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Address be presented to his Majesty, to must be allowed, that if ever this maxim return his Majesty the Thanks of this was inapplicable, it was in the case of House, for his Majesty's most' gracious France-a country which, without the Message; to assure his Majesty, that we least regard to justice, even in appearance feel it our indispensable duty to support had interfered with and subverted the go. his Majesty to the utmost, in making vernments of all those nations where her every exertion for improving the signal influence or arms preponderated. France advantages of the present campaign, and was so circumstanced, as to be, ever since for completing, under the blessing of the revolution, in a state of perpetual war, God, by continued perseverance and not only with all the governments of Eu. vigour, the general deliverance of Europe, rope, but those of every civilised country from the insupportable tyranny of the in the world. These considerations were French republic; and that we will there abundantly sufficient to make up his mind fore cheerfully concur in enabling his with respect to the political principle he Majesty to make good his engagements had alluded to; and deeming so of with the Emperor of Russia, to give as- France, he had no hesitation in pressing sistance to the Swiss Cantons for the re- an interference with respect to the gocovery of their ancient liberty and vernment of that country. When he independence: and to continue his assist. considered such an immense track of ánce to his ally the queen of Portugal territory in the heart of Europe, with such and to make every effort which may best an immense population as Francé precontribute to the permanent security of sented, and lying under the absolute yoke his Majesty's dominions, so deeply in- and direction of a set of unprincipled tyterested in the issue of this contest.' rants, owing their political existence to
Earl Fitzwilliam observed, that in al. such a government as now existed in most every point adverted to by the noble France, he could not think Europe could secretary of state, as well as in the tenor be safe for one moment: but in advancing of the address, he most cordially agreed; those bold and decided propositions, he but he thought that neither went far would wish to have it understood that enough, and under this impression he felt he meant only the government of France: himself called upon to propose in the way not France as a nation, nor the French as of amendment to the address, a slight people, who, he was confident, at least alteration : not such a one as would in a great majority of them, viewed their the least do away the vigour and energy present tyrannical form of government of its sentiments, but, on the contrary, with horror and detestation, and would give them additional weight and strength, gladly embrace every opportunity to cast by rendering the whole more clear and off their ralers; and in the room of the explicit in explaining, and manfully de- present system he thought it would be claring the real object of the present mo- most eligible and expedient to restore the mentous contest. The object of the war ancient monarchical government of the should be, and to that declaration his country, under which its inhabitants had proposed amendment would go-pot enjoyed for ages a great degree of politionly to deliver Europe from the tyranny cal happiness and security, and Europe at of the French republic, but from the large a degree of tranquillity which there French republic itself
. He had no doubt was not the smallest probability of its but such a declaration, made in a manly possessing while the French republic and explicit manner, would be productive existed. His lordship then proposed as an of immediate good consequences, not amendment to leave out these words in only with regard to the allies and to Eu- the address," the insupportable tyranny rope at large, but in France itself. When of,” which omission would cause that par. he said in France, he alluded to the dis- cioular sentence to run thus, “ to deliver graceful and tyrannous yoke borne by the Europe from the French republic." people, under their present odious form of The Earl of Liverpool observed, that government: such a decided declaration such an avowal, under the present circumwould unite every honourable and feeling stances, would be highly indiscreet; bespirit in that country against the directo sides, it was such a one as could not with rial tyrants. He was aware that it might propriety be included in such a parliabe objected to him, that one independent mentary declaration as that now in quesnation should not interfere in the internal | tion. It was impolitic, as tending to government of another; but surely it fetter the exertions of the executive power; and it involved a question of par- we persevere in the war without any ticular terms of pacification, which it was known object but to destroy the princi.. obvious must depend upon contingencies ples of the revolutionists of France ? and events, which no man could with any was the war carried on for the purpose degree of certainty foretell. He consi- expressly of reducing the power of that dered it as impolitic in the extreme, thus nation? 'If it was, it should have his supprematurely to declare, that in no case war port. Was it carried on againt opinion? shall terminate, until a specific form of That was madness. Was it a war that government is established in France. ministers were determined to carry on
Lord Holland could not agree to the until they had chastised the Directory of amendment, as it would be pledging the France for its ambition? In fine, was it House and the country to carry on a war to punish ambition? Perhaps some noble of extermination against the French re- lords thought the latter a good ground of public. There was no doubt but that the war ; but if it was, what would be the si. ambition of France had shown itself on tuation of the members of the coalition ?. some recent occasions in a manner which If Russia should go to Poland to recruit. could not but excite alarm; but much as its armies for the deliverance of Europe, he might wish to see its power reduced, might not the people of that sacked, diit was quite another proposition to wage vided, and plundered country, say, “ Dewar definitively for the purpose of im- liver us.” The same of the emperor of posing a monarchy on that people. No- Germany in Venice and other parts; so ihing could be more idle than to imagine that this war to chastise France for her that France would accept from any foreign ambition might end with inflicting stripes. power a government not of its own choice. on the allies. Again, to consider the The people might be divided in opinion, war as a war of policy and prudence, how and the government oppressive, but a foe stood the question? Was the House quite at the gates would unite the people, and sure that Russia sincerely wished only to give means of defence and triumph to check France and reduce her power?. the government. With regard to the Had Russia no views of aggrandízement , granting a subsidy, if such policy could -no comprehensive scheme of exclusive at any time be wise, it was probably so dominion ? He would suppose that Russia at present; but before he could cordially was in earnest, and not at all actuated by vote for the address, he must first know that kind of motives. : But who could for what was really meant by ministers when one moment suppose Austria free from they spoke of the deliverance of Europe. ambitious projects, and sentiments of exTo have the benefit of general and hearty clusive advantage? From the past it was co-operation among the people, govern- quite fair to argue, that the cabinet of ment ought to declare the specific object Vienna would turn aside from the conof the war,
Had they changed their test the moment the measure of its ambisentiments since the period of the two tion was filled. If, on the other hand, negotiations at Paris and Lisle? If that Russia should be found to have entered was so, the public had a right to be in- into the war also from motives of aggran: formed of it. At those periods two dif- dizement, how manifold the dangers to ferent declarations were published of the this country and to Europe from a sentiments of his majesty concerning the lengthened war! It was fair to assume issue of the negotiations themselves, and that all this was possible, and would the stating his readiness to treat for peace House lightly regard such serious mate, whenever the enemy should show a dis- ters? Under the interpretation of the position to meet him on just and equitable language of the address, it was obvious terms. Now, it was his intention to pro that we were henceforward to pursue, not pose an amendment to the address, em. ą war of ordinary character-not a com. bracing in substance these declarations mon war-but a crusade against the na of his majesty.
He was persuaded tion and people of France. The amendthe people of this country, every_sober ment he had to propose would go to thinking people in Europe, and France counteract what was dangerous or impoherself, would regard such sentiments at litic in the Address, by inserting, after least with complacency; but what would the word Republic, “by prosecuting a not be the consternation and dismay, vigorous war, till the republic of France when, upon the authority of a vote of shall be disposed to enter on the work of that House, Europe would be told that general pacification, in a spirit of conci, liation and equity, agreeable to his ma- , veríment. Much had been said of a jesty's solemn declarations of Dec. 27, crusade against France, and of a war 1796, and the 28th of October, 1797.” waged for the extermination of opinion.
Lord Grenville observed, that no man Such declamation very little deserved to would deny that the existence of the pre- be seriously commented upon. If used sent government of France was incompa- reproachfully, then he would say that the tible with the security of the other go- word “crusade” was improperly introveroments of Europe. It was against duced; for the truth was, it was a coalithis government, acting on its present tion of powers gloriously in arms to deprinciples, that he would wage war. Yet fend all just and legal governments, and if ever the government changed in such the rights of every people, against the a manner as to make it safe to treat with tyranny and the injustice of the French it, he would enter upon the work of peace Directory. without any regard to the name of its go- The Marquis of Lansdown observed, vernment. The censure so freely dealt that with respect to the present war, from out on the conduct of the court of St. its commencement to that hour he had Petersburgh and of Vienna, it had, per- never entertained any opinion but one haps, been full as decent to have spared. that it was a war of kings, ente into But as it seemed to be the principal by a confederacy of kings, and carried object of the noble baron to hear on with a view of supporting their power. what ministers would say of the con- He had also constantly maintained, that duct of those powers in the case of the British cabinet wanted to destroy the Poland, no consideration of policy would republic of France, and restore the an,' prevent him from declaring, that for the cient monarchy; and that they had never partition of Poland those powers were been sincere in their desire of concluding very blameable, and sooner than sign the a peace.
It was perfectly relevant for deed of partition he would have cut off the noble lord near him to make the obhis hand. There was, however, one re- servations he had done on some of the mark which it might not be improper to monarchs who were engaged in the coaliadd on this subject. The partition of tion. For his own part, he could never Poland, a theme trite and old in itself, speak otherwise than respectfully of perwas that evening brought forward as an sons in that high situation. He knew accusation against the emperor of Russia. the veneration he felt for his own king. Now surely it would have been more con- Next to the religion of any country, he sistent with justice and truth, bad the considered them as things the most sa.. noble lord recollected that that transac- cred, and consequently most entitled to tion was among the events of another respect. But it was impossible for any reign; and who would say that it would man not to express his indignation at the have been politic-that it would have conduct that had been pursued by some added to the happiness of his old subjects of the crowned heads who were engaged or his new-had the emperor Paul re in the present war. Would any noble stored his portion of Poland, at his ac- lord suppose that a sincere wish to guard cession to its former masters and to its the regular governments of Europe government? If the noble lord must un. against an ambitious republic, was the dertake to be the general censor of the motive that actuated those powers to join kings of Europe, he ought to recollect the confederacy against France, when that probably many, indeed all of them, those very powers availed themselves of hold possessions by very doubtful titles. that coalition to seize on Poland? They Even the right of the crown of Great Bri. knew that that was the time to do an tain to Jamaica might be disputed. Those act which destroyed the balance of power who considered the subsidy necessary for in Europe, because England, on account the general purpose of checking France, of the war in which she was engaged in and taming the spirit of its government, common with them, could not prevent it, must see the necessity of not coming to In his opinion, there was no solid ground any specific declaration. For one, he for the expectations held out by ministers would avow his object. He wanted secu-, of the general deliverance of Europe, rity; not a security to which the present and it was highly impolitic in them to government of France would be a party, declare an opinion with respect to the but a security resting on the tried good species of government they wished to faith and justice of a well tempered go- have established in France. It was car. rying on war with king Reubel, king | appeared to me to become the indispenBarras, &c. Would any of the people of sable duty of parliament at this juncture France, after hearing the declarations of to interpose its authority, and not to sufthe British ministers, forward their views fer the laws to be relaxed by any accidental in this contest ? For his part, were he a event, at a time when the dangers arising Frenchinan, and did he ever so much de- from these crimes are the most alarming. test the tyranny of his government, he Sir, the more I have since reflected would, notwithstanding, resist any fo- upon this question, and the more I have reign power that should attempt to im- conversed upon it with persons both in pose a constitution upon him. It was and out of this House of various descripthe duty of ministers to act with deci- tions, whose sentiments are entitled to the sion : they never had done so: they greatest respect, either for their learning ought to have declared their specific ob- in this branch of constitutional jurispruject in prosecuting the war; instead of dence, or for their general knowledge of that, they varied their tone with every the state of opinions in this country, the change of circumstances; and at last, in more I have been confirmed in thinking it the most impolitic manner, gave the right to propose to this committee an exenemy to understand what their real ob- press resolution for the purpose of prejects were. He did not think a secure serving the law of forfeiture upon what I peace incompatible with any form of go-conceive to be its true footing, and for vernment in France, and therefore he establishing it permanently in the same would support the amendment of the extent to which it was carried after the noble lord near him.
union, when the same uniform law of for. The amendments were negatived, and feiture was extended throughout Great the Address agreed to.
Britain. The general policy of such a
measure appears to me to be justified by Debate in the Commons on the Forfci- the fundamental principles of all governture for High Treason Bill.] May 9. ment, and to have been sanctioned by the The House having resolved itself into a universal concurrence of the most enlightcommittee to consider further of the ened nations in all ages. Certain it is, Report of the Secret Committee relative that we find it interwoven with the whole to a Treasonable Conspiracy,
frame and texture of our own constitution, Mr. Abbot rose to make his promised and I trust that it will be deemed, at tbis motion respecting the Law of Forfeiture, crisis, a measure of absolute necessity to and desired that the acts of the 7th queen assert its justice, and perpetuate its conAnne, c. 31, and 17th Geo. 2nd, c. 9, sequences. I am always inclined to should be read ; which being done accord-think, that whenever we find the practiingly, he spoke as follows:-When the cal experience of all ages to be in favour Report from the Committee of Secrecy of any measure of policy, we shall find first came under our consideration, I took upon examination that it rests upon prinoccasion to call the attention of the ciples which are sound. Of the forfeiture House to those passages in it which state for state offences, it has been long ago to us, not only that treasons and seditions said, and truly said, “ Id et antiquum est of the most dangerous tendency are now et omnium civitatum." And if we examine plotting in this country by persons of the principles on which this practice is mean note and desperate fortunes, but founded, surely they will appear to be as also “ that they have received, in some conclusive as they are obvious ; when we degree, the countenance and pecuniary recollect, that all property is the creature aid of persons in higher situations of life." of civil society, that its tenure, conditions, At the same time, I also took the liberty and duration, must be modelled by posiof calling the attention of the House to tive law, and that the dominion over prothe present state of the law respecting perty which is allowed to each individual, the forfeiture of inheritances upon attain and enables him to alienate it at his pleasure, der of high treason, as a matter intimately being allowed only because it operates to connected with the means of repressing the general interest and prosperity of the traitors of this rank and description; and state, the resumption of it is also strictly I presumed to represent to the House, consistent with the true ends of civil sothat upon confronting the actual state ciety, when the individual to whom it is of this branch of the law with the exist- imparted aims at the destruction of the ence of these treasonable practices, it state to which he is indebted for protec. tion. Every wise government will, for of accumulated experience), this matter its own preservation, employ of course, cannot admit of any doubt; for most un, the strongest means; and one of the most questionably it has been the invariable powerful checks for the repression of this policy of the law of England, from before specific crime is to be found in the inflic- the conquest down to the present cention of forfeiture; for treason being in its tury, thạt forfeiture should be the penalty formation slow, progressive, and delibe- of treason. In the earliest times, every rate, the individual, who is brooding upon estate in fee-simple was liable to forfei. his plans of guilt, when he looks round ture; and by the statutes and adjudicaupon those who are connected with him tions of subsequent ages, the forfeiture by the nearest ties of existence and affec. has been gradually extended to hereditary tion, must (according to the probable in- dignities and offices, to trust estates and fluence of every principle implanted in entailed estates, to freehold leases, to human nature) feel his ambition damped copyholds, and even to dower. and his resolution upnerved, if not by the Upon this subject, it is extremely redread of his own hazard, at least by the markable, that although the law of treaprospect of involving those in his own son, both in its definitions and its mode ruin whom by his very machinations he is and circumstances of trial, has been alter. seeking to aggrandize.
nately extended and contracted by the I know that it is sometimes objected to struggles of contending parties, yet the this policy, that it overlooks the consider principles of forfeiture have been univerrations of compassion which are due to sally recognised, and its penalties main, the heirs of the offenders. To this, how. tained throughout. It is remarkable, that ever, there are many answers. In the when the treasons, which were created in first place, that the same event which has such abundance during the wars, between happened to them by the guilt of their the houses of York and Lancaster, were ancestor might equally have happened, if reduced by the act passed on the acces, he had dissipated the same inheritance by sion of queen Mary to the standard of the his folly; and that, in either case, it is not 25th of Edward 3rd, yet the forfeitures an injury, but a misfortune. But, a more were nevertheless kept in force. The conclusive refutation of such an erroneous cumulative treasons of the last century reasoning is to be found by pointing out, have been sioce most justly reprobated; that such a view of this subject is partial and at no time has the liberty of the subs and false ; and false, because it is partial; ject stood so securely upon this question and that
upon the same ground, if a more as it stands since the act of the last parextended view be taken of the same sub, liament relative to treason, because that ject, the just commiseration will appear law has given a legislative interpretation to be due to the numberless individuals upon many points which formerly rested who would become the sufferers in those upon judicial construction, and has fixed scenes of blood and confusion, if they the definitions of the offence in terms more were not protected by the terror of these distinct and explicit than we find them in punishments
. And it is always to be kept any former period. in mind, that in every wise and well framed Nor does the matter rest here. We government the very power of resumption bave also to remark, that the circumstances is placed in the hands of the sovereign, of trial for treason have also varied, but who may either remit the forfeiture without any variation ių the law of forfei. wholly, or may apply it for the indenanifi. ture. The act of king William, which cation of others, at least equally innocent, gave to the prisoner the benefit of a full who may have suffered more, or may hold defence by counsel, and provided him the forfeiture as a pledge to be redeened with a compulsory process for his witby the future loyalty of those very per nesses, was, in my judgment, a great and sons whose expectations have been frus. necessary improvement; but it must be trated by the disloyalty and guilt of their recollected, that the very same act recogancestors - That these general principles nises the penalties of forfeiture, and in no upon which the question rests are satis. degree curtails them. A farther alterfactory, I think most men will agree; but ation, indeed, was introduced in the reign to us who have the happiness to enjoy the of queen Anne, which required lists of the blessings of the British constitution (not jurors and of the witnesses for the crown the production of any abstract theory or to be delivered to the prisoner ten days untried speculation, but the practical result before his trial. But this, Sir, was a