Abbildungen der Seite

1 duct of Ministers, because I knew, from the experience of a former evening, that any thing from me in commendation of Ministers would be a pretext to the right honourable Gene tleman totall foul of them. Recurring to the comparis n of the honorable Colonel between the vilunteers and the regulars, I cannut help faving that he has not taken a course very likely to reflect honour on his favourite force. I he honourable Colonel has ödmisted hat the volunteers have durie their dury, but that they are not on that account entitled in the proposed vore, while the distinguithed services of the regular ariny are overlooked. In proof of their services, however, the honourable Colonel itares this, that at the time of the mutiny in the feet, the jacobins fent circular letters to the several regiments of the a my, inviting them to mutiny, which invitations they refused 10 comply with. Then the honourable Gentleman's argumeni ftands thus, that we should retuse our thanks to the volunteers, whufe merir is char they have dine their duty, but that we Mould grani This honour to the regular arıny, whose merit is, according to his statement, that they rejected a propolia tion 10 mu:iny; that they declined io violate their valbs--10 abandon every sense of duty and honour. Such is the subftance of the panegyric which this regular Colonel has pronounced upon the regular army. If he can say no hing more in their favour, I think the army would be obliged to him to wish hold his prai'e. The honourable C. nel has, in his compliments to his right honourable Friend, thought proper to say that it would be for my interest to preserve my hands as clean froun the imputation of worthy i lives in my opposition to Ministers as his right nonourable Friend has done and continues to do. If ihe honourable Clonel has been acquainted with the views and proceedings of the old Opposition, he would have declined that remark : but I will refer hini for information upon this point to his right honourable Fiend, and I would call with confidence upon that right honourable Gentleman myself to fate the course which the old Oppofirion took when he afted with them. Were not the grounds won which they refted their conduct materially different from Thule upon which he and his colleagues now it? Who they crndemned Ministers they pointed as he particular acts which justified that condem. r.ation. They never pronounced loose and general censures. They never told the country that the Ministers they opposed were not entiiled to confidence without proving it ; but the 5 N 2


right honourable Genil man never does meet the Ministers fairly, never oppofs them front to front; his mole of difcipline senis best to quality him for fquibs and skirmithes; his favourite plan of attack is on the flanks and rear of his arversary. Is this ibe fyllem of tactics which the hon. Colonel would approve. I would call upon the right hon. Gentleman to make his approaches m re manfully. If he would consultibe precedent ot the old Opposition, he would alter his pri seni course tor one berler adapied to recommend himself to the favour of the country and the deference of Parliament. I am glad, however, to perceive from the relerence he has made to the old Oppofition, that he is refreshing his meniory ; that he is furbishing his arms, no doubt from an expectation, in which I hope he will not be disappointed, that he will have to ftand a very long campaign in Oppofition. If in this campaign he will endeavour to imirale the party I have alluded io, he will protect himself and his friends from the charge of faction; he will not oppofe measures because they come from a certain set of men, and although the same measures froin other men would meet his must cordial concurrence; he will not act upon such molives, and if not, his opinion and opposition will become respectable, and may have some pretenfion to a comparison with the old Oppofition, from which the right hon. Gentleman may perhaps think I have now a furlongh; but as to the comparison of the iwo Oppofitions under the present circumstances, it strikes me that the old Opposition inight address that of the right honourable Gentleman in the same terms as those uled by the landlord who kept the sign of the Two Magpies at Hounslow, in his cispute with another landlord who thought proper to put up the same sign_“We are the real old magpies, and you have set up your new oppofition through (pite :" [A gener.I laugh.] The honourable Colonel in his affection and deference for:he Prince of Wales, recommended that his Royal Highness thould be appoinied to the command of the L:v; en Malle, as a place suited to his rank and consequence. I would beg the House to recollect that this is the army which ihe honourable Officer advised MiniIters to distribute in!o fcouring parties, or to stay in their refpe&tive districts, to keep up a kind of irregular allack upon the enemy-lo fire from behind hedges or walls---from out of houses, &c. Now inark the fiation the hon. Colonel would allign the illustrious personage I have mentioned-he would send his Royal Highness to take his place behind a tree, to watch and direct flying Thooters, to conduct a mode of warfare that would resemble fomething like boar hunting. This is a part which I hope will never be assigned to the Prince of Wales ; that we shall not call on him to ftand behind a tree, or throw himself into a dirch when the eneiny approaches. An honourable Friend of mine has itaied in the courfe of his objedions to the motion before the House, that while the volunteers were drilling, they were langhed as by idle, worthless fpectators. This appears to me to be a very strong reafon in favour of this morion, for if the volun. teers are laughed at by the proftigate, let them have this honourable mark of your approbation to gratify their pride, to raise them above such sneers. The late Secretary at War bas maintained in the courfe of this debate, and on other occasions, that our fituarion was by no means so dangerous at any period of the late war, as it is at present. To this affertion the noble Secretary of State has so ably answered, that I think it unneceffary to say much, but I infift that the perils of the country in the year 1798 were much superior 10 Those by which we are now menaced; for at that iime Iseland was actually invaded, a formidable insurrection prevailed, and had the whole of the French force which was fent 10 Ireland been able to effe&t a landing, or rather, perhaps, were is not for the treachery of Hoche, that country would have been fubdued. Then I contendihar Ireland was saved by an accident; and if the 40,000 men which were permitted to go to Egypt had bent their course to Ireland, what, I would ask, could have been the fate of that country? In such a stare of things, I maintain that Ministers are justihed in charging the right honourable Gentleman with neglecting to resort to such meafures of vigour as he ought to have employed, and such as have been on the present occasion adopred. The right honourable Gentleman will not deny that he felt the extremity of panic at the flate of the nation in 1798, infomuch that he was heard to complain of the apathy of his colleagues ; that they were not forward to adopt measures fufficiently suited to the crisis. They were, to be sure, persuaded to propose a bill, which was posted, in the preamble of which the alarıning stare of the country was acknowledged, and several military preparations prefcribed, which however were never executed, nor was the act in any of its provisions acted upon; but yet it was remarkable, that though clumsy and ineffectual, it con:ained the fame principle and nesly the same clau es, which the righe honourable Gentleman has objected to in the act for railing the mass of the people. Why did the right hon. Gentleman approve of a proposition then which he abuses now? There are indeed many other measures of the late Ministry which the right honourable Gentleman professes to condemn. He has said, among others, that the provisional cavalry was a foolish mcafure-how then can he account for the support he gave it as a Minister! I do appeal to him or any other man who has a spark of frankness, whether such conduct is excusable ! that of a right hon. Gentleman, who lays claim to a character of candour, sincerity, openness, and independence of mind, who con:inued in ihis House to plead for proceedings, of which as a cabinet Minister he ftrongly disapproved, was certainly not quite cunhillent. The hon. Colonel fays, that Austria was not lincerely desirous to preserve the peace of Cainpo Formio I remember when we slaced the fame thing in this House we were opposed by the late Secretary at War and his friends, and the faat was positively denied. The Ex-Secretary at War confidered the affertion mere nonsense mindeerd, that right hon. Gentleman, whether in or out of office, has always been in the habit of treating the assertions or argumenis of his adversaries, with an appearance of indifference, if not contempi, that was not becoming in any man. No doubt, if great talents would justify a man in looking down upon the arguments of his adversary, the hon. Gentleman was fully qualified to do ro-but no degree or description of talents could excuse such conduct. The argument of every man is, if at all attended 10, entitled to re. spectful attention. With regard to the conduct of the right honourable Genileman since he became an Ex-Minister, I do contend, that its uniform tenor has been to invite and encourage the enemy, and to depress and discourage our own people. He has invited the enemy to provoke the war, by the description he always gave of the character of Ministers and fince the war he has invited an attack upon our country, by the starennents he has made of the fruation of the public mind, the disorganised state of our army, and the auk ward inanner in which our defensive force was to be constructed. By this kind of invitation he has brought Bonaparte into a scrape, and he certainly is in a much worse scrape than this country; all his misfortunes may be attributed to the reliance he placed on the words of the right

honourable conducive.

[ocr errors]

honourable Gentleman, when he reported the Ministers to be a set of thabby, pufillanimous, incapable fellows, who knew nothing, who would bear any thing, who would submit to any injury, or endure any irful. In thort, that the peace of Amiens was a curse, and thai, bad as the Ministers were, this treaty had rendered the people ftill worse. He always stated that Miniters were only anxious for the safe tenure of their places, and that as there was nothing highminded about them, they wovid make any facrifice 10 ihac object. What was the natural tendency of such language ? What impression was it likely to make on the mind of Bunaparie? If he were told tha: it was all saint, the inere healed declamation of a difontented-Ex-Minister, he would, no doubi, answer No--impothble! Mr. Windham is a dile creet italelman, and he knows the character of the linglish Goveromen, and of the Englith perple, well; no man better. But Bonaparte was deceived, and was suffering much regret for his confidence in the right honourable Gensleman. He knows now that Mim!ters are not quite so pallive or forimid as the right honourable Genileman would lead him to imagine ; that they would go to war fouver than facrifice the honour and interests of the counuy. There is a character in our great bard, Sir Andrew Aquecheek. 10 whom, though I cannot entirely compare the First Conful, 1 have no doubt that if he were to declare his sentiments on his present fituation, he would fay, in the language of the old Knight,-" If I th ught he'd been so valia., I'd lo damined ere I hud challenge i him"

I am pretty certain ihat such is now the feeling of Buna.' parle, and he has to thank the right honourable Genilemnan for reducing him 10 that dilemaa. I hope thar Ministers will place him in a ftill worf: dilemma; if duly seconded by the people, upon which I confidently rely, I have no doubt that it is in their power to do so. In reply to the ob. servations that have been made on the motion wucer con. sideration, on the ground that it is not necessary, I thill only Say that it must be useful ; that it is dictated by juttice and policy, and called for by the irresistible voice of gravide ; ihat the merit it is interded to distinguish is great and material to the public safety; and that to record fuch merit would excite the emulation of the people at larie, if a Nlimu. lus were necessary, while it would form a inonument hos nourable to our own character, grateful to the pride, and

« ZurückWeiter »