Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

In the course of his speech, my hon. Friend who proposed this motion, fuggefted that the plans for the deliverance of Europe and foreign alliance, would probably be accompanied with a subsidy. The 'hon. Gentleman in reply, however, feid nothing of this point, and I am surprised that he should have omitted consideration fo important to the present question ; I hope still that we fhall to-night hear something fatisfactory on this head. During the former coalition, when this House was called upon to sanction loans and subfidies to Pruflia and Austria, we were told that it was impof. fible for these powers to go on without pecuniary aid from this country. What are we to expect now then should they be 'roused into action: Is there a greater chance that they will feel an interest fo powerful as to prompt them to contribute to the deliverance of Europe without being stimulated by the wealth of England ? I hope we shall know exactly to-night, 'whether we shall be called upon for new fubfidies. I am afraid indeed that continental connection is too surely the forerunner of foreign subsidy. This consideration is one of serious and weighty importance. I am not one who is inclined to defpondence, nor do I think this á moment in which such a sentiment ought to enter the mind of an Englishman. If, however, out financial situation is not calculated to excite despondence, it ought, as Members of Parliament, to teach us caution. If, however, as there is but too much reason to suspect, these new coalitions will call upon us to remit vast sums to our continental allies, we ought to remember with seriousness the remonftrances and the ftatements of the Directors of the Bank on this fubject at the time the Bank stopped payment. They then demonAtrated to the right hon. Gentleman the ruinous consequences of such remittances. If subsidies are to be granted, to send our specie abroad must be the necessary confequence, and to what that may lead it is impossible to say. We have already had the experience of the danger which it occafioned. At present the illues of paper pass current ; the public is habituated to it. The clamours and the fears which the stoppage of the Bank produced have again fubsided, and all goes Imoothly. If, however, a similar event should again occur, it not easy to say with what mischief it may be attended. Firmer remedies could not again be applied, and a second panic could not be so easily allayed. Things of this fort, indeed, in the present womentous times, were scarce considered fro wie a vulgar saying) a nine days wonder.-Things

which formerly would have surprised and alarmed, crowd on us so fast as to diminish our sense of their danger and their confequences. We have feen new schemes of finance; we have seen the Land Tax fold; we now fee the tenth of every man's property about to be put in requisition. The hon. Gentleman said a good deal of the reciprocity of argument, which on certain points, distinguished the Gentlemen on this side of the House. In the adoption of schemes which owe their origin to the French Revolution, the right hon. Gentleman has displayed this reciprocity in an eminent degree. The financial operations of the French have ever been the theme of declamation to Gentlemen on the other side, though they are not unwilling to imitate the principles of what they difapprove. I will venture to affert then, that hardly any measure of Robespierre went beyond the operation of the meafure of finance which has lately been propofed. Spies, under the name of Surveyors, are to be employed in the collection of the revenue. Men are to be obliged to make discoveries of their circumstances, or to be taxed by an arbitrary affeffment. Such is the situation of our financial resources at a moment when new subsidies will, in all probability, be demanded. I remember a curious saying of a very worthy character, Mr. Serjeant Hill, which is very applicable to this subject. Mr. Serjeant Hill one day observed in conversation, that if he was a member of this House he would move, that it should be a standing order that a pair of loaded piftols should be laid upon the table, and that if any man rofe to move that a guinea fhould be sent out of the country, it fhould be the duty of Mr. Lea ar Mr. Dyson, directly to shoot him through the head. The right hon. Gentleman 'however, could find means of fending money to the Emperor without the formality of a proposal, and would be able to avoid the inconvenience to which such a regulation would expose him. No man in the country, I am fure, can feel more than I do the splendour of Lord Nelson's victory; but while this blush of triumph sits upon the face of this country, there is a disease upon its vitals which muft excite some alarm. This is the state of our finances. On this subject we have the result of the laborious inveitigations of a Committee in cart loads of statements which there seems no inclination to discuss. It is a subject, however, to which our attention is immediately direded, when the meafores which are to be adopted neceflavili lead to subfidies. At the time wben the first Coalition were put in motion, a

sainous

famous report appeared in France from St. Yuft, which was much talked of in this House, in which he predicted, as afterwards happened, that the members of the Confederacy, having each a particular interest to pursue, would foon desert the common cause. Is there then any probability that a new coalition will exclude views of particular interests, or that it will be animated with a purer or inore perfevering prosecution of a general object. We are told that many of thofe powers on whom the scourge of French tyranny has fallen are so exhausted, that they have not physical resources left to enable them to throw off the yoke under which they labour. What a prospect does this open to us-what unlimited demand for subsidies and pecuniary aid of every kind from this country. These deficiencies must be made up by England, and her exhausted resources must be called upon to fupply the means of new continental war, and to tempt new coalitions. The hon. Gentleman made some allusions 10 what had been said in another place respecting the insular policy of this country, and I am sure the exprellions which he quoted were not in the style by which that eminent State man is distinguished. What the hon. Gentleman means by a “ snug, tight, domestic war” I cannot tell; but I am sure that the principles laid down by that person for the insular policy of this country, are the true principles of our profperity. What other Gentlemen who are now absent may have said refpecting the foreign politics, and foreign intérelts of this country, I know not. For my own part, I never have been a party man; I have ever thought that the policy of this country was to avoid continental connexions, and our moft eminent writers have recommended this policy, as particularly appears from some of their works laiely published. Such was the opinion of Bolingbroke, Sir Robert Walpole, Lord Townfend, &c. These men thought that the only high ground on which this country could stand, was to adhere to our insular policy, and to avoid continental.connections.

Sir James Murray said, that after the very able speech of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Carning), he should not detain the House with many remarks. There was one point, however, which, in the great variety of argument which the subject involved, seemned to have escaped him. He alluded to what had been said respecting our luceelles in the course of the last year. It could not be said, that during this period we were quite delitute of allies. It was well known that the

situation

3

situation of the continent was such as to oblige the French to make great preparations both on the Rhine and in Italy, which might be considered in some measure equal to a campaign, This circumstance must have operated greatly in favour of this country. He was not quite sure if Europe had been perfectly tranquil, and France had seen all the Continent at her feet, if the enemy had kept up a great force on their coasts and expended the sums they have Ipent in military preparations by land upon their marine, perhaps it might Jave been inore difficult and dangerous to detach lo large a division of our navy to the Mediterranean, by which the splendid victory of Lord Nelson was atchieved. Of that victory no Englishman could be insensible of the value, and it was needless now to insist upon it. No man had felt more anxiously the suspence which we underwent during the cruize of that fleet, or rejoiced more sincerely in the result of the engagement. With respect to the deliverance of Europe, it was an expression to which different meanings might be attached. For his part he understood it not as a philanthropist merely, but as it was connected with our safety, and as it might be considered as a British cause.

Mr. Dickenson, Jnn. said, that though he differed from the hon. Gentleman who made the motion respecting the expediency, he by no means inputed to him any improper motives or party views. It was the common practice of thole, however, who opposed the war, to dwell upon the expence with which it was attended. This was an objection applicable to all wars that had ever been since i he would began. When engaged in war it was neceflary that it Mhould be lifported. He differed from those who thought that the motion was an encroachment on the King's prerogative. He confidered the House of Commons to be a place where they could converse with his Majesty and his Ministers. The motion would be attended with many mischievous consequences, none of the least of which was, that to those abroad who were not acquainted with the nature of our conftitution, it might appear to be a proof of a different interest between the king and the parliament, and that his Majesty was not free lo regulate all matters of peace and war, a supposition perfectly unfounded. It no doubt would tend likewise to damp the spirit of Europe, and to deprive those who struggled under the tyranny of France, of the hopes of success and allittance, while it would remove the apprehensions the enemy enterJained of being asfailed by a new coalition. It appeared to bi

him

him that there was a great difference between the situation of France now, and the situation of France at the beginning of the last coalition, a difference which must operate greatly on the people in every country of Europe. At first the French began with declarations against other governments and against religion. Now they had acted upon what they had announced, and proved to all Europe that their conduct had been more mischievous than their declaration had threatened. Their trade and commerce were destroyed, their navy was annihilated, their resources were alınolt exhaufted; they had no longer the means of plunder they had forinerly possessed ihey had no longer the estates of the nobles and the clergythey had no longer the confiscated property of those they murdered! He contended therefore, that in every point of view the chance of checking their power was now more favourable than it had ever been ; and on these grounds he difapproved of the motion. He should not, however, detain the Honse longer in stating arguments which already had been fo ably enforced.

Mr. Tierney and Mr. Canning said each a few words in explanation ; after which the motion was negatived without a divifion.

The other orders of the day were then deferred.
Adjourned.

[ocr errors]

HOUSE OF COMMONS.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 12. Sir John Anderson brought up the bill for rendering more commodious, and better regulating the port of London. The bill was read a first time, and ordered to be read a second time on Friday se'nnight.

The Annual Indemnity bill in favour of those who omitted to qualify themselves under the Test Act, was read a first time and ordered to be read a second time.

The English Small notes bill, was read a third time and passed.

The Sccretary at Iar brought up an account of the numiber of Staff and General Oficers now serving in his Majesty's army, together with the amount of their pay.

The paper being read, Mr. Windham observed, that it did not perhaps contain the whole of the estimate moved for by the hon. Gentleman, but if it was read, as required by the hon. Gentleman, he would present another paper which

would

« ZurückWeiter »