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commended to them in vain ? I am aware they could; but these hon. gentlemen, that I may appear to argue against my- I suppose, thought they could not. There selt; but while I sincerely say, that let a is one phrase in the message and address bona fide peace be made by whom it will, extremely equivocal. We are to look for I shall rejoice; yet I contend it is proper a disposition on the part of the French to that the matter should be fairly stated to negociate; thus, though the minister may the country, and that ministers should acknowledge the competency of the not be allowed to arrogate to themselves | French government for negociation, it that merit in the transaction to which they may be any time he pleases before he disare by no means entitled. It may be said cover a proper disposition manifesting itthat the present message even goes far- self. In short, looking upon it, until ther than my motion, in which I wished contradicted, as a sort of assurance on - to confine myself to a point of time; but the part of ministers, I may, for some the real difference between the sentiments time, suspend my motion on this subject; of this side of the House and those of the and feeling as I do, I shall vote for the other consists in this; we at all times as- amendment. serted the propriety of negociation; and Mr. Pitt said :- I prefaced the address although we may have used the expres. which I had the honour of proposing with sion, ihat the existing government of very few words, because I certainly conFrance at the time such motion was ceived there could be no difference of opimade, should be no bar to entering into nion upon the subject. I formed this opi. any treaty or negociation, we meant not nion, from adverting to the nature of his to deny that any other existing form of majesty's message itself, the situation of government would have been equally com- the contending parties, and the existing petent to maintain the accustomed rela- circumstances of the war. But what was tions of peace and amity. They, on the most calculated to confirm this opinion contrary, have, up to the present mo- was, the conduct of the hon. gentleman ment, objected to every idea of negocia- himself who has now sat down, and who tion. To set this matter in its true light yesterday, when I introduced the preis, I conceive, the object of the present sent subject, after mature consideration, amendment. I certainly, above all things, said he would not press the motion of wish the honour of the country to be which he had given notice. I am, really saved: but by whatever circumstances at a loss to understand what is now his these gentlemen may be influenced, I wish object: it would seem, that had he folministers to acknowledge the French re- lowed his own inclination, there would, public, and shall rejoice to think that they and ought to have been no amendment, are determined to negociate. I wish to and yet he votes for that proposed. At consider this message as an assurance to the same time, too, he seems inclined to that purpose, and that the minister is sin- put the same construction on the meancerely resolved to take the earliest oppor. ing of the message and address that is intunity of concluding a peace. Is this tended to be conveyed by the amendreally so ?-He appears to give his dissent ment. It is really singular to observe the to this; then let him openly say so. I, in- mode in which this question has been taken deed, distrust every thing which comes up, to attend to the arguments which have from him in the shape of words. Last generally been used by gentlemen on the year, in the amendment to my motion other side. They have proposed an amendfor entering into negociation, he stated, ment to this address, not recommending us that he would be ready to negociate when- to meet a negociation on just and honoraever such a government should be estable terms; but to enter into treaty inblished in France as was likely to main- instantly, whether a disposition to this tain the accustomed relations of peace purpose manifests itself on the part of and amity,* leaving it entirely to conjec. the enemy or not. One would expect ture what sort of government that might certainly, that these gentlemen would exbe, and not even saying whether the ex- ert their talents in a different manner on isting government at that time was such this occasion. They have always expresa government or not. At that time, we sed an ardent wish for peace; but now, found that other governments, such as when that is brought forward as an object Denmark, Sweden, and America, thought more likely to be obtained than at any other
former period, they wish to persuade the * See Vol. 31, p. 1298.
House not to adopt any rational resolu. tion the subject; and insist that the pre- but I likewise stated, that it would be of sent address cannot be agreed to, without most important consequence, were it to branding our former declarations on the terminate only in stenming the torrent, subject with inconsistency and folly. and turning the tide which threatened to They affect to rejoice in the prospect of overwhelm in ruin every thing sacred and vegociation, and yet they pursue a con- valuable in society. If in such a defenduct to render it impracticable. The hon. sive war, it be asked, for what have we gentleman agrees to our motion, but says, sacrificed our blood and treasure? I unthat it does not go far enough, and that doubtedly answer, that all we now have, the amendment supplies the deficiency. It we may well be said to have gained; for is very remarkable that he has said no- we should otherwise have been deprived thing in favour of the proposed additions, of it; and what we may gain more, is but he and his friends kindly wish to show that indemnity which we find ourselves that we cannot consistently agree to what entitled to demand. I cannot omit obwe ourselves propose. If we examine by serving here, that those who call out, what means they propose to produce this what have you gained ? what are you to effect, we shall find that their arguments gain ? seem to wish to prevent any thing proceed, either on a total forgetfulness, or from being gained, by actually wishing to a complete misrepresentation of the mo. bind the hands of the executive governlives and principles by which we have ment, by taking from them all discretion been actuated during the whole of this in the management of a negociation, and most important contest. They, in the depriving them of the power of rendering first place, bring forward an observation, it successful. On the second point relawhich has again
and again been confuted, tive to the object of the war, let us have that the war originated in the aggression a little more justice and candour. I cerof this country. In the second place, tainly said that the war was not like others, they wish to fix us with having asserted, occasioned by particular insult, or the that the grand object of the war, the sine unjust seizure of territory, or the like, but qui non to be obtained, was the re-estab- undertaken to repel usurpation, connected lishment of the ancient government. In with principles calculated to subvert all the third place they affirm, that between government, and which, while they fouformer periods of the French revolution rished in their original force and maligand the present, there is no practical dif- nity, were totally incompatible with the ference. And, lastly, that the establish- accustomed relations of peace and anrity. ment of a council of ancients is a trifling We professed also, that many persons in formal distinction. On each of these heads that country felt the pressure of the cait will be necessary to make someremarks. lamities under which it laboured, and were Upon the first point, I shall not tread ready to co-operate in the destruction of over the ground that has been already so the causes which produced them. The fully occupied, nor imagine that it is in right of war, a right never very sethe power of any hon. gentleman to reason riously denied, entitled us to take every the majority of this House into the per advantage of this circumstance; and we suasion, that this war was not, in the most undoubtedly said, that this might be at. emphatical sense of the word, defensive tended with the re-establishment of a syson the part of this country; and, at the tem of government in that country, more same time, the most important in a gene- likely to be beneficial in its effects, both ral point of view, that ever was under to them and to us. This has always inost taken, involving the interests and well-be- unfairly been misrepresented, and coning of Europe, nay, of all mankind. When founded with the idea, that no end was to that war was once commenced, it cer- be put to the war without actually actainly became a most material question, complishing the re-establishment of one when shall we again look for peace? The particular system. As to the particular answer could not but be, Not until we expression of bellum internecinum, it never have repelled unjust aggression, and pro- was mentioned on this side of the House, cured, reasonable hopes of future se- but for the purpose of repelling it, as not curity. On the first day of the session, I at all applicable to the manner in which stated, that it would have been more sa- we were determined to conduct the pretisfactory to me, had the present contest
I have even said, when the terminated in the utter dissolution of those French government was most objectiondetestable principles in which it originated, able, that some circumstances of necessity might compel us to treat with them; and, tion. Why? Because it approaches too as to the idea of restoring the monarchy, near to the despotism of England. This of I boldly maintain, that I never held that itself proves to me the advantage the new forth as the sine qua non. What we looked constitution has over any thing which prefor was a reasonable expectation of stabi. ceded it. But does any man mean selity in the government with which we riously to assert, that no difference has should treat. The next question will be taken place? When the Rights of Man the terms; but at present we certainly say were fully acted upon,
there was but one all that can be required when we affirm, representative body, containing in itself that we wait only for a favourable disposi- all powers, legislative, executive, and jution on the part of the enemy. The dicial, the only lawful centre from which next point I have to allude to, is the every thing was to proceed. The new bold denial on the part of opposition, constitution is a complete disclaimer of that there is any substantial difference, this theory. Besides, they have introwith respect to the French government, duced the system of artificial distinctions. between the present and former periods. They are now far removed from a state This they argue in an elaborate manner, but of pure democracy. Is it no material diflike all practical questions, it must be de- ference of situation, that in consequence cided by general experience. They have of the division into two Houses, the resaid, that all times were proper for nego- presentative body can no longer rashly ciation, and that the only question was and wildly pass the most pernicious de. concerning the terms. We assert, that crees, and are not likely to be again conthe present is the first proper opportunity, trolled by a sanguinary mob, a lawless and the only one that has occurred. It is rabble ? 'Is it no material difference that rather remarkable that they should now, they should have infused into their confor the first time, turn round and think stitution, the elements of a mixed governthis not altogether the proper time. One ment, and have placed in separate hands would almost be inclined to believe that the legislative, judicial, and executive they begin to lose sight of the interest of powers? As to the question, whether their country. In examining this question, they have done well ; I am of opinion that it is unnecessary to go to any length. On they do well in proportion as they come the first day of the session, I said, that the nearer that description of government, circumstance of the new constitution in which experience has proved to be benefi. France, the exhausted state of their cial to mankind. But the difference in the finances, and the difference which had evi- form of government is to be taken comdently taken place in the general temper bined with other circumstances, external of the people, were strong grounds to en. and internal. We ought to weigh the title me to say, that the prospect of af- disposition of the enemy, the means by fairs was extremely improved. Some of which the end may be accomplished, these statements it was impossible to deny and the difficulties attending it. The dis— The hon. gentleman who spoke last, position of the enemy is to be collected made what I rather imagine was an acci- from their present principles and conduct, dental slip, when he spoke of change of and from the general temper of mind in conduct. Does he mean to say, that the country. I am asked, are you sure things are so reversed, that they who the present form of their government is were formerly the defenders of the French stable? To this I answer, that they have government and their measures do now no better means of rendering the governseriously attack them? For my part, I do ment stable, than by making peace on not mean to defend any of their measures, such terms as Europe has a right to exfar less to become their panegyrist. I wish pect, and by abolishing every measure of only to consider their conduct in a com- force and terror. The exhausted state of parative view. But it is certainly of the their finances is in this point of view, of utmost moment that this House and the considerable importance. The subject has nation at large, should observe the senti already been amply discussed. As an adments of a certain set of individuals in this ditional argument, I appeal to the dying country. Yes! those who have iror duc- confession of the old government, and to ed into this island, Jacobin principles, Ja- the infant acts of the new. If such be cobin names, and Jacobin acts, were the their exhausted state, it can hardly be defenders of the French government. supposed that they will be long disposed But they now attack their new constitu- to maintain the contest. The circum
stances which I have now mentioned, are I in possession of the means, I would almost all new, and very different from again repel the unjust attack. Upon the any that have hitherto occurred. Some whole, I can see no reason why we should may imagine that there was sufficient se- not now enter into a negociation, if circurity before this period. They cannot,
They cannot, cumstances admit of it, without any rethen, deny that there is more now. There gard whatever to the origin of the war. is another point I must touch upon.
Is Mr. Fox said, that however he might it true that disasters have every where at differ from much of what had fallen from tended us, except our successes at sea ? the right hon. gentleman, however he In our land, operations has no honour might object to the terms of the address been gained to the British name? The which had been moved, there was one conduct of our troops in Holland and thing which must give him pleasure : he in Germany demand our admiration must congratulate the House and the and our gratitude. Have sir Charles country on the complete change which Grey, and the other officers in the West had happily taken place in the language India expedition added no lustre to the and in the system of government. The British arms ? Might he not mention House would believe him when he said Martinique, Cape Nicola Mole, and the that he rejoiced, and when he congratuCape of Good Hope? Are they not in- lated them upon this change, since he deed most important conquests; and are had also to congratulate himself they not in our hands? Are we not occasion, as this change of language and possessed of means which enable us to of system pronounced his pardon, and enter on any negociation with effect ? For was a complete absolution of all his past this purpose ministers demand ouly those sins. Ministers had made a total retractadiscretionary powers which are necessary. tion of all the charges they had brought It would be hard indeed to take from them against him for the motions he had made, the discretion and double the responsibi- and for the doctrines he had held from lity. It is said that we have left open a the commencement of the war to the preloop-hole for the purpose of evasion, and sent day: they had fully acquitted him, are really not sincere in what we profess; and had positively declared that, in every but let us see what is actually the case. sentiment he had uttered, he was right,
The message undoubtedly reserves a dis- and that the House should have acted cretion as to the mode of acting, but ex- upon his opinion; for all along, he presses fairly, that if a proper disposition had maintained the doctrine now laid to negociation manifest itself on the part down in his majesty's message. Three of the enemy, his majesty will be fully years ago, namely, on the 15th of Deceminclined to give it effect. It is said that ber 1792, he had made a motion for a newe allow only the present order of things gociation for peace. In June 1793 he had to be such, as we may treat with, and done the same thing: he had also moved that we suppose no other equally compe- an amendment in the course of the same tent; consequently, if another change session, tending to the same purpose. In were to take place, we should be just January 1794 he had supported the mowhere we were. This, however, is not tion of an hon. friend; and in the latter. altogether the case. The permanency of end of the same session he had maintained the present government does not now so and supported in argument the same senmuch connect itself with a permanency timent as that now conveyed in his maof a treaty of peace. Formerly, the suc. jesty's message, namely, that it was fit cession of parties was so rapid and so and proper to negociate with the existing violent, that the circumstance of this government of France. It had been his country making peace with one, would uniform argument, that, at every moment have been a sufficient motive for the from the first commencement of hostilities other to set it aside ; but considering the to the present, it was wise and politic to situation to which France is now reduced, make the declaration which had been now no man can pretend to say it would be submitted to the House,--that France policy in any other set of men who might was in a state to negociate with this councome into power, to reject a treaty of try. He had, therefore at present, this peace, concluded with the present rulers. triumph, that ministers retracted by this If it be asked, what I would do were the message all the language they had held same miserable state to recur, which gave in answer to his motions, and all the imrise to the present contest, I answer, were putations which they had thrown upon him. “ What !" they said, “ treat with The chancellor of the exchequer had men whose hands are yet reeking with thought to involve them in a difficulty, the blood of their sovereign! What! by insinuating that his hon. friend had treat with men who would come here with argued against the address. But this principles that are destructive of all go. Mr. Fox positively denied, for he had not vernment!"Such were their arguments, opposed the address; but thinking it in. and yet mark their conduct: they now de- adequate fully to express the sentiments clared themselves ready to treat with the which the House ought to feel on the ocnew Directory of France, four members casion, he had proposed an amendment of which had actually participated in the more definite in its object, and more judgment and death of their sovereign, comprehensive in its provisions. He and were directly implicated in that act could not, however, but protest against a He regretted exceedingly the absence of mode of arguing, by which a person was some genilemen from the House this not allowed to approve of an address if evening, who had signalised themselves he ventured to express his disapprobation by reprobating his sentiments and con. of the measures by which the situation duct in the severest terms, because from was produced in which the address was them also he might have received the moved. If it should be said, that it was same sentence of pardon and absolution, an opposition to the address, because and because they might now have been they proposed an amendment, he must ready to confess, that the censures in protest against such reasoning, which which they had so liberally dealt were tended to deprive him of the freedom of the effect of sudden irritation, or gross speech. If he must agree to a proposimisapprehension. Other modes of attack tion only in the terms in which it was put, had been practised; not the least remark- he was deprived of deliberation, and was able of which was, that he and his friends no longer permitted to be a free reasoner. left nothing to the discretion of ministers. But this would not, he supposed, be seWhen by their motions they had merely riously disputed; and it would not be called upon the House to consider the ascribed to him, that he was an enemy to existing government of France as capable peace because he agreed to an amendment, of maintaining the relations of peace and to a message which was extremely equiamity with their allies, a complaint was vocal.
An enemy to peace! The whole made on behalf of ministerial discretion, tenor of his reasoning from the comand the supporters of the motions were mencement of the war was, that every accused of a wish to deliver over his ma- moment was favourable to a negociation jesty's advisers bound hand and foot, to for peace.
for peace. Had he any objections to the governors of France. They did no that peace being concluded by the hon. such thing ; neither his two amendments, gentleman ? None; for he should think nor the motions of his hon. friend (Mr. it an addition to the blessings of peace, Grey), went so far as the present message if the country could along with it procure from the crown. His amendments did no the advantage of bringing his majesty's more than declare, that there were no em- ministers into disgrace; and he should barrassments to treating in the form of conceive that they were completely disthe government of France; nothing that graced by the retractation of every assermade it impossible or improper for this tion they had made, and by the surrender country to treat. The motion of his hon. of every object which they had held out friend was still more gentle. It was, that as the pretext of war. If this should be there was nothing in the government of said to be an invidious mode of speaking, France that tended to retard a negocia- he had no objection to plead guilty to tion. But the present message declared the charge, for he most assuredly did at once their readiness to treat under cer- think, that next to the blessings of peace tain circumstances, and the House were would be the disgrace of ministers, who now called upon to do what had then had entered upon the war without reason, been declared to be so improper, so de and rejected every opportunity of congrading and so ignominious. All these cluding a peace upon terms infinitely foul epithets, however, were now com- more favourable for the country than any pletely retracted, and justice was done to that they were now likely to obtain. It the good intentions, and to the sound po- might, however, be their consoling idea, licy of the gentlemen on his side of the that if they had rejected peace upon House.
better terms than they were now likely to