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with it. Does the honourable gentleman mean that the house should now resolve itself into that committee, and report tonight? If this is his intention, where would be the candour of the proceeding in respect of those who wish for further information, and who are unwilling to deliver an opinion till that in. formation is collected? If he does not mean that the house should now resolve itself into this committee, then I object to the motion as ambiguous, disingenuous, and uncandid, as capable from its nature of being understood two ways, and as tending to mislead the house upon the subject on which they are called upon to decide. The honourable gentleman knows, and the house must be aware, that every question which respects the disposal of the public money must be agitated in a committee of the whole house, so that whether the house may think it
proper to give their sanction to the honourable gentleman's argument or not, it must be in a committee of that description which the subject will eventually come before, and in which their decision will be finally given. There is this difference, however, that at present they are not in possession of that degree of information which is necessary for them to decide upon a question of so much importance; whereas they will then have the materials before them, from which such information is to be collected. If the honourable gentleman contends that the information of which they are at present in possession, is sufficient to enable them to form a correct judgment of what ought, or of what ought not to be done, why does he not move them to come to an immediate decision without going into a committee at all? In short, it was as superfluous in one view, as it is inconsistent and contradictory in another. I should not think that the house will consider it to be their duty to sanction the opinions of the honourable gentleman, upon a view of their general policy and expediency, far less that they will decide upon a subject of so much importance, with the scanty means of information now in their power; but if they mean to comply with the real object of the motion and the true wishes of the mover, let them do it in a fair and manly way, and not by assenting to a motion as ambiguous in its nature as VOL. III.
perfidious in its designs. This much I thought it right to say upon the narrow shape of the motion; and having said so much upon the question immediately before the house, it is the less necessary for me to dwell long upon the train of argument which prefaced the proposition on which it turns.
Though I differ very considerably from the honourable gen. tleman on many of the topics on which he touched, I entirely agree with him on the general importance of the subject. I agree with him in thinking that it is connected not only with the fate of a great and powerful empire, but with the general fate and destiny of the world; but in proportion to its magnitude, ought to be the caution of this house in deciding upon it on nar. row and confined principles. That these are domestic con. siderations which are highly momentous, I readily admit, but I would remind the house that there may be a narrow mode of looking at them. Without attending to the circumstance of our having a great and powerful enemy to contend with, flushed with success, and ambitious of conquest, with means of bringing into the field more numerous armies than perhaps ever were known, and without attending to the circumstance of our insular situation, which in time of war renders a continental diversion of great consequence to our external security; but considering it merely as a question to be decided upon the principles of economy, and calculating the effect, which granting pecuniary semittances to his imperial majesty at the present moment, has a tendency to produce upon public credit, upon the success of the war, and in accelerating the period and improving the terms of peace, I baye no hesitation in pronouncing an opinion, that the result of this calculation will be, that this country, by sending pecuniary asist, ance to her magnanimous and faithful ally, will adopt the best mode of consulting real economy, of restoring public credit, of prosecuting the war, whiļe war is necessary, with advantage, and of securing a speedy and honourable issue to the contest. Were the house therefore to be driven to a decision upon
the subject, I should state this as my clear opinion ; but by deferring that decision till they haye the means of information morc fully
before them, the influence of my opinion, I firmly believe, will be superseded by their own conviction, and on that account I am happy that the honourable gentleman does not mean to press it to an ultimate decision to-night. The more the subject is discussed, the fewer doubts will be left upon the minds of gentlemen of the propriety of the measure, and the more the circumstances of the case are investigated and analysed, the more will the opinion of its policy and utility be confirmed. As an opportunity for this discussion will hereafter occur, I do not think it necessary now to enter much at lengh upon the different topics connected with it. I shall, therefore, only say a few words on each of them.
In the first place let us try its merits as a measure of economy. And here I must remind the house that the honourable gentleman, by his own confession, does not bring forward the proposition as an indirect mode of forcing government to conclude a peace by disarming the country. The question therefore is, whether, as a mode of carrying on the war, the advantage which is likely to arise to this country from the co-operation of the emperor, secured by her pecuniary aid, is an equivalent for the temporary inconvenience which the public may sustain in consequence of sending these remittances ? To estimate the advantages with the inconveniences is very difficult. But, in the outset, I must set right an assumption of the honourable gentleman respecting the difference of this country granting or withholding pecuniary assistance from her ally. The difference (which of itself is no small one) is not merely whether we are to carry on an offensive or defensive war: this is one consideration, but it is not the only one.
The honourable gentleman may talk in as high terms as he will of French enthusiasm and French gallantry, but he cannot deny, at least he cannot in justice deny, an equal tribute of applause to Austrian valour and Austrian heroism. If we review the campaigns of the war, it is impossible to find in history instances of greater prowess in the soldier, of niore accomplished talents in the general, or of more true magnanimity in the sovereign, than wbat they have exhibited. But the ren
sources of his imperial majesty are in such a situation, that with all his zeal to persevere in the contest, and all his honour in keeping his engagements with his allies, he cannot put the full force of his dominions in action without pecuniary assistance, Will any man then tell me that, if we cut off all hope of this assistance, he may not be able to persevere in his exertions ? Will any man tell me that, if there were no military diversions created
upon the Rhine or in the Tyrol, on the north or on the south of France, her numerous armies would not be employed in menacing our territory, and perhaps in invading our coasts? Or will any man tell me that if we withhold pecuniary assistance from the emperor, that refusal may not lead to a separate peace between Germany and France? The difference then is, not carrying on a defensive instead of an offensive war, but it is carrying on a war solely on your part, without any assistance to aid your efforts, or any diversion to divide the force of the enemy, instead of carrying on the war as at present, in conjunction with an ally whose exertions are able to resist the whole military power of France, while your fleets are occupied in protecting your trade and extending your foreign dominions. And do not the advantages which we enjoy, as they may be estimated from this short and simple statement, infinitely more than counterbalance any temporary inconvenience that we may sustain from the mode in which they are procured? The honourable gentleman took occasion to introduce the subject of a report from a secret committee of which he is a member, but which is not yet before the house. I should wish therefore, that the house will wait till the report is produced, and not repose implicit confidence in any of the statements made by the honourable gentleman, I do not know whether the peace establishment came under the enquiry or calculation of that committee. I rather think that it could not immediately come under their investigation. But whether it did or not, I am happy to assure the house that no such result, nor any thing approaching to it, will be found to arise out of a fair examination of the circumstances of the country.
But I find I am discussing the question on grounds, on which I ought not to object to it. Upon the train of argument which I was before pursuing, it is easy to shew that, if we do not intend to lay down our arms, if we mean to continue any
method of exertion, if it be our wish to be in a situation to persevere in hostilities, if hostilities are necessary from the overbearing pride and unjust pretensions of the enemy, it cannot be a measure of economy to abandon the plan of availing ourselves of the co-ope. ration of his imperial majesty by contributing money to his assistance. When we consider the amount of the expense, and the magnitude of the service, there is no ground of comparison between them! Upon what data does the honourable gentleman assume that the measure will lead to any difference of expense at all? He may consider the war as unjust, as it was unnecessary, and as ill conducted in its process, as it was groundlessly undertaken : he may, if he pleases, think that the French were right in every thing in which this country thought them wrong, but he does not contend that we should this day throw down our arms and make unconditional submission to the enemy. Overlooking then the consideration of additional security, arising from the co-operation of the emperor, and the effects of that co-operation acting upon the spirit, the trade, the manufactures, and the population of the country ; overlooking, I say, these considerations (and surely when I put them aside none will suppose that I view them as trifling or unimportant) let him calculate the additional direct expense which it requires to protect our coasts from a vigilant and enterprising foe, who would have nothing to do but to molest his only remaining enemy. Reduce the public expenses as much as you can, and let the inevitable burthens of the war be alleviated as much as possible by well judged economy in the different branches of the public service; but be not so weak or so treacherous to yourselves as to blot out one part of an estimate under pretence of economy, while
you create another service which must be provided for at a much larger expense, and which would tend to aggravate the evil which it is your intention to cure,