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levity and inattention, in having come exigency of affairs may require. His maunder such an engagement in January jesty, on this occasion, thinks
proper to last, as for ever precluded him from his acquaint the House, that the crisis which favourite plan of competition. The trans- was depending at the commencement of action might be considered in a double the present session has led to such an orpoint of view, as an injury to the peti- der of things in France as will induce his tioners, and as a loss to the country. To majesty (conformably to the sentiments Mr. Morgan it was clearly a serious loss, which he has already declared) to meet his moncy being called in for the purpose any disposition to negociation on the part of making this application of it. And to of the enemy, with an earnest desire to the public, there was in the first place a give it the fullest and speediest effect; and loss of 400,000l. But this was the least to conclude a treaty for general peace, part of the public injury. By deserting whenever it can be effected on just and the plan of competition, the minister had suitable terms for himself and his allies. outraged a fundamental principle of the “ It is his majesty's earnest wish that the constitution, laid a precedent of which spirit and determination manifested by corrupt ministers might in future avail parliament, added to the recent and imthemselves to the detriment of the public, portant successes of the Austrian armies, and checked for ever this spirit of adven- and to the continued and growing embarture in the monied interest of the king, rassments of the enemy, may speedily condom.
duce to the attainment of this object, on After a long and desultory conversa- such grounds as the justice of the cause tion, the several Resolutions were agreed in which this country is engaged, and the to by the committee.
situation of affairs, may entitle his majesty to expect.
G. R." The King's Message respecting Dutch Prize Money. ] Dec. 7. Mr. Pitt presented The King's Message respecting the Disthe following Message from his majesty : embarkation of Foreign Troops.] Mr. Pitt « George R.
also presented the following Message from “ His majesty thinks proper to acquaint his majesty : the House of Commons, that a consider
" GEORGE R. able sum is likely to arise from the sale “ His majesty thinks it proper to acof such of the prizes, made on the sub- quaint the House of Commons, that conjects of the United Provinces, as are by siderable division of ships, having on law vested in the crown ; and that it is board foreign troops in the service of his majesty's intention, when the accounts Great Britain, having been dispersed and shall be closed, to direct that the produce damaged, whilst on their passage from which shall arise therefrom, after making the rivers Elbe and Weser to Spithead, such allowances as may be thought due to the place of rendezvous appointed for the the merits of any of the captors, shall be convoy under which it was intended they applied to the public service G. R.” should be sent on distant foreign service,
An Address of thanks was moved by his majesty has found it unavoidably neMr. Pitt, and agreed to.
cessary to order the said troops to be dis
embarked, and to be stationed in barracks The King's Message respecting a Nego- near Southampton, and in the Isle of ciation for Peace.] Dec. 8. Mr. Pitt pre- Wight; and, at the same time, has sented the following Message from his given directions that they shall be reemmajesty:
barked, and sent to the place of their “ GEORGE R.
destination, as soon as the transports ne.. “ His majesty, relying on the assur cessary for their accommodation and conances which he has received from his veyance shall be in readiness to receive faithful Commons, of their determination them, the necessary orders for that purto support bis majesty in those exertions pose having by his majesty's command which are necessary under the present been already given.
G. R.” circumstances, recommends it to this The said Messages were ordered to be House to consider of making provision taken into consideration to-morrow. Si, towards enabling bis majesty to defray milar Messages were sent to the Lords. any extraordinary expense which may be incurred for the service of the ensuing Debate in the Commons on the King's year, and to take such measures as the Message respecting a Negociation for Peace with France.] Dec. 9. The order powerful preparations and exertions, added of the day being read for taking his to the recent and important successes of Majesty's Message into consideration, the Austrian armies, and to the continued
Mr. Pitt said, that before he moved the and growing embarrassments of theenemy, Address, he would trouble the House with should have the happy effect of speedily but a very few words. The sentiments conducing to the restoration of general expressed in the message, were intirely peace on such grounds as the justice of conformable to those delivered by his ma- the cause in which this country is engaged jesty in his speech at the commencement of and the situation of affairs may entitle his the session. His majesty then intimated, majesty to expect.”. that if the crisis which existed in France Mr. Sheridan said : -- I certainly rise should terminate in an order of things with considerable astonishment at the concompatible with the tranquillity of other ciseness with which the right hon. gentlecountries, and affording a reasonable ex- man has thought proper to preface the pectation of security and permanence in address which he has proposed to the any treaty which might be concluded, House. The right hon. gentleman said, the appearance of a disposition to nego- that he would trouble the House only ciate for a general peace, on just and with a few words, because that order of suitable terms, would not fail to be things in France which had been alluded met on the part of his majesty, with an to in the speech of his majesty bad arrived. earnest desire to give it the fullest and I ask why the right hon. gentleman tells speediest effect. The form of govern
us now, for the first time, that the government in France, with a view to the pro- ment of France is of a description with bable establishment of which this declara- which we may safely negociate? Time and tion was made, had since been adopted experience have no doubt enabled him to and acted upon in that country. This alter all his former opinions on that declaration, therefore, his majesty had subject. But all the advantages which thought proper to renew in the message. he can have derived from time and expe. As the House expressed the utmost satis rience, have occurred within the last tive faction at the sentiments expressed by weeks. In fact, I contend, that he has his Majesty in his speech, they would no had only one week, and that upon the doubt be equally ready to renew the ex- experience of that single week, he now pressions of that satisfaction on the present comes forward, not to propose a jealous occasion. He would therefore move, peace, an armed truce, but a peace afford.
“ That an humble Address be presented ing a reasonable prospect of security and to his majesty, to return his majesty the permanence. If he contends that he has thanks of the House for his most gracious had more time to make up his mind on message: to acknowledge, with the utmost the subject, I ask him, why he did not gratitude and satisfaction, his majesty's bring forward the result of his deliberation condescension and goodness, in having before he settled the terms of the loan? been graciously pleased to acquaint us, This one week's experience of the right that the crisis which was depending at hon. gentleman has cost the country two the commencement of the session, has led millions. What excuse can he possibly to such an order of things in France, as allege in justification of his conduct? will induce his majesty, conformably to Will he say that on Wednesday last, when the sentiments which he has already de- he arranged the terms of the loan, he had clared, to meet any disposition for a not taken such a view of the subject--he negociation on the part of the enemy, did not possess such means of information with an earnest desire to give it the fullest – he had not such grounds of decision as and speediest effect, and to conclude a he has since acquired? The effect of the treaty of general peace, whenever it can message last night has been, that the loan be effected on just and suitable terms for is this day at a premium of 124 per cent., himself and his allies : To assure his ma- and a sum of 2,200,0001. is lost to the jesty, that, until that desirable period country. When I see the right hon. shall arrive, it is our firm determination gentleman reversing his former declarato continue to afford his majesty that tions, I think him not sincere in the object is essential to the most important interests ing forward such a declaration, in order of his kingdom; and that
it will yield us to defeat, as I believe, the proposition of the highest gratification, if his majesty's my hon. friend (Mr. Grey) for peace, I cannot help adverting to the grounds on truction. But in whatever light this which he may be supposed to have declaration is considered, it has long changed his opinion. I must look how since been disclaimed. What, then, is that government is composed which he the period at which the right hon. gentlenow states to be capable of negociation. man thinks proper to declare that the That very government he recently stated French government is capable of mainto be not only on the verge, but in the taining the accustomed relations of peace very gulph of bankruptcy. And having and amity? At the moment when the stated that it was on the verge of what members seek to establish their power by must inevitably bring it to destruction, the system of forced elections; when they he now submits a proposition to the House, avow the principle of not being responsi. that it is not only a form of government ble to their constituents ; when they seek with which we may safely negociate, but to establish their authority in the capital capable of maintaining peace on a footing by force of arms, and have the place of of permanence and security. Will he their deliberations surrounded by large say, that he is more reconciled to the bodies of the military, in order to overawe men who exercise the functions of that the people. There is one word in the adgovernment? Of the five who compose dress which must prevent it from obtaining the Executive Directory, four voted for an unanimous concurrence-the expresthe death of the king, the fifth happened / sion which relates to the justice of the war. to be absent at that period. These were But this is not the only objection. It the very men whose pernicious councils expresses a principle which must ever rewere said to have brought on the war move to a distance any hope of a secure with this country, and with respect to and permanent peace, till the whole counwhom it has been affirmed, that no settled try shall join to disclaim and reprobate order of things could take place in France the system derived from such a source. until they had fallen under the sword of It seems that the present state of things justice. "Has the right hon. gentleman, in France is such as ministers think may then, changed his opinion merely because safely admit of negociation. This princithe forms of the government are altered ; ple has often been before intimated, but because the old men meet in one place, has never been so openly avowed. It now and the young men in another? Is it on seems that we must carry on a war till a the ground of such trifling distinctions, form of government takes place agreeable that he now comes forward to contradict to the fancy and caprice of his majesty's every opinion, to retract every profession, ministers. If the present form of governwhich he has formerly uttered, and to ment, of which they have had only the expleilge himself to a new declaration of perience of five weeks, should be thought sentiment, without any facts by which it to require some alteration after peace is can be supported? There is something concluded, ministers may think themselves so contradictory in all this, that I think justified in involving the country in a new it impossible that the right hon. gentle- war. As long as that principle continues man can be sincere. If it be said that to be avowed, we may have a hollow the French government has revoked its and an armed truce, but we never can declaration of interfering with the govern- have anything like a secure and permanent ments of other countries, and on that peace. I must decidedly reprobate the account is better qualified for negociation, principle, that any objections on the part that declaration, 1 must remark, has long of ministers to a particular form of gobeen revoked. The charge of a wanton vernment, shall be, in any instance, deemed interference with other governments, ap- a just cause for commencing and continuplied to the French, I contend, never to ing hostilities; and on this ground I shall have been just. "The declaration which move an Amendment to the Address, by they made on that subject, was a conse- adding these words : quence of the coalition of kings. When " Your majesty's faithful Commons the confederated princes expressed their having thus manifested their determinadetermination not to permit them to tion to give your majesty the most vigoeffect their revolution and establish a rous support in the farther prosecution of government for themselves, they thought the war, in case just and reasonable terms themselves justified in declaring their of peace should be refused on the part of enmity to all kingly governments, and the enemy, and having declared the cordial their readiness to assist in their des satisfaction they feel at your majesty's
gracious intention to meet any disposition, lar, that any objections should be interto negociation on the part of the enemy, posed, when all are ready to come into with an earnest desire to give it the fullest the same proposition. At the moment and speediest effect, cannot at the same when his majesty declares that he is pretime avoid expressing the deep regret they pared to give the fullest effect to any disfeel, that your majesty should ever have positions for peace, that may appear on been advised to consider the internal order the part of France, it is a bad return for of things in France to have been such as his goodness to call into question, or cavil should not have induced your majesty at at that declaration. The address has my any time to meet a disposition to negocia- warmest assent. What are the objections tion on the part of the enemy :- And, to it? We now say, that there is such an your majesty's faithful Commons feel order of things established in France, as themselves, at this conjuncture, the more affords a reasonable expectation for a seforcibly called on to declare this opinion, cure and permanent peace. Last session because if the present existing order of when I brought forward my motion for things in France be admitted as the mo- peace,* the majority were of a diferent tive and inducement to negociate, a change opinion. They now admit, that the pein that order of things, may be considered riod has at last arrived, when the governas a ground for discontinuing negociation ment in France no longer presents an obbegun, or even for abandoning a treaty stacie to negociation. The hon. gentleconcluded :- Wherefore your majesty's man says, that he sees no difference befaithful Commons, duly reflecting on the tween the former and the present govern. calamitous waste of treasure and of blood, ment of France. Does he not adinit that to which, it is now manifest, the acting there may be various gradations between on this principle has so unfortunately and the two extremes; that there may be difso largely contributed, and greatly appre- ferent shades and modifications, which hensive of the grievous and ruinous con- may materially affect the character of a sequences to which the persevering to act government, and its conduct towards foon such a principle must inevitably tend, reign powers? Is there not a considerable do humbly and earnestly implore your difference between that no-government, majesty, that it may be altogether aban- that wild democracy, which formerly predoned and disclaimed; and that the form vailed in France, and the more regulated of government, or internal order of things form of government which they have in France, whatever they may be, or shall now adopted? The hon. gentleman says, become, may be no bar to a negociation that my right hon. friend has had only five for restoring to your majesty's subjects the weeks' experience of the nature of this blessings of peace, whenever it can be form of government. I thought my right effected on just and suitable terms for hon. friend had expressly guarded against your majesty and your allies :- And, as this misrepresentation, when he stated, the principal bar to a negociation for peace on the first day of the session, that if the appears to have been your majesty's hav- order of things then proposed in France ing been hitherto advised to consider the should be put in execution, he should no order of things in France, as precluding longer have any objection to treat on seyour majesty from meeting a disposition cure and honourable terms. What, I ask, to negociation on the part of the enemy, is the effect of the message and the ad. your faithful Commons now humbly be- dress ? Seeing a government established seech your majesty to give your distinct in France, which assumes a more mode. directions, that an immediate negociation rate and permanent shape than has himay be entered on for the above salutary therto appeared, the government of this object."
country readily seizes the opportunity of Mr. Wilberforce said :- I must confess, coming forward with a declaration of Sir, that I am surprised at that construc- their readiness to treat on just and suittion of mind, which can take up the ad- able terms. The hon. gentleman asks, dress now proposed, in the light in which what is the difference of the system which it has been considered by the hon. gentle. the new government in France has estaman. The event to which the address blished Is it merely that the old men refers has always been regarded as one are to meet in one place, and the young desirable to all parties, however they men in another ? Does he not know that might differ as to the means of attaining their object. It is therefore rather singu- * See p. 1 of the present Volume.
by this regulation, the danger is entirely obtained, which, he thought, there was guarded against, which this country had ground to expect from the present dispochiefly to apprehend, namely, the mischief sition of the enemy. He should thereof haste and precipitance in their councils ? | fore vote for the address. Is he so ignorant of human nature, or of the Mr. Grey said :- As I consider the effect of situation upon character, as not amendment a complete record of the sento be aware, that from this separation of timents of those who have uniformly opthe two bodies, different opinions will posed the principles on which this war arise, and different interests will
pre- was commenced, and the manner in which vail ? What is already the consequence it has been conducted, I cannot but give of the new system? They have taken it my support. My hon. friend is blamed precautions to prevent riot and insurrec- for his mode of argument ; but are opi. tion, greater even than those which would nions so much changed, that we are bebe admitted in this country. They have come the accusers, and administration shown their determination not to be over the panegyrists of the French government ? awed by mobs, and have taken steps to What is the wonderful difference in the secure their meetings from the pernicious order of things, which has given rise to effects of such tumultuary interference. such a change? The government which I said, on a former occasion, that I con- the French have chosen, is the same in ceived a government something like that principle with that with which we went to of America, would be the most suitable war, and which ministers formerly defor France. I said so because I conceived clared to be so odious and dangerous, that to be the government which the peo- that its total destruction could alone be ple were most disposed to receive. The looked upon as the attainment of the obevent has so far confirmed my opinion. We ject in view. The present government is know what use has been made of the dis- indeed worse than that with which we contents, real or supposed, in this coun- went to war. We first engaged in war try, for the purpose of misrepresentation, with the Brissotines ; they who are now in France. The amendment would give in power are the successors of that party, tenfold force to that misrepresentation, more moderate indeed, but acting on the and encourage the idea that the govern- same principles ; the wonderful difference ment were forced to sue for peace by the is, that the form is varied; they have a complaints and remonstrances of the peo- council of ancients, instead of a comple. But I object to it on constitutional mittee; and a council of five hundred ingrounds. It is not the business of this stead of a national convention. Is it for House to interfere with the executive go- this trifling difference that we have shed vernment, except when called upon by oceans of blood ? Ministers were accus. strong necessity. That interference can- tomed to state, that all success depended not be called for at a moment when go- on our being able to re-establish the old vernment comes forward with a sentiment, hereditary despotic government of France; in which all have expressed their concur- and that in any manner to countenance rence. I congratulate the House on this the proceedings of the murderers of Louis declaration, and trust that it will be at- | 16th was virtually to depose the king of tended with the happiest effects. I re. England. This was attempted, but all joice that provision has already been made their schemes have failed; the confedefor the expenditure of the year; because racy is dissolved; we have every where I think that by showing we have the means been baffled, except at sea;
we have to prosecute the war with vigour, we take spent 50 millions sterling, and added the most likely method of bringing about above 80 millions to capital of the naa secure and honourable peace.
tional debt. There is little difference in Mr. M. Robinson said, he perceived the sitration of affairs, and no additional no peculiar improvement in the French security. I put it to those gentlemen then, government, nor was he solicitous to in- how they can reconcile their sentiments quire whether it resembled, or ever would and conduct; when at one time they deresemble, the American constitution; but clare that nothing but the total eradicaif we were to wait till France had settled tion of certain principles will be sufficient a regular government, he was afraid our to pave the way for peace, and afterhopes would be deferred to a very distant wards, taking advantage of a slight disperiod. Peace, on honourable terms, ference in circumstances, follow that line was much to be wished for, if it could be of conduct which has hitherto been re(VOL. XXXII.]
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