reasoning, war could be reduced at any of La Vendée and the Chouans. Now let time to a scale of profit and calculation. the gentlemen opposite recollect the lan. Stating generally his opinions on the subguage they have used compared with the ject, he saw the motives for continuing event. Let them remember that they the war the same the prospects better. tenaciously insisted that France had but Another objection against the motion was, one sentiment. The hon. gentleman will that if it passed, the House would thereby call to mind, too, what he formerly said ; take the management out of the hands of “Do you count on Brittany and Norman- the executive government. This the dy?". Yes, the executive government did House had certainly at tiines a right to count on them, and proposed to adopt such do; but then it was usual when they asmeasures as would better facilitate that sumed that right, to apply to his majesty event which was so universally desired. to displace the persons in whom the trust When dissentions were said to exist in the of the executive government was lodged. internal state of France, it was asked | Fortunately, the motion was not yet adoptwhere? · At Lyons, Marseilles, Toulon, ed. But, nevertheless the charge of in. and La Vendée; and well would it have consistency and rashness, if not something been for this country if she had immedi. worse, was attached to it; for the hon. ately taken the proper advantage of those mover was the friend of the minister, and dissentions, and converted them to her had pronounced many elogiums upon him. purposes. They were lost, however; He relied, he said, on his talents, his intethough it might be said they could not grity, and his judgment; he praised his have been lost if they were not possest. general capacity, and he esteemed him as -He then reverted to the hon.gentleman's the properest person to be at the head of statement of the condition of Marseilles, affairs, but here comes the difficulty. and observed that it was not because that However great his general capacity, his under such a tyranny as that of France judgment, his integrity, and his talents, dissentions do not show themselves, that and however fit for administration, he was we are to conclude they do not exist. We not fit to conduct the business of the state might have had reasons to know their ex- and therefore the hon.gentleman proposed istence if we had acted with becoming to conduct it for him. He would not offer caution, and instead of one La Vendée. to displace his friend, but he would unwe might have known that the whole of dertake to manage measures for him. Did France was becoming one entire Vendée he think the minister would authorize him He then referred to the subjugation of the to perform his functions ? The hon. gen. Vendeans and the Chouans. Atone time, tleman would allow for these interrogait had been asked, have you any friends in tions by the part he had taken himself in France ? Has the new system anyenenlies? the debate of that evening. He must Are not all the people of that country know, that in all public affairs they united in the same sentiment? The boast were bound to follow their duty in preferwhich was now made of the triumph over. ence to their friendships; and for his own the insurgents proved the reality of the part, Mr. Windham said, he had sacrificed danger which had once existed. But, friendships that were dear to him, to his though these people had submitted to public duty, and he did it because he hard necessity, it was not to be supposed loved to follow right, thought it be somethat they had all at once changed their times difficult to find where it lies. The sentiments : and it proved also, that there hon. gentleman had done so too, though still existed a body of good sentiments in Mr. Windham disapproved of the mode France. The first argument of the hon. in which he had done it. A Christian
conscience was understood to be connected by the people that a peace would speeed with humility, but the hon. gentleman dily be made by the administration of the had been opposing those of whose inte-country. If such a peace were made, grity and abilities he entertained no doubt they ought all to rejoice, but not otherand with whom he was bound in the close wise, for it would then be obtained as it ties of friendship. Now he wished to im- ought to be. On the other hand, what press on the hon. gentleman's mind, that did the hon. gentleman propose? A peace he was playing a deep game; for if he by himself in opposition to administration. was not the preserver, he was the undoer The best argument in answer to such a of his country; and if he did not obtain proposition was a review of history. The the posthumous fame he so virtuously de- hon. gentleman had taken occasion in the sired, he would be transmitted to pos- course of his speech to extol the blessings terity with eternal execration. He wished of peace, and to deprecate continental him to consider too, how far he conformed connexions. With respect to the blesshimself to the sentiments of those whose ings of peace, abstractly considered, there mode of thinking he had been accustomed could be but one sentiment: as to the to oppose ; or how far he adopted new utility of continental connexions, he reopinions of his own. There were two ferred him to the testimony of the history things to confirm a man's judgment, the of the country for many centuries past. concurrence of his friends, and the dissent Were we to be supposed to be arrived at of his enemies. Now, the hon. gentleman that period in which we were to lose all had been played at great odds, for he had regard for military character, and seek not only the dissent of his friends, but the only to retain our former acquisitions. approbation of his opponents. He had Were we to renounce all views of general the odds against him also in another policy, and attend only to the claims of
In every exclusive public con- petty gain, and mercantile advantage ? cern, but more particularly in a war, Were we to forfeit our reputation for naand still more in a war like the present, tional honour, and a generous concern for there was a knowledge in the executive the welfare of Europe? It might be hogovernment which could not be possessed nourable, in the opinions of some gentle. by others. Of this he had just given an men, to steal out of a war as others had instance, though opposition would neither done ; but it would be degrading to the give the executive government credit for British character justly celebrated for its their good intentions nor their judgment. honour and integrity. Great Britain had It was not grateful to him to examine opi. no wish to imitate the republic of Ilolland nions, though he did it to fulfil his public or the duchy of Tuscany, but left them duty. If the hon. gentleman thought his ! the virtue. How different was the conduct measures fatal, he thought the hon. gen- | the hon. gentleman had recommended to tleman's no less so. Such opinions he con- that pursued by king William, who judged ceived, if listened to, were highly dan: the interests of this country to be so gerous, and if not listened to, they were closely connected with all Europe, that he so in a smaller degree. Admitting that the encouraged every alliance whereby she hon. gentleman's were the best opinion he rose in the scale of empire; and of this asked him whether he expected them to Mr. Addison was sensible when he wrote be followed? What then it might be urg. his fine eulogiuin: ed upon the other hand, are you never to “ His toils, for no ignoble ends design'd, bring forward any motion because there Promote the common welfare of mankind; is a probability it will not be followed ? No wild ambition moves, but Europe's fears, What then becomes of the freedom of de- | The ies of orphans, and the widows tears; bate? Not so: an attempt in itself to do Oppress’d religion gives the first alarms, good may be made, though others think it and injur'd justice sets him in her arms; will not do so. But did the hon. gentle. And nations bless the labours of his sword.”
His conquests freedom to the world afford, man think, that when persons like those in the executive government had formed Whether the hon. gentleman had not their opinions coolly, and with due delibe- brought forward his motion to interpose, ration, that his arguments could change because the French government was faint them. Perhaps he hoped for something and languid, and her motions wild and irintermediate ? He had heard the hon. gen- regular, he could not determine; but he tleman talk of a general objection to the reminded him, that such an enemy might war, and of a general sentiment entertain- be dangerous even in her last convulsions, [VOL. XXXII.)
He then entered into a variety of argu- | liberty to one side of the House as to the ments, on the fatal consequences of other? The right hon. gentleman had the motion, as tending to influence the then gone on to ask, for what purpose the opinions of persons at home, and to present motion had been made? And strengthen and encourage the hands of the whether the hon. mover expected to carry enemy. He said, that the cry of peace pro- the House with him? With respect to ceeded from the Jacobin party in the coun the latter question, he believed that the try; and that though every one who wish hon. mover entertained no such expectaed for peace was not a Jacobin, yet every tion; but the purpose of the motion was, Jacobin wished for peace. He concluded to discuss that, which ought frequently with moving, “ That the other orders of to be discussed during a period of war; the day be now read.”
and to show the people of this country Mr. Fox began by observing, that the that there were persons in parliament right hon. gentleman had introduced so ready to defend the rights of the people, much personality into his speech that it and to avert the calamities with which was not easy to answer him. He did not the nation was threatened by an obstinate think that he had behaved perfectly in- perseverance in a disastrous and hopeless genuous towards him; and he was of opi- system. Ministers, it was now urged, nion, that the remark that had been made, had possessed a better knowledge of La that the motion being supported by him, Vendée, than he did, and a most useless and those with whom he acted, was a piece of knowledge, he must confess it primâ facie argument against it, did not had been to them. Was it expected, it appear to him to be quite candid. He had been asked, to convince those minisshould have thought that it would have ters ? To attempt to convince those been more fair to have left the subject to whom nothing seemed to convince, was a the common course of debate, and he task, in his opinion, which no man would owned that there did appear some degree be hardy enough to undertake. No one of cunning in reducing himself and his who knew their temper, would suspect friends to the necessity of speaking, when that they would become suicides of it had been asserted, that their support their places from any principle of concould not be beneficial to the motion. victionExtraordinary as the treatment had been For Plato's fancies, what care I ? that he had experienced of late years, he I hope you do not think I die confessed that he had never been so sur
For Plato's fancies in the play, prised as at that part of the right hon. Or any thing that he can say. gentleman's speech which was more im. The House was again called upon to remediately personal. He had said to the pose confidence in ministers, in the third hon. mover of the present question, year of the war, when ministers had com" What, will you differ with him with pletely failed in their promised protection whom you have always agreed ?" Had of Holland, of the West Indies, of the the right hon. gentleman, in putting this friends of royalty in France-in every question, forgotten some recent trans- profession or promise upon which they actions? Nay, he had gone farther, and had demanded confidence. They talked had said, “Will you be so bold as to of the glory of our arms under their diagree with the persons opposite to you rection. He wondered they had not read when you
look round on the persons near our history, and taken the trouble of
Now, there was something so comparing any period of it with the losses, singular in this, that he could not avoid disasters, and retreats of the last cambeing extremely astonished at it. He ob- paign--retreats not imputable to our of served, however, that in putting these ficers or soldiers, but to a miserable system questions the right hon. gentleman had / which rendered their skill unavailing, and looked straight forward, as if he had been their valour of no effect. Ministers still afraid to look towards his colleagues. Of talked of discontents in France, and apo the majority that the right hon. gentleman pealed to what had happened in La Ven. expected would support his motion, how dée, Marseilles, Lyons, and Toulon. As many members were there, he would ask, far as appeared, the discontents in the with whom that right hon. gentleman had three last-mentioned places were the conformerly agreed on great political topics ? sequence of one parly in the convention Why was he so destitute of fair recipro- being overpowered by another; but if city as to be unwilling to allow the same they were not, what advantage had minis.
ters derived from them? They got pos- At the commencement of the war, the session of Toulon, which they were soon argument was, that if we did not engage after compelled to abandon ; Marseilles, in it, other powers would withdraw, and Lyons, and, last of all, La Vendée, were we should have to sustain the whole force compelled, or induced, to submit to the of France alone. This argument was now Convention. If they meant to adduce, as destroyed as far as Prussia was concerned, an argument in their favour, every oppor- and'nearly so with respect to the Emperor tunity of which they had made no advan- of Germany. Ministers thought proper tage, it was impossible to say where they to pass by the Emperor's rescript to the would stop. It had been said by the right diet; but did they mean to contend that hon. gentleman, that the opposers of the his declaration of his being ready to enter war asserted the discontent in La Vendée into negociations with the French republic, to be trifling. He had said no such thing. was such a declaration as his ministers He had taken the subject on the minister's would have made, such a declaration as a own showing. He had said, that if dis- British minister would make to parliament, content existed, the ministers had proved while the direct contrary was meant ? If that tbey could make nothing of it, and the Emperor was ready to negociate with that therefore he had a right to take it for the French republic, what could be our granted that no discontent did exist. But, objection to negociate ? On looking to were the House to hear ministers confess, the rescript, the House would see that the at length, that the insurrection in La Emperor was willing to treat, not with Vendée was formidable? Where was the such a government as was capable of preancient spirit of the House, if they suf- serving the accustomed relations of peace fered ministers to acknowledge that they and amity, but with the republic of France. knew of the extent of the discontent in Was this a fair rescript? Or did it resemLa Vendée, and that they had not made ble some declarations made by British use of it? He wished the right hon. gen- ministers to the parliament to deceive and tleman, when he talked of the motion as delude them? Was the rescript considertending to remove ministers from their ed only as acting in the true spirit of the situations, had recollected the debates in alliance? Of the candour and humanity that House about Oczakow, of which the of kings and princes he had heard much right hon. gentleman might say, “ Quorum --not in his opinion very discreetly—said ; pars magna fui.” Had the right hon. but he hoped that the rescript was not isgentleman been always so alarmed at such sued for the purposes to which he had alan idea ? And yet he had said with some luded. Did there remain now, he would asperity to the hon. mover: “ You ap- ask, one of those objections that had been prove of the abilities, and have a high formerly urged and urged with such opinion of the judgment, of the present triumph? Not one. But Prussia, it had been ministers, and yet you wish to take the said, had stolen out of the coalition. Of the government from them.” With this sub- court of Berlin he was not certainly inclinject he had nothing to do; but then it had ed to be the panegyrist; but the least obbeen asked, “ Do you think the minister jectionable part of the conduct of that will consent to stay in office after his mea: court was, in his opinion, the conclusion of sures have been abandoned ?" The House a treaty of peace with the French republic. from this might be tempted to think that But was it fair and manly in a British mimeasures had always been the object of nister to talk of Tuscany stealing out of the minister's care, and that he had been the alliance? Was not Tuscany neutral totally indifferent to place and power. at the commencement of the war? Had Was this the case ? Had the House no not her neutrality been approved by the example in the Irish propositions, or in Emperor and Great Britain, and did no the more recent case of Oczakow ? Did the grand duke hold his dukedom by his not a minority make a minister abandon a neutrality? Had not this country acted measure to which a majority acceded? with the most monstrous injustice towards This, therefore, was sufficient to show that him? Was it, therefore, decent to talk it was impossible to drive the minister out of his slinking out of the war ?-a mode of his measures without driving him from of conduct that had made him the darling his place. The present question had not of his subjects, and had produced the yet been disposed of, and the motion for most beneficial consequences to him. But the other orders of the day, seemed to say were these the only powers that had or that the House ought never to dispose of it. would make peace? Had not the land.