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and of the disinterested support they gave which had been proposed by his hon. to ministers. It was not his practice to friend. impute any thing personally corrupt to Mr. Secretary Dundas asked, whether the right hon. gentleman, and he did not any human being could give the gentleimpute to him any thing of the kind now; men opposite credit for their professions but he did think that, in decency and in of anxiety for a peace, when they produty, in regard to himself as well as to posed an amendment to the address, the country, he was called upon to ex- which they knew must be against plain this extraordinary transaction. It the sense of the majority of the was a direct robbery upon the public of 5 House ? Was such an amendment cal. or 6 per cent. upon the whole loan, if with culated to accelerate the blessings of the knowledge of his intention he made peace: or was it intended to serve the his bargain without a public declaration purposes of a party? If ministers were of the change that had taken place; and tied down by the authoritative injunction he must prove that he did not know of of parliament to make a peace, with what this change but a week before he declared success could they treat ? They must say it. The change however was now an- to the enemy, we wish to negociate, and nounced. He trusted the declaration we hope you will grant us favourable terms, would not have the fate of former decla- but whether you do or not, we must make rations. He should rejoice in the day of some peace or other. What terms the peace, come when it would. When it did enemy would grant, in a treaty commenccome, he should certainly be thankful ; ed under such circumstances, he would but he should by no means consider the leave the House to determine. All that restoration of peace as superseding the he contended for was, that as ministers necessity of an inquiry into the origin, were responsible for the advice they gave principle, and conduct of the war. For his majesty, their judgment should be if this were neglected, it might establish left unfettered. If this argument was a precedent upon which any minister just, did it not apply strongly against the might undertake a war without principle, present amendment, the necessary effect conduct it with incapacity, and be ac- of which would be to bind up the hands of quitted of all his misdeeds immediately the executive power, and to throw the upon the patching up a peace. He country at the mercy of France? There trusted that with the return of peace, we was one mode of debating, which genshould also have a return of the constitu- tlemen opposite uniformly made use of, tion. He should truly rejoice if, with the and against which he desired most seblessings of peace, we were also to have riously to protest. In the course of a dethe next desirable blessing, that of free bate they brought forward some misredom, of which we were about to be de- presentation, either of the arguments or of prived. With regard to some persons in the intentions of administration, and have the cabinet, with whom he had been long ing once introduced the misrepresentation in the habits of agreement and friendship, they never gave it up. It was of no use to he knew not what effects peace was to deny their assertionsit was of no use to produce upon them. They had differed refute their arguments; for in every sucupon the principles of the present war. ceeding debate, the charge was renewed If peace should put an end to the differ- with as much boldness as if it bad never ences between them, and restore them to been contradicted. One of these misre. their former habits of thinking and acting presentations was, that ministers had comhe should undoubtedly see the day with menced and carried on the war, for the peculiar sensibility. He owned, however, purpose of restoring the ancient despotism that he had very little expectation of such of France. In vain had ministers denied an event. However that might be, he the charge ; it was still pressed upon them should ill discharge his duty to his coun- and even now, when they thought the try, if he did not steadily resolve to do government of France was safely to be his utmost to bring ministers to a strict treated with, they were accused of havaccount for all the calamities that this ing given up the grounds upon which war had engendered. He sat down, they commenced the war, and of having begging not to be understood as opposing totally changed their system. As far as the address, or disapproving of the sen- related to himself, he declared it as his timents is contained. He only wished opinion, that it would be happier for that it had gone as far as the amendment France and for Europe, if we had now to treat with a monarchy instead of the pre- , with which their successes inspired them. sent form of government. But did any Were the Austrians at that time as sucone expression ever fall from ministers cessful as they have since been in repelwhich conveyed an intention of continu- ling the enemy? Had Manheim surrening the war until the monarchy of France dered, with a garrison of 9,000 men ? The was restored? Therefore, there was no object of Great Britain was not to effect change of opinion, no dereliction of sys- any particular form of government in tem, to be imputed to government.--Ano- France, but so to reduce their power, as ther charge was, that ministers in object to give a fair probability that any peace ing to treat with France, had been go- we might make should be permanent. That verned in that determination merely by we had failed in some of our objects, the form of government which, at the he was ready to admit ; but that the intime, prevailed in France, without taking dividuals employed, or that the nation had into consideration the general posture of suffered any thing like disgrace he utterly affairs. Of the injustice of this accusa- denied. He would venture to assert withition he hoped to convince the House in out the hazard of contradiction, that taka few words. When the right hon. gen. ing into consideration the objects for tleman made his motion for peace last which we had contended, and the nature year, were not existing circumstances a of the enemy with whom we had to constronger reason against commencing a ne- tend, this had been upon the whole a gociation than the form of government most successful war.
The three objects which now existed ? The French were which any statesman at the commencethen successful on the Continent, and ment of a war would wish us to atthey became immediately possessed of all tain, viz. Martinique, Cape Nicola Mole, the coast. He begged to observe here, and the Cape of Good Hope were every that the instant the French became pos- one in our possession. Added to these, we sessed of Holland, the idea occurred to had succeeded in destroying the comhim of getting possession of the Cape of merce of our rival, and in ruining their Good Hope. Whether government would, marine.—But the right hon. gentleman under any circumstances, give up that had contended, that, from the distressed valuable acquisition, was a point upon state in which the French were last year, which he should not give an opinion, ex- they must have been anxious for peace. cept merely to say, that it would not be So far from that assertion being true, this given up without an ample compensation. was the very first moment, during the He appealed to the recollection of every whole course of the war, in which the gentleman, whether, at the time of which enemy bad shown any symptoms of a dehe was speaking, the whole country was sire for peace. As a proof of this, he renot in a state of alarm; the circumstances ferred to the uniform language held by which were expected to result from the the Convention. He desired the House to French becoming possessed of Holland, remember the declarations of the governbeing serious indeed ? They were not at ment of France, when they made peace that time debating as they were now, with Prussia. The principal motive they whether it would not be expedient to de- assigned for making peace with that mocrease the number of our forces ? No, all narch was, that they might turn their was apprehension; the whole eastern whole force to the destruction of Eng. coast of the kingdom was in a state of land. The House must remember their panic. He thanked God most solemnly, declaration that the new Carthage on the that there did exist such a panic, because banks of the Thames must be overturned. the result of it was, that increase of our This was not the language of the Convennavy, which had placed us above the tion alone; it was heard with transport reach of danger. But was there any kind by the whole nation ! nay, so general was of comparison between our situation then the persuasion that that object would be and now? At that time, from the great accomplished, that their soldiers and sailsuccess of the French arms, their Repub- ors had filled their pockets, in imaginalic seemed not only to be indivisible, but tion, with the wealth of London.- Anoinvincible. Had we made peace then, ther argument advanced by the right hon. even if we had obtained tolerable terms, gentleman was, that the circumstance of at all events France would have retained France having declared war against us was her power; and, what was perhaps still no proof that they were the aggressors; worse, they would have retained the pride and that, on the contrary, we had provoked
He was ready to admit, that Debate in the Lords on the King's Mesit might happen that the party who first sage respecting a Negociation for Peace declared war were not the aggressors, but with France.] Dec. 10. The order of the was that true with respect to the present day being read, war? Had not the French for some months Lord Grenville said, he had no doubt previous to the declaration of war, been of the disposition of their lordships to guilty of the most unprovoked aggres- give every assistance to his majesty, sion, from the time of the retreat of the conformable to the sentiments contained duke of Brunswick ? They hardly at- in his most gracious message, for the purtempted to conceal their hostile views pose of procuring a peace on safe and against the constitution of England ? It honourable terms. As upon this subject was then said we might negociate. We there could not be any difference of opidid negociate. And what was the result ? nion, he should not think it necessary to How did they explain this famous decree do more than move an Address in answer, of the 19th November? They would not without entering into any argument to interfere in the internal concern of any show the propriety of such a measure. any other country, unless the general He accordingly moved an address, similar sense of the people was against their go to that which was yesterday moved in the vernment, and they were invited by the Commons by Mr. Pitt. majority, to give their assistance ! But The Marquis of Lansdown declared, who were to be the judges of this general 'that the great measure of peace had been will ? The French! This was all that long uppermost in his mind. That he could be obtained by negociation.-The might not lie under the necessity of opgentlemen opposite appeared to him to posing a measure which was calculated to talk of a peace with too much certainty. produce so desirable an object, he would The message did not hold out an imme- not dwell on the conduct of the war, diate promise of a peace; it only said, though he remained firm in his belief that . that we were ready to negociate, upon it originated in aggression on our part. fair and honourable terms. He thought Since the days of cardinal Alberoni, a it necessary to say thus much, in order design of such frantic absurdity as the obthat he might not be accused of an at- ject of it embraced, had never been at. tempt to delude the House and the coun- tempted. He would not dwell on the try, if unfortunately they should not be' uniform misconduct of ministers, nor the able to attain the object they all wished. disasters which, with a few exceptions, The right hon. gentleman said, that mi- had attended us both by land and sea. nisters represented the danger arising There was a time when the energy of parfrom seditious societies here, to be liament would have been exerted in ingreater or less, just as it suited their argu- quiring into the conduct of ministers; but ment. He had no objection to confess, that energy, since the Revolution, had that he thought the danger less now than been gradually declining, till at present, at the latter end of 1792.-And why? Not it was entirely extinguished. if their because they had renounced their princi. lordships had recourse to their Journals, ples ; not because they had decreased in they would find, that from the Revolunumbers : but because the people had re- tion, down to the American war, such covered from the infatuation under which inquiries were never refused. For the they laboured, with respect to French restoration of this energy, a reform in pardoctrines ; because the people were more liament was the only application that upon their guard against the machinations would be effectual; but this he would not of the disaffected; and because go press till peace produced a period proper vernment had opposed bulwarks against for its agitation. Peace was the object any farther attempts they might make. nearest his heart, as necessary to the hapHe concluded with congratulating the piness of the people, and the safety of the House and the country, that we had, by country. It was a jewel which he was, courage and perseverance, arrived at that at all events, desirous to secure. If he point in which we might look for a peace was asked, how he would obtain it, he equally compatible with our security and would explain by saying, if he had a serour honour.
vant who robbed him of a valuable diaMr. Sheridan's amendment was nega- mond, his first care would be to recover tived without a division. The Address was it before he accused him of ingratitude, then agreed to.
or punished him for his crime. Peace
was that diamond, and if ministers would when that arrived he should not only deem restore it, he would receive it with thank- it a happy but a good peace. As to infulness, though his opinion of them might demnity, he had no hesitation in saying be the same as of the servant. In the that a few years of industry would be far present instance, he was at a loss to beyond all the indemnification we could know what confidence to give ministers, derive from our acquisitions. from the equivocal terms of the message, Lord Grenville said, he had heard that and the sentiments contained in the ads from the noble marquis, which, as often dress. When he recollected the equivocal as he heard, he would rise to contradict, - language of lord North in 1778, to which namely, that we were the aggressors in the present case bore a close analogy, and the war. He would ever maintain, that considered the circumstances that fol- the conduct of our enemies was such as lowed, he was not sure but the message left not peace or war a matter of choice; might be a temporary artifice to delude but of necessity they were compelled to the nation. The supposition might seem adopt the latter. The noble marquis had uncandid, but similar tricks he had seen expressed his doubts of the sincerity of employed. So far he believed in the ministers. Why he should doubt their transmigration of souls, as to think that sincerity, he knew not: the best answer ministers were actuated by the views and he could give him should be, in the very principles of their predecessors. He words of the address, that the first mowould be inexcusable were he to place ment of pacification would be taken, when implicit confidence in the professions of terms could be had, consistent with the any ministers, when he had seen so many safety, honour, and dignity of the nation. proofs of their insincerity. They might The Earl of Lauderdale was happy that wish to get quietly over a session, or to at length ministers had come to that point prepare for a general election. With res- to which he and his friends had laboured pect to the late successes of the Austrians, to bring them. He was not sure that on which they laid so much stress, it this concession was not made to evade proved nothing, for he had early laid the propositions which his friends had down as a proposition, that whenever the meant to press upon them. If the right French crossed the Rhine on the one hon. gentleman at the head of the finances hand, or the Austrians crossed it on the had the smallest knowledge that the order other, not much good could be expected of things mentioned in the message was to arise from the future operations of the arrived, or that such was the opinion invading party ; for as an army got re- of the cabinet, he deserved to be immote from home, it became timid in the peached. same proportion as it was irresistible and Lord Mulgrave said, that in his mind energetic in its own country. And hence there never had yet been a time which it was that the bounty of Providence held out such a prospect of approaching seemed to have marked out the bounda- peace, both from the situation of this ries of every nation, to protect it from the country, and the embarrassments of the ambition of men. The alarming condi. enemy, as the present.
The war had tion of the country, and the exhausted always appeared to him a just, necessary, state of its finances, should induce mi- and purely defensive war. The conduct nisters unequivocally to show a disposition of it, or the terms upon which peace for peace. "If they asked what sort of a could be made, he would abstain from enpeace, he would say a good peace, with- tering upon. He wished that other noble out mentioning the word glorious. If lords had so acted, and had not made al., they required indemnity and security, lusions to points that could not tend to had they not indemnity in the Cape of promote the unanimity so much desired. Good Hope, Demerary, and Ceylon ? If he could judge from appearances, the But if even these were to be surrendered, noble lords in opposition seemed not to if such a measure procured peace, so far entertain the same avidity for peace, now from his embarrassing ministers, they that it seemed to be at hand, which they should not want his support. For if Hol. did, when the prospect of it was much land was restored by the French, he did more remote. not sec that it would be repugnant to the The Duke of Leeds said, it was agreed interests or the honour of the nation to on all hands that peace was a most desiragive up the Cape of Good Hope. The ble object, and any thing that could imobject of the country was tranquillity, and pede its arrival, he conceived to be highly injudicious. He always thought the war Flanders and Holland had fallen into the was a war of aggression on the part of hands of the enemy, and the latter had France, and that it was absolutely impos- concluded a treaty of alliance with sible for this country to keep out of it. He France. If it had been a war for aggranwas fully convinced of the necessity of disement, or extension of territory, we peace, upon such terms as were consistent might have treated with much more adwith the interests and honour of the vantage at the period when the Austrians country, and would therefore vote for the had made such progress in the French address.
territories, or when we ourselves had got The Address was agreed to.
such large acquisitions in the West In
dies. We might then have made much Dec. 14. Earl Fitzwilliam said, that more brilliant terms than we could pos. he ought to apologise to the House for sibly expect in the present moment. not having been present, when the subject But it was alleged, that the present goto which he was now desirous of calling vernment in France, was the only one their attention, had come regularly before which had sufficient power to make a nethem. He was then at a distance in the gociation. Of the present government country, but immediately on hearing its ministers as yet had had but a short contents he had come to fulfil what he experience: and former governments, felt to be an urgent and indispensable while they lasted, had not shown any call of duty, in delivering his sentiments want of the necessary authority for on the message. The present war was the objects of executive administraof a nature different from all common tion. Was the present goveroment in wars. It was commenced, not from any France so materially altered in its nature of the ordinary motives of policy and and construction, as all at once to proambition. It was expressly undertaken, duce that crisis which the message deto restore order to France, and to effect scribed ? In its principle, he affirmed it the destruction of the abominable system to be precisely the same as those which that prevailed in that country. Upon had preceded it. It was still a pure un, this understanding it was, that he had se- qualified democracy, containing the seeds parated from some of those with whom he of dissention and anarchy, and affording had long acted in politics, and with other no security for religion, property, or noble friends, had lent aid to his majesty's order. What was the character of the ministers. Upon this understanding he men of whom that government was comhad filled that situation, which he some posed ? Were they not the very men who time since held in the cabinet. Knowing, had been instrumental in producing those then, on such authority, the object of the scenes of anarchy and blood, which oriwar to have been to restore order in ginally had occasioned the war? Would France, he was somewhat surprised at the his friends so entirely divest themselves declaration in the message, that his of those feelings which induced them to majesty was now ready to treat with lend their support to the war, as to be France. When he looked to the actual ready to go into an alliance with the men, situation of France, he saw no change against whose power they had united to of circumstances, which could justify such make a stand? Would that noble lord a declaration consistently with that object (Grenville), who had made so pathetic for which the war was undertaken. 'He and forcible an address to the House on could regard it in no other light, than as the murder of the French monarch, now an entire departure from the principle on join hands with his assassins, when they which the war had been commenced. had aggravated their guilt by embruing His lordship then proceeded to examine their hands in the blood of his unhappy what other motives might be assigned for queen, and his innocent sister ? Upon the war, besides that which he had men- these grounds, he disapproved of the tioned. If it had been a war for any com. message
and the address. mon object, it could not have been protracted to such length, and even at an Proceedings in the Commons respecting earlier period might have been concluded Mr. Reeves's Libel on the British Constiupon terms much more advantageous than tution.] November 23. Mr. Sturt, in at present. If it had been a war merely this day presenting to the House a petifor the protection of our allies, all interest tion signed by 12,113 persons, purporting in carrying it on must have ceased, when to be the petition of the London Corres