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of France may show a disposition and spi- | With our fleet we should co-operate with rit in any degree corresponding to his other powers against France; but if by own. And he renews, even now, and be- co-operation you mean the sending of fore all Europe, the solemn declaration, troops to the continent, I here protest that in spite of repeated provocations, and against such co-operation. If you send at the very moment when his claims have to any of the other powers any pecuniary been strengthened and confirmed by that assistance whatever, either under the title fresh success which, by the blessing of of loan, subsidy, or otherwise ; in the name Providence, has recently attended his of the comfort, the quiet, and the safety arms, he is yet ready (if the calamities of of this country, I here protest against it. war can now be closed) to conclude peace I do not mean that we should pusillani. on the same moderate and equitable prin- mously withdraw from the contest. We ciples and terms which he has before pro- have no necessity to do so; our course posed."* I am not proposing any thing is marked out for us ; and by pursuing it that shall bind government as to terms; I we shall co-operate most effectually, am anxious only to renew the spirit of But perhaps some gentlemen will say, declaration, which, in my opinion, did ho- they think this an unfavourable moment nour to his majesty's councils at the time to proclaim to Europe our pacific dispoit issued. If this motion is to be nega- sitions. I think otherwise. Flourishing tived, it is incumbent on those who op- as our resources have been, our finances pose it, to show what has altered thecourse are now in a state which no man who has we ought to take; for, until that be done, the interest of this country at heart can our sincerity in the new confederacy will think of without anxiety. We are carrybe distrusted. There are but two reasons ing on a war, the expence of which is 30 that I know of that can be applicable to millions a year. In six years we have the case-ope is, the aggression of the added nearly 150 millions sterling to our French in Switzerland. No man looks debt, by which we have created the neat that event with more horror than I do ; cessity of adding to our annual burthens but, remember that that aggression, ini- eight millions-a sum equal to the whole quitous as it was, has not the charms of of our expenditure when his present manovelty. Remember it was the same in jesty ascended the throne. We are called the case of Venice. The next reason is an armed nation. I feel as much pride as the victory of admiral Nelson: it was most any Englishman ought to feel at the readiunquestionably great and glorious; but it ness with which my countrymen show should not, in my opinion, change the dis- their attachment to the country by quali. position manifested in the declaration I fying themselves for defending it by arms ; have recited, after the conference at Lisle; but this is not a condition of things which and it should be recollected that the de. can continue long in this country. Beclaration was made after the brilliant vic- sides, I am apprehensive that it must in. tory of Lord Duncan.
crease the influence of the Crown, which The last objection I believe is, that this is a great evil. This must be evident to motion may operate as a notice to France, any one who looks at the collection of our that we cannot any farther co-operate with
Remember also, that the law our allies. I say, we should endeavour to has now silenced every man in the counto make an honourable peace; I do not try every where except in this House : say what the terms are that will en. that the Habeas Corpus act is suspended, title it to that description ; that I leave with and that no man can say he is free. When his majesty's ministers, but when that is all these things are put together, am I capable of being effected, I should be glad speaking the truth when I say, that the to know why this war should be continued constitution of England cannot weather on our part for one moment. But is it such a storm as this much longer? Of possible for England to continue the war Ireland I shall say but little ; but I underwithout co-operating with other powers ? stand, that, notwithstanding all the efforts I say you do co-operate by your naval ex. to curb and repress rebellion there, farertions. Did you not most effectually co-ther exertions are still wanted for that puroperate with all who opposed the French pose. If we look at our establishmenis in
Look at the French marine. the East, we there see very large expences. The French trade also is nearly destroyed. With respect to the situation of the ene
my, they have now, if not the first, cer. • See Vol. 33, p. 908.
tainly the most successful general in Eu
last year ?
rope : he is now at the head of a large manded abilities like theirs ;-if I had army in Egypt, where he has been many not felt, that what arguments I have to months without experiencing any very state in opposition to the hon. gentleman's material check. Should he come back motion, are so clear and plain in themagain to France, and turn his mind against selves, as to require little aid from any tathis country, I hope we should be able to lents in the person who states them. The meet him; but it would be a very serious motion of the hon. gentleman cannot be thing. Then look at the West Indies. denied to be of an extraordinary nature ; And here the first thing that presents it- and he has certainly treated it in a very self is the evacuation of St. Domingo, extraordinary manner. I conceive it to which is an alarming event. Within a be consonant as well to the rules of the few hours sail of our West India colonies, House, as the reason of the thing, that the there is a force of no less than 50,000 House should not be urged to the adopblacks, disciplined and trained to arms, tion of a new and unusual measure, withand inflamed with enthusiastic notions, out its being, in the first place, established, concerning liberty. We have been con- that there exists some necessity for adoptcerned for six years in what is called the ing it, or that some advantage may be common cause, for no determinate object gained by doing so. I did expect, therethat I ever could see. It is time for us fore, from the hon. gentleman, rather to have some separate care of ourselves, some solid reasons for the measure which by which I do not mean any pusillanimous he has proposed, than an anticipation of or dastardly desertion of the contest ; but the objections which he thought might be that whenever France shall, by force of urged against it. He has contented him. arms, or otherwise, become moderate and self, however, with endeavouring to derational in her public views, we may be stroy the validity of several arguments in a situation to meet her on the scale of which he has heard out of doors, and which prudence and discretion. Let England he expects to hear to-night against the pursue the same conduct as she did last motion that he has made;but he has omitted, year, and she may perhaps, bring about what seemed to me to be more peculiarly tranquillity; but if we go on with loose incumbent upon him, an explanation of and indefinite notions of the deliverance the motives which induced him to make of Europe, such will be the certain charge it. I admit that the hon. gentleman has of it, that the effect will be a load which been not unsuccessful in anticipating seno resources we have, or can have, will veral of the most obvious and prominent enable us to bear.— The hon. gentleman objections against his motion; I cannot concluded with moving,
think that he has been equally fortunate “ That it is the duty of his majesty's in removing them. I shall certainly have ministers to advise his majesty, in the pre- occasion, in the course of what I have to sent crisis, against entering into engage- say, to restate many or most of those ments which may prevent or impede a ne which he has anticipated, and not without gotiation for peace, whenever a disposi- the hope of establishing them to the contion shall be shown, on the part of the viction of the House. I shall follow him French republic, to treat on terms con through these objections, as nearly as I sistent with the security and interests of can in the same order in which he has the British empire.”
brought them forward. Mr. Canning rose and said:-If I might The first objection which he expects to judge, Sir, of the impression made by the hear, but upon which I am certainly not hon. gentleman's speech from the manner inclined to lay the greatest stress, is the in which it has been received, and parti. point of constitutional form. It is by no colarly from the unusual degree of apathy means my intention to contend, that the and languor which has prevailed on that nature of the hon. gentleman's motion, side of the House on which he sits; I | though extraordinary, is wholly unpreceshould be led to believe, that the ardour dented,-much less to deny the power manifested on this side of the House by and the right of the House of Commons, my noble and hon. friends who rose at the to offer its advice to his majesty, on any same time with me, was, perhaps, more subject, either of negotiation, or of war. than the occasion required :-and I as- I know they have at several times intersure you, Sir, I should not have pressed fered in both. It is, indeed, somewhat myself upon your attention, if' I bad singular, that the hon. gentleman should thought the occasion one which de- not himself have cited any of the former [VOL. XXXIV.]
instances of such an exereise of the right would not of themselves be sufficient to of parliament. Perhaps he has some re. justify the hon. gentleman's motion. It collection, that a peculiar sort of fatality would, I presume, be farther necessary has, in almost every instance, seemed to for him to show (as was shown, or atattend interferences of this nature; that in tempted to be shown, in all former inalmost every instance, from the Revolution stances), that some necessity at present to our own time, they have been either exists, which calls for such an interference nugatory or mischievous. I will mention of the House of Commons. I can contwo only, out of the few that have oc- ceive such a necessity to arise only from curred during this period : the first,- one of two circumstances : either from the that which was nearest, in point of time, circumstance of some opening for peace to the Revolution; the other,—that which now presenting itself, of which ministers is nearest to our own time; the first, an do not show themselves enough disposed interference tending to prolong a war; to take advantage;-or from ministers the other, intended to accelerate a peace. having at former periods evinced a dispoThe first, the warlike measure, was the sition generally hostile to peace, which famous vote of the House of Lords in 1707, this motion isintended to censure or to con" That no peace could be safe or honour trol. That any such opening now exists, able which should leave Spain and the the hon. gentleman has not attempted to Spanish West Indies in the possession of argue. I must, therefore, naturally have the house of Bourbon.” It is hardly ne
It is hardly ne. attributed his motion to a false impression cessary to remind gentlemen, that this remaining on his mind of the conduct of vote, carried by the heat and violence of ministers in former negotiations :-I must party, had no effect whatever ; that no have conceived, that he retained a conmanner of regard was paid to it, in the fused and perplexed recollection of what peace which was afterwards negotiated : had passed at Lisle,-that he remembered -And, whatever might be the faults of something indistinctly of an embarrassthat peace, or however loud the cry against ment having been thrown in the way of the ministers who made it, I do not think the negotiation by a question about allies, that any man, who looks fairly and im--but utterly forgot that the allies who partiaily at that peace now, will say, that created this embarrassment were the allies it was any very great crime in those mi- of France and not of Great Britain ;-and nisters, that they did omit to carry this that, under this mistake, he was bringing vote into execution. The second example forward the restriction in the wrong place, to which I refer, is, the resolution voted and applying to this country, a cure for by the House of Commons, respecting the the misconduct of the enemy. But I am “Independence of America.” 'Of a trans- prevented from admitting even this foundaction so recent it is hardly possible to ation for his proceeding, by the approbaspeak with the freedom of history. Ition which the hon. gentlemau has exspeak, probably, in the presence of many pressed of the manifesto published by this who took part in favour of that revolution, government after the breaking off of the -of some certainly, who opposed it. negotiations at Lisle. The hon. gentleWho were right, or who were wrong, I man distinctly and fairly acknowledges do not presume to determine. But in one that manifesto to have exhibited undoubt. thing, I believe, those who opposed and ed proofs of the pacific dispositions of his those who promoted it will equally con- majesty's ministers. cur,-that the vote which carried that re- Ånd here give me leave to observe rasolution was an unfortunate vote ; and that ther a singular argument, which grows out it had an influence fatal to the interest of of the hon. gentleman's peculiar conduct this country, on the peace which conclud. and situation. He tells you
that he brings cd the American war. This is a propo- forward this motion as an unconnected sition which those who had to make that and unsupported individual," acting with peace must, I am sure, contend to be true; no party or set of men whatever. By and which those who condemned that agreeing to the motion, therefore, the adpeace would find it difficult to deny. vantage which we are to gain is bis indi.
But whatever might be the force of pre- vidual co-operation. It is hardly to be cedents, they would not of themselves, supposed that he will be more convinced even if their bearing was as much in fa- of the pacific disposition of ministers after vour of motions of this kind, as unfortu- this resolution shall have been adopted, nately it has been against them,--they than he was after the publication of the
manifesto, which he has so warmly com- | school,—that we are to consider not so mended. What was the first step that he much what is good for our country, as took by way of co-operation after that ma- what is good for the human race ; that we nifesto was published? He voted against are all children of one large family ;-and the supply. Convinced, that his majesty I know not what other fancies and philanhad done all in his power to obtain peace; thropies, which I must take shame to my
- that he had gone almost beyond what self for not being able to comprehend. 1, could have been expected of him, in for- for my part, still conceive it to be the pabearance and moderation ;-that he had ramount duty of a British member of parshown even after the victory of lord Dun- liament to consider what is good for Great can, the most decided disposition to make Britain : and where no immediate advanpeace, upon fair and reasonable terms ;- tage is pointed out as obviously arising convinced, that the abrupt conclusion of from any new measure that is proposed the negotiation at Lisle had been the act for our adoption, I hold it no bad test of the enemy exclusively ;—that the con- to examine in what way it bears upon the tinuance of the calamities of war was to interests of France, and to conclude, howbe attributed to the arrogance, and wick- ever unphilosophically, or illiberally, that edness, and pride, of the enemy alone ;- what is good for the enemy, cannot be very that his majesty had no choice ;-that he good for us. must of necessity continue to carry on a Now, Sir, I beg to have it understood, war which the mad ambition of that ene. -and I assure the hon. gentleman, that I my would not allow him to terminate ;- am very far from meaning any thing perin this conviction, to enable his majesty sonally disrespectful to him ;-that I give to carry on the war, the hon. gentleman him full credit for feeling, as strongly as "unconnected and unsupported,” indivi- any man, every thing that he owes to his dually, voted against the supply. I do not country, for being as ready as any man to mean to impeach the hon. gentleman's devote his talents and exertions to her conduct in this instance. He had no service. I appeal, therefore, not to his doubt his reasons for it. But I do mean feelings, but to his judgment and ingeto put it to the judgment of the House, nuity,—when I desire him to consider, whether, if it should be evident (as I trust whether he could possibly devise any it will be) that no solid and general ad- measure (capable, at the present moment, vantage is to be derived to the country of being patiently entertained by this from our agrecing to the hon. gentleman's House or by the public) which should resolution, there is much temptation have a more direct and manifest tendency held out to us to do so, by the prospect to benefit France, than the motion which of his future individual co-operation; whe- he has now brought forward ? What ther it is worth while to adopt an unusual, could any man-any member of this unnecessary, and much more amischievous House (if it were possible to suppose measure to evince our desire for peace, that there should be such a member in in order to secure the hon. gentleman's this House), most perversely devoted to vote against the supply for carrying on the the views of the enemy, and bent upon war. This, however, would certainly be exalting France at the expense of Great a very inferior consideration, if there were Britain, what more effectual measure any utility or advantage to be derived could such a man take for such a purpose, from the measure proposed. I have not than by a motion like the present? For heard the hon. gentleman state any ad- what is it that the French Directory ap. vantage as likely to arise from it to the pear, by all their conduct, by all their country: As he has affirmed nothing of publications, to dread and deprecate more this kind, I have nothing of the kind to than any other thing in the world ? What deny. But there is one way of consider is it that all their official and unofficial ing what is advantageous to this country, papers most labour to discredit? What to which I confess I am very partial; and —but the revival of a great and general the rather, perhaps, because it does not confederacy in Europe, of which Engfall in with the new and fashionable phi- land should be the animating soul? Why losophy of the day. I know it is a doc- should we co-operate with the French Ditrine of that large and liberal system of rectory? What interest can we have in ethics which has of late been introduced common with them, that should induce into the world, and which has superseded us to take their work out of their hands all the narrow prejudices of the ancient and complete it for them? What advan
tage can it be to us to daunt and dispirit | I cannot help asking, whether the present Europe; and to relieve the Directory from government of France be indeed one, the apprehension of any powerful resist. which has deserved so well of this counance, or the necessity of any extensive try,,which, to take the question more preparation; to maintain their influence candidly, has deserved so well of France, abroad, and their authority at home? - which, in the still more large and libe
I will put the question in another way. ral cant of the day, has deserved so well I will suppose that we were now in the of humanity--as that we should feel ourlast year of the monarchy of France, in- selves called upon to take so extraordinary stead of the sixth or seventh year, or a step in its behalf? And I would farther whatever it may be, of the French repub- ask, whether,-whatever be the present lic, one and indivisible. By the monarchy degree of weakness or stability in the goI mean, of course, that cruel, wicked, vernment of France (upon which I give profligate, abominable despotism, of which no opinion)—whether the effect of this we have heard so many, and, no doubt, motion must not be to prop its power, so just complaints, - which oppressed and to come to the aid of its unpopularity; France with I know not what unheard-of whether, with this vote of security in one cruelties, which insulted England, and hand, the Directory might not boldly hold desolated Europe, by crimes ånd calamities out the Gazette of lord Nelson's victory such as can never be imputed to the French in the other, and call upon the people of Republic. I will suppose that this monarchy France to balance what had been lost with had received so formidable a blow as has what had been gained ? been given to the Directory by the vic- But admitting, for the argument's sake, tory of the Nile ;-that its fleets had been the object of the hon. gentleman's motion to disgraced and defeated, in different expedi. be advantageous to this country; it would tions against the British empire that its remain to be seen how far that object is fairest provinces were in revolt ;—that its clearly expressed or understood, and subjects were universally discontented ;- how far the means which he suggests are that its commerce was extinguished;—its calculated for attaining it. The hon. revenue destroyed ;-and its finances, gentleman takes credit to himself for not by the confessions of its ablest financiers, limiting or defining, in any degree, the in a state of utter and irrecoverable ruin nature or terms of the peace which it is and bankruptcy ;-that against the mo- the duty of his majesty's ministers to connarchy, thus situated, a general spirit was clude. "If he had not mentioned this rising in Europe :-Í will suppose that omission as a point on which he takes under these circumstances, the ministers credit to himself, it is that which I should of this country had come down to this have been tempted to select for peculiar House, and suggested the propriety of disapprobation. It seems to me at least a such a measure of abjuration and self-de- new and unusual course of policy, instead
is now under consideration : of defining the end, to contract the means and I will ask, what would have been of action. It would have seemed more the clamour raised on the other side of natural and more fair, to say beforehand, the House ?-how pointedly would the “ Such or such is the peace with which question have been put to ministers, the country would be contented, and which s What are you doing? Why do you in would be consistent with its security and terfere to arrest the downfall of this de- | interests ; but the mode of arriving at that testable tyranny ? Look on only-do peace, is what must be left for his majesnothing—and it will fall of itself. What ty's ministers to devise,"—this surely business is it of yours to rescue from de- would be fairer than to say, in the lanstruction a power, so inordinate in its am guage of the present motion, “ I will not bition, and so hostile to the happiness of tell you what peace you ought to make; Europe."
-but I will take from you one great Such would have been the language instrument for making any peace at all." that we should have heard, if the monar- By this motion what advice do you chy of France had been the object of for- give to ministers, or what control do you bearance, and if ministers had been the impose on them? Vour advice is cerpersons to advise us to forbear. I will tainly not worth much, -when you only not press sim:lar interrogations in such a tell them how they shall not proceed; but way as to impute to any gentleman im- say nothing of how they shall proceed, or proper and unjustifiable partialities :--but whither they shall go. Your control