,.41 Bt., 0 f"4,6- \




Strahan and Preston,

Printers-Street, London.






Dec. 28. Alien Bill
31. The Same

Jan. 4 . The Same
Feb. 1. Address on the King's Message for an Augment-

ation of the Forces
Address on the King's Message respecting the

Declaration of War by France
18. Mr. Fox's Resolutions against the War with

22. Mr. M. A. Taylor's Motion respecting Barracks
26. Abolition of the Slave Trade

March 4 . Mr. Sheridan's Motion relative to the Existence
of Seditious Practices in this Country

I I. Budget for the Year 1793

15. The Same
Traitorous Correspondence Bill......

21. The Same
22. The Same

April 4. The Same

8. The Same

9. The Same

25. Mr. Sheridan's motion for an Address to ex-
press Displeasure at Lord Auckland's Me-
morial to the States General

2 9
. State of Commercial Credit

3o. The Same

May 2. Sheffield Petition for a Reform in Parliament

Mr. Grey's Motion for a Reform in Parliament
13. Renewal of the East India Company's Charter



May 17. Renewal of the East India Company's Charter z 19

24. The Same

30. State of the Impeachment against Mr. Hastings 126
June 12. Mr. Whitbread's Complaint of a Libel on the

Managers of the Impeachment against Mr

Mr. Fox's Motion for the Re-establishment of

Peace with France

21. Mr. Fox's Amendment to the Address on
the King's Speech at , the Opening of the

Treaty with the King of Sardinia

Augmentation of the Army

Mr. Grey's Motion respecting: employing Fo-
reigners in any Situation of Military Trust,
and bringing Foreign Troops into the King-
dom without the Consent of Parliament


March 14. The Same 190
Feb. 25. Abolition of the Slave Trade

March 6. Mr. Whitbread's Motion for a separate Peace

with France

to. Mr. Adam's Motion respecting the Trials of
Messrs. Muir and Palmer

17. General Fitzpatrick's Motion relative to the
Detention of M. de la Fayette 212

25. Mr. Adam's Motion for a Committee to consider
of the Criminal Law of Scotland

17. Voluntary Aids for Public Purposes without

the Consent of Parliament

24. The Same 227

28. The Same 228
April 7. The Same

8. Motion for taxing Placemen and Pensioners
during the Continuance of the War

17. Bill to enable Subjects of France to enlist as

3o. Prussian Subsidy 260

May z. The Same 268
13. King's Message respecting Seditious Practices

- Suspension of the Habeas Corpus . Act 27o

16. The Same

17. The Same 230

30. Mr. Fox's Motion for putting an End to the War
with France

Vote of Thanks to Lord Howe for the Victory

of the First of June 312
Address of Thanks to his Majesty for his Com-

munications respecting Seditious Practices
Vote of Thanks to Lord Hood for his Conduct

in the Expedition to Corsica 322
Mr. Wilberforce's Amendment to the Address

on the King's Speech at the Opening of the
Session 324*

1795- Mr. Sheridan's Motion for the Repeal of theJan. 5. BD for suspending the Habeas Corpus Act
6. State of the Navy
7- The Same

21. Army Estimates
23. Bill for the Continuance oft he Habeas Suspen-

sion Act
26. Mr. Grey's Motion for Peace with France

Feb. 5- King's Message respecting a Loan to the

26. Abolition of the Slave Trade
March 24.. Mr. Fox's Motion for a Committee on the State

of the Nation
April 1 4. Monument to the Memory of Captain Faulknor
May 14. King's Message respecting an Establishment for

the Prince and Princess of 'Wales

June 1. The Same

5. The Same

8. The Same

May 19. Earl Fitzwilliam's Recal from the Government
of Ireland

27. Mr. Wilberforce's Motion respecting Peace
with France

28. Loan to the Emperor

June 3. The Same
10. The Same
15. The Same

Relief to the Merchants of Grenada and St


29. Mr. Fox's Amendment to the Address on the
King's Speech at the Opening of the Session

3. High Price of Corn

18. The Same



1 794-

Feb. 3.








June 16.


Dec. 3o.




















4-c. cC.


December 28. 1792.

ON the second reading of the bill " for establishing regulations.respecting aliens arriving in this kingdom, or resident therein
in certain eases," Mr. Secretary Dundas stated the objects of it.
All foreigners arriving in the kingdom were to explain their
reasons for coming into this country, to give up all arms, except
those commonly used for defence or dress. In their several re-
movals through- the country they were to use passports, by which
their actual residence or occasional movements might be manifest,
and their conduct easily observed. Those who received eleemo-
synary support were to be distributed in districts where they
would be more liable to the vigilance of the civil power. Par-
ticular attention was to be paid to foreigners who had visited this
kingdom within the present year. who should hereafter come with-
out obvious reasons, and be thus more obnoxious to prudent
suspicion. — Sir Gilbert Elliot supported the bill, and alluded to
the difference of opinion between him and some honourable friends
whom he highly respected and esteemed. This difference of
opinion, he trusted, however, would not affect their private friend-
ship, which, he hoped, would remain unaltered. This sentiment
he was the more particularly led to express, as he had received.
distinguished marks of friendship from one right honourable gen;
tleman (Mr. Fox), with whom he was now compelled to express
his difference in opinion. On this occasion he felt himself prompted
by duty to declare, that since the close of last session he had felt
much regret from what had been said by that right honourable
gentleman. The views which he entertained of the present situ-
ation of affairs were not only widely different from his own, but
the means which lie proposed to be pursued for the public welfare
were such as appeared to him to be even of an opposite tendency-.


ALIEN BILL. [Dee. 28'
Mr. Fox said, that in whatever political difference of opi-

nion be felt himself with reference to his friends, he would
venture to say, that in all discussions of such opinions he had
never suffered the political difference to interfere with his pri-
vate friendships; yet he did feel some reason to complain, that
all the private friendship and esteem professed for him by the
honourable baronet should not have induced the honourable
baronet to state to him such political difference of opinion as
'he now said had existed so long, and that this should be the
first occasion he had to suspect the least difference of opinion
between the honourable baronet and himself. The honour-
able baronet said, that so long ago as the last session of par-
liament he had reason to differ in opinion from him, and now
declared a general disapprobation of his political conduct.
Till now be had never understood that there was, among
those with whom he had been accustomed to act, a general
difference of opinion from him, and a disposition to support
the present administration. Fie would call no man to ac-
count for his conduct; but he would say, that they had given
him the most distinct assurances that there was nothing which
made them more unwilling than they were formerly, that
they had expressed no disinclination, to follow the same plan
they had before adopted. He had, indeed, on the first day
of the present session, seen gentlemen go out into the lobby
whom he could have wished to have staid in the House; he
had heard an honourable friend of his (Mr. Windham) speak
with that powerful eloquence which always distinguished him
against what appeared to him to be the right and just course
of proceeding, and he had heard him with pain ; but he saw
no such difference of opinion as made it impossible for those
gentlemen, or his honourable friend, to preserve that connec-
tion in which they had so long acted.

With respect to himself; all he could say was, that he wa%
as much devoted to that connection as any gentleman in that.
House; as any man of honourable and independent feelings
could be. He said also, it was the pride of his heart to think,
that the union and exertions of that connection had kept alive
every thing that deserved the name of the spirit of liberty in
that country. He wished not to call to mind particular ex-
pressions ; but lie could not but recollect, that the difference
between those with whom he had acted and the present mi-
nistry, was formerly called fundamental and irreconcileable;
and he did believe that this sentiment still pervaded the majo-
rity of them. Whether his opinion was or was not consonant
with the opinion of that majority lie did not know ; but. this
he knew, that the cause of his country would not suffer him to
say he could support an administration which stood upon

1722.3 ALIEN

grounds not warranted by the constitution. He had heard,
in this and other places, that the present administration ought
to be systematically supported at all events in the present situ-
ation of affairs. He blamed not those who said so; but, with
regard to himself and those who entertained that opinion,
union and co-operation were at an end. He had not heard
the honourable baronet say so much; for lie was sure, that if
the honourable baronet had done so, he could not have added
that he concurred in sentiment with the illustrious characters
to whom he had alluded. The honourable baronet had al-
luded to a noble person (the Duke of Portland) so much
esteemed by him, that he could not express what he felt in
speaking of him ; a nobleman with whom he had lived sixteen
or seventeen years on terms of friendship, and for ten of those
seventeen had been in habits of the greatest intimacy and
affection ; and be would venture to say that he esteemed him
at least as much as the honourable baronet. He could not
bring himself to believe that that nobleman entertained the
opinion professed by the honourable baronet; for he had
heard that that nobleman, in giving his support to the present
bill, had expressly declared that he could not forget the man-
ner in which the present administration came into power, and
that great part of the difficulties in which the country was
now involved was owing to their misconduct. He therefore ,
believed that no essential difference existed between that noble
person and himself.

If differences did arise from doubts that were entertained,
he asked only for a fair discussion, that it .might be distinctly
known wherein it was they differed. He firmly believed, that
on all the principles of liberty, they not only agreed in mo-
tives but in actions; that they agreed in every thing except the
bill. He disapproved of this bill, and they approved, which
was all the difference of which he knew. But as to other
differences, (and he was conscious of no other,) that subject
must be farther discussed, and better understood between
them. He had long acted, and he wished to continue to act
with characters whom he esteemed and loved ; but if he should


c driven, which God forbid ! to the situation of acting with-
out; or even against those characters, he hoped and trusted he
should have sense

enonah to discern his duty, and fortitude to

e e


perform it. Painful as such a separation would be to him,
a his utmost fortitude to bear, he must then con-k

trusted, however, he. shouldt laci

act alone, or not act at all. He

the other hand, the difference

( act according:). to his own sense of
if he was compelled to do the one or the other. If, on

the only material difference
on the present bill should be

between them, they might still act
13 2

4 ALIEN BILL. [Dec.31-
in conjunction, as they had formerly done, and be hoped that
all attempts to magnify accidental differences, while they
agreed on one general principle, would fail of their effect.
There were other persons from whom he expected an entire
difference on certain questions, and he had not been deceived.
The right honourable gentleman (Mr. Burke) who had con-
demned his former friends to banishment in Sinope, it might
have been expected, considering the desolateness and sterility
of the land, would have paused, would have thought that a
sufficient punishment ; but he had not done so. All that he
could say was, that nothing should be Wanting on his part, no-
thing of yielding or complying, nothing conciliating or friend-
ly, no submission that friendship and old habits of intimacy
could suggest, that he should not be ready to enter into, if, in
his opinion, it could operate for the public good. Upon the
present bill, as nothing had been alleged that could justify the
principle, which he had no hope of opposing with success, and
as it contained many provisions that could be better debated
in a committee than in any other stage, lie should reserve
what he had to say until it came to that stage.

Mr. Burke answered Mr. Fox in a very spirited but desultory
speech, in the course of which, to enforce his account of the three
thousand daggers manufactured at Birmingham, he threw down
one of them on the floor of the House, and bid them look to it as
a sample of the fruits to be obtained by an alliance with France.
At the same time he exclaimed with great vehemence, that he
would, to the utmost of his power, keep French infection from
our country, their principles from our minds, and their daggers
from our hearts.

December 31.

On the motion for going.
into a committee on the bill, the Mar-

quis of Titchfield said, he agreed that the circumstances of the
country were in the highest degree critical ; and, in such circum-
stances, those who were as little inclined to think well of the pre-
sent administration as himself, might be disposed to adopt such a
conduct in some instances, as at other times they would not be
inclined to pursue. His political sentiments and attachments
remained the same that they had ever been. His opinion of the
gentlemen who composed the present administration, was in no
respect altered : but he felt the dangers which surrounded us, and
the necessity, in that, case, of giving to government such support
as might enable it to act with effect; a support, therefore, directed
to that effect, and governed by those circumstances, was that which
he meant distinctly to give them.

ALIEN BILL. 51792.]
Mr. Fox said, that he should trouble the House but with a

very few words. What he chiefly had to observe was on whathad fallen from the noble marquis in the course of this debate.
He thought it rather unnecessary to take much notice of what
had been expressed on the feelings of others on a former clay.
The whole subject had been explained by the noble marquis
with so much propriety, dignity, and perspicuity, that he
could not entertain a doubt as to his principles and senti-
ments. He had so properly come forward to state his opinion
as a member of that House, that no doubt could now remain ;
all that he had to say on that subject was, that he concurred
entirely with the noble marquis in every thing he had said,
except his approbation of the present bill. There might
be some . explanation upon that subject in the committee ;he
therefore only said, that the committee might, perhaps, be the •
proper stage for him to deliver his sentiments upon the subject.
At present, lie must confess, he was not ready to give his assent
to the bill. He was not surprised that there was a difference
of opinion between the noble marquis and himself upon the
bill. They had formed different opinions on the state of the
country : the noble marquis had thought the country in dan-
ger, and therefore very properly thought that the executive
power should be strengthened, and voted for the bill. He,
on the contrary, was not aware of such danger, and saw no ne-
cessity for the bill; and therefore, when the case was thus ex-
plained, it was not surprising that they differed in opinion.—
The bill now before the House must, he apprehended, be
discussed on two grounds. The first was, whether any dan-
ger did exist in this country? If that was determined in the
negative, there would be an end of the bill ; if in the affir-
mative, then, secondly, whether the present bill contained
the proper remedy for such danger? The present was not
a question of general support of administration, as had been
erroneously stated: it was, whether any thing was necessary
in the present case; and if any thing was necessar y, whether
the present bill was adapted to the end proposed g? He was
ready to say, that if the circumstances of the times were such
as ministers described them to be, it would be necessary for
him to support government; and he would support govern-
ment if there was really danger in this country. He was
always ready to support government when he thought it
wanted support. As a proof of this, lie had given his vote
for the augmentation both of the army and navy this year.
He had done so because he believed this country to be
threatened with external danger. But he did not believe
there was any internal danger, and therefore it was that he
opposed the present bill. If ministers would prove the in-

B 3

6 ALLEN BILL. [Jan. 4:
ternal danger to exist, he should consider himself bound to
vote for it.

Janumy 4. 1793.

On the order of the day for taking into consideration the report
of the committee on the alien bill, a debate of considerable length
took place. The bill was opposed by Mr. M. A. Taylor, the Earl
of Wycombe, Major Maitland, Mr. Grey, and Mr. Fox ; and sup-
ported by Lord Fielding, Lord Beauchamp, Mr.Hardinge, Mr.
Jenkinson, Lord Mulgrave, Mr. Windham, Mr. T. Grenville, Mr.
Mitford, and Mr. Pitt.

Mr. Fox said, that the immediate question before the
House had been discussed in a manner so general, and so
many extraneous topics had been introduced, that he must
depart from the mode in which he had meant to treat it.
He would begin with the state of the country, and examine
what degree of danger existed when parliament met, and
what degree of danger existed now. His opinion on the first
day of the session, (and he hoped he should not be misunder-
stood, or what he said misinterpreted now, as had been the
case then,) was, that no danger existed to justify the measure
of calling out the militia and assembling parliament, and in
the manner in which this was done. His honourable friend
(Mr. Windham) had said, that the dangers alleged in the
proclamation were not to be judged of in detail ; that they
would make no figure mentioned individually, but were to
be estimated by the impression made upon every man's mind,
by the whole taken together. That they were not to be de-
tailed he was ready to admit, for, 4 4 Bolus versatur in gene-
ralibus," they would not bear detailing; if they were to be
mentioned individually, they would appear so many insigni-
ficant circumstances as to excite ridicule instead of alarm,
and therefore his honourable friend did right in begging that
they might be so mentioned. The danger, whatever might
be its degree, had two sources : first, the fear of the propaga-
tion of French opinions in this country; and, next, the fear
of the progress of the French arms. These might for one
purpose be taken conjointly, but he intreated that they might
be first considered distinctly, for he saw them in very dif-
ferent points of view. The propagation of French opinions
in this country was, in his opinion, so very small, so very
much confined, as to afford no serious cause of alarm to any
mind of rational constancy. It had been said, that the pro-
clamation at the close of the last session of parliament bad
checked the growth of the evil; but this was a mere gratis


dictum, for those who said so were not able to adduce . juri-
dical, for that was not required of them, but prudential proof
that it had ever existed. What, then, was the alarm ? Those
who thought they had cause for alarm in May, might natu-
rally think that they had still greater cause; that those who
entertained those obnoxious opinions would disseminate them
with greater confidence, would act on them with greater
boldness, when the French arms prospered. For those parts
of the country in which he had not resided he did not pre-
tend to answer ; but, in this town at least, and, as he had
every reason to believe, in all other parts of the kingdom,
these French opinions had not been adopted to any degree
that could be called alarming. His honourable friend had
said, let them compare the phenomena with the theory, and
they could not fail to be convinced of the danger. His
honourable friend's mind, he rather believed, was so full
of the theory, that he could not help inferring the phenomena,
instead of raising the theory from well ascertained phe-
nomena. For his part, he had always said, that whatever
progress the doctrines of France might make in other coun-
tries, they would make. but little here, where rational liberty
was enjoyed and understood. He founded his hopes of this
on his own opinion of the constitution, and the attachment
of the people to it; and the event had justified his hopes,
instead of the fears of some other persons. If real danger
had existed, if those from whom it was app rehended had been
proceeding to action, if they had been rising in arms, if they
had been going to take possession of the Tower-, (supposi-
tions which now no man believed,) then, indeed, calling out
the militia would have been a wise and a necessary measure.
But, if no such act was impending, to what purpose was a
military force prepared ?. To repel opinions? Opinions were
never yet driven out of a country by pikes, and swords, and
guns. Against them the militia was no defence. How, then,
were they to be met if they existed? By contempt, if they
were absurd; by argument, if specious ; by prosecutions, if
they were seditious; although that certainly was not a mode
which he would recommend, but it was a mode which mi
nisters had before resorted to, and which they had still in
their power. If, indeed, any danger did exist, it was,not to
be repelled by calling

aaiw n ,war with obnoxious

militia, and, under the pretence
of oxious political principles, bringing
bodies of them nearer and nearer to the metropolis. If; then,
no act, founded on these opinions, was believed to be com-
mitted or intended, they who voted against the address on the
first day of the session were right; for no • od ground hadgo
been laid for the measures which they were called upon to

B el

8 ALIEN BILL. [Jan. 4,
approve. Could not ministers have prosecuted Paine with-
out an army ? Was any apprehension stated that the trial
would not be suffered to go on in the usual course? He had
been asked by a learned gentleman, whether or not a book
with an evil tendency was to be declared innocent, because
not coupled with any act, and without proof of extrinsic cir-
cumstances? His answer was, certainly not, but the evil ten-
dency must be proved. Sometimes the evil tendency might
be evident from the book itself; sometimes it might not,
without being coupled with extrinsic circumstances ; and
where this was the case, the extrinsic circumstances must be
proved to the satisfaction of the jury before they were war-
ranted in pronouncing guilty. This was his opinion ;• and
this, he thought, had been so sufficiently understood by both
sides of the House in the debates on the libel bill, as to pre-
vent any misrepresentation. The alarm, then, on the pro-
pagation of opinions could not justify the remedy which
ministers had adopted, especially when it was coupled with
a fidse assertion of insurrections, and, therefore, if it.did not
create, it certainly augmented, the alarm—he meant not in
the mind of his honourable friend; he had been full of alarm
for several months — an alarm that had taken such complete
possession of his ardent imagination, that he could attend to
nothing else, and he feared it would be several months more
before he could be set right upon this subject. Another
ground of alarm was the progress of the French arms. They
who represented him as indifferent to that progress, did him
great injustice. He was by no means so. He thought the
same national spirit that, under Louis XIV., had threatened
the liberties of all Europe, might influence, and actually had
influenced, the conduct of the French at present; and he
might perhaps think that this national spirit was more likely
to collect and act now than at the time to which he alluded.
He had even said that this country ought to have interfered
at an earlier period. He differed from a noble lord (Wy-
combe) who had spoken so ably, and with so much propriety,.
that he was sorry he could not concur in all the noble lord
had said on two material points. He was clearly of opinion
that the navigation of the Scheldt, if not guaranteed to the
Dutch by the letter of the treaty of 1788, was virtually gua-
ranteed to them by that treaty, and, if they insisted upon it,
would assuredly be a good cams fiederis. He differed
also from the noble lord in thinking, that however much he
might disapprove of any treaty at the time it was negociating,
when concluded, it was as religiously to be adhered to by
those who disapproved of it as by those who made it. But in
all these cases both the contracting parties were to be ton-


sidered, the principal and the ally, and they were not to go to
war, even in support of the treaty, Without a mutual regard
to the joint interests of both. In the present case, he thought
it probable that, considering the risk to be run, and the
doubtful advantage of the monopoly of the Scheldt, Holland
might prefer giving it up, to the danger and expence of a war.
If so, surely we were not to force the Dutch into a war against
their own sense of their own interest, because we were their
ally. The decree of the French convention of instruction to
their generals he should also consider as a declaration of
hostility, if not repealed or explained to our satisfaction ;
always understanding that this satisfaction was to be demanded
in the proper way. He, therefore, saw causes of external
danger, and might perhaps think that it was in a great mea-
sure owing to the neglect of ministers; but when he saw the
armies and the fleets of France, and recollected that we had
no public means of communication by which any differences
that had arisen, or might arise, could be explained, the
danger appeared great and imminent indeed. When he con-
sidered the various relations in which we stood with respect
to France, and the numerous points on which the two coun-
tries might interfere, the circumstance alone of having no
public communication would in itself be a great cause of
peril. For this reason, he had voted for an army and a
navy, not for any of the eccentric reasons given by his ho-
nourable friend, (Mr. Windham,) that he would support mi-
nisters because he thought them unfit for their situations ;
but because he never knew a minister so bad, that he would
not trust him with a fleet and army rather than expose the
country to danger.

Having thus pointed out the internal and external dan-
ger, he 'would ask, how the measures that had been adopted
were the proper remedy? If considered distinctly, either the
measure or the mode did not apply. If connected, the remedy
ftdonercilititeatoiene was no remedy for the other. If France threatened

cal-llIion,11rantid, or refused an explanation of the offensive

out the militia would be right ; but for crush-s
ing objectionable opinions or doctrines assuredly not. He
knew not how to fight an opinion, nor did history furnish
lrirn wbietehninstruction. The opinions of Luther and of Calvin
want of blood, no


r B


by arms; there was no want of war, no
o confederacies of princes, to extir-pate th


of these • 1 they extirpated? No; they had spread flourished eh bloodshed sh and persecution. The com-

invidious; but

withit opinions of another description might

not if

ed bu
was so only if they were attacked by

reason, by
war. By force and power, no

[Jan, 4.

opinion, good or bad, had ever been subdued. But then,
it was said, if we went to war, one of the weapons of the
French would be, instilling their opinions into the minds of
our people. If it was, he trusted it would fail. But would
a danger so much dreaded in peace be less in time of war ?
War, it was to be hoped, would be successful ; but were we
such children as to forget, that in war the sway of fortune
was great, and that the burden of certain taxes, disgust at
ill success, and indignation at misconduct, would dispose the
minds of men to receive doctrines and impressions unfavour-
able . to the constitution ? Even all this he hoped they would
resist; but it would be putting them to a severer trial than
Ire wished to see.

On these occasions it was not necessary for him to say,
that he, who loved the constitution, disapproved of the opi-
nions of those who said that we had no constitution. His
love of the constitution was to the constitution on its old
form, which had subsisted by constant reformation, and was
of such a nature, that if it was not improving, it was in a
state of decay. He was happy to find by the resolutions from
various parts of the country, that, in his opinion, he was-not
singular. Like every human production, the constitution was
not perfect, and if it were, it would not long continue so,
unless the practice of it was carefully watched, and if that
spirit of vigilance on the part of the people, which was its
best security, were lulled to sleep. Melancholy, therefore,
as the present prospect was, he saw more danger than ever
from that prospect, from pushing the present alarm too far, and
making the people see the picture all on one side — the dan-
gers of anarchy only, while they were inattentive to the abuses
and encroachments of the executive power on the other. If
the bill was intended to guard us against internal danger,
while we were at war with France, we knew that in 1 71 5

1745 the French had not been sparing of attempts to sow
dissentions and excite rebellion in the country; and yet
we had, by the commercial treaty, provided for the pro-
tection •of the aliens of both countries, even after an actual
declaration of war. Did it guard against the introduction
of opinions? No. We had not yet come to the measure
of prohibiting all French books and papers, which Spain
had adopted about a year ago; nor was the policy or the
wisdom of it so much applauded as to induce us to follow
the example. But these opinions were propagated by con-
versation ! What, then, did a Frenchman, when he landed,
find an audience to understand the terms of his philosophy,
and immediately open a sort of Tusculan disputation ? Were
they disseminated in clubs and convivial meetings, Where


than gv

propagated at all, it must be by English agents, and these,
ifany such there were, which he did not much believe,
wld remain in the kingdom if every foreigner were sent


men were disposed to approve rather of what was animatedhat was proper ? The very idea of a Frenchman

,was too ridiculous to be mentioned. If they were
up to harangue in his broken English, at such a

out of preamble of the bill was a complete delusion ; for itp

stated the extraordinary resort of aliens to this country, as the
pretence of the bill, while every body knew that extraordinary
resort to be occasioned by circumstances that had no connec-
tion with it. At the time of the revocation of the edict of
Nantes, when so many Frenchmen came over to this country,
would such conduct have been adopted ? If it had been, it
would have deprived us of some of the best commercial advan-
tages that we enjoy at the present day. The spirit of the bill
was kept up in the mode of the defence; for it was said
by one gentleman, that 400 aliens had marched into London
in one day, while another gentleman (Mr. Burke) said he
had examined these aliens, and found that they were not
dangerous. Surely, where that right honourable gentleman
saw no danger, every body else might be perfectly at ease !
Were an office to be instituted for the purpose of exa-
mining the opinions of individuals, and how they stood af-
fected to the constitution of the country, no person could be
better qualified than the right honourable gentleman to con-
duct the enquiry. Those who should stand this test, and meet
with his approbation, might be reckoned sound indeed.
With respect to the emigrants, among whom it was meant
to make a distinction by the bill, he would protect those who
had fallen a sacrifice to their opinions in favour of the old
government of France ; not because he approved of their prin-
ciples, but because he respected their misfortunes. With
respect to those who suffered for their attachment to the new
constitution, he had heard it said by a person of high rank,
metloliatnitiiIstit:eyrL.s aw w,Fayette were here, he ought to be sent out of the

would not aitbhauss such





endured ? Was it fit to vest any

fled for fear

power, merely in the hope that they
The third description, those who had

beina- concerned in the de-of punishment, for
btestable massacre of the 2d of Septem er, all men would wish

tcoalsaere lia

raved; but this was a sufficient ground for a parti-
The horrors of that day ought not to be mentioned

as the act of the French government, or the French people,
for both disclaimed it ; but to disclaim was not enough. That
the crime was not prevented or followed up by striking exam-


pies of punishment, would be an indelible disgrace to Paris
and to -

France. But, were we to go to war on account of
these inhuman murders ? No war could be rational that had
not some object, which being obtained, made way for peace.
We were not, he trusted, going to war for the restoration of
the old French government, nor for the extermination of the
French people. -What, then, had the horrors committed in
France to do with the reasons of war ? But they had to do with
the passions of men, and were held out to blind their judg-
ment by exciting their indignation. That we might have a
rational and intelligible account of the object for which we
were going to war, he had made the propositions on which
the House had already decided : and notwithstanding their ill
success, he should not desist till such an account was obtained.
The prerogative of the crown to send foreigners ourittf the
kingdom, said to be left untouched by the

bill, ought not to
remain in doubt. The single instance produced from the
reign of Henry the Fourth was counterbalanced by another in
the same reign, when the king did the same thing by the
authority of parliament which he bad done before by his own
power. He believed that the prerogative did not exist, and
if it did, that it was too dangerous to be suffered to remain.
If, on the other hand, it was a prerogative for ,

the good of the
people —if, indeed, the word " people" was not expunged
from our political dictionary— the good of the people being.
the only foundation that he knew for any prerogative, it was
fit that it should be clearly defined and understood, either by
an enacting or a declaratory law.

In answer to Lord Mulgrave, Mr. Fox paid a handsome com-
pliment to his learned friend Mr. Erskine, to whose abilities and
perseverance it was owing, that the verdict of a jury could now
be had on the guilt or innocence of any writing charged as
libellous. He said, that his learned friend would have been
guilty of a breach of honour in his profession if he had
shrunk from the defence of Mr. Paine, or shewed that
any man prosecuted in this country could be deprived
of the advantage of counsel, where counsel was allowed
by law.

To the charge of inconsistency in having signed the decla-
ration of a society against seditious writings, while he thought
such societies illegal, he said he did not understand the decla-
ration as meaning to prosecute any writings by subscription ;
he had by what he said at the meeting expressly guarded him-
self in this particular, and was told that the money subscribed
was not for any such purpose, but to pay for papers and
advertisements. If he had misunderstood the one, or been
lnisinformed in the other, he would withdraw his name> He



had signed a declaration of attachment to the constitution,
because he thought it of importance at the present moment to
let foreigners, and especially the French, see that men of all
descriptions were firmly attached to it ; that they had been
grossly deceived by the addresses from this country, which
told them that their doctrines were very generally adopted
here ; that they had been deceived by the minister's procla-
mations, stating that there was great danger from their doc-
trines ; that they had been deceived by the alarms expressed
by some of his own friends. This he hail clone, and every
thing consistent with honour he would still do to prevent a
war with France ; more especially a war on false hopes, on
one part, and false grounds on the other.

On the subject of party-connections it was seldom proper—
at all times difficult—to speak, and he was not called upon to
do it, He would only just skew his honourable friend a few
of the consequences arisin g the doctrine he had laiddown. I-Iis honourable friend would oppose a ministry
where he had hopes of turning them oat, and seeing his
friends get into their places; but when those hopes were at
an end he would join them. Many of those who had formerly
opposed ministers had done so ; more would follow their ex-
ample ; but they had never dreamt that they should have so
good a defence for their conduct as the system of his honour-

, able friend — a doctrine much more convenient for others than.
he was sure it would be for himself. Did his honourable
friend sec the consequences of this doctrine? Could lie, upon
reflection, reconcile it with his high notions of honour ? Was
it a fit lesson to teach ministers, that, if by their misconduct
the public safety was brought into danger, then they should
have the support of those who had before opposed them ?
Was it proper thus to hold out a reward to misconduct?
Would it curb the inordinate and selfish ambition of men in.
power to say, that if he thought them so good as to resign
their places rather than their country. should suffer, he would-0°

oppose them ; but if he


tho a It them so bad as to sacrifice





on . ,

eir bound not

their own love l of peace, he should feel him-

them? Thus his

only to withdraw his opposition, but to join


peri honourable friend held out a premium to a


In order to



mbition, and, in fact, said to minis-

they would not have

retain your places, and ensure our supportto y

and perniciou

of ruin, yotouIf
i, only to brine, the country to thebrink


.11.1s honourable friend did join ministers,

m much reason to be proud ; for, on his own

bad opini
non to the support he gave them, would behis

those to whom he went, and his good opinion


those le had left, Mr. Fox concluded with moving

44 That the farther consideration of the bill be postponed to that
clay three weeks," in order, he said, to give time for enquiry
into the gonads of the necessity alleged for adopting it.

Mr. Fox's motion was negatived without a division. After which
the bill was read a third time and passed.


February I.

ON the 24.th of January, 1793, intelligence arrived in London 41of the melancholy catastrophe of Louis the XVIth ; and on the
z8th, Mr. Secretary Dunclas presented the following message from
his majesty:

" His majesty has given directions for laying before the House of

Commons copies of several papers which have been received from
Mr. Chauvelin, late minister plenipotentiary from the most Chris-
tian king, by his majesty's secretary of state for foreign affairs,
and of the answers returned thereto ; and likewise copy of an order
made by his majesty in council, and transmitted by his majesty's
commands to the said Mr. Chauvelin, in consequence of the ac-
counts of the atrocious act recently perpetrated at Paris. — In
the present situation of affairs his majesty thinks it indispensably,
necessary to make a further augmentation of his forces by sea and
land ; and relies on the known affection and zeal of the House of
Commons to enable his majesty to take the most effectual mea-
sures, in the present important conjuncture, for maintaining the
security and rights of his own dominions ; for supporting his allies;
and for opposing views of aggrandizement and ambition on the
part of France, which would be at all times dangerous to the ge-
neral interests of Europe, but. are peculiarly so, when connected
with the propagation of principles which lead to the violation of
the most sacred duties, and are utterly subversive of the peace and
order of all civil society."

The message was taken into consideration on the ist of February,
when Mr. Pitt concluded a long and eloquent speech with moving,-
" That an humble address be presented to his majesty, to return
his majesty the thanks of this House for his most gracious mes-
sage, and for the communication of the papers, which, by his
majesty's command, have been laid before us : To offer to his
majesty our heartfelt condolence on the atrocious act lately per-
petrated at Paris, which must be viewed by every nation in Europe
as an outrage on religion, justice, and humanity, and as a striking


T o'



and dreadful example of the effect of principles which lead to th e...--
violation of the most sacred duties, and are utterly subversive of
the peace and order . of all civil society : To assure his majesty,
that it is impossible for us not to be sensible of the views of ai -
grandizement and ambition, which, in violation of repeated and
solemn professions, have been openly manifested on the part of

France, and which are connected with the propagation of prin.
ciples incompatiab le with the existence of all just and regular
government : that, under the present circumstances, we consider
a vigorous and effectual opposition to these views as essential to
the security of every thing which is most dear and valuable to us
as a nation, and to the future tranquillity and safety of all other
countries : That, impressed with these sentiments, we shall, with
the utmost zeal and alacrity, afford. his majesty the most effectual
assistance to enable his majesty to make a further augmentation of
his forces by sea and land, and to act as circumstances may require
in the present important conjuncture, for maintaining the security
and honour of his crown, for supporting the just rights of his
allies, and for preserving to his people the undisturbed enjoyment
of the blessings which, under the Divine Providence, they derive
from the British constitution." — The address was seconded by
Lord Beauchamp. The Earl of Wycombe conceived it to be his
indispensable duty to use every argument in his power to prevent
a war. The country, he insisted, was in no danger whatever,
being equally secured by its insular situation, its internal resources,
and the strong attachment of the people to the constitution. As for
French principles, he had no idea of going to war against them ; and
with respect to the cruelties perpetrated in France, he attributed.
them to the infamous expedition of the Duke of Brunswick, which
might be called a fraternity of kings for the purpose of imposing
despotism on all Europe. — Mr. Whitbread opposed the address.
He prefaced his observations by declaring his abhorrence of the
atrocious deed recently committed in France : it would stand,.
he said, one of the foremost in the black _catalogue of crimes
which history had to record ; it would remain a foul stain upon
the national character of the people amongst whom it had been
perpetrated. But he denied that the barbarities imputed to France
were the necessary consequences of the French revolution, or of

ti etahne II irbi ne Ilse s .
eribed. These i

• 1

of France, to the sanguinary manifestoes of
f To the conduct, of the powers combined

the Duke of Brunswick,
cstoes bore rather the stamp and character

i might they be, without hesitation, as-
of those Gothic and

u Scythian invaders, with whom to conquer
and destroy were 1




in the

eie the same, than of the gallant and generouslea of the
• •

made of

the emphatical

of two enlightened princes of Europe, at theclose
mg iteenth century. The spirit of Attila was dis-

in a

m, who describing the manner in which himself



of the

grounds stated in the papers on the table; nor wouldhe

said, " Where Attila's horse sets his foot, the grass never grows.
He deprecated a war with France. He denied it was justifiable upon

ti l words recorded by Mr. Gibbon, had,


had done their utmost to avoid so dreadfullami y.

[Feb. r.

Mr. Fox said, that although some words had fallen from
the right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer which
might lead him to think that war was not absolutely deter-
mined upon, yet the general tenor and impression of his
speech was such as to convince him that there never was a
time when the duty, which he owed, not merely to his im-
mediate constituents, but to the whole people of Great Britain,
of whom the members of that House were individually and
collectively the virtual representatives, more imperiously called
upon him, and upon every man, to speak out and declare his
sentiments frankly and fairly. The misrepresentations and
misconstructions of what he and those who thought as he did,
had already said in the course of the present session, left him
no room to doubt, that what he must now say, would be
equally, and perhaps as successfully, misrepresented and mis-
construed. This only served to . shew, that they were on a
service of honour as well as danger; but if he were deterred
by misrepresentation and calummy from delivering opinions
because they might be unpopular, and from deprecating
war with France as an evil to be avoided by every means con-

. sistent with the honour and safety of us and our allies, he
should basely betray his trust to his constituents and his

The right honourable gentleman had introduced the several
grounds of dispute with France, ably and eloquently; but the
reasons for going to war, he did not mean to say for arming,
had not been very accurately treated. The crimes, the mu•-
ders, and the massacres that had been committed in France,
he did not view with less horror, he did not consider as less
atrocious than those who made them the perpetual theme of
their declamation, although he put them entirely out of the
question in the present debate. The condemnation and exe-
cution of the king he pronounced to be an act as disgraceful
as any that the page of history recorded ; and whatever opi-
nions he might at any time have given in private con-
versation, he had expressed none certainly in that House, on
the justice of bringing kings to trial: revenge being unjus-
tifiable, and punishment useless, where it could not operate
either by way of prevention or example, he did not view
with less detestation the injustice and inhumanity that had
been committed towards that unhappy monarch. Not only
were the rules of criminal justice, rules that more than any
other ought to be strictly observed, violated with respect to
him ; not only was he tried and condemned, without any
existing law to which he was personally amenable, and even
contrary to laws that did actually exist; but the degrading
circumstances of his imprisonment, the unnecessary and in-

1793. 7

suiting asperity with which he had been treated, the total
want of republican magnanimity in the whole transaction,
(flif -evenein that House it could be no offence to say, thatthere might be-such a thing as magnanimity in a republic,)
added every aggravation to the inhumanity and injustice of

said all this as the genuine expression of histhos

,a ;

c, t

feelings and his conviction, he saw neither propriety nor wis-
dom in that House passing judgment on any act committed
in another nation, which had no direct reference to us. The
general maxim of policy always was, that the crimes per-t,petrated in one independent state were not cognizable by
another. Need he remind the House of our former conduct
in this respect? Had we not treated, had we not formed al-
liances with Portugal and with Spain, at the very time when
those kingdoms were disgraced and polluted by the most
shocking and barbarous acts of superstition and cruelty, of
racks, torture, and burnings, under the abominable tyranny
of the inquisition ? Did we ever make these outrages against
reason and humanity a pretext for war ? Did we ever inquire
how the princes with whom we had relative interests either
obtained or exercised their power ? Why, then, were the
enormities of the French in their own country held up as a
cause of war? Much of these enormities had been attributed
to the attack of the combined powers ; but this he neither
considered as an excuse, nor would argue on as a palliation.
If they dreaded, or had felt an attack, to retaliate on their
fellow citizens, however much suspected, was a proceeding
which justice disclaimed; and he had flattered himself, that
when men were disclaiming old, and professing to ado pt newprinciples, those of persecution and revenge would '1)e the
first that they would discard. No man felt greater horror at
the proceedings of the combined powers than he did. A com-
bination more dangerous to the tranquillity of Europe and
the liberties of mankind had never been formed. It had been
said that Austria was not the aggressor in the war with France.
Had those, who said so, seen the treaty of Piinitz? Let them
look at that treaty, take the golden rule of supposing themselves
ino the situation,ivtisli to oft judged, say and, judging of others as they
had been the aggressors. But,
Austria, was the of

whether or not the French.
. ut, ;whatever might be thought of

Prussia attacked by France? Werehis or his allies insulted ? Had he notbeen completely feta .nh;be.ifena(g'1',c0. 70ressor, he would have called upon us

as o sn. soifi
Ld c.aeil y,el .i d heits elflso noseluccour : no such call had ever been heard of:

any proof were wanting, that he never

e but as wiustoine• in an offensive war. What


were the principles of these combined powers? They saw a
new form of government establishing in France, and they
agreed to invade the kingdom, to Mould its government ac-
cording to their own caprice, or to restore the despotism which
the French had overthrown. Was it for the safety of English
liberty, (liberty that might still be mentioned without offence,)
that if we should make any change in our form of govern-
ment or constitution, and that change should be disagreeable
to foreign powers, they should be considered as having a right
to combine, and replace what we had rejected, or give us any
thing else in its room by fire and sword ?

He would not go over the atrocious manifestoes that pre-
Ceded or followed the march of the combined armies; there
was not a man in the House, or at least but one (Mr. Burke),
who would attempt to defend them. But these it seemed
were not to be executed —he hoped they were not; but the
only security he knew of was, that those who issued them
had not the means. What was their conduct ? Their mode
of raising money was at least as bad as that with which the.
French were reproached. The French confiscated property
where they carried their arms; the Duke of Brunswick took
what he wanted, and gave paper for it in the narne of the
unfortunate monarch whom he pretended to assist. He con-
tracted debts in the name of the French king, which he knew
the French king might never have the means or the inclination
to pay ; and this swindling trick,- for which any man in this
country would have been convicted and 'punished, he con-
tinued after he had begun his retreat. Yet we stood by and
saw all this without alarm; certainly without 'interference.
We perceived no danger in the success of despotism; but
the moment the opposite cause became successful, our fears
Were extreme.

He should now show, that all the topics to which he had
adverted, were introduced into the debate to blind the judg-
ment, by rousing the passions, and were none of them the just
grounds of war. These grounds were three: the danger of
Holland ; the decree of the French convention of November
the a 9 th ; and the general danger to Europe from the progress
of the French arms. With respect to Holland, the conduct
of ministers afforded a fresh proof of their disingenuousness.
They could not state that the Dutch had called upon us to
fulfil the terms of our alliance. They were obliged to confess,
that no such requisition had been made; but added, that they
knew the Dutch were very much disposed to make it. What-
ever might be the words of the treaty, we were bound in
honour, by virtue of that treaty, to protect the Dutch, if
they called' Upon us to do so, -bat neither by honour nor title.

• - - •


till then. The conduct of the Dutch was very un-

fortunate upon this occasion. In the order for a general fast
--by-the States,-it - 'wasexpressly said, "that their neutrality

seemed to put them in security amidst surrounding armies,

einand hadhitherto effectively protected them from molestation."This he by no means construed into giving up the opening
of the Scheldt on their part ; but it pretty clearly shewed,
that they were not disposed to make it the cause of a war,
unless forced to do so by us. But France had broken
faith with the Dutch—was this a cause for us. to go to wear?
How long was it since we considered a circumstance.tending
to diminish the good understanding between France and Hol-
land, as a misfortune to this country ? The, plain state of the
matter was, that we were bound to save Holland from war,
or by war, if called upon ; and that to force the Dutch into a
war at so much peril to them, which they saw and dreaded,
was not to fulfil, but to abuse the treaty. Hence he com-
plained of the disingenuous conduct of ministers, .in imputing
that to the Dutch, which the Dutch wished to avoid.

The decree of the 1 9th of November he considered as an
insult ; and the explanation of the executive council as no ade-
quate satisfaction; but the explanation shewed that the French
were not disposed to insist upon that decree, and that they
were inclined to peace; and then otir ministers; with haughti-
ness unexampled, told them, they had insulted us, but refused
to tell them the _nature of the satisfaction that we.required.
It was said, we must have security; and he was ready to
admit that neither a disavowal by the executive council of
France, nor a tacit repeal by the Convention, on the . intima-
tion of an unacknowledged agent, of a decree, which.they
might renew the day after they repealed it, would. be a 'sale
cient security. But at least we ought to tell them what we
meant by security. ; for it was the extreme of arrogance to
complain of insult without deigning to explain wloiaq' repar-
ation we required; and he feared as indefinite term was hero
employed, not.for the purpose of obtainina but of precluding
satistiiction. Next it was said, they must. withdraw their
troops from the Austrian


Netherlands, before we could be sae


to .France, M'!ere "you
then, come to that pitch of insolence as to


Yu have conquered part of an enemy's terrie


tort' v war upon you, we will not interfere to makepeace,


to abandon the . advantages youhave '

this the neutrality_ pa ing to attack you anew." Was
are invaded .

and ny beaten,
meant to hold out to France ?.. " If you

hurt youryou." eaten, we will . be. quiet spectators ; but ifyou enemy,. if you. enter his territory, we declare

If the invasion of the Netherlands was.what
C 2


[Feb. re
now alarmed us—and that it ought to alarm us if the result
was to make the country an appendage to France, there could,
be no doubt—we ought to have interposed to prevent it in
the very first instance; for it was the natural consequence,
which every man foresaw, of a war between France and
Austria. The .

French now said, they would evacuate the
country at the conclusion of the war, and when its liberties
were established. Was this sufficient? By no means : but we
ought to tell them what we would deem sufficient, instead of
saying to them, as we were now saying, 44 this is an aggrava-
tion, this is nothing, and this is insufficient." That war wee
unjust which told not an enemy the ground of provocation,
and the measure of atonement; it was as impolitic as unjust,
for without the object of contest, clearly and definitively
stated, what opening could there he for treating of peace?
Before going to war with France, surely the people, who must
pay and must suffer, ought to be informed on what object
they were to fix their hopes for its honourable termination.
After five or six years war, the French might agree to evacuate- ,
the Netherlands as the price of peace. Was it clear that they
would not do so now, if' we would condescend to propose it
in intelligible terms? Surely in such an alternative, the expe-
riment was worth trying. But, then, we bad no security
against French principles ! What security would they be able
to give us after a war which they could not give now ?

With respect to the general danger of Europe, the same
arguments applied, and to the same extent. To the general
situation and security of Europe we had been so scandalously
inattentive; we had seen the entire conquest of Poland,
and the invasion of France, with such marked indifference,
that it would be difficult now to take it up with the grace of
sincerity; but even this would be better provided for, by pro-
posing terms before going to war.

He had thus shewn that none of the professed causes were
grounds for croine• to war. What, then, remained but thegoing
internal government of France, always disavowed, but ever
kept in mind, and constantly mentioned ? The destruction of
that government was the avowed object of the combined
powers whom it was hoped we were to join; and we could
not join them heartily it' our object 'was one thing while
theirs was another; for in that case the party whose object
was first obtained might naturally be expected to make se-
parate terms, and there could be no cordiality nor confi-
dence. To this, then, we came at last, that we were ashamed
to own our engaging to aid the restoration of despotism,
and collusively sought pretexts in the Scheldt and the Nether-
lands. Such would be the real cause of the war, if war wo

1193.] FOR AN AUGMENTATION Or THE eateocs.
which he trusted he should soon -see

waseie to

en l e

xecaraIacrl„ as it was now thought to be popular.

e knew,--that for this wish, he should be represented as

holding up the -internal government of France as an object
onimitati Te-ee thought the present state of govern-


ill France any thing rather than an object of imitation ;f i ation.
but he maintained as a principle inviolable, that the govern-
ment of every independent state was to be settled by those
who were to live under it, and not by foreign force. The
.conduct of the French in the Netherlands was the same with
such a war as he was now deprecating, and Might be au
omen of its success. It was a war of pikes and bayonets against
opinions; it was the tyranny ofgiving liberty by compulsion ;
it was an attempt to introduce a system among a people by
force, which the more it was forced upon them, the more they
abhorred. The French appeared less moderate, from pre-
tending to be more so, than other nations; by overturning
the ancient government, and imposing theories of their own, on
a people who disliked them, while they pretended to liberate,
instead of using their right of conquest. But was this such a
crime in the eyes of Europe ? As was said of the woman caught
in adultery, which of the courts, that of London or Berlin,
would cast the first stone? The States of Brabant, they were
told, had, pacta conventa, a legal and free government of
their own. But, were the States free under the House of
Austria, under Joseph, Leopold, or Francis? 0 yes ! for when
Dumourier was triumphantly entering Brussels, and the Au-
strian sentgovernors making their escape at a postern, they - -back at'declaration to the States, restoring their magna (imee,
the jnyeuse entree, which had been the perpetual subject of
dispute with their sovereign, and which all their remonstrances
could never obtain before. This was the government that
acted with such honour to its subjects, and put the French to
shame ! He feared that if they were to examine the conduct
of foreign powers, in point of honour and good faith, they
must be compelled to speak less civilly of them than policy
would dictate. Why, then, had he touched upon it? Be-
cause the conduct of nalflame and delude, and it ice was perpetually introduced to in-


shewing that

ant it was his duty to dispel the delusion,


was not more exceptionable than that ofi
In all decisions

not suffer;

• 1 t

ider what we

on peace or war, it was important to eon-

the 1
the one hand, mightlose, and what we could gain. On

ex ension of territority was neither expected nor

eligible :

rench minist other, although he feared not the threat of theF

ei of marine, would any man say that our ally
might er ; t -tat the events of war might not produce a



change in the internal state of Holland, and in the situation
of the stadtholder, too afflicting for him to anticipate ? In
weighing the probable danger, every consideration ought to
be put into the scale. Was the state of Ireland such as to
make war desirable? That was a subject which had been said by
some honourable gentlemen to be too delicate to be touched
upon ; but he approved not of that delicacy which taught men
to shut their eyes to danger. The state of Ireland he was
not afraid to mention. He thought it both promising and
alarming; promising, because the government of this country
had forced the government of that kingdom to an acknow-
ledgement of the undoubted rights of a great majority of the
people of Ireland, after having in a former session treated
their humble petition with contempt, and in the summer en-
deavoured to stir up the protestants against the Catholics;
alarming, because the gross misconduct of administration had
brought the government and the legislature into contempt in
the eyes of the people. Here he called on his honourable
friend (Mr. Windham) who had given the aid of his great
talents, as secretary in Ireland, to an administration with
which he had the honour of being connected, on the same
principle on which he had declared, that he would support
ministers when they had done mischief enough to he formi-
dable, , when they had brought the country into a situation
sufficiently perilous, to accept.of the Saine situation again, and
avert the danger which they had created. He hoped the
plan to be pursued would be conciliatory, that concession to
the claims of the 'people would be deemed wisdom, and the
time of danger the fit time for reform ; in short, he hoped
that the plan would be in every thing contrary to the de-
clarations of the right honourable the chancellor of the

The people of this country loved their constitution. They
had experienced its benefits; they were attached to it from
habit. Why, then, put their love to any unnecessary test?
That love by being tried could not be made greater, nor
would the fresh burdens and taxes, which war must occasion,
more endear it to their affection. If there was any danger
from French principles, to go to war without necessity was
to fight for their propagation.

On these principles as reprobated in the proposed address,
he world freely give his opinion. It was not the principles
that were bad and to be reprobated, but the abuse of them.
From the abuse, not the principles, had flowed all the 'evils
that afflicted France. The use of the word " equality" by
the French was deemed highly objectionable. When 'taken
as• they meant it, nothing was more innocent; for what did


this he " all men arc equal in respect of their rights." T9

sayas?sented ; all men had equal rights, equal rights to .un-
equalql things; one man to a shilling, another to a thousand
pounds _ ; this- one man to a cottage, another to a palace; but the


right in both--was the same, an equal right of enjoying, an
equal right of inheriting or acquiring, and of possessing in-
heritance or acquisition. The effect of the proposed address
was to condemn, not the abuse of those principles, (and the
French had much abused them,) but the principles themselves.
To this he could not assent, for they were the principles on
which all just and equitable government was founded.

Mr. Fox said, he had already differed sufficiently with a
right honourable gentleman (Mr, Burke) on this subject, to
wish to provoke any fresh difference; but even against so great
an authority he must say


that the people are the sovereign
in every state ; that they have a right to change the form. of
their government, and a right to cashier their governors for
misconduct, as the people of this country cashiered James II.,
not by a parliament, or any regular form known to the con-
stitution, but by a convention speaking the sense of the peo-
ple; that convention produced a parliament and a king.
They elected William to a vacant throne, not only setting
aside James, whom they had justly cashiered for misconduct,
but bis innocent son. Again, • they elected the Hoi,ise of
Brunswick, not individually, but by dynasty; and that dynasty
to continue while the terms and conditions on wnie lo it was
elected were fulfilled, and no longer. He could not admit
the right to do all this but by acknowledging the sovereignty-
'of the people as paramount to all other laws.

But it was said, that although we had once exercised this
poWe •, we had in the very act of exercising it, renounced it
for ever. We had neither renounced it, nor, if we had been
so disposed, was such a renunciation in our power. We
elected first an individual, then a .dynasty, and lastly passed

act . of parliament, in the reignpf Queen Anne, declaring
td be the right of the people of this realm to do so .again

without even assigning a reason. If there were • any persons
Among us, who doubted the superior wisdom of our moriar-

syteri.onnnoriailti,d tlitrerirefielrioror was owing to those

„able foundation in the
right and choice of the people, to a more flimsy ground of
title. To those who proposed repelling opinions by force, the
example of the French in the Netherlands, might teach the
impotence of power to repel, or to introduce. But how was
a war to operate in keeping opinions supposed dangerous out
of this country ? It was not surely meant to beat the French
out of their own opinions ; .and opinions were not iiise comma-

c 4


[Feb. I.

dities, the importation of which from France war would pre-
vent. War, it was to be lamented, was a passion inherent in
the nature of man ; and it was curious to observe, what at va-
rious periods had been the various pretences. In ancient
times wars were made for conquest. To these succeeded wars
for religion, and the opinions of Luther and Calvin were at-
tacked with all the fury of superstition and of power.

The next pretext was commerce; and it would probably
be allowed that no nation that made war for commerce ever
found the object accomplished on concluding peace. Now we
were to make war on account of opinions: what was this but
recurring again to an exploded cause ? For a war about prin-
ciples in religion was as much a war about opinions, as a war
about principles in politics. In the excellent set of papers
alluded to by the right honourable the chancellor of the exche-
quer, and which he had no doubt had been liberally distributed
to the gentlemen who had lately got so many new lights on
French affairs, the atheistical speech of Dupont in the con-
vention was quoted. But did they believe all the French to
be atheists and unbelievers on account of that speech ? If
they did so believe, there would certainly be no reason to com-
plain of them for want of faith. But, admitting that the
French were all atheists, were we going to war with them in
order to propagate the christian religion by means contrary
to the precepts of Christ? The justifiable grounds of war
were insult, injury, or danger. For the first, satisfaction ; for
the second, reparation; for the third, security was the object.
Each of these, too, was the proper object of negotiation,
which ought ever to precede war, except in case of an attack
actually commenced. How had we negociated? Not in any
public or efficient form, a mode which he suspected, and la-
mented, by his proposing it had been prevented. A noble
lord (Beauchamp) had said, that he thought it his duty not to
conceal his opinions on so important an occasion, by absence
or by silence; formerly, the noble lord did not think absence
so great a crime. During the nine unfortunate years that he
had maintained the same political connections with himself, the
noble lord's attendance had not been very assiduous; and he
rejoiced to hear that the noble lord meant now to compensate
for past omissions by future diligence.

When the triple league was firmed to check the ambition
of Louis the XIVth, the contracting parties did not deal so
rigorously by him, as we were now told it was essential to the
peace of Europe that we should deal by the French. They
never told Louis that he must renounce all his conquests in
-order to obtain peace. But, then, it was said to be our duty
to hate the French for the part they took in the American


He had heard of a duty to love, but a duty to hate was

to him. That duty, however, ought to direct our hatred

to -the old government of France ; ,not to the new, which had
no Band hi . the provocation. Unfortunately, the new Frenchgovernment was-.admitted to be the successor of the old in
nothing but its faults and its offences. It was a successor to
be hated and to war against; but it was not a successor to be
negociated with. He feared, however, that war would be the
result, and from war, apprehending greater evils than he durst
name, he should have shrank from his duty if he had not en-deavoured to obtain an exposition of the distinct causes. OF
all wars, he dreaded that the most which had no definite o

ect, because of such a war it was impossible to see the end.

Our war with America had a definite object, an unjust one
indeed, but still definite; and after wading through years on
years of expellee and blood, after exhausting invectives and
terms of contempt on the " vagrant congress," " one Adams,"
"one Washington," &c. &e., we were compelled at last to treat
with this very congress, and those very men. The Americans,
to the honour of their character, committed no such horrid
acts as had disgraced the French ; but we were as liberal of
our obloquy to the former then as to the latter now. If we
did but know for what we were to fight, we might look for-
ward with confidence, and exert ourselves with unanimity ;
but while kept thus in the dark, how many might there be
who would believe that we were fiffhtino • the battles of de-
spotism ! To undeceive those who might fall into this un-
happy delusion, it would be no derogation from the dignity
of office to grant an. explanation. If the right honourable
the chancellor of the exchequer would but yet consider—if he
would bat save the country from a war—above all, a war of
opinion — however inconsistent with his former declarations
his measures might be, he would gladly consent to give him a
general indemnity for the whole, and even a vote of thanks.
Let not the fatal opinion go abroad, that kings have an in-
terest different from that of their subjects; that between those
who have property and those who have none there is not a
common cause and common feeling !

He knew that he himself should now be represented as the
partizan of France, as he had been formerly represented the
partizan of America. lie was no &'stranaer to the industry
with which these and other calumnies were circulated against
hsteii iirsasend therefore he was not surprised. But, he really was

d to find that he could not walk the streets without
whispers, that he and some of his friends had been

engaged in improper correspondence with persons in France.
if there were any foundation for such a charge, the source of

the information could be mentioned. If it were true, it was ca-
pable of proof. If any man believed this, he called upon him
to state the reasons of his belief. If any man had proofs, he
challenged him to produce them. But, to what was this
owing? The people had been told by their representatives in
parliament that they were surrounded with dangers, and had
been shewn none. They were, therefore, full of suspicion and
prompt of belief. All this had a material tendency to impede
freedom of discussion, for men would speak with reserve, or
not speak at all, under the terror of calumny. But he found
by a letter in a newspaper, from Mr. Law, that he lived in a
town where a set of men associated, and calling themselves
gentlemen, (Mr. Reeves's association at the Crown and An-
chor,) not only received anonymous letters reflecting on indi-
viduals, but corresponded with the writers of such letters,
and even sometimes transmitted their slanders to the secretary
of state. He could not be much surprised at any aspersion on
his character, knowing this; and therefore he hoped the House
would give him the credit of being innocent till an open charge
was made; and that if any man heard improper correspon-
dence imputed to him in private, he would believe that he
heard a falsehood, which he who circulated it in secret durst
not utter in public.

The address was agreed to without a division.


February 2.

0 Nt lit fenliini tihncromfmessage Mr. SecretarySecretaryDundas presentedh
majesty :

"G. IL
" His majesty thinks proper to acquaint the House of Commons,

that the assembly now exercising the powers of government in
France, have, without previous notice, directed acts of hostility
-to be committed against the persons and property of his majesty's
subjects, in breach of the law of nations, and of the tnost positive
stipulations of treaty ; and have since, on the rnostgroundless pre-
tences, actually declared war against his majesty and the United
Provinces. Under the circumstances of this wanton and unpro-
voked aggression, bismajesty has taken the necessary steps to main-


--effectual support of the House of Commons, and on the zealous

min the honour of his crown, and to vindicate the rights of his
people ; and his majesty relies with confidence on the firm and

dence, to oppose ail-effectual barrier to the farther progress of a

exertions-cf_a brave and loyal people, in prosecuting a just and
necessary war;- - and in endeavouring., under the blessing of Provi-


is pursued in open defiance of every principle of mo-
deration, good faith, humanity, and justice.
son to hope for the -cordial co-operation of those powers who are
united with his majesty by the ties of alliance, or who feel an in-
terest in preventing. the extension of anarchy and confusion, and in

the French declaration, and concluded with moving, " That an
contributing to the security and tranquillity of Europe."

humble Address be presented to his majesty, to return his majesty
the thanks of this House for his most gracious message, informing
us, that the assembly, now exercising the powers of government
in France, have, without previous notice, directed acts of hostility
to be committed against the persons and property of his majesty's .

knowledge his majesty's care and vigilance in taking the necessary

subjects, in breach of the law of nations and of the most positive
stipulations of treaty : and have since, on the most groundless pre-

ing, under the blessing of Providence, to oppose an effectual bar-

tences, actually declared war against his majesty and the United
this wanton and unprovoked aggression, we must gratefully ac-

fiance of every principle of moderation, good faith, humanity, and
justice : That, in a cause of such general concern, it must afford

in the prosecution of a just and necessary war, and in endeavour-

and peace of all independent nations, and is pursued in open de-

with his majesty by the ties of alliance, or who feel an -interest in

Provinces : to assure his majesty that, under the circumstances of

rights of his people ; that his majesty may rely on the firm and
effectual support of the representatives of a brave and loyal people,

rier to the farther progress of a system which strikes at the security

us great satisfaction to learn that his majesty has every reason to
hope for the cordial co-operation of those powers who are united

persuaded; that whatever his majesty's faithful subjects must con-

tend.,,—Afte d


steps for maintaining the honour of his crown, and vindicating the

servation. of our laws,

th wd

, our liberty, and our religion, are all involved

shall be proportioned

of the objects
; and



which h we

seal and

have to con-

bpureventtingthe ex. tension of anarchy and confusion, and in contri-


in the issue of theand honour of his

. majesty's crown, and the pre-
c)Ier the


as mostclear

" In a cause -Of such general concern, his majesty :has every rea-

On the following day, Mr. Pitt entered into an examination of

ting to the
security and tranquillity of Europe : 'That we are

I magnitude

hich strikes at the security and peace of all independent


r the -motion had been seconded by Mr. Powys,

,and sacred, the stability of our happy constitu-

ne to the importance of the conjuncture, and to

Mr. Fox said, that on an -occasion so important, and not
fearing the charge of pusillanimity from considering the pre-

[Feb. 2.

sent crisis as highly alarming, it would ill become the duty
which he owed to his constituents and to the nation, were he
to decline meeting the imputation of being the abettor of
France, with which he was already menaced; or, by the bold
misconstructions of his sentiments and arguments to which he
had been accustomed, be deterred from examining and stating
what was the true situation in which the country was involved
in war. He had never accused- the honourable gentleman
who seconded the address of a systematic opposition to mini-
sters, nor of acting upon any system; but he called upon
him to name those persons in the House, if any such there
were, whom he meant to include under the description of
supporters of the French system. The honourable gentle-
man knew that just so' were those treated who opposed the
folly and injustice of the American war. Yet, notwithstand-
ing their being long and industriously misrepresented as the
abettors of rebellion,. a band of as patriotic and as honourable
men as ever deserved public gratitude by public services, by
some of whom he trusted he should be supported in oppos-
ing the address now moved, united their abilities to put an
end to that war, and at length succeeded.

The right honourable gentleman who moved the address,
had stated the origin and necessity of the war, on grounds
widely different from those assumed by the honourable gentle-
man who seconded it. The latter had said, that the power of
France, under every change of men and circumstances, was a
monster, whose hand was against all nations, and that the
hand of every nation ought to be against France: the former,
that the cause of the war was not our general bad opinion of
France, but specific aggressions on the part of France. So
far the difference was great with respect to our immediate
situation of being actually at war ; and it was still greater
when we came to inquire into our prospect of peace. If we
were at war because France was a monster whose hand was
against all nations, it must be beltunz internecinunz—a war of
extermination ; for nothing but unconditional submission
could be adequate to the end for which the war was under•,
taken, and to that alone must we look for a safe or honour-
able peace. If, on the contrary, we were at war on account
of a specific aggression, for that aggression atonement might
be made, and the object being obtained, peace might be con-
cluded. He therefore hoped, that the right honourable mover
of the address was sincere in the statement he had given, al-
though he had failed in making out the grounds on which he
endeavoured to support it. Few of those, he trusted, who
had been most zealous in recommending the expediency of
this war, wished it to be a war of extermination— a war for


extirpating French principles, not for circumscribing French
vet all their arguments tended to alarm him. They

never talked of the danger of French power without intro-
d ci a as a danger more imminent, the propagation of French
power ;

principles. The honourable gentleman asked, if lie could be
expected to make terms with a highwayman, or to take the

purse a satisfaction for the attack upon hiso not. The honourable gentleman knew hislli,7-nh?wa6e7ani'sCertainly

duty to society better, than to let 'the highwayman escape, if
he had the means of bringing him to punishment. But this
allusion strewed, that the war with France was, in the opinionjof the honourable gentleman, a war of vindictive justice. We
said, that our object in going to war was not to effect a change
in the internal government of France, but to weaken her power,
which, in its present state, was dangerous to us, our allies,
and to Europe ; and, that object obtained, we were willing to
make peace. But, would any man say, that when he had dis-
armed a highwayman, it was safe to leave him free to get other
arms? No man, certainly ; and no more on this principle
could we, in an y state of humiliation to which the power of
France might lie reduced, leave her at liberty to recruit that
power, and to renew aggressions, to which we contended she
must have the inclination, whenever she had the means. The
honourable gentleman might support ministers for any reasons
that to himself seemed good; either because he thought them
wise or ignorant, honest or dishonest; but he had no right to
accuse those who thought differently from himself, of sowing
disaffection among the people,. because they wished to inform
the people what were the true grounds of the war, which they
were called upon to support with their property and their
lives. The honourable gentleman rejoiced that the public
entertained a more favourable opinion of ministers, in the
present crisis, than ministers deserved. Did lie mean to argue,
that when ministers, by their misconduct, had brought the
country into danger, and the people, ignorant of their true




to think well of them, the House of

instead of removing
the ter, Ferleavour to continue,

come to this—that implicit
delusion oel c si ii ?

is doctrine would then

confidence n ministers, so often
ttinledyshoajd dusntloyrlielp)r robated, was the first duty of the House; that
narchy, it was truly

lu tI?


watch, and ought never to inquire. Mo-

n •

on, and of all
said, was

corner-stone of our consti-


the —only

the c
cor er-stone;

:e blessings e enjoyed under it; but it was


; there was another fully as im-

people and their



jealousy and vigilance, both of the
epresentatives, with respect to all the acts of



Mr. Fox said, he felt himself considerably disappointed at

the conduct of his majesty's ministers. He had flattered him-
self, that when unanimity was so very desirable they would
have brought down a message from his majesty, calculated to
insure it; that they would not have considered a triumph
over the very small number to which they boasted of having
reduced their opponents, to be a matter of such consequence,
as to call for an address to which they knew those few oppo-
nents could not agree, because to do so must preclude them
from all subsequent inquiry. If they had moved an address,
simply pledging the cordial co-operation of the House in pro-
secuting a Just and necessary war, for the purpose of a safe
and honourable peace, to such an address, whatever might
have been his opinion of the previous conduct of ministers,
whether he had thought it temperate and conciliatory, or
arrogant and provoking, he should have agreed. But, the
House was now called upon to vote, that ministers had given
no cause or provocation for the war; to say, that they would
enter into no investigation of the origin .of the war ; to give
them indemnity for the past, and a promise of support for the
future. This was the manifest tendency of the address ; and
to prevent the want of unanimity, which such an address
could not but occasion, he should move an amendment, in
which even the warmest advocate of the war might concur,
because it expressed no disapprobation of ministers, as theirs
ought to have expressed no approbation.

But, first, he must examine the alleged causes of the war.
He would not enter into any of the common-place arguments
on the miseries and calamities inseparable from war. He did
not mean to call them common-place arguments. in the bad
sense of the words, for they were truths so familiar to the minds
of men, that they were never listened to without assent ; and,
however unnecessary it might be to enforce:them by eloquence,
or amplify them by declamation, their being universally ad-
mitted was sufficient to prove, that war should never be
undertaken when peace could he maintained without breach

.of public faith, injury to national honour, or hazard of future
security. The causes of war with France were in no respect
different now from what they were under the government of
Louis XIV. or Louis XVI. What, .then, were those causes?
Not an insult or aggression, but a refusal of satisfaction when
specifically demanded. 'What instance had ministers pro-
duced of such demand and of such refusal ? He admitted,
that the decree of November the loth entitled this ' country
to require an explanation; but even of this , they could not
show that any clear and .specific explanation had . been de-
manded. Security that the French would not . act upon that


decree was, indeed, mentioned in one of Lord Grenvilie's let-
ters; but what kind of security was neither specified, nor even
named. The same might be said with respect to the opening
of the Scheldt, and their conquest of Brabant. We com-
plained of an attack on the rights of our ally ; we remove
strated against an accession of territory, alarming to Europe ;
But we proposed nothing that would be admitted as satisfac-
tion for the injury ; we pointed out nothing that would remove
our alarm. Lord Grenville said something about withdraw-
ing their troops from the Austrian Netherlands ; but if by that
was understood, a requisition to withdraw their troops while
they were at war with the emperor, without any condition
that such evacuation of territory conquered from the enemy
was to be the price of peace, it was such an insult as entitled
them to demand satisfaction of us. The same argument
applied to their conquest of Savoy from the King of Sardinia,
with whom,. in his opinion, they were at war as much as with
the emperor. Would it be said, that it was our business
only to complain, and theirs to propose satisfaction ? Com-
mon sense must see that this was too much for one independent
power to expect of another. By what clue could they dis-
cover what would satisfy those who did not choose to tell with
what they would be satisfied ? Flow could they judge of the
too little or the too much ? And was it not natural for them
to suppose that complaints for which nothing was stated as
adequate satisfaction, there was no disposition to withdraw ?
Yet on this the whole question of aggression hinged ; for, that
the refusal of satisfaction, and not the insult, was 'the justifi-
able cause of war, was not merely his opinion, but the opinion
of all the writers on the law of nations ; and how could that
be said to have been refused which was never asked ? He
lamented, that at a time when the clearest interests of the coun-
try were at stake, the House should have felt so little concern


as to deprive
he had


of the opportunity of making the motion of

to ballot for an election
to press for a distil t

for want of a sufficient attendance

the war, and I
.a 1 I

committee. By that motion he meant

, that both

distinct and specific declaration of the causes of.


tic he succeeded it would have had this good

the war might have been the enemy should

ld have known the

grounds of contest, have been able to appreciate them, and


in mood

- decree een but of short duration. There was

could not fairly
y which the French declared war, which

under they be alleged as just cause of war. But, d h

nment of France, was it unusual to crowdinto•

int that could


manifesto setting forth the causes of war, every coin-
pla be imagined, (rood, bad and indifferent ?.It Was, indeed, to be wished, that nothing should be introduced

into such declarations but what was at once true and impor-
tant ; but such had not yet been the practice of statesmen, who
seemed more attentive to the number than the validity of their
complaints. In the year 1779, the Spanish declaration was
swelled to a hundred articles ; and to examine every article of
the present French declaration would only shew that those
wile now exercised the executive government were not wiser
than their predecessors.

To have suffered Earl Gower to remain at Paris, after the
loth of August, would have implied no recognition of the go-
vernment that succeeded that to which he had his formal mis-
sion, any more than to have negeciated with that government,
in the most direct and safe way, in preference to one that was
indirect and hazardous, But the right honourable gentle-
man, who could not get rid of the idea of recognition, ex-
claimed, " Would you recognize a government which, by its
own confession, is no government ; which declares itself only
provisional till a government can be framed ?" This he would
answer was the safest of all recognitions, if a recognition it
must be; for the government being only provisional, we could
only be understood to recognize provisionally, and were at
liberty to act as the case might require with any other power
that might arise in its stead. But, did not history shew us,
that to treat and to recognize were not considered as the
same ? Did not we treat with Philip of Spain, as king, at
the very time that we were at war to dispute his succession ;
and was not the recognition of his title, far from being consi-
dered as admitted by us on that account, actually stipulated as
an article of the peace ? Did not France, when at war to
dispute the accession of William III. to the throne of Eng-
land, treat with him as king, and was not the recognition of
his title also made one of the conditions of peace? Still,
however, he would admit, that withdrawing our minister, or
not sending another, was not a just cause of war on the part of
France; but could it be-denied, that to treat one nation in a
manner different from others was a symptom of hostility ?
The recalling of ministers was certainly once considered as an
indication of war, for the commercial treaty provided for a
case where no war was declared but by such recall.

Mr. Fox said, that none of the alleged grounds in the
French declaration could be more absurd, than that the cir-
culation of their assignats were prohibited in this country ; for
that was purely a measure of internal regulation, as much as
it would be to prohibit the circulation of paper issued among
ourselves that perhaps stood on a much surer capital. But
even here we were not quite impartial; for although that paper
was called worth nothing which at present brought fourteen


balf•a-crown, the paper created by that
swindling, the assignats issued by the leaders of

were not certainly worth more, but wethe

pence t ic

had not thought it necessary to forbid the circulation-of them ;
we had not prohibited the circulation of American paper even
during the war, nor was it at all necessary ; such paper wanted
no prohibition. We had the right to prohibit it if we pleased,
but he did not like assigning one reason for a thing when we
evidently acted from another. The prohibiting the export-
ation of foreign corn to French ports, while it was free to other
countries, 'it was said, arose from preceding circumstances
and according to these circumstances it might be a justifiable
or unjustifiable act of hostility, but it was an act of hostility so
severe, that the circumstances which justified it would havej ustified a war, and no such circumstances, as he had alreadyproved, could be shewn.

The alien bill was not a just cause of war, but it was a viola-
tion of the commercial treaty, both in the letter and the spirit.
The right honourable gentleman said, that the French had
made regulations in their own country by which the treaty had
been already ,completely broken and at an end. But, did he
complain of' those regulations, for it was expressly provided by
the treaty itself,' that no violation should put an end to it, till
complaint was made, and redress refused. But here lay the
important difference. The French made no regulations that
put aliens on a different footing from Frenchmen. They
made general regulations ofsafety and police, as every nation

. had a right to do. We made regulations affecting aliens only,
confessed to be more particularly intended to apply to French-
men. It was admitted, that the French desired an explan-
ation of these regulations, and that an explanation was refused
them. By us, therefore, and not by the French, Was the
commercial treaty broken.

o f as
Our sending

ei ;11

Aa squadron to the Scheldt they complained0
And here the right honourable gentlemanb

• introduced the popular topic of their charm! a operationsc ing
in Belgium ; the disturbance of which they thought them-
selves intitled to resent as an aggression. He was as little
disposed to defend their operations in Belgium as the right
honourable gentleman, although he saw not for what purpose

. they were here alluded to, unless to inflame the passions, and
mislead the judgment; but if' by that squadron we had dis-
turbed them in their operations of war against the emperor,
just i cause a u hs e to

odcnnntlted we had not done, they would have had
gentleman, plain. " Then," said the right honourable

" they, complain of our conduct on the afflictingiew4..)L.

n s
murder of their king; what, shall we not grieve



for the untimely fate of an innocent monarch most cruelly
put to death by his own subjects ? Shall we not be permitted.
to testify our sorrow and abhorrence on an event that outrages
every principle of justice, and shocks every feeling of hu-
manity ?" Of that event he should never speak but with grief
and detestation. But, was the expression of our sorrow all.?'
Was not the atrocious event made the subject of a message
from his majesty to both Houses of _parliament? And now
he would ask the few more candid men, who owned that
they thought this event alone a sufficient cause of war, what
end could be gained by farther negociation with Chauvelin,
with Maret, or Dumourier? Did ministers mean to barter .
the blood of this ill-fated monarch for any of the points in
dispute; to say, the evacuation of Brabant shall atone for
so much, the evacuation of Savoy for so much more? Of.
this he would accuse no man; but, on their principle, when
the crime was committed, negociation must cease. He agreed,
however, with the right honourable gentleman, and he was
glad to hear him say so, that this crime was no cause of war ;
but, if it were admitted to be so, it was surely not decent that
the subject of war should never be even mentioned without
reverting to the death of the king. When he proposed send-
ing an ambassador to France, " What !" said the right ho-
nourable gentleman, 66 send an ambassador to men that are
trying their kin!)• !" If we had sent an ambassador, even
then; had our conduct towards the French been more can-
did and conciliating, the fatal issue of that trial might have
been prevented. " But," said the right honourable gentle-
man, 6 ‘ we negotiated unofficially." The importance to any
wise purpose of this distinction between official and unofficial
negociation, of this bartering instead of selling, he could never
understand; but even to this mode of negotiating the dis-
mission of M. Chauvelin put an end. But M. Chauvelin,
it was said, went away the very day after he received the

• .

order, although he might have stayed eight days and ne-
gotiated all the while ! Was it so extraordinary a thing
that a man of honour, receiving such an order, should not
choose to run the risk of insult, by staying the full time
allowed him; or could he imagine, that his ready compliance
with such an order would be considered as an offence? When
M. Chauvelin went away and M. Maret did not think him


self authorised to negociate, ministers sent a message to Lord
Auckland, to negociate with General Dumourier, which
reached him too late. Admitting this to be a proof of their
wish to negociate, while negociation was practicable, what
was their conduct from the opening of the session / If he
or any of his friends proposed to negociate— 66 Negotiate


they exclaimed, " we are already at war." Now it appeared
that they did negociate with unaccredited agents, although
the secretary of state had said that such a negociation was not
compatible with his belief; and, last of all, (strange conduct
for lovers of peace !) they ordered to quit the country the
only person with whom they could negociate in their un-
official way. He was happy to see the right honourable gen-
tleman so much ashamed of this mutilated farce of negociation,
as to be glad to piece it out with Lord Auckland and General
Dumourier. Then was asked the miserable question, " What
interest have ministers in promoting a war, if, as it has been
said, the ministers who begin war in this country are never
allowed to conclude it?" Admitting this to 1;e true, for
which he saw no good reason, then surely they who endea-
voured to avert a war, ought to be allowed some credit for
the purity of their motives. But ministers never opened a
fair communication on the points in dispute with France.
They acted like men afraid of asking satisfaction, for fear
that it should be granted — of stating the specific causes of
war, lest they should lose the pretext.

An opinion somewhere stated, had been adverted to, that
the people might consider this as a war in which kings were
more interested than their subjects. He felt great respect
for monarchy, and it was neither his practice nor his incli-
nation to speak harshly of kings. He had already said, that
monarchy was the corner, or rather the key-stone of the Bri-
tish constitution, which was limited, not unlimited monarchy.
But, with all clue reverence for crowned heads, was it im-
possible to conceive that kings might love, not limited, but
unlimited monarchy; and that resistance to the limited mo-
narchy attempted to be established in France, in the room
of the unlimited monarchy,. by which that country was for-
merly governed, might have been the true cause of the com-
bination of some of 'the crowned heads of Europe ? Our king;
haul sat too

long on the throne of a free kingdom ; he had

experience that the love of his people was 4
stronger defence than guards and armies, to forfeit that love,
by transgressing the bounds which the constitution prescribed
to him, were even his virtues and his wisdom less than they
were known to be. But, had not kings the frailties of other
men ? Were they not liable to be ill advised ? What became
of that freedom of speech which was the boast of parliament,if he might not suppose, that, by evil counsellors, their earsmight be poisoned, and their hearts deceived ? He therefore
feared, that this war would be supposed a war for restoring
monarchy in France, and for supporting rather the cause ofkings, than the cause of the people. He would be Ow last

D 2

specifically stated. But what might be the moment of dis-
cussing these objects? The fear,

.their decision
moment of dano. ger and alarm,

with the power his majesty's inspeech, of employing firms

the promise

res, he had understood, first, remon-
the n ue causes of complaint, then a specific demandes tfr asnact on

sat isfaction, and an armament to give efficacy to both..On his hope of the first two he had voted for the third.
The right honourable gentleman said, we had received in-

sults that ought not to have been borne for twenty-four hours.,
These were magnanimous words. In the affair of Nootka Sound
the aggression by Spain was as direct and unqualified as any
that could be stated, and yet we had borne it for twenty-four
days. Why was not the same course pursued now as then?He was now called upon, as a member of that House, to sup-
port his majesty in the war, for the war was begun, and lie
would do it ; but he was not pledged to any of those crooked
reasonings on which sonic gentlemen grounded their support
of ministers, nor less bound to watch them, because, by their
misconduct, we had been forced into a war, which both the
dignity and the security of Great Britain would have been
better consulted in avoiding. He was never sanguine as to
the success of a war. It might be glorious to our army and
our navy, and yet ruinous to the people. The event of the
last campaign—pi•0ml absit omen — and the example of the
American war, had taught him, that we might be compelled
to make peace on terms less advantageous than could have
been obtained without unsheathing the sword ; and if this might
be the consequence to us, the consequences to our ally, the
Dutch, must be such as he would not suffer himself to antici-
pate. The ordering M. Chauvelin to depart the kingdom,
and the stopping the exportation of corn to France, when ex-
portation was allowed to other countries, acts of hos-
tility and provocation on our part, which LI not allow us to say,
as the proposed address said, that the war was an unprovoked
aggression on the part of France. Truth and justice were
preferable to high-sounding words, and therefore he should
move an amendment, containing nothing that was not strictly
true, and in voting which the House might be unanimous.

TI11/11t.a- tFlo,exlecaoll.icl,hilc,Icitdhwtiilth umtnol‘oing his mendment, as follows :

utmost concern, that the assembly,

oxt‘ilexelise the.
powers or government in France, have di-

tually declared


ff hisof acts of hostility against the persons

vinces: that we

his majesty'sand property

that his majesty'se um .y beg leave to assure his majesty,
war o-ainst his majesty and the United Pro-

subjects, and that they have ac-

faithful Commons -will exert themselves with
D 3


to draw a distinction of interest between the rich and the
poor ; for, whatever the superficial observer might think,
nothing was clearer, when philosophically considered, than
that a man who was not immediately possessed of , property,.
had as great an interest in the general protection and security
of property, as he who was;. and therefore he reprobated all

•those calls upon the particular exertions of men of property,
as tending to excite the idea of an invidious distinction, which
did not exist in fact.

When the attack on France was called the cause of kings,
it was not a very witty, but a sufficient reply, that opposing
it might be called the cause of subjects. He imputed bad

•motives to no man, but when actions could not be explained
on one motive, lie had a right to attempt to explain them on

•another. If there were at present such a spirit in this coun-
try as in the beginning of the American war, what would be
our conduct ? To join the combined powers in their war on
the internal government of France. He was happy that
the public abhorrence of a war on such a motive was so'
great, that the right honourable gentleman felt himself called
upon to disclaim it at great length. But how had ministers
acted ? They had taken advantage of the folly of the French,

they had negotiated without proposing specific terms, and
then broken off the negotiation. At home they had alarmed
. the people that their own constitution was in danger, and
•they had made use of a melancholy event, which, however it
might affect us as men, did not concern us as a nation, to
inflame our passions and impel us to war ; and now that we
were at war, they durst not avow the causes of it, nor tell us
on what terms peace might have been preserved.

He rejoiced to hear that we had no treaty with the em-
peror. If our motives were now suspected, he hoped our
.future conduct would be such as to put away suspicion. If
we joined the Emperor and the King of Prussia, we must
make common cause with them, or act always with the

„jealousy and suspicion of parties, either of whom might secure
their own views by a separate peace at the expence of the
rest. When we found

• ourselves drawn into this common
cause, we might say that we were .forced to what we did not

intend ; but the fact would be, that we should be wasting the
•blood and treasure of the people of this country for an object
which the people of this country disclaimed — to enable foreign
armies to frame a government for France. Such an instance

•would furnish more arguments against the mechanism of our•
•constitution, than all the writers who had scrutinized its
defects. He hoped we neither had, nor should have, any
treaty with the combined powers, unless our objects were


the utmost zeal in the maintenance of the honour of his ma-
jesty's crown, and the vindication of the rights of his people ;
and nothing shall be wanting on their part that can contri-
bute to that firm and effectual support which his majesty has
so much reason to expect from a brave and loyal people, in
repelling every hostile attempt against this country, and in
such other exertions as may he necessary to induce France to
consent to such terms of pacification as may be consistent
with the honour of his majesty's crown, the security of his
allies, and the interests of his people."

Mr. Fox's amendment was rejected, and the address proposed
by Mr. Pitt agreed to without a division.


Tebrumy 18.

THIS day, in pursuance of the notice he had given,

Mr. Fox rose. He said that he had delivered his sentiments
so frequently on the several points included in his intended
motion, that the House could not expect him to add much
that was new. Having been accused in the last debate with
repeating the same things over and over, he should now con-
tent himself with referring to the opinions he had formerly
delivered; and hoped that he should not be again reproached,
in the same breath that reminded him of repetition, with fail-
ing to repeat any one of those opinions to whatever part of
the subject it might relate. The present crisis was awful. He
had done every thing in his power to avert the calamity of
war; and he did intend to have made one more attempt, if he
had not been most unaccountably prevented by the failure of
public business for a whole week. That opportunity was un-
fortunately lost. We were now actually engaged in war; and
being so engaged, there could be no difference of opinion as to
the necessity of supporting it with vigour. No want of dis-
position to support it could be imputed to him; for, in the de-
bate on his majesty's message announcing that we were at war,
he had moved an amendment to the address, as much pledg-
ing the House to a vigorous support of it, as the address
proposed by his majesty's ministers, and better calculated to


But the more he felt himself bound to
ensure unanimity.support the war, the more he felt himself bound to object to
the measures which, as far as yet appeared, had unnecessarily
led to it.The necessity of the war might be defended on two princi-
ples : first, the ilu animus, or general bad disposition of theFrench towards this country; the crimes they have committed
among themselves; the systems they have endeavoured to es-
tablish, if systems they might be called ; in short, the internal
government of their country. On this principle, there were
few indeed that would venture to defend it: and this being
disavowed as the cause of war by his majesty's ministers, it was
unnecessary for him to dwell upon it. Secondly, that various
things have been done by the French, manifestly extending
beyond their own country, and affecting the interests of us
and our allies ; for which, unless satisfaction was given, we
must enforce satisfaction by arms. This he considered as the
only principle on which the necessity of the war could be
truly defended, and in this he was sure the great majority of
the House and of the country were of the same opinion. His
object was to record this in an address; and whatever objec-
tion there might be as to time or circumstances, could he ob-
tain the sense of the House purely upon the principle, he
should be very sanguine in his hopes of success. Such a re-
cord would be a guide to their conduct in the war, and a land-
mark on which to fix their attention for the attainment of
peace. In examining the alleged cases of provocation, he
had maintained that they were all objects of negotiation, and
such as, till satisfaction was explicitly demanded and refused,
did not justify resorting to the last extremity. He had per-
Imps also said, that ministers did not appear to have pursued
the course which was naturally to be expected from their pro-
fessions. He did not mean to charge them with adopting
one principle for debate and another for action; but lie
thought they had suffered themselves to be imposed upon, and
misled by those who wished to go to war with France on
account of her internal government, and therefore took all
occasions of representing the French as utterly and irreconcile-
ably hostile to this country. It was always fair to compare the
conduct of men in any particular instance with their conduct
on other occasions. If the rights of neutral nations were now
loudly held forth; if the

edan r to be apprehended from the
aggrandizement of any power was magnified as the just cause
of the present war; and if, on looking to another quarter, we
saw the rights of Poland, of a neutral and independent nation,
openly trampled upon, its territory invaded, and all this for thel
nanifest aggrandizement of other powers, and no war de-

D 4


[Feb. IS.

dared or menaced, not even a remonstrance interposed—for
if any had been interposed, it was yet a secret—could we bejblamed for suspecting that the pretended was not the real ob-ect of the present war— that what we were not told, was in
fact the object, and what we Were told, only the colour and
pretext ?

The war, however, be the real cause what it might, would
be much less calamitous to this country, if, in the prosecution
of it, we could do without allying ourselves with those who
had made war on France, for the avowed purpose of inter-
fering in her internal government; if we could avoid entering
into engagements that might fetter us in our negotiations for •
peace; since negociation must be the issue of every war that
was not a war of absolute conquest, if we should shun the dis-
grace of becoming parties with those who in first attempting
to invade France, and some of them in since invading Poland,
had violated all the . rights of nations, all the principles of jus-
tice and of honour.

On the first principle he had already stated, as one of two
on which it might be attempted to justify the necessity of the
present war, as it was most studiously disclaimed by ministers,
and all but a very few members of that House, it was un-
necessary for him to say any thing. On the second he had
.said, that the alleged causes of complaint were not causes of
war previous to negociation, and on this point his opinions
were not new, as they had formerly been called, but such as
he had always entertained, from the first moment of his form-
ing opinions upon such subjects; neither were they singular.
He had since looked into the writers on the law of nations, and
by all the most approved it was laid down as an axiom, that
injuries, be they what they may, are not the just cause of war,
till reparation and satisfaction have been fairly and openly de-
manded and evaded, or refused. Some of them even went so
far as to say, that reparation and satisfaction ought to be de-
manded, both previous and subsequent to the declaration of
war, in order to make that war just.

Our causes of complaint against France were, first, the
attempt to open the navigation of the Scheldt; second, the
decree of the 19th of November, supposed to be directed

auainst the peace of other nations; third, the extension of
their territory by conquest. The first of these was obviously
and confessedly an object of negociation. The second was
.also to be accommodated by negociation ; because an explan-
ation that they did not mean what we understood by it, and a
stipulation that it should not be acted upon in the sense in
which we understood it, was all that could be obtained even
by war. The third was somewhat more difficult, for it in-

volved in it the .

evacuation of the countries conquered, and
security- that they should in no sense be annexed to France;
and no such security could; perhaps, at present be devised.
But if we were aware of this; if we saw that during the war
the French are engaged in with other powers, they had no such
security to offer; if we knew that we were asking what could .
not be given, the whole cS our pretended negotiation, such as
-it had been, was a- farce and a delusion; not an honest en-
deavour to preserve the blessings of peace, but a fraudulent
expedient to throw dust in the eyes of the people of this
country, in order that they might be hurried blindly into a
war. The more he attended to the printed correspondence,
the oftener he read Lord Grenville's letter to M. Chauvelin,
so repeatedly alluded to, the moreconvinced he was how ex-
tremely deficient we had been in communicating the terms on
which we thought peace might be maintained. We told them
they must keep within their own territory; but how were they
to do this when attacked by two armies, that retired out of
their territory only to repair the losses of their first miscar-
riage, and prepare for a fresh irruption ? When to this studied
concealment of terms were added the haughty language of
all our communications, and the difficulties thrown in the
way of all negociation, we must surely admit, that it was not
easy for the French to know with what we would be satisfied,
nor to discover on what terms our amity (not our alliance,
for that he had never suggested, though the imputation had
been boldly made,) — could be conciliated. When to all these
he added the language held in that House by ministers, al-
though he b37 no means admitted that speeches in that House
were to be sifted for causes of war by foreign powers, any
more than speeches in the French convention by us: and last
of all, the paper transmitted by Lord Auckland at the Hague,


to the States General — a paper which, for the contempt and
ridicule it expressed of the French, stood unparalleled in
diplomatic history — a paper, in which the whole of them,
witl..out distinction, who had been in the exercise of power
since the commencement of the Revolution, were styled " a
set of wretches investing themselves with the title of philo-
sophers, and presuming in the dream of their vanity to think
themselves capable of establishing a new order of society, tk.c."
— how could we hope the French, who where thus wantonly
insulted, to expect that any thing would be considered as
satisfactory, or any pledge a sufficient security ? Let the
House compare Lord Auckland's language at the Hague
with the pacific conduct of ministers at home, as represented
by themselves. While they were trying every means to con-
ciliate; while with. moderation to an excess, which they could

Feb. 18.

not help thinking culpable, they were publicly ordering M.
Chauvelin to quit the kingdom within eight days, ,but pri-
vately telling him that he might stay and negociate; while
they were waiting for propositions from M. Maret, which M.
Maret did not make; while they were sending instructions to
Lord Auckland to negociate with General Dumourier, Lord
Auckland was writing that silly and insulting paper by their
instructions; for if he had written such a paper without in-
structions, he was very unfit for his situation, and must have
been instantly recalled. Thus, while, as they pretended,
they were courting peace, they were using every manoeuvre
to provoke war. For these reasons, he should move, that
ministers had not employed proper means for preserving
peace, without sacrificing the honour or the safety of this

He came next to consider their conduct with respect to
Poland. He had formerly said, that he wished not to speak
harshly of foreign princes in that House, although the period
had not long since passed, when it was thought perfectly al-
lowable to talk of the Empress of Russia as a princess of
insatiable ambition, and of the late emperor, as a prince too
fiiithless to be relied upon. But when he spoke of the King
of Prussia, lie desired to be understood as speaking of the
cabinet of the court of Berlin, whose conduct he was as free
to criticise, as other gentlemen the conduct of the executive
council of France. In May 1791, a revolution took place in
Poland, on the suggestion, certainly with the concurrence, of
the King of Prussia; and, as was pretty generally imagined,
although not authentically known, with the court of London.
By a dispatch to his minister at Warsaw, the King of Prussia
expressed the lively interest which he had always taken in the
happiness of Poland, a confirmation of her new constitution,
and his approbation of the choice of the Elector of Saxony,
and his descendants, to fill the throne of Poland, made
hereditary by the new order of things, after the death of the
reigning king. In 1792, the Empress of Russia, without
the least plausible pretext, but this change in the internal
government of the country, invaded Poland. Poland called
upon the King of Prussia, with whose express approbation
this change had been effected, for the stipulated succours of

an existing treaty of alliance. He replied, that the state of
things being entirely changed since that alliance, and the
present conjuncture brought on by the revolution of May
r 791, posterior to his treaty, it did not become him to give
Poland any assistance, unless, indeed, she chose to retrace
all the steps of that revolution, and then he would interpose
his good offices both with Russia and the emperor to reconcile


the different interests. The different interests of foreign
in the internal government of a free and independent

mark and stigmatise all the inconsistencies of the French with

tion ! It was singular that ministers should be so keen to

their former declarations, which had been too great and too
many, and yet could sec without emotion such inconsistency,
not to say, perfidy, as this conduct exhibited. He was not
the defender of the gross departures which had been made
by the French from their own principles; but if we thought
it unsafe to treat with them, because of their perfidy, we
had little inducement to unite with the King of Prussia, who
had violated not only principles, but an express treaty, in
a more particular and pointed manner, than they had yet had
an opportunity of doing. Among the powers at war, or likely
to be at war with France, there was 110 great option of good
faith. But the French, it was said, violated their principles,
for the sake of robbery and rapine, to seize on territory, and
plunder property. Let us look again for a moment to the
King of Prussia.

In 1792 he limited the cause of war against Poland by
Russia to the new constitution, which he himself had approved
and promised to defend. But if once this obnoxious consti-
tution was completely subverted, and that excellent old re-
public (for these crowned heads were great republicans when
it suited their convenience) which had for ages constituted the
happiness of Poland, re-established on its ancient basis, he
would interpose his good offices to conciliate the different in-
terests and restore peace. What, then, prevented him from
interposing his good offices ? Was not the new constitution
completely subverted ? Did not the Russian troops succeed
in overrunning Poland? Were they not in possession of the
whole country ? And had not the Empress of Russia been
able to restore the excellent old republic ? But if she was
satisfied with her success in this respect, not so the Kinn.
of Prussia.. He was a critic in principles. When he ap-
pui-loelx.ectel potifo• revolution, the principles of the Poles were
unexceptionable; when they were attempting a brave but un-
successful resistance to a more powerful adversary, their prin-
bcyiplsetsipNevreiroer not dangerous ; but when they were overpowered

possessed by

when they had laid down their arias and
submitted to tie'.

and destructiavelborfei

inciplieesnt.1,ncioonnqi, teiro.r, when their whole country was

these abominable

army, then he discovered that they had
0 min, subversive of all government,French pr

towns. Are

. principles ? Oh ! by an admirable remedy !
all society. And how did lie cure them of


their country, and taking possession of their—invading oi
tainted with jacobimsm? Hew down the


crates of Thorn, and march in the Prussian troops. Do they
deny that they entertain such principles ? Seize upon Dantzick
and annex it to the dominions of Prussia. Now, did not this
seizure and spoil of Poland tend to the aggrandizement of
the powers by whom it was perpetrated ? Was it not a greater
and more contemptuous violation of the law of nations than
the French had yet been guilty of? Most undoubtedly it
was. Had we opposed it ? Had we remonstrated against it ?
If ministers had any such remonstrances to shew, they would
produce them in due time, and the House would judge of
them; but while none were produced, or even mentioned,
he must presume that none had been made. The invasion of
Poland had this- material aggravation, that the powers who
invaded were not themselves attacked at the time. They had
not the excuse of the French to plead, that they did it in a
paroxysm of fear and danger, circumstances that prompt
nations as well as individuals to many acts of impolicy and,
injustice. The King of Prussia first connives at or consents
to the invasion of Poland, which he was bound by treaty to
defend. Next, he attempts an unprovoked invasion of France
and is foiled. How does he revenge the disgrace of his
repulse ? By increasing his army on the Rhine, by con-
centrating his forces for a fresh attack ? No : he more gal-
lantly turns round on defenceless Poland, and indemnifies
himself for his losses by seizing on towns where he can meet
with no resistance, It was not, therefore, on any general
system of attention to the balance of Europe that ministers
were acting, since, while they pretended to consider it as of
the utmost importance in one case, they had suffered it to be
most flagrantly infringed upon in another.

Having dwelt very copiously on the impolicy of viewing,
without emotion, the dismemberment of Poland, by three
mighty powers, and considering the balance of power engaged0 0
only when France had gained the advantage, Mr. Fox de-
precated, of all things, any thing so infinnous as our being
supposed to be a party to this abominable confederacy of
kings. In spealiing thus freely, he hoped he should not be
again accused of treating these monarchs with unnecessary
severity. When public transactions were in question, it was
the right of every one, under whose observation they came,
to treat them in the manner precisely that they appeared to
him. He did so in treating of our own domestic concerns,
and he would take the liberty of doing so, whenever foreign
politics were in any ways connected with them. He had but
little means of knowing the private characters, habits, or dis-
positions of kings; and if he had, still, in discussions in.that
House, he could not fairly be represented as alluding to any

other than the public proceedings that were conducted in their
name; so that when he spoke of the measures of the cabinet
of Berlin, and censured them in the manner which he con-
ceived them to deserve, the personal character of the King of
Prussia was by no means implicated in that censure. He
therefore lamented openly, that England could be supposed
to be in the least involved in that detested league. He could
wish, that if we had quarrels, we should fight them by our-
selves ; or if we were to have allies, that we should keep our
cause of quarrel completely separated from theirs, and, without
intermeddling with the internal concerns of the French re-
public, not burthen ourselves with any stipulations which
should prevent us at any time from making a separate peace,
without the concurrence or approbation of those sovereigns.

Mr. Fox concluded with moving the following resolu-

" That it is not for the honour or interest of Great Britain
to make war upon France on account of the internal circumstances
of that country, for the purpose either of suppressing or punish-
ing any opinions and principles, however pernicious in their ten-
dency, which may prevail there, or of establishing among the
trench people any particular form of government.

2. " That the particular complaints which have been stated
against the conduct of the French government are not of a nature
to justify war in the first instance, without having attempted to
obtain redress by negociation.

3. " That it appears to this House ; that in the late negotiation
between his majesty's ministers and the agents of the French go-
vernment, the said ministers did not take such measures as were
likely to procure redress, without a rupture, for the grievances of
which they complained ; and particularly that they never stated
distinctly to the French government any terms and conditions,
the accession to which, on the part of France, would induce his
majesty to persevere in a system of neutrality.

4. " That it does not appear that the security of Europe, and
the rights of independent nations, which have been stated as

-grounds of war against France, have been attended to by his ma-
jesty's ministers in the case of Poland, in the invasion of which
unhappy country, both in the last year, and more recently, the
most open contempt of the law of nations, and the most unjustifia-
ble spirit of aggrandizement has been manifested, without having
produced, as far as appears to this House, any remonstrance from
his majesty's ministers.


may prevent

is the duty of his majesty's ministers, in the present
re sis, to advise his majesty against entering into engagements

t Great Britain from making a separate peace,
whenever the interests of his Majesty and his people may render
such a measure advisable, or which may countenance an opinion
in Europe, that his majesty is acting in concert with other powers

46 Mil. FOX'S RE.S'OIXTION6 [Feb. 18.
for the unjustifiable purpose of compelling the people of France to
submit to a form of government not approved by that nation."

These resolutions were supported by Mr. Grey, Mr. Adam,.
Mr. Jekyll, Major Maitland, Mr. Lambton, Mr. Sheridan, and
Mr. Smith ; and opposed by Mr. Burke, Mr. Jenkinson, Mr. Powys,
Sir Richard Hill, Sir Francis Basset, Sir George Cornwall, Sir
Henry Hoghton, and Mr. Windham. After which,

Mr. Fox rose to reply. He began with adverting to what
had fallen from Mr. Powys. That right honourable gentle-
man, who had lately chosen to distinguish himself by very
particular attacks upon him, had stiled him an advocate for
France. If the right honourable gentleman meant an advo-
cate for what was just and right, so far he would allow him-
self to come under the description : but, if he meant that he

entered into the partialities and interests of an advocate, he

d to disclaim the character. The phrase Was ambiguous,
the right honourable gentleman, in applying it, knew that

it would, and perhaps intended that it should, be taken up by
the public in the most invidious point of' view. That right
honourable gentleman had said, that he rejoiced that the sense
of the House was that night decidedly to be taken. If any
thing could deter him from taking, as he proposed, the sense
of the House, it was this mode of invitation, which was nei-
ther decent nor parliamentary. The right which had lately ..
been insisted upon of a majority to know who were those who
opposed them, was inconsistent with the usage and privileges
of parliament. Mr. Fox next adverted to what a right ho-
nourable gentleman (Mr. Burke) had alleged, that, according
to his mode of reasoning, every thing which had happened in
France was just, and every thing done in opposition to them
otherwise; because he had said, that the French were justifia-
ble in declaring war against the Emperor of Germany, who
had discovered hostile intentions towards them, he was there-
fore supposed to approve of all their proceedings in Brabant.
-Was this a fair conclusion ? 'That right honourable gentle-
man had likewise stated, that he had adopted new principles
of reasoning, and that it was new to state arguments against
the country. Now, the arguments which he had stated were
directed against ministers. And, was it to be understood,
that whenever ministers were blamed, the country was cen-
sured ? -Were we, from our detestation of French republi-
canism, come to that pitch of triple-refined despotism, that,
to arraign the conduct of ministers was to be represented as
an attack upon the country? In that case, it would be better
at once to shut the doors of that House, and dispense with
the form of deliberating, when the substance was destroyed. It


would be better, when a war was declared, to give up at once
all the free part of the constitution ; and to leave every thing
to the absolute and arbitrary decision of ministers. But, had
the right honourable gentleman always acted upon the prin-
ciple which he now wished to establish ? Had he not, in 1778,
thought proper to arraign the conduct of ministers, while the
country was engaged in a war ? There was another point on
which lie wished to touch. Ministers, whom, on the present
occasion, the right honourable gentleman thought proper to
support, had conceived it proper to make attempts to treat
with the French. Why, then, should they escape the right
honourable gentleman's censure, while he imputed as so great
a crime to opposition the very wish to treat with that nation?
Poland, it had been said, was a more remote object; but
what sort of political morality was that which represented an
object as less interesting, in proportion as it was more remote?
Were all the charges of horror to be heaped upon the French,
with a view of exciting indignation against them; and was
the conduct of the court of Berlin, which was still worse, to
be passed entirely by ? Were we to deal out our invectives in
so large a proportion against the French, white, with respect
to the court of Berlin, we abstained from the smallest degree
of censure? In that case, political morality, which had never
been rated high in the opinions of men, would sink very low
indeed ! He considered high rank or situation so far from
being an extenuation, as affording an aggravation of .the
offence. Much had been said about treating with the present
executive council of France. He would only remark, that in
every country you must treat with those who have a power,
unless you are bent on views of extirpation. Much, likewise,
had been said of the influence of France. Was the influence
of France so formidable, and was the influence of Austria and
Prussia nothing? —an influence which had been that evening
stated to have completely shut us out from the republic or
Europe, and to have deprived us of the means of saving Po-
land, however much we might have been inclined. An ho-
nourable gentleman had stated his motion to be insidious, and
the reason which he had assi gned was, that it partly assumed
what had not been admitted inthat House, and particularly
mistated what had. Now, he would inform that honourable
gentleman that his motion had not the smallest connection
with any thing that had been stated in that House, nor even
could admit of the most distant allusion thereto. It had been


t nothing
House, with

asked, how his motion could have any tendency to bring
about a peace? An honourable gentleman on the other side
of the

e u more
the of youth, had admitted,
or directly lead to peace than a precise

ground being stated for the war. If the nature of the repar-
ation which we desired was specified, the object was then pre-
cise, and, when it was obtained, war was at an end. But•if
his motion was not adopted, and if gentlemen went away with
a doubt of the object which was aimed at by the war, it could
not then be known to what length, or under what pretences
the war might be protracted. In the course of the debate,
one of these pretences was, that the conduct of the court of
Berlin with respect to Poland had not been attempted to he
vindicated. If Brissot was to be the object of so much in-
vective, was the court of Berlin to_ be exempted from cen-
sure? The more elevated the situation from which crimes
proceeded, the more were they to be reprobated, the more
pernicious was their example, and the more extensive the
mischief with which they were attended. That a high situ-
ation should procure oblivion or impunity for crimes, was a
maxim which no just, generous, or magnanimous mind would
readily admit. He was not acquainted with M. Brissot,
whom a right honourable gentleman had stiled the prince of
pick-pockets, but he always understood that any objections
stated to his character arose only from his public conduct.
With respect to M. Chauvclin, he would likewise suggest to
that right hon. gentleman to be cautious in admitting accounts,
as ground for his invective, which came from persons heated
with the most violent personal enmity and political animosity.

Mr. Fox said, he had now finished his task—and could with
confidence say libe•avi aninzam mean. He had done all that
he could do. He had been told that the part he had taken
was not popular. No man was more desirous of popularity
than he was; no man would make more just sacrifices to obtain
it. If the part which a regard to the interests of the country
obliged him to take was not popular, it was not his duty to
be influenced by that consideration. 'We had now got into
a war; and how best to put an end to that war was the object
which demanded their attention. It was their business, tread-
ing the old constitutional ground, to come forward boldly
with their opinions, in proportion to the importance of the
crisis and the dangers of the country, and not to be deterred
by the suggestions of timidity, or by menaces of unpopularity.
It gave him satisfaction that no one had ventured to come
forward to give a negative to his motion, even amidst the ge-
neral exultation which prevailed among the members of that
House, with respect to a war ; but that it was to be got rid
of by the previous question. He feared—he by no means
wished—that this exultation in its event would have a termi-
nation similar to that which had been so emphatically de-
scribed by ,Tacitus,, $17e later, tract atu thew, evenl y, tristia."

1793.7 MR.

Mr. Jenkinson havin o. moved the previous question on Mr. Fox's
motion, the House divibded :

N . 5 Mr. Powys

YEAS it r. Lambton 44 ' — °Es i Mr. Jenl nsonM
Mr. Adam


So it passed in the negative.


February 22.

"THE erection of barracks, which had taken place in several
.I_ parts of the kingdom, though it was not altogether a new

measure, was considered by those who remained of, and adhered
to, the old Whig party, as an unconstitutional expedient, and tend-
ing to the establishment of a standing army. Accordingly this
day, Mr. M. A. Taylor brought the subject forward, and after ad-
ducing a variety of authorities, he concluded with moving, " That
the uniform and persevering opposition given by our ancestors to
every attempt to erect barracks in this country, was founded upon
a just understanding of the true principles of our free and excellent
constitution ; and that this opposition has been justified and sup-
ported by high political and legal authority, whose recorded opi-
nion is, That in time of peace the soldier should live intermixed
with the people, that no separate camp, no barracks, no inland
fortresses, should be allowed ; and that a circulation should be
thus kept up between the army and the people, and the citizen
and the soldier be intimately connected together. " The motion
was opposed by Sir George Yonge, Mr. Minchin, Sir George
Howard, Lard i\flulgrave, Mr. Burdon, and Mr. Pitt ; and sup-
ported by Mr. Fox, Mr. Grey, Mr. Courtenay, and Major Mait-
land. General Sir George Howard reprobated the brincrina . for-bringing


ward of questions, day by day, reflecting on the conduct of mi-
nisters, at a time like the present. Let them, he said, be supported

'd whenct

now, h acted wrong.

time came, let them be impeached if
t y

Mr. Fox said, that all his respect for the honourable gene-
ral, could not prevent him from saying, that the advice he
had just given, if the House were to follow it, would prove a
complete suspension of the most valuable functions. of that con-
stitution which he was so anxious to defend. If, when the
Country was brought into danger, they were to say, .that they

Blackstorie's Commentaries, b. i.
P• 414.VOL. V.

1- 270.

would . agitate no questions but what ministers chose to agi
tate, that they were in no instance to examine their conduct;;
but to commit the whole management of public affairs
citly into their hands, they would betray the trust which their
constituents had reposed in them, they would relinquish the
most imperious of their duties, namely, that of watching, and,
when necessary, controuling the servants of the executive
power, and the practice of our government would be any
thing but what it had formerly been, and what he hoped it
would long continue. His honourable friend was not to be
blamed for the motion he had made. It arose out of the con-
duct of ministers ; and to that conduct, not to the mover of
it, was it to be imputed.

He had as high an opinion of the integrity, the honour,
and principles of the officers of the British army, as the ho-
nourable general; but he would not pay them a compliment at
the expence of the constitution ; he would not sacrifice to them
that jealousy, which it was the duty of the House of Com-
mons to entertain of every set of men so immediately con-
nected with the crown. To the crown they must look for
promotion ; by the crown they might be dismissed from their
profession without any cause assigned ; and to the crown they
must be attached in different degrees from men on whom
similar motives did not operate. This attachment arose from
the situation in which they were placed, it applied to them
collectively as a body, and was no disparagement whatever to
any of them as individuals. To the crown it was said lawyers
must look for promotion ; the crown could give and take away
silk gowns, but the crown could neither give nor take away
the fair emoluments of a man's abilities in his profession. The
silk gown would bring but few, if any clients, and as few
would the loss of it take from the barrister of reputation.
The honourable general had said, that he had served nine cam-
paigns abroad, and (what the honourable general would not
say) with great honour to himself and advantage to his coun-
try. Now, after all his campaigns, and the very considerable
emoluments with which they had been rewarded, would the
honourable general say that his majesty might not dismiss him
from all those emoluments, for no reason but because he hap-
pened to differ in political opinion from his ministers, were
such a difference ever to take place ? If he could not say so,
then it was clear that they were held at the pleasure of the
king and his ministers, and that such being the situation of all
military officers, they were fit and necessary objects of the
jealousy and vigilance of the House of Commons ; as were,
indeed, in a greater or less degree, all persons whatever em-
ployed by the crown. Late events had added much to his


jealousy in this respect. They had seen officers dismissed
without any reason assigned or assignable, except theoretical
opinions, which they were supposed to entertain. These
officers had been allowed to receive the price of their com-
missions. But, was it nioitldtintguutioldbeeo t tztiranetdheouhtoopfetsheoity tii)iie•oi-r

Is-lteyesi,naituhiestye;n: o•ht not have been allowedffteuostsusieorienl :foiof.iltub


h B

Besides, thought fit so to advise
him, and therefore all the officers of the army knew, that they
were so far completely at the mercy of the crown, and that
men who had shed their blood in the service of their country
might be deprived,'not only of their rank and their hopes, but
of the money with which they had originally purchased their

White ministers and their friends were praising the consti-
tution, and deprecating innovation, they themselves were in-
troducing a system for the disposition of a standing army,
which had been always held incompatible with the safety of
public liberty, and always opposed. Was the argument of
innovation always to lead one way ? When any reform of
the abuses of the constitution was suggested, was it to be ever
reprobated ? When to repair any breach that time had made
in the fabric, when to reform any existing abuse in the prac-
tice cf the constitution was proposed, their answer was,
" What ! will you meddle with the constitution at such a
season as this ; will you endanger the whole for the sake of a
part, that may safely wait for a remedy till a more convenient
opportunity ?" When they themselves proposed not reform,
but innovation, the answer was the same, " Consider the.
occasion; will you oppose a measure which the time loudly
calls for ?" . There was not now, it was said, the same reason

being afraid of a standing army, as when William III., a

b ner, was on the throne—an absurd argument in his
ogii)Nieniuopn ;thbeult)riandetiii

-t)iltets of uadmit ing it to have an y weight, were we to

a native?

was the Ojealousy lo
his majesty's

of a
dco. nstituttorn, and a most leading


insinuated, that the

. .' m army, because the king was

very different from what
. te I



ssion, it had, indeed, been
which he could never at least in practice, was to be'

afraid to
of hear revvived.



i).erma seutu•l ,y abnecei nw; h ai edho chter i ini oe pfeot


from abroad,

as there not as much reason to be
Yet, now as in the 'year I 740 ? Was there more



of a standing army, when we were menaced

osed oa Yd,t and dreaded the invasion of a pretender to the

si Mr.





the two leading men, Mr. Pul-
teney Pe ham,

ta , one of whom supported, -and the other
. alpole, both united in reprobating the


system of erecting barracks, as unconstitutional and inimical
to the rights of the people. And they said well; for the
mixing the soldiers with the people, by which they imbibed','
the same principles and the same sentiments, was the best
security of the constitution against the danger of a standing

But, it was said the soldiers could not mix with the better
sort of people to learn their political opinions. It was quite
sufficien1 if they were on a par in their opinions of the con-
stitution with men in the same ranks of society from which T :they had been originally taken. But, supposing that there
were any force in this argument, would confining them apart
in barracks give them access to better conversation and better
opinions ? It was entirely new to say, that the military was

necessary to the execution of the civil power. The con-
stitution acknowledged no such auxiliary. For the exercise
of the civil power the means were always in force; an,.; rte
very preamble to the annual mutiny bill, which some people
considered as bombastic, expressly stated, that a standing
army,• in time of peace, without the consent of parliament,
was against law. If magistrates neglected to call in the
military when their assistance was necessary, they did not do
their duty. If there were places where the existing police
was insufficient, let means be tried to remedy the defect,
but let it not be pleaded as a reason for keeping up a military .
force; for of all sorts of police, a military police was the
most repugnant to the spirit and the letter of our govern-
ment, and ought to be the last that ever parliament should
adopt. It was not true that the building of barracks was
acceptable to all the country. There were places where

.it was considered, not as a benefit, but a grievance. It
might be that publicans were glad to be relieved from having
troops quartered upon them, but that proved nothing: and
if they were all of the same opinion, they ought not to be
allowed to sell their permanent security for a temporary

There were various instances of something like a design
on the part of ministers to teach the army to look solely
to the crown, without regard to the House of Commons.
One of these was the increase of the soldiers' pay last year,
without first consulting parliament, and before parliament had( met; an increase which the king had no authority to give
till voted by the House of Commons. The king had the
sole command of the army. Why? Because it was given
him by the House of Commons: but it was their exclusive
privilege to say whether or not there should be any army,
what its number, and what its pay. He was still old fashioned


enough in his notions of government to dread a standing
army, and to think that the conduct of it could not be watched
with too much caution. He did not clearly understand the
argument of the noble lord near him (Beauchamp), who
seemed to say, that the standing army of Louis XIV. was the
ground of our ancient jealousy of a standing army, and that as
France had now an army of another kind, of which she was
not jealous, we, as matter of ton, should be no longer jealous
of' ours. Wishing always to speak with the' utmost respect
of his majesty, and applying his censure of measures only to
his ministers, he would not pay him so absurd a compliment
as to say, that the constitution was more secure under him.
than under his two august progenitors. What motive could
then be assigned for being less jealous of a standing army
now, than in former reigns? Looking back to the conduct
of Sir Robert Walpole as a minister, whatever might be his
faults, no man would now accuse him of having ever enter-
tained the thought of trenching on the constitution by means
of the army; yet the utmost jealousy of a standing army had
subsisted during his administration. 'Were our present mi-
nisters more constitutional than the ministers of those times?
Were they more to be relied upon than the men who had a
principal share in settling the constitution at the Revolution,
and were consequently attached to it from opinion, from ho-
nour, and from affection ? 'Were they fitter to be trusted than
some of the noble lord's ancestors, who made part of the
administration at the period alluded to? Had he in his new
zeal to support them, discovered that the manner in which
they came into power was better, or their respect for the
opinion of the House of Commons greater? He could dis-
cover no ground for the noble lord's giving to the present
ministers a superior degree of confidence, unless, perhaps,
that hope was a stronger principle than gratitude. While
we professed to adhere to the constitution, as transmitted
to us by our ancestors, we ought also to adhere to the maxims
on whi± they exercised it, one of which was, never to allow

the le-e pamopyletobbv beingecome a distinct set of men from the mass of

separated from the people in barracks.
Next came the argument, that the measures of ministers

he iweremicli dootton
be questioned, because we are at war. Mr. Pulte-

declaration One Ythee

oineverconsidered as his political model, although
e on t le present occasion what Mr. Pulteney did



to •
of war against Spain — given his suppor

teilen himself

lifn the measures necessary for carrying on the

miwaonristeiB's u? s

t, diet Mrf. Pulteney, when h me ade that declar-
ation, m up from inquiring into the particular acts of

0 far from it, that whoever would take the
E 3


trouble of looking into the journals, would see that the oppo
sition of that time, with more industry and much more success'
than the present opposition, had brought forward motions of
censure on the minister, and divided the House on them. —
They said then, as he and his friends said now, " We will
support the minister against the foreign enemy; but we will.
not support him. against Great Britain." This erecting of
barracks was not a measure of war, but a measure of peace,
for it was undertaken before ministers began to talk of war,
and it effected this country and no other. From the whole of
their conduct there was at least as good ground to suspect
them of improper designs as any that the honourable general
had mentioned for suspecting him, and those who acted with
him. In one point he differed from his honourable friend
who made the motion. When the money for the expense of
these barracks came to be voted, he should oppose it. He
knew he should be told, that the expense was already in-
curred, and that it would be hard to refuse payment to men
who had given their property or their labour on the faith
of administration. This was a dilliculty which the practice
of ministers, in incurring expences without the sanction of
parliament, rendered frequent; but difficult and ungracious
as it was to .refuse to pay, he would prefer doing that to
betraying the constitution. If they felt any respect for the
Commons, if any for the people whom they represented, they
would take care that the people should be free, not in form
but in substance, and that such innovations on their ancient
maxims, or, if they chose to call them so, their ancient pre-
judices, were not attempted till their representatives were
consulted. He wished not to revive the subjects which the
House had already debated; but surely, if the whole country
had been alarmed on points still disputable, it was not being
too delicate to feel alarm on such a measure as that now in
debate, unless they could persuade themselves that a seditious
pamphlet was pregnant with every possible danger, but a
standing army perfectly harmless. He knew not whether
the House had lost its former jealousy of a standing army; he
knew not whether the people had lost theirs; but if they had,
it was the duty of their representatives to endeavour to revive
it; and he should therefore vote for the motion.

The motion was negatived without a division.




February 26.

R. WILBERFORCE moved, this day, " That the House
will, upon Thursday next, resolve itself into a committee

of the whole House, to consider of the circumstances of the Afri-
can slave trade." Upon this, an amendment was moved by Sir
William Young, to leave out the words " Thursday next," and
to insert the words " this day six months," instead thereof •. The
amendment was supported by Mr. Buxton, Mr. Cawthorne, Mr.Dent, Lord Sheffield, and Mr. Gascoyne; and opposed by Mr.
M. Montagu, Mr. W. Smith, Mr. Fox, and Mr. Pitt.

Mr. Fox observed, that the question was, whether that
House would now proceed, or at once lay it down as a rule
that they would do nothing whatever upon the subject this
session, although, after a long discussion, deliberate resolutions
had been entered into during the last; although the subject
had been in agitation for between five and six years; and
although they had from that time gone on year alter year,
and had, as was natural in the cause of justice, reason, and
humanity, arrived by discussion nearer and nearer to the
point of truth, and from step to step advanced, until at last
they came to a determination, that the slave trade from Africa
to our colonies and plantations should cease on the 1st of
January 17 96. That was the object now before the House.
He then called the recollection of the House to the circum-
stances of the present question, and dismissed all the arca-

itphsa t ohawdhitc


been brought forward on the
planters would be exposed on the

revival of these resolutions, by observing, that on the bring-
agmforwardp olb e of by an honourable baronet, (Sir Wil-

passed, the trade would
11 be

r advocates crux. out, that if this bill
c e ruined. Had that been true, the

lation of the, middle passage, these
gentlemen andolth'elie


House would not be debating the subject now before them ;
arusepsool inituttleihoirnseslsivaobrifjc


ec th?ad the House on the suggestions of these
gentlemen with respect to the dangers to the trade from the


year; and the question was, whether the

effectual. Upon

or would not go into a committee on Thursday

rence of the legislative body of our colonies, before it could

that -

theu abolition should be with the concur

po what principle it was that we were to
L 4


[Feb. 26.
anticipate their refusing to concur with us, he knew not; nor,if

we had no influence whatever over them, and they wered
etermined to thwart our intentions, how fir it might be

deemed prudent for us, under such circumstances, to
con-tinue our connection with them, he would not now discuss;

but of this he was sure, that the House had power over the
trade of this country, and could say under what regulations
it should be carried on, and when it should cease, or how
long they would suffer by an acknowledged evil. He ad-
verted to the observation, that this trade was to be abolished
by menaces, and maintained that nothing at any time, par-
ticularly at the present, ought to be more strongly guarded
against, than that of holding out to the public an idea that the
proceedings of that House were influenced by the dread of
menaces, r

eproaches, or even the loss of popularity; that
their votes were the effect of compulsion, and that the moment
they dared to do so, they would rescind them. He trusted
to God that the vote of every one who assented to the re-
solutions of last year, was the result of conviction ; he trusted,
too, that a vote so much to their honour, and which had
entitled them to the applause of all Europe, would not now
be abandoned. He said he had heard it hinted, that a time
of war was improper for the discussion of this subject. He
confessed he did not see the propriety of that objection; at
all events, if it was an objection, it was such as would be very
well discussed in a committee; and then it might be deter-
mined, whether the circumstances of this war were such as
to call upon parliament to continue the evil of the slave trade.
He should be of a contrary opinion, and contend, that allthe a

rguments upon the danger of tumult and insurrection,.
would not apply to the present subject. He therefore should

.14advise the House to regard the present as a very fit time totake this subject up, and to shew to all Europe that the
parliament of Great Britain never lost sight of the principles
of honour, justice, and humanity; that their government washo

nourable, that their pledge was faithfully adhered to, that
while they declared they detested anarchy and confusion,
they also loved the principles of real liberty, that they sin-

cerely wished for the happiness of mankind, and revered the

s of nature.
Mr. Fox then observed, that if there were any objections

to the /ate resolutions in any particular part, such objection
would come regularly before the committee on Thursday,
and could then be argued; for as to the danger of agitating
it, lie confessed he differed entirely from those who expressedtheir apprehensions upon that subject; or, if there was any
danger in that respect, it must arise from its not being ag t-



toted while there was a difference of opinion; agitation was
necessary to set that difference at rest. Indeed, he once
hoped that the House would not now have had to debate the
question at all, and that the abolition would by this time have
passed into a law. He should not DOW pretend to anticipate
the discussion of the House of Lords; lie hoped, that their
decision would be agreeable to the principles of justice and
humanity ; in the mean time, the House of Commons should
not slacken its efforts. If the course of the discussion in the
other House should lead to such a length, or should take a
turn that would render hopeless the thought of its corning
to a conclusion this session, then he should advise the bring-
ing forward of some other measure that might give efficacy
to the resolutions, which had for their object the immediate
regulation of the trade, independent of the total abolition
in the year 1796.

Mr. Fox next took notice of the trial of Captain Kimber,
on which so much stress had been laid. He said he could
have wished that it had not been alluded to at all, because
it was not regularly before the House; but, as it had been
alluded to, he would only say, in the most constitutional
language he could, that as Captain Kimber had been ac-
quitted, he hoped and trusted that he was innocent, and, as
Mr. Devereux was acquitted also, he hoped and trusted that
lie was innocent; but he believed there were none in that
House who voted for the resolutions last year solely upon
the representation of the subject which brought Captain
Kimber upon his trial; if there were, let such person vote,
if he thought proper, against the resolutions in the com-
mittee upon this occasion; at all events, the House had no
reason for refusing to go into the subject this session.

Upon the point of humanity, which had been so much
urged on a former occasion in favour of the West-India
planters, he must do the honourable gentleman who origi-
nated this subject in that House the justice to say, that he
had always allowed to these observations their full force, and
that he had admitted the truth of many specific acts men-
tioned in support of the humanity of these planters; at the'
same time, he did not sec any thing in the nature of the traffic

of these planters, or any thin °. in the spirit of slavery, toinduce him to suppose that those who dealt in it surpassed theirfellow

-creatures in the offices of tenderness and humanity,
nor any thing in the nature of absolute power, that was likely


possessors from the common frailties of our

reifthese gentlemen had these feelings in so emi-
these resolutions were so far favourable tohem)

as to set them free from a station so obnoxious.

To return to the point more immediately before the House:

he complained of an evil and an abuse which he maintained it
was practicable to remove, and, as he had before hinted, if
the proceedings of another place should be such as not to
give satisfaction, that they would be removed, and that the
first resolution for abolition in 1796 should pass this session,
then that House should substitute such other remedies as
might meet their ideas upon the regulation of the trade be-
tween this time and the period of final abolition. Until these
points should have been fairly canvassed by argument, be
trusted that the House would not pursue a step so derogatory
to its own honour and dignity, so unsatisfactory to the public
in general, as to relinquish their former opinion, or, in other
words, to tell the world at large, that there was no sincerity
in their declaration on a former day, that they had completely
given up even the gradual abolition of the slave trade, and
that they never would resolve upon that measure at this or
any other period.

The House divided on Mr.Wilberforce's motion.

yEA s Mr. John Smyth

/ Mr. M. Montagu 1
or5 3 .— No ES L d Sheffieldeie5- oMr. Tarleton S 61.

So it passed in the negative. Sir William Young's motion, for
not going into a committee until that clay six months, was then
agreed to.


March 4.

ON the 4th of March Mr. Sheridan brought forward his promisedmotion: the object of which was, " That this House will, upon
this day s'en-night, resolve itself into a committee of the whole
House, to consider of the seditious practices and insurrections re-
ferred to in his majesty's speech at the opening of the present
session of parliament." After the motion had been seconded by
Mr. Lambton, and opposed by Mr. 'Windham, and the Lord Mayor,
Sir James Saunclerson,

Mr. Fox said, that from the speech of his honourable friend
behind him (Mr. Windham), at least till towards the con-
clusion of it, he had hoped for a speedy termination of the

I 0


d .atebe
He would not • say, that he was not much interested

in the fate of the present motion, but his anxiety was greatly
lessened, from the reflection, that great part of its object had
been already obtained ; for to have drawn from his honour-
able friend, now so strenuous a supporter of; and so much
in the confidence of the minister, a total disavowal of all those
supposed plots and insurrections by which be late alarm had
been excited, was undoubtedly a great point gained. His
honourable friend had now expressly acknowledged, that no
insurrections or plots, in the sense meant by the mover of the
present question, had ever existed. But did this agree with
what had been held out by ministers? No : plots and insur-
rections of different kinds, and in different places, had been
held forth ; a conspiracy had even been talked of for taking
possession of the Tower, and the time specified when it was to
have taken place. All this, however, was now given up. His •
honourable friend seemed fond of Clealing altogether in ge-
nerals, and in his support of the present administration, lie had
adopted the prudent plan of giving up both fact and argument ;
for he could otherwise give them no consistent support. He
complained of being misrepresented when he was stated to
have said that he gave ministers his support, because he enter-
tained a bad opinion of them : but lie did unquestionably say,
that his obligation to strengthen the executive government
might become, on that account, the more binding. There seem-
ed, therefore, little ground to complain of misrepresentation.
Was it however, said Mr. Fox, or could it be deemed unrea-
sonable, that the denial now given by his honourable friend
should be given formally by the House, that they might give
a vote of quiet to the minds of the people? This, the fortifi-
cations at the Tower, and other circumstances calculated to
impress the minds of the people with serious alarm, rendered
,the more indispensably requisite.

Mr. Fox next adverted to what had been said of the clubs
at Cromer, in Norfolk ; and urged, that if his honourable
friend with been so much misinformed, as he had undoubtedly
b en,
miles of his

to what happened in a village within two

ed him to be
own house, he should have hoped it might have

l more j alous of the information he received as
to other clubs and associations. Mr. Fox said, that he and
his friends were not obstinate infidels ; they desired only to
be convinced, and would readily alter their opinion if they
saw any reasonable evidence to induce them so to do. As' to
what had been said by his honourable friend, that no pretext
had been held forth by ministers to justify the proclamations
for calling out the militia, and for the meeting of parliament,
but that they had fairly and distinctly stated the fact; he must




o 1

The worthy chief magistrate for the city had observed, _dui
the number of disaffected had decreased in Novembor; but
that they now increased. And was not a war theye-ry means
of procuring such increase? kr. Fox now adverted to the
proceedings of Mr. Reeves's association in receiving and con-
sidering anonymous informations, and transmitting them to
government ; which he reprobated in the strongest and most
emphatical terms, as destructive both of the peace and charac-
ter of individuals in all probability innocent, and totally sub-
versive of every principle of liberty.

With respect to the present circumstances of the country,
Mr. Fox said it was undoubtedly true, that many of those
friends whom he highly respected, and with whom lie had long
been accustomed to think and act, entertained a much greater
degree of alarm than he did, and, of course, differed with him
in some degree as to the extent of the support which should
be given at this time to the executive government. They
acted, he knew, on the most honourable principles ; and lie
had the satisfaction also to know, that that temporary disagree-
ment in opinion, on the present occasion, made no difference
whatever in the great line of their political principles ; in their
disapprobation both of the general system of the present admi-
nistration, and of the way by which they came into office. He
said, that the direct lie had now been given to the contents of
many pamphlets equally dangerous with any of Paine's books,
particularly one, called the Dream of an Englishman, and
others ; which had been industriously circulated to spread
alarm and distress over the face of the country. Was it to be
held a justifiable expedient of government to tell the public,
that treasons and conspiracies existed, and neither to prose-
cute nor endeavour to discover the conspirators and traitors ?
He and his friends might be supposed to speak as if they felt
galled upon the subject. He owned he did speak with some
such feeling, because lie knew it had been confidently said
that letters had been written by him and his friends, to per-
sons in France, of a dangerous tendency, and that it was only
owing to the lenity of ministers that they were not produced.
If ministers were in possession of any such letters, he chal-
lenged them to the proof. But he should be told, it was an
aukward thing to produce letters opened at the post-office.


To that lie should answer, the aukwardness was in opening
them at the post-office. It did, however, so happen, that for,
he believed, more than two years, lie had not had occasion to
write a single letter to France, except one to an English
friend (Lord Lauderdale) when at Paris. Again he should be
told, that he had seen Frenchmen in this country ; that he
had seen the French minister. He had seen Frenchmen here,
and had seen the French minister; but lie had yet to learn
that it was any crime for him or any gentleman to see the
minister sent to our court from any country. He knew
of no law by which members of parliament, like senators of
Venice, were prohibited from even conversing with the mi-
nisters of foreign states. \Vas it not a situation of the country
horrible to relate, that men's correspondence and conver-
sation were to be pried into with such inquisitorial jealousy, as
to make it dangerous for them to commit their thoughts to
paper, or to converse with a stranger but in the presence of a
third person ? Let the House do away all these suspicions and
rumours by an honest inquiry, and restore the public to that
freedom and confidence, both of writing and speech, which it
was the pride of our constitution to bestow, and which became
the frank and open character of a free people.

His honourable friend had said, that these plotters
against the constitution were only quiet like a gang of house-
breakers who had disturbed the family, watching for an op-
portunity to repeat the attempt : but what would be the
conduct of his honourable friend if he were really alarmed by
house-breakers? Would he make no inquiry to discover the
gang, and thereby prevent them from repeating the attempt?
Or would he adopt the spirit of a bill once proposed in that
House, in consequence of numerous burglaries, of which
Jews were suspectedto be the perpetr ators ? The tenor of
this bill was, that any Jew or suspected person seen looking
down_ an area, should be guilty of death. If the House re-
fused to inquire into the grounds of the suspicions to which
they had given the sanction of their belief, they put every
person upon whom suspicion fell into almost as bad a situ-
ation as the suspected persons under such a bill. A circum-
stance creltsipbeicldrb


the secession of some gentlemen from the

not been mentione i
alluded to, which he could have wished


that secession: but

n that place. The honourable ger:-
deman said lie lla canvassed for no persons to join him in
one it a canvass .

i.2tt H

was not


that mode

de in

whichble he had


the fr.
his friend, because be told him so : he knew that


fie no other
of the honourable gentleman; but hadl pool's but the circumstance just mentioned, and

beg leave to observe, that a true fact might frequently be used
as afillse pretext ; and here, by his honourable friend's own
account of the matter, the insurrections satisfied at most but
the letter of the law; while a cause totally different, and un-
connected either with these insurrections or with the purview
of the act of parliament, was recurred to in order to satisfy
the spirit of the act.

62 BUDGET FOR THE YEAR 1793. [March I r.
the publication connected with it, lie should not be so pre-
sumptuous as to hope that any friendship existed between
them. His .honourable friend, whom he never suspected of
intending to support administration in any other mode than
that which he professed, was, perhaps, : raising a sort of in-
dependent corps, 'and some might be induced to join it, pre-
ferring that mode of quitting their old friends to a more open
desertion. But his honourable friend would recollect, that...-
these independent companies, when once raised, were always
incorporated with the regular battalions. The operation of
fear was not easily calculated, when they saw already that it
had made a chancellor. To his honourable friend it had
produced only reputation. He was now extolled as one of
the very first men in the country, not for those virtues and
abilities that well entitled him to the rank, but for his quick
sense of alarm, and his perseverance in dismay. 'When fear
could thus confer both profit and reputation, there was no
saying to what men might aspire by this glorious kind of mag-
nanimous timidity. Mr. Fox concluded with declaring, that
he was still incredulous, and should vote for inquiry ; which
was never more necessary than when the situation of the
country was apprehended to be dangerous.

The motiolkwas afterwards opposed by Mr.Burke, and negatived
without a division.


rrHE House having resolved itself into a committee of ways
_L and means, Mr. Pitt entered into a detail of the expences of

the current year, and of the means and aid by which they were to
he supplied. After Mr. Sheridan and Mr. Drake had spoken,

Mr. Fox said, that he came down to the House not without
anxiety, but it had afforded him the most sincere pleasure to
learn from the right honourable the chancellor of the ex-
chequer, at the beginning of his speech, that he meant to
go on a large scale, in providing for the vigorous prosecution
of the war in which this country was actually engaged ; and
he also approved of reducing the unfunded debt; but it was
surely rather singular, that while the right honourable gen-
tleman was proposing to pay off 1,5 oo,oco/. of exchequer bills,
he was at the same time to issue exchequer bills to that amount
on a vote of credit. He most sincerely wished that the right

793'3 BUDGET FOR THE YEAR 1793, 63

honourable gentleman, instead of speculating as he had done,
had deigned to follow the advice which he had given in the
last session, as to paying off the 4 per cents. Had he done
so, and paid off the 4 per cents when at 95, a permanent
resource of no less than 2 40,000/. would have been gained to
_the public. Mr. Fox expressed, in strong terms, his surprise
and alarm at that part of the right honourable gentleman's
speech, where he spoke of our entering into numerous al-
liances with foreign powers, besides those in which we were
now engaged. lie anxiously wished to be informed what
alliances were meant, as he dreaded much our being led into
dangerous and improper engagements for the prosecution of
the most unjustifiable purposes. It must surely appear rather
singular to bring forward, as a new and unforeseen resource,
that which might arise from a continuation of the temporary
taxes imposed for defraying the expellees of the Spanish ar-
mament. This must have occurred to every body ; and the
continuing these taxes after the period of their expiration,
was, in fact, the same thing as imposing new taxes; though
he did not mean to say that it was not better to continue
taxes already existing, than to lay on the people any burden
which they had not hitherto born. The right honourable
gentleman had assumed to himself much credit from refrain-
ing to say any thing on the flourishing state of our finances,
in the-discussions with respect to the war. He sincerely
wished that a similar conduct had been followed on the pre-
sent occasion, as it appeared to him not less improper to
bring forward any declaration or observations as to the nature
and -objects of the war in a discussion with respect to finance.
To do so, besides being improper, he thought perfectly useless;.
for, if the war was so necessary as had been represented, in-
volving in it every thing that was dear and valuable to this
country, no matter what our situation in point of finance, no
object of that kind could have prevented our engaging in it;
on the other hand, however prosperous and flourishing the
situation of our finances, if the war was not necessary, that
surely could be no argument for engaging in it.

After the various discussions on the subject of the war thatn
had taken place in that House, it seemed singular that the
right honourable gentleman should suppose that he could, by
declamation, add any thing to what had been already said ;
for lredl

1t hat he had heard of wars for honour, and wars

and had asked, if ever there was a war in which

so deeply religion, and every thing dear to a nation,
wimplicated ? a mode of reasoning specious
enough to impose upon some people. But the answer he
would give to it would be this Can we gain more by the



64 BUDGET FOR, THE YEAR 1793. [March
event of war, than might, in all probability, have been ob-
tained by negociation ? The relinquishment by the French
of their conquests, the explanation or repeal of their offensive
decrees, the safety of our allies, all these he thought, in the
situation of this country, might have been procured by nego-
ciation. He should be told, however, that supposing this to
be so, what security could we have for the performance of
these engagements on the part of the French ? What better
security, he would ask, could we have after the war ? Unless,
indeed, we were going to war, not for the purpose of forcing
France to relinquish Savoy and her other conquests, or of pre-
venting the increase of her power; but for the purpose of in-
terfering in the internal affairs of France, and of substituting,
in room of the present, a new government, in which we
might place greater reliance. This purpose of the war had
been approved by some persons : but had been uniformly and.
explicitly disavowed by the minister, and was so, in the
clearest and most express terms, at the time he brought down
his majesty's message respecting the war. The language now
held, and the declamation they had heard that day, called for
a distinct explanation upon this most important point. The
right honourable gentleman had asked, why should war
diminish the revenue ? But, were not flourishing commerce
and manufactures the greatest support of the revenue? Did
the right honourable gentleman mean to say, that the manu-
facturers of this country would not be injured by war ? Had
he had any information of late from Manchester, Paisley,
Norwich, and other places, which had induced him to form this

• opinion ? If so, Mr. Fox declared that his information had been
directly the reverse: but this would not certainly operate in.
any degree upon his mind, did he conceive the honour and
dearest interests of the country to be implicated in the war
to the extent which had been represented. As the subject,
of war would not probably be again debated, he thought it
right to say that he remained of opinion that it might have
been avoided ; and when the right honourable gentleman
talked of the prosperous state of this country last year, he
could not but still more condemn the putting that enviable
prosperity to risk without negotiation.

The right honourable gentleman by his declamation had
drawn from him thus much ; and lie could not conclude with-
out saying a few words on the subject of our East-India affairs.
He had not yet given much examination to the papers laid
before the House relative to that business, but he had bestowed
some consideration on it, and he still wished for a great deal
of information. He joined. with his honourable friend in
being averse to taking at present the sco,000l. stated as a


resource arising to this country from the revenues of India.
The renewal of the charter of the East India company was
the greatest commercial question that had ever been considered

tie legislature of any country. It involved a variety of

objects of such magnitude and importance, that, in com-
petition with them, even this soo,000l. ought to be considered
as nothing. He thought it, therefore, highly improper that
the discussion of such a subject should be cramped or fettered
in any shape. True, the right honourable gentleman had
said that, by taking this 5oo,000l. at present into calculation, the
House would by no means be pledged to a renewal of the East
India company's charter ; but he bad also said that the House
would not surely adopt any regulations with respect to India,
from which the public would not derive at least an equal
profit. If the House was to proceed on this ground, there
could be no fair discussion ; for whatever advantages, either
immediate or eventual, and of how great importance soever,
might appear likely to arise from opening the commerce with

if a revenue of soo,000l. should not be immediately
derived to the public, they would be stopped by the poste-
latuni which had been now laid down. For his part, he
could never think it right or prudent to go into the con-
sideration of a commercial question of such immense magni-
tude cramped in the outset by a sine qua non of this sort. To
him the whole business bore much the appearance.of ministers
baying taken upon them to pledge that House and the public
to a renewal of the company's charter, in a manner disgrace-
ful to the country ; and since the publication of the speech of
another right honourable gentleman, (Mr. Dundas,) the
opinion universally entertained was, that a renewal of the
company's charter was absolutely determined on. He did not
say that lie had made up his mind as to the propriety or im-
propriety of renewing that charter; but it was a matter which

boueht certainly to be decided upon with the greatest deliber-
ation, and gentlemen ought to come to it with their judgments
and opinions totally unfettered and unbiassed.

March I s.

The House being in a committee of supply,

Mr. Fox said, that his support of the war now that we
were engaged in it, was as sincere as that of his majesty's
ministers, although on very different grounds. He wished it
to be supported with vigour, because by a vigorous war, we
should the more speedily obtain adequate and honourable terms

voL. V. P

of peace. Of those terms he had formed a clear and definite
idea : ministers had not, or at least had never condescended
to state any idea on the subject to the House. He certainly
(lid not think supporting the neglect or the blunders of mi-
nisters the best mode of supporting the war : for he knew,
that they, and all other ministers, would do their duty better
by being carefully watched than implicitly trusted, Let the
minister spew that there would have been any danger in send-
ing 2000 men to Holland in the beginning of February, in-
stead of keeping them till towards the end of it, and then•
his argument might be good for something. Would he call
to his aid those plots and insurrections which had been so
much talked of, but never seen, as a pretext for three weeks
delay? Those plots, he imagined, had done their duty, and
were dismissed from the service, to be pressed into it no more.
—Though he had objected to the war in the strongest terms,
he-Wished, as he believed every gentleman did, that it should
now be carried on with vigour; he only regretted, that the
conduct of a.

war so interesting to this country, should be
in the hands of men who had, on every former occasion, as
well as on the present, proved themselves totally unfit for so
very important a trust. The right honourable the chancellor
of the exchequer had talked in a high strain of his con,
sulting the recesses of his own mind, and seemed to think,
that on an occasion like the present, it was the duty of every
member of that House to trust implicitly to the conduct of
his majesty's ministers. Mr. Fox said, he viewed the subject
in a light very different. He believed. that the country had
a far better security for the good conduct of ministers when
they were closely watched, than when they were blindly trusted:
Such, Mr. Fox said, was his opinion ; and a retirement into
the recesses of his own mind, for an examination into the
principles of his conduct, would only afford him fresh sources
of satisfaction.


March r 5.
T.A.P. having been declared against France, it Was deemed

expedient to .prevent all correspondence between British
subjects and the hostile party. To render this prohibition effectual,
the. attorney general Sir John 'Scott moved this day "fon leave
to bring in a bill more effectually to prevent during the war, all



traiterous correspondence with, or aid and assistance being given
to, his majesty's enemies." , The law of treason was founded upon
a statute of the 25th of Edward III. which had been the subject
of legislative exposition in different laws, enacted since that period.
The acts declared treasonable in that statute were principally re-
ducible to two heads ; to compass, that is, to intend or project
the king's -death_;_to- -levy-War against the king, and to abet or
assist his enemies. Since that period, during wars, parliament

genera].had repeatedly passed laws which applied the l principle to
the existing case; by specifically prohibiting adherence or assist-
ance to nations at enmity with our sovereign. Agreeably to the
original statute, and the consequent explanatory acts, the present
bill was framed. Former laws had id such circumstances, pro-
hibited British subjects from sending military stores, arms, am-
munition, and provision, of various enumerated kinds. 'The present
bill, besides interdicting these articles, prohibited purchases of
French funds or French lands. The reason of this prohibition
was, that as the French government proposed to carry on war
against this country by the sale of lands, British subjects, if al-
lowed to purchase such - land, would not only feel an interest in
the property which they had thus acquired, but furnish the enemy
with the means of carrying on war against ourselves. It was
further proposed, that no persons should be allowed to go front
this country into France without a licence under his majesty's
great seal, and that their neglect of this clause should be deemed
a misdemeanour ; and that no persons, though subjects of this
country, coming from France, should be allowed to enter this
kingdom without a passport or licence, or giving to a magistrate
such security as he should require. The last regulation was to
prevent the insurance of vessels which should traffic with France.
the bill, as the attorney general had moved for leave to bring in

Mr. Fox declared, that he could not omit even this first
opportunity to express his disapprobation of a bill, the regu-
lations of which he regarded as useless, unjust, and impolitic.
If the honourable and learned gentleman meant to say, that
there Were doubts to be removed on the law of treason as
it stood, that many points in that law were not well under-
stood, and that the subjects of this country might, without
knowing it, incur the penalties of the law; if the gentlemen
of the long robe, notwithstanding their great learning, said,
that still to them this law was doubtful, it ill became so
unlearned an individual as himself to say, that a bill to
explain that law was not necessary. But he who had never
before heard of those- doubts, had 310 reason till now to
think that law - obscure, and therefore could not feel the ne-
cessity of a bill to explain it. However, if he was deficient
in knowledge upon that subject, he must allow, of course, -*at
9. bill might be necessary for the purpose of explai ging, the




law, and then the question would be, whether the provisions
of the bill now opened conthrmed to that intention. To him.
they appeared of a very extraordinary nature. The first part
that struck his mind was, the restraint upon the purchase,
by any subject of this country, of any land in France. The
bills to which the honourable and learned gentleman had
alluded upon that head as precedents, were not in his mind
very highly deserving of imitation ; for in this, and every
other country calling itself free, he had always held, that pro-
perty was in the highest degree entitled to the protection of
the law; and if so, there could be no doubt but the power
of disposing of it was to be considered under the same pro-
tection; both of which were violated by the present bill.

The second ground upon which the bill proceeded was,
that the possession of land in France, by any of his majesty's
subjects there, might become hostile to the interests of this
country. Should the learned gentleman not have stated some
specific inconvenience that this country had felt by any of
its subjects having possessions in other countries? British
subjects had had from time to time many such possessions,
and no evil, that he ever heard of, had hitherto resulted from
that circumstance : he was firmly convinced, that nothing at
this moment could be more dangerous than holding out that
idea, and that there was not any thing at the present that
made it appear more dangerous to have such possessions than.
at any former period. Indeed, he never expected to hear a
proposition maintained in any part of the world, least of all
in Great Britain, that we should not subscribe to loans, or
engage in the funds of any country; or that those who were
at war with us, were not to have their property considered
as sacred. The direct contrary had hitherto been the rule;
and it had been always held out, that property of every kind
was secured to the use of its possessor, as well during war of
any kind, as in times of the most profound peace? Some-
thing to the reverse of this had been started and proposed
during the American war, respecting property held in Penn-
sylvania; but the minister of that day rejected with disdain.
a proposition so unjust and impolitic; observing, that the
sacredness of the possession of property being the basis of a
free state, the honour, and ultimately, the safety of the king,
dom, might entirely depend upon that principle. This was
wise, as well as honourable. But this principle was totally
destroyed by the spirit of the present bill. Nevertheless, if
we looked at the interest of this country, independent of any
other consideration, he was convinced that we should not be
so rash as to stop the intercourse between this country and
France with respect to the purchase of lands, or the investing

of money in the funds. Had we lost all sense of the ad-
vantage to be derived from keeping that open ? Was it likely
that much of the money of the people of this country would
be laid out in purchases in France? Or was it not rather
more probable, that many of the people of France would
make - purchases _Rith–us-?---We had always encouraged fo-
reigners, even in time of war, to deal in our funds; and we
had always held their property sacred: and he would ask,
whether encouragement affbrded on both sides to deal in
the funds, would operate most in favour of this country
or. of France; of that which had most, or that which had
least credit? Was it to be supposed, that men would be
so blind to their own interest, as not to perceive and avail
themselves of this advantage? But these considerations would
be defeated entirely by the present bill.

The next provision of this measure went to declare it
treason to supply the French, or any in alliance with them,
with arms. If that part of the law was to be thoroughly
revised, perhaps he. might have something to offer to the atten-
tion of the House upon that subject; but, considering all
wars of late years in Europe as contests of revenue, rather
than of arms, he questioned whether it would not be of
advantage to this country to trade with its ene'mics, and
perhaps to sell to them even articles of arms, whilst we had
prompt payment, at our own price, for them. With respect
to the prohibition of Englishmen going to -France without a
passport, as described in the bill, he should pass it by, as he
considered it as the least exceptionable clause. But as to
the provision against Englishmen returning to their country,
it was monstrous enough to make the learned gentleman
himself afraid of stating it. It was giving a power to the
king to banish, during the war, every British subject now in
France. But, it seemed, he had the power of returning in
certain cases, by

o.aivin security and what not for his goodgi ing
behaviour. Who was to be the judge of the amount of that
security? This was to be left to a magistrate. Here again,
a man was to be put under the discretion of another person,
who might render his return impossible by exacting security
to an amount that could not be given. If one man was to
be at the discretion of another in the clearest of his rights,
that of living under the government and partaking of the
advantages of the constitution of his native country, he must
ask, upon what principle it was, that we were daily congra-
tulating each other, and praising our laws to foreign nations?
Where was the foundation of our boasting, if an English
subject, the most meritorious English subject, — and because
he was meritorious he stood a great chance of being obnoxious

r 3

Mr. Fox expressed his surprise that the learned gentleman

should wish to carry, with such precipitation, through the
House, a bill which, lie did not hesitate to say, was an attack
upon the fundamental liberties of Englishmen, and a measure
equally ineffectual, impolitic, and tyrannical. An honourable
gentleman- had differed frounhinron this subject, but had been
so candid as to say, that those who now opposed this bill had,
ever since the year 1783, maintained the most constitutional
principles. It was an adherence to these same principles
which made them now . express their disapprobation of a
measure which every good whig, as a whig, must heartily
reprobate. Time ought to be allowed for discussing it; the
precipitation -with which he saw it was now to be hurried
through the House could answer no other end than that of
preventing discussion. A law of no less import than that
of preventing Britons from returning home to their country,
was, without time for consideration, to be committed the next
day. Why? —for no other purpose than that of hurrying
it through the House before the recess. It was, he said,
to be committed to-morrow, reported on Monday, read a
third time on Tuesday, carried to the Lords on Wednesday,
and on Thursday the recess commenced; so that even by that
method it could not be done, and those who attempted it only
committed a useless act of indecency. He trusted that gen-
tlemen on the other side of the House would not be quite
so precipitate, but would allow some little . delay. The bill
affected the nation at large: it was fit, therefore, that time
should be given for the people to express their opinion upon
it; and lie believed that that opinion would be found to be
extremely unfavourable; for, by what he could learn, no bill
had ever been brought into parliament which was more un-
popular, as far as it yet reached. In short, he considered
it to be such an encroachment on the rights of the people,
and such a degradation of justice, that the House should wait
for the sense of the country. — He declared that there was
not a single clause in the bill to which. he would not, in .the
committee, give his dissent, unless he should find something
stronger in favour of' the clauses than had yet been advanced.
To the clause for making it necessary for Englishmen to
procure passports from the secretary of state, to return to
their own country, he was determined to give the most steady
opposition; for by that clause Englishmen would find them-
tsoelvaesks palasceeccrlet the most degraded situation, when obliged

secretary of state's leave to return to their country
and their homes. For his own part, lie should despise him-


suffer himself to be placed in a situa-

on w
should be obliged to apply to a servant of

P 4

to his majesty's ministers, was to be at the mercy, whim,or

caprice of any creature of the crown, who had the powerto say to him, without assigning a. reason, " You shall not
come over to this country, because I do not chuse you shall

As to the insurance of ships belonging to France, the
question did not involve any principle; for the preventing of
Englishmen from paying the losses of the French was right
enough; but lie wished to know of what utility the prohibi-
tion would be. The truth was, that the premium was always
more than equal to the risk, and the balance was in favour ofthe underwriter. If, for instance, out of one hundred in- •
surances, the profits of the premium was much more than
the loss at the expiration of the policy, then England would
have gained, and France would have lost. Why, then, he titin
must say, that lie did not see the reason for this restraint
upon trade. But, however, he had less objection to this
clause than he had to many of the others, because it appeared
to him to be merely foolish. He ridiculed the attorney ge-
neral's definition of the word correspondence, and thought
that the people of this country needed not to be told, that,
if they entered into any agreement with the enemies of the
state, to perform any thing that tended to its injury, they
were amenable to the law. However, if the learned gen-
tleman thought the people of this country were so ignorant
of their duty to the state, it was kind in him to tell them
what they were liable to in cases of neglect or positive offence.
Mr. Fox concluded with saying, that the whole of the bill,
as opened by the learned gentleman, appeared to him entirely
unnecessary, many parts of it repugnant to the common prin-
ciples of justice, some of them foolish, and he believed it
brought forward with no other view than to disseminate
through the country false and injurious ideas of the existence
of a correspondence between some persons and France, and
alarms of dangers where there were no dangers at all; and
therefore it should meet with his decided opposition, even in
that early stage.

The motion was also warmly opposed by Mr. Erskine ; leave,however, was given to bring in the bill.

March 2 r

This day the bill was read a second time, and on the attorney
general's moving that it be committed to-morrow,


the crown, as a favour, for leave to return to England, or to
his own house.

March 22.

The House went into a committee on the bill. The solicitor
generaliiaving moved, " That the consideration of the preamble
should be postponed till the different clauses of the bill should
be gone through,"

Mr. Fox said he was happy to hear that the gentleman who
brought in the bill began to think that it was not perfect, andb`
that it might want some modification. For his part, he
thought the provisions of the bill to be such as ought to meet
the detestation of the people of this country. He should
attend to whatever modifications should be offered; but the
best modification he knew would be that of expunging all the
clauses out of the bill. He said he wanted to prevent the
progress of a bill, which the imagination of man could hardly
think of without astonishment — a bill which, perhaps, was
never equalled in the despotism of its principle; and he knew
that those who brought it in could not, without considerable
vigilance from others, be prevailed upon to pay any attention
to the constitution of this country. He insisted, that before
a proposition so new and alarming was acceded to, it should
at least be justified by a clear proof of an urgent necessity.
An honourable gentleman (Mr. Anstruther) had quibbled
on this preamble in a most extraordinary manner, and had
been obliged to state it unthirly in order to support his
deduction. lie had asked, whether it could be denied that
it was expedient to prevent corresponding with his majesty's
enemies, &c.; but the words of the preamble were, that 46 it
is expedient more effectually to prevent such correspondence,"
&c.; and he would ask, on the other hand, whether, without
any knowledge of the insufficiency of the existing laws, or
of any dangerous and extraordinary urgency, we should think
it right to go on to the enacting of such dreadful provisions
as some of those which composed this bill ? Gentlemen talked
of what had been clone at the revolution: let them follow
the example of those who acted at that time, by spewing
evidence of the necessity of the present measure. He could
not agree with much that he had heard that night; for, upon
the principle now asserted, if a handful of men, however
insignificant, or however small in number, should happen
to entertain opinions subversive of the established constitu-
tion, this alone would be held sufficient to justify the invest-

I 793:3

mpg government with the most arbitrary powers,- though there
existed, in fact, no real danger. An honourable gentleman
(Mr. Hawkins Browne) had said, that, if he were a jacobite,
he would not take the part even of his favourite monarch,
if imposed on him by the power of France. For his part, if
the constitution which he so much venerated was to be de-
stroyed, he did n its ts overthrow should come
from France, or originate at home : he would support mi-
nisters in carrying on the war, but he would not agree to
undermine the constitution ; and he could not give his con-
currence to the proceeding one step farther in the present
bill, without evidence of some great and urgent necessity.
It had been hinted, that inconveniencies had arisen during
the American war, from improper intercourse with the
enemy; for his part, he had never before heard of it, and
he was sure no such thing had ever been proved. He be-
lieved that, during the war which begun in 1756 and ended
in 1763, less restrictions had been imposed than in any
other war, and he would submit it to gentlemen, without
any observation, whether this had been attended with any
bad consequences.

April 4.

The House being again in a committee on the bill, the clause
which went to prohibit the return into this country of any of his
majesty's subjects without his leave, being read for the purpose of
negativing the clause, Mr. Whitbread said, he thought the clause
so detestable, that even in its death he could not help taking
notice of 'its character ; he could not allow it the benefit of the
old charitable sentence, de mortuis nil nisi bonum ; on the con-.
trary, he should apply to it the lines written on a tombstone,

" Lie still if you 're wise,
You 're damn'd if you rise."

But this was not all ; he had a question to ask the solicitor general,
and it arose out of this clause, although it was to be negatived.
The reasons assigned by the gentlemen who brought in this bill
for negativing this clause, made his question necessary. They
had insinuated, that the clause was not strictly necessary to the
purpose which it tended to support, as his majesty by proclama-
tion could order what was necessary for the safety of the state.
A proclamation had issued to that effect, forbidding, for a time,
subjects of this country from returning into it, under certain
restrictions. He wished to know of the solicitor general, whether
the king was empowered by law to issue any proclamation, for-
bidding the return into this country of any one of the subjects

[April 4.

of it not convicted of a crime ? Had the King of England the
power, by law, to hinder the return of such a man to his native
country ? The question he thought necessary to be determined
before the clause now before the committee was negatived, because
they should take care upon that negative not to give an oblique
sanction to a principle of tyranny, much more dangerous even
than the effect could be of passing the clause itself : he had heard
that a proclamation to this effect had passed with regard to certain
persons lately arrived from France at Dover, but he had not read
it ; he wished to know whether the law officer of the crown would
say, that such a proclamation was warranted by the law of Eng-
land? — The solicitor general said, that with respect. to the legal
point to which the honourable gentleman had alluded, certainly
his majesty had a right to make a regulation upon the general
policy of this country.

Mr. Pox took fire at these expressions, and, in a strain of
uncommon animation, proceeded to refute the principles
which they appeared to him to support. He said, that he
had, ever since he thought upon the subject, wholly and en-
tirely misunderstood the law, if the king had the power,
which the answer of the honourable and} learned gentleman
insinuated. If the king had the right of preventing any person
from returning to this country, under the specious mask of regu-
lating its general policy, he had in fact the power of expelling
from his native land for ever any person he might think proper.
He knew, in fact, the king had no such power; and therefore
it was that he rose to make these observations, and with them
to defy any man in that House, or any man in this world, to
prove, that the King of England had by law a right to say to -
any subject not convicted of an offence against the law-
" You shall not return to Great Britain without a passport
from me." If the king had ever, if the king should ever, issue
a proclamation to that effect, he would say and maintain,
without the least fear of the colour of refutation by argument,
that such a proclamation was and would be irregular, illegal,
and highly unconstitutional. He believed, that if the trans-
action alluded to, and which happened atDover, should ever be
fairly canvassed, it would be found to be a shameful violation
of the law of this country, and a revival of the principle of
the clause which had just been read, — a principle which would,
to a certain degree, attach shame, scandal, and disgrace on
that House, for having once given to it the colour of a sanction,
by giving leave to bring in a bill which contained a clause to
favour it. " The king had a right to regulate upon points of
general policy in this country." Had he, indeed ! Had he
a right to say to an Englishman, " You shall not return to
England without my passport?" If he had, then it was high


time to examine into the expediency of suffering such a pre-
rogative to continue — high time to enquire whether some
means could not be devised to limit the extent, and regulate
the exercise of that prerogative. But, said Mr. Fox, 1 tun sure
he has not, and never ought to have, and never will have,
unless this House shall scandalously _neglect its duty ; but I
wish the solicitor-general would--have the goodness to explain
what he meant by those ambiguous words which he gave in
answer to so very plain a question, and that he would not
leave us under so just a terror for the fate of the constitu-
tion of our country.

In answer to Mr. Pitt, who defended the expressions of the
solicitor general,

Mr. Fox rose again and maintained, that the words of the
solicitor general tended in effect to convey to the House the
most odious and detestable principle, and such as he was sure
did not belong to the constitution of this country. He would
say they were material words, for the words of any high law
authority in that House were always important, and would
be dangerous, if not refuted when they were wrong, because
they would form, as it were, a sort of precedent by acqui-
escence; they were words at which he was justly alarmed,
when he compared them with the plain question to which
they were an answer. " I say," said Mr. Fox, " I am justly
alarmed when I hear such sentiments from such a quarter,
for it is not his own opinion merely that the learned gen
tleman is speaking. I say that I am justly alarmed for the
liberties of the country, when such exploded doctrines upon
the king's prerogative are attempted to be revived; doc-
trines, to explode which the best treasure of this country
was expended, and the purest blood shed." He said, he
was sure that the observation of the learned gentleman up-
on the king's prerogative was worse than the clause which
he gave up—a clause which he would have had gone out of
that House with the stigma that belonged to it ; but the clause
was to be superseded by doctrines worse than its contents. At
these attempts it was high time to be alarmed.

The clause was negatived.

April 8.

The House having gone through all the amendments made in
the bill by the committee, Mr. Adam said, he would then pro-

[April B.

pose a clause, of which he had given notice on a former day.
By the law of high treason in general, every person accused
of treason was entitled to be heard by counsel on questions of
fact as well as of law; to have a copy of the indictment, and
a list of' the witnesses ten days before trial ; by the same
law no person accused could be convicted unless the overt act
of treason was proved by two witnesses. But parliament having
made the counterfeiting of the king's coin, the great seal, &c.
high treason, had made a distinction between treasons of that
description, and treasons against the king's life, or making war
upon him, or adhering to his enemies : for a person accused
of counterfeiting the coin, for instance, though charged with
high treason, was not entitled to a copy of the indictment or
to a list of the witnesses, nor was it necessary that the fact
should be proved by two witnesses, nor was counsel allowed to
speak in behalf' of the prisoner, except a question of law should
arise. The ground for this distinction was, that the latter kind
of treasons (lid not work a corruption of blood, or a forfeiture
of the estate, of the party convicted ; and as the punishment
was the less severe, so the aids allowed to the accused for
making his defence were also less. Mr. Adam laboured to
shew that the distinction did not apply to the acts which were
to be made treason by the present bill ; for they were such as
might be considered as coming within that branch of the statute
of the 25th of Edw. III. relative to "adhering to the king's
enemies," and consequently a person brought to trial upon the
present bill, was, in point of reason, intitled to all the aids
which were allowed by law to persons making their defence
against a charge of high treason. But these aids, it seemed,6
were to be denied under the present bill, fbr this reason, that
it was not to work corruption of blood, or forfeiture of estate ;
but the reason did not appear to him to be a sound one, for
the House must know, that by the 7th A nne it was enacted,
that corruption of blood and forfeiture of estate should no longer
be the consequence of a conviction of high treason, after the
death of the then pretender to the crown. By the 17th Geo. IL
the period when corruption of blood and forfeiture should no
!ringer attach upon treason, was removed to a more distant
time, and was to take place at the death of the two sons of
that pretender. One of these, it was well known, had died afew years ago ; the other, who was Cardinal York, was an aged
person, and at his death, which could not, in the course of nature,
be very distant, all corruption of blood and forfeiture for high
treason were by law to cease in England. And yet, after that
period, a person accused of high treason would be still intitled
to all the aids which he had already mentioned ; so that it could
not be said that those aids were allowed by law, merely because
the corruption and forfeiture of estate were consequences of a
conviction on charge of high treason. Mr. Adam argued to
shew that there was no analogy between the act of counterfeiting
the king's coin, and, for instance, remitting money to France,du-
ring the present war ; it was true, that after the passing of this


bill, these two acts would in law amount to high treason, yet
the latter alone could be said to partake of the nature of treason,
as it argued an adhering to the king's enemies ; and the former
was allowed by all able law authorities to be rather a species of
fraud, and what was called the crimen falsi, than high treason;
and to have been called treason, only because it was an act in
which the public had a concern. As, therefore, these treasons
differed widely in their nature, a distinction, he contended, might
well be expected in the aids to be allowed to persons indicted, as
to the means of their defence. On these grounds he would move
for leave to bring up a clause, the object of which was to extend
to persons who should be tried under this act, the indulgence
allowed by the 7th William III. and 7th Queen Ann ..to per.
sons accused of high treason, under the z 5th of Edward III.=
The attorney general opposed the admission of.-We clause : he
said it went to open a very wide discussion indeed, namely,
whether all those aids which the learned gentleman had enu-
merated, as granted by law to persons accused of high treason,
should also be allowed in cases of felony ; for though coun-
terfeiting the king's coin, for instance, was in name high treason,
it was, as to its effects upon the blood and property of the
convict, no more than felony. If the proposed relief was proper
in this case, he saw no reason why it ought not to be extended
also to those who should hereafter be accused of felony.

Mr. Fox expressed his surprise that the learned gentleman
should have confounded two things, which in their nature
were widely different. A copy of the indictment, a list of the
witnesses, and the aid of counsel in matters of fact as well as
law, were allowed to persons accused of high treason, but not
to persons accused of felony ; the reason of the difference was
obvious; prosecutions for felonies were usually brought by
private individuals, who could not be supposed to have any
extraordinary influence with either judge or jury ; but prose-
cutions for high treason were always brought by the crown ;
the aids, therefore, which the law allowed to a person accused
of treason, were so many shields given to him to defend him-
self, and prevent him from being overborne by the weight, or
influence, or passions of the chief magistrate or his ministers.
These shields must, of course, on this principle, be as neces-
sary in a prosecution on the present bill, as in one on the 25th
of Edward III., as in both cases it would be carried only by
the public accuser at the command of the crown. It was al-
lowed that at the death of Cardinal York all treasons would
be precisely on a level, as far as they affected the inheritable
quality of the blood, and the property of the person convicted ;
what a miserable thing, then, must it be to say, that in a prose-
cution for an act done against the present bill, a man should
he refused a copy of his indictment, and the other aids al-


[April 8.

lowed by law in cases of high treason, merely because the aged
cardinal had not yet paid the debt of nature ! He was glad,
he said, that the penalty Hider this bill was not to be greater
than that to which persons were subjected who were convicted
of counterfeiting the greatseal ; but, on the other hand, he feared
that this seeming lenity was not what it appeared to be, the
child of mercy ; he apprehended that its object was to facili-
tate the conviction of the accused, by taking from him the
means of defence, which he might claim as his right, if the
bill left the enumerated acts within the statute of the 25th of
Edward III. These acts might be considered as proofs of
an adherence to the king's enemies, and consequently came
within the species of treason on which corruption of blood
attached; but, by classing them under the head of treasons
which did not operate a corruption of blood, the framers of the
bill had contrived to take from the accused the means of de-
fence, under the appearance of lenity. Of all the characters
of cruelty, he considered that as the most odious which as-
sumed the garb of mercy : such was the case here; under the
pretence of mercy to the accused, in not charging him with
corruption of blood, he was to be deprived of the means of
making his defence. That he might not stand a chance in
the contest, his shield was to be taken from him. The list of
the jury, to give him the benefit of the challenge—the list of
witnesses, to enable him to detect conspiracies and to pre-
vent perjury — the copy of the charge ten days before the
trial, to enable him to prepare himself for the awl day —
the assistance of a learned gentleman to speak for an unlearned
man—all the arms and means of protection with which the
humanity of the law of England had fortified an individual,
when accused by the crown, were to be taken away. Harsh-
ness and severity were to be substituted for tenderness and
compassion ; and then he was to be insulted by being told he
was spared the corruption of blood ! But, really, it seemed to
him as if some gentlemen thought there ought to be a law for
the facility of conviction of high treason; and if so, why did
they not speak out boldly, and alter the preamble of the bill,
and word it to this effect—" Whereas by allowing prisoners
lists of evidence and juries, copies of indictments, and other
means of defence, it has been difficult to convict them, be it
therefore enacted, &c." He said, he should, on the third
reading of the bill, have another opportunity of opposing its - 11
principle, a principle which would appear somewhat less ty- ',!!
rannical if the proposed clause was admitted, but which must
be still more odious if it was rejected.

The clause proposed by Mr. Adam was negatived by I to to 32-



April 9.

pn the motion, that the bill do pass,

Mr. Fox said, that as in every stage of this bill he had
entered his protest against it, he should conceive himself want-
ing in his duty to himself and to his constituents, if he now

He therefore was ready to de-safered it to pass in silence.
dare, that in the course of his parliamentary life he had
never seen a bill so unfounded in policy, and which was
contrived so effectually to violate every principle of justice,
humanity, and the constitution, as the one in question. The
right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer had, in.
fending it, confounded two things, in their nature_the'inost
distinct, the principle and the pretext of the bill. He had
said, that the principle must be unobjectionable, because it
was to prevent supplies of military stores and other necessaries
from being carried to the enemy ; but this was the pretext for
bringing in the bill, not the principle on which it was founded.
The bill was much better calculated for entrapping indivi-
duals, than for guarding them against the perils of high

Mr. Fox said, it would be discovered that they who op-
posed the bill were, in truth, the sole persons who endea-
voured to thwart the designsof our adversaries, while its sup-
porters were giving every advantage to our foreign foes. But
on the grounds of its impolicy he did not now mean to argue.
He recurred to the principles of justice and humanity, which
were superior to all policy, and on which alone true policy
could rest. In the introduction of this bill, it had been' said,
that part of it was declaratory of the old law, and part of it
contained new enactments. But, we were now told, that all
of it was both declaratory and new; and by this sophistical
quibbling, the understanding was confounded, and gentlemen
Ie,oreaedtt.t loss what opinion to form, or upon what 'ground topr c

The first clause was merely declaratory. It did not abrogate
the statute of the 25th Edward III. It did not make that
not to be treason which before was treason, under pretence of
defining the law of treason ; it served as a snare to entrap the
unwary the and inconsiderate. It would have been more proper,
more candid, and more just, openly and specifically to have
stated, whether sending cloth to France was or was not trea-
son. This might easily have been done by an express clause

purpose ; whereas, according to the present existing

[April 9;

law, if the bill should pass, these clothiers would still be liable
to the penalties of the old law, without the possibility of their
knowing whether they were guilty or not, and at the same
time rendered obnoxious to a severer punishment than that
which the present bill inflicted. He would not repeat the
arguments he had formerly adduced against the first clause of
the bill. By the wording of it, however, he could not help
again observing, that the mere agreement to commit an of
fence, and the offence itself were put upon the same footing,
and liable to the same consequences. Inchoate crimes were
classed in the same degree of enormity with those which were
completed; and, by this confusion, every rational doctrine of
criminal jurisprudence destroyed. Although a verbal agree-
ment for a lease of above three years, and for a sale of goods
above the value of ten pounds, was declared absolutely void
by the statute of the 29th Charles II., because of the ease
with which perjury in these cases might be committed, yet this
bill wantonly exposed the life of an individual in cases
where perjury might be perpetrated with equal facility. The
former wise statute would not permit the fortune of a man to
be injured by such means; the present bloody bill exposed
his life to destruction in similar circumstances. This was,
indeed, a sanguinary part of the clause; and late as the stage
of this bill was, he trusted the House would still recede from
it, covered with shame and confusion for having entertained
it so long.

There was another clause in it, which was also sanguinary,
.but which was, if possible, more absurd than sanguinary; it
was that which made it death in an Englishman — to do
what ? To return to his native country ! An Englishman
might go to Ireland, and there agree, without guilt, for theipurchase of an estate in France; he might go to Hamburgh,
and there make a like agreement, and that would be only an
inchoate crime : he might pay the purchase money, and by

• his attorney take possession of the estate; all this would not
amount to high treason; but should he after this, return to
his native land, this return would consummate his guilt, and
bring upon him the penalties of treason. Some gentlemen
might think such a clause as this without a precedent; but,
in fact, it was not, it was stolen from the national convention,
where the most arbitrary laws were enacted for ascertaining ,.
who should be deemed emigrants, and which afterwards de-
voted them to death, if they. should presume ever to return
to their native country.

In the discussion which had taken place last night, it had
been asserted, that no act was tyrannical which tended to
bring the guilty to a certain and speedy conviction; but, was


Trot the acquittal of innocence, as well as the punishment of
an essential object in every humane code of criminal

law ? Why, therefore, were persons, who were indicted un-
der this act, to be deprived of the benefits of the statutes of
William and Anne ? By these acts, a copy of the indictment
was to be ;ranted to the prisoner; counsel were permitted to
plead for him on questions of fact, as well as questions of law,
and what was, perhaps, of more importance, were allowed free
communication with him at all times. To these important
privileges were superadded that of having a list of the jury
who were to try the prisoners, and of the witnesses who were
to be adduced against him. A reason had indeed been as-
signed by the right honourable the chancellor of the ex-
chequer, for withholding this privilege in the present_ in` _
stance, which he confessed he was sorry, as well as ashamed,
to hear assigned. The House had been told, that this privi-
lege was rendered perfectly nugatory, because the crown could
give in such a numerous list of witnesses that the prisoner
could not possibly inquire into their situation, or have an op-
portunity of knowing who were really to be produced against
him. If such an artifice was ever made use of, either by the
right honourable gentleman, or the other servants of the
crown, he trusted there was still virtue enough in the House,
and spirit enough.in the nation, to call them to a severe ac-
count for such notorious misconduct. But, amidst all the
severe enactments with which this bill was filled, they were
still said to be null, because the operation of the laws of for-
feiture was prevented from attaching upon the persons who
might offend within this bill. He lamented, in pathetic terms,
that because this bill was not to work corruption of blood, a
person accused of a breach of it was to be deprived of the aids
and shields which were allowed by the 7th of William III.
to persons accused of high treason; the distinction of treasons,
working and not working corruption of blood, was to cease
at the death of Cardinal York, a period which could not now
be considered as very remote : from all that he had ever heard
of that person, who was by every one represented as a very
meritorious individual, he felt a much greater disposition to
wish him a long life, than to wish for his death; and yet a man
might be tempted to wish for the latter, when he found ae ,
legislature so absurd as to continue a cruel distinction be-

en accused
different species of high treason, and refuse to indivi-

duals of one the in2ulgencies which it allowed when
they were accused of another, and when there existed no


the distinction, than an absurd apprehen-
sion of an invasion from an aged cardinal to revive the claims

VOL. v.

Wart. If any person. unacquaintectwith our



[April 9,

laws, our manners, and our customs, should inquire into the
nature of' a punishment which was said to be lenient, he would
certainly conceive it to be imprisonment or pillory almost ;
but, if he was informed that death, the ultimate right of civil
society on the individual, was still inflicted by this bill, with a
less probable chance of escaping than under the firmer laws
of the country, and with the trifling exemption from forfeiture
and corruption of blood, he might, perhaps, be led to con-
clude, that this tyranny was of all others the most odious
and detestable — a tyranny which wounded under the garb
of mercy.

He could not help again taking notice of the severity of the
bill, in submitting all persons to be tried, without the assist-
ance of a gentleman of the learned profession to address the
jury for them. He must say, that allowing counsel to speak
for them appeared to him an important point. It had, indeed,
been said, that this bill was founded upon the general prin-
ciple of the laws of treason, and on the 25th of Edward III.
That was only a pretext, as he had said before. Was the fact
so ? Not the least like it. Was it no advantage to a poor
man in prison, accused of high treason, to have a counsel
to visit and attend him, and to assist him in making out his
defence ? Was it of no advantage to a person thus accused,
to have a list of his jury before his trial for perusal ? Was
it of no advantage to a person so accused to have a copy of
his indictment several days previous to his being called upon.
to appear upon his trial? Was it no advantage for such a
person to have a list of the witnesses to be examined against
him ? Most unquestionably it was. Under the bill now be-
fore the House, one witness was sufficient; no evidence of
innocence of intention was admissible; no means of defence
provided ; no guards for innocence secured ; no power of
inquiry given; no opportunity of knowing the witnesses af-

Upon the point of the list of witnesses, he sincerely hoped
the chancellor of the exchequer had repented of what he had
said, in answer to that observation yesterday. He was the
minister of the crown; it must be by his advice that the law
officer of the crown was, in a great measure, to conduct
prosecutions for treasons ; and, that such a person, in such a
situation, should say that a trick might be played on the pri-
soner, by sending him a list of witnesses so numerous that he
should not have time to examine it, by which the purpose of
an act of parliament might be defeated, was a declaration of a
most alarming nature to the people of this country. All he
could say was, he hoped no such infamous tricks would be at-
tempted ; but, if there was such an attorney-general in this


country, he hoped there was still spirit enough in the people
to bring him to a proper account for it. If there was such a
minister belonging to the crown, he hoped and trusted there
was spirit enough in that House to bring him to account for
it. He hoped the House would not be reconciled to the re-
mainder of the bill, because several of its harsh, cruel, and
hypocritically lenient clauses were omitted. On the contrary,
emboldened by the success which had attended their endea-
vours, let the House go one step further, and reject the bill al-
together. Much more judicious, manly, and honourable would
it have been, if the promoters of this bill had pursued that
course; but, possessing minds unacquainted with, or hostile to
the constitution, they had thought it more proper to cherish
harsh laws, though they had awkwardly endeavoured to con-
ceal their real sentiments, by expunging clauses introduced by
themselves when the statute would not bear them out, and
proceeded on the supposition of criminality where it could
lend them any assistance. The House would likewise con-
sider the manner in which the bill had been hurried through
the House. They were called upon to meet in Easter-week,
at a time when many gentlemen were necessarily absent, par-
ticularly one honourable and learned friend, (Mr. Erskine,)
from whose knowledge and eloquence so much advantage had
been derived in the commencement of this business, and who
would have been soon enabled to have resumed his seat in the
House. The most gross blunders in respect to the reciprocal
legislations of England and Ireland had been committed ; and,
to facilitate their projects, men had been contented to sacrifice
the natural desire of reputation, arising from their knowledge
of penal legislation and the constitution of their country.
By the exertions of the gentlemen with whom he acted, the
bill had been rendered in some respects less exceptionable ;
and by its total rejection, he hoped that the mildness, philan-
thropy, and liberality for which the eighteenth century had
been distinguished, would still remain its characteristics.
Though, from his not being in a committee, he had no op-
portunity of replying to any misrepresentation of his argu-
hmaerdsiscyheat iteedwhoi d1ul himself with reflecting, that he

duty tohis country in giving the present

bill r opposition in his power.

On the /notion that the bill do pass ; the House dividad,

NIvra.s..laochenoSrdniny th 154 .---NoRs {Mr. Whitbread}
yEss /Mr. E..T. Elliot 1

The b ill


CApril 25,


April 25.

ON the 18th of April Mr. Sheridan moved for a copy of a me-morial, dated the 5th of April, and presented to the

General by the British and Imperial ministers. The said me-
morial being produced, on the z5th, Mr. Sheridan, after an elo-
quent speech of considerable length, moved, " That an humble
address be presented to his majesty, to express to his majesty the
displeasure of this House at a certain memorial, dated the 5th of
April 1 793 , presented to the States General of the United Pro-
vinces, signed by the right honourable Lord Auckland, his ma-
jesty's minister at the Hague, the said memorial containing a
declaration of the following tenor: Some of these detestable

regicides' (meaning by this expression the commissioners of the
national convention of France, delivered to Prince Cobourg by
General Dumourier,) are now in such a situation that they can

be subjected to the sword of the law. The rest are still in the
midst of a people whom they have plunged into an abyss of evils,
and for whom famine, anarchy, and civil war, are about to pre-

' pare new calamities. In short, every thing that we see happen
induces us to consider as not far distant the end of these wretches,
whose madness and atrocities have filled with horror and in-

' dignation all those who respect the principles of religion, mo-
' rality, and humanity. The undersigned, therefore, submit to
4 the enlightened judgment and wisdom of your high mightinesses;

whether it would not be proper to employ all the means in your
power to prohibit from entering your dominions in Europe, or
your colonies, all those members of the assembly stiling itself
the National Convention, or of the pretended executive council,
who were directly or indirectly concerned in the said crime ;
and if they should be discovered and arrested, to deliver them
up to justice, that they may serve as a lesson and example to
" To acquaint his majesty of the sense of this House, that the

said minister, in making this declaration, has departed from the
principles upon which this House was induced to concur in the
measures necessary for the support of the war, in which the British
nation is at present unfortunately engaged, and has announced an
intention, on the part of Great Britain, inconsistent with the
repeated assurances given by his majesty, that he would not in-
terfere in the internal affairs of France ; and for which declar-
ation this House cannot easily be brought to believe that the said
minister derived any authority from his majesty's instructions:


1 9 .

CC Humbly to beseech his majesty, that so much of' the said
memorial, as contains the declaration above recited, may be pub-
licly disavowed by his majesty, as containing matter inconsistent
with the wisdom and humanity which at all times have distinguished
the British nation, and derogatory to the dignity of the crown of
this realm, by avowing an intention to interpose in the internal
affairs of France, which his majesty has, in so many positive de-
clarations, disclaimed, and mingling purposes of vengeance with
those objects of defence and security to ourselves and our allies,
which his majesty's ministers have so often declared to be the
sole object of the present war.

" To represent to his majesty, that this House has already
expressed its abhorrence of the acts alluded to in the abovedeclaration ; and that as neither this, nor any other foreign state,
can claim any cognizance or jurisdiction respecting that act, the
only tendency of menaces against the persons concerned in the
perpetration of it, is to reduce this country to the ruinous alter-
native of carrying on war for the subversion of the present govern-
ment of France, or of obtaining peace by an ignominious negoci-
ation with the very government Whom we have thus insulted and

" That these threats must tend to give to the hostilities with
which Europe is now afflicted a peculiar barbarism and ferocity,
by provoking and reviving a system of retaliation andl bloodshed,
which the experience of its destructive tendency, as well as a sense
of honour, humanity, and religion, have combined to banish from
the practice of civilized war.

" And finally, to represent to his majesty how deeply' the re-
putation of his majesty's counsels is interested in disclaiming these
unjustifiable, and, we trust, unauthorised denunciations of ven-
geance, so destructive of all respect for the consistency, and of all
confidence in the sincerity of the public acts of hi S ministers, and
so manifestly tending at once to render the principle of the war
unjust, the conduct of hostilities barbarous, and the attainment
of honourable peace hopeless."

utkftleLd,IMr. Pitt had entered into an elaborate defence of LordA

Mr. Fox said, that the right honourable the chancellor of
the exchequer had attempted to defend the memorial on the
only ground on which a defence could have been expected,
namely, its want of any definite meaning. In his usual
mode of alluding to past transactions in that House, he had
charged his honourable friend with putting off' his motion for
the purpose of taking new ground, although he knew that his
honourable friend had put it off at the request of friends who
wished to be present at the discussion, and who could not at-
tend on the day for which he had first given notice. With
respect to the motives and feelings which the right honour-
able gentleman had taken the trouble of imagining for his

G 3


[April 25.

honourable friend in making this motion, his honourable friend
could have but one motive, his sense of public duty; and the
noble lord, whose conduct was the cause of it, could excite
no feeling but that of the most placid and tranquil nature.
The right honourable gentleman had defended the memorial
on the groxind of its meaning nothing at all; but he had not
ventured to say that it had no reference to the commissioners
of the French convention put into the hands of the Austrians
by Dumourier, on the hopes entertained of Dumourier's plan.
The memorial said, that these commissioners were in a situ-
ation to he subjected to the sword of the law : —to what sword
—of what law? To the sword of any law which those to
whom they were delivered, not as prisoners, but hostages,
might frame for their execution ? If it meant to the sword of
some law to be revived or established in France, why was not
that qualification inserted in it ? Lord Auckland's commu-
nication to the States General in September had never received
the sanction of the House, and therefore the House would be
guilty of no inconsistency in condemnine

it. The purport

of that communication was simply, that if any act, then gene-
rally apprehended and universally deprecated, should be corn-
mated, the perpetrators of it would not be sheltered from the
laws of their country in his majesty's dominions. But what
did my Lord Auckland ? He, not as a measure of prevention,
not as a warning to.

deter, but on a principle of vengeance,
obviously tending to provoke retaliation, and, in the very first
instance, to endanger the lives of the survivors of the royal
family of France, suggested to subject to the sword of the law
persons given as hostages fbr their safety.

What was the motive of his honourable friend in moving
to censure this conduct ? To obtain the reprobation of the
House against making the war more bloody, and the con- -
test more cruel. If the conduct of the French to French-
men had excited abhorrence, if they had shewn a disposition
unjustly and wantonly to shed blood, now was the time for
the House to shew detestation of their disposition and their
practice, by expressing their detestation of this memorial.
Another motive for his honourable friend's motion was, to
obtain a clear and explicit declaration of the object of the
war. The right honourable gentleman had said, that this
was wholly unconnected with the internal government of Nn'l
France; but at the same time he expressed a wish that, in
making peace, we might not have to treat with those persons

air'who now exercised the powers of government in that coun-

The real object, according to the right honourable gen-
tleman, was to obtain an indemnification for their unjust
aggression, and security for the peace of Europe in future.


From this he learned, that indemnification and security might
in the contemplation of the right honourable gentleman, be
gained from those " malheureux," whether wretches or un-
happy persons; for to drive them from the government was not
an object, but a wish. With whom, then, when the hour of
negotiation came, might we have to treat? With those very
men whom, in our memorials and public acts, we were now
stigmatising with every vilifying and opprobrious epithet.
Hard words he had always thought imprudent ; more espe-
cially when applied to persons a whom it was possible we
might afterwards have occasion to speak in very different
terms. With those very persons the right honourable gen-
tleman had treated through M. Chauvelin, and had boasted
of sending instructions to Lord Auckland to treat with them,
even after the murder of the king. Would the right honour-
able gentleman now refuse to treat with them, if an occasion,
consistent with the avowed object of the war, should offer?
No such declaration would he venture to make. Lord Auck-
land, then, if he should be continued in his present situation,
might be, from local circumstances, the most convenient pe •-
son to employ to treat with them. But, what would the
Frenchman say? Supposing him to forget all the eliard-wontc —
all the odious terms formerly applied_ to would very
naturally say, What ! treat with Lord Auckland ? No ; lie
has declared he will hang me if he can catch me, and there-
fore I will not put myself in his power. The answer to all
this was, that the paper was only the too sanguine effusion of
imaginary success, and meant only, that when a tribunal should
be established in France, agreeably to the fancy of the com-
bined powers, the members of the convention and the exe-
cutive council would be subjected to the sword of the law
the memorial ought to have said so ; for it was giving but
little encouragement to those now in the exercise of govern-
ment in France to think of negotiation, to tell them that to
get hold of them, or their aeents, and to hang them, was one
and the same thing.


His honourable friend had introduced the conduct of Russia,
Prussia, mid the emperor, which the right honourable gen-
tleman has treated as having no connection with the subject.
Was it, indeed, so immaterial? If we were engaged in a war
On the usual principles of war, the cause ascertained and the
object definite, we might indeed avail ourselves of the assist-
ance of powers for the attainment of that object, whose views
-were very different from our own. But if, as the memorial
implied, we were at
and had thrown e

war with persons, not with the nation,
own away the scabbard, it was of great importance

to consider whether or not their object was the same as ours ;
G 4





[April 25,

whether, -while our aim was reparation and security, theirs
was not aggrandizement ; whether, while we sought only to
remove certain persons from the government of France, they
did not look to the partition ? Of crowned heads it was always
his practice to speak with respect; but the actions of their
cabinets were fair matter of discussion. Under this- qualifi-
cation he had no difficulty in saying, that the late conduct of
Russia and Prussia was ten thousand times more reprehen-
Sible than any part of the conduct of France towards other
nations. Of the former partition of Poland he had never
spoken but in terms of reprobation ; but the present was more
odious than the former, inasmuch as it was marked by the
most flagrant breach of faith, and violation of the most solemn
declarations. Prussia, it was notorious, bad encouraged the
revolution in Poland, and expressed the most decided appro-
bation of seating the family of Saxony on the hereditary throne.
That very revolution was now made the pretext for entering
Poland, and forcibly seizing.

on Dantzic and Thorn. Russia
entered Poland, declaring that her only object was to restore
the republic which the revolution had subverted; and having
gained possession of the country, in contempt of all her for-
mer declarations, she proceeded to divide it with Prussia and
the emperor.

Strong, however, as was his reprobation of such conduct,
he had never said that we ought on that account to reject a
useful alliance with either of those powers; but that while
we professed to be fighting against one species of tyranny, we
ought to be careful not to set up another tyranny more dan-
gerous. What was the answer to this? Declamation against
the horrid tendency of French principles, the subversion of all
order, and the introduction of anarchy. When we argued
against principles, let us not confine our view to the mischief
they might occasion, but consider also the probability of their
being established. Were three or four maniacs to escape from
Bedlam, and take possession of a house, the mischief they
would do in it would probably be much greater than that of
as many robbers; but people knew the improbability of their
getting into that situation, and very properly guarded their
houses, not against madmen from Bedlam, but against rob-
bers. Just so was it with the probability of French principles
gaining the ascendancy. Anarchy, if it could be introduced
into other nations, was in its nature temporary—despotism,
we knew by sad experience, to be lasting; the present empe-
ror was but little tried: but if, as generally happened, the
systems of cabinets were more to be attended to than the cha-
racters of princes, we had seen the cabinet of Vienna re-;
peatedly promising to the Austrian Netherlands the restor-


ation of their ancient constitution, and as often refusing to fulfil
its promise; we had seen the late emperor promise that re-
storation under our guarantee as the price of their return to
allegiance; we had seen him refuse it when he again got pos-
session ; we had seen Lord Auckland protest against the re-
fusal, and afterwards most shamefully accede to it; and we
had seen the governors of the Netherlands making their escape
by one gate, while the French were entering at another, de-
clare the restoration of that constitution; as if the moment
when they were compelled to resign possession, was the only
fit moment for restoring the rights of those whom they were
sent to govern.

If in all this there were an y symptoms of good faith to
give us confidence, the Prince of'Saxe Cobourg's proclamations
were sufficient to destroy it all. In the conduct of the three
courts, we should find all the crimes of France towards other
nations committed in a more unjustifiable manner. But the
right honourable gentleman said, these were only topics to
induce us to refuse the assistance of those courts. If the
object of the war were distinct, we might, indeed, accept of
their assistance with safety; but, while all was doubt and un-
certainty, how could we pretend to know what were their
views, or what they expected as the price of their assistance
We were now acting in concert with the dividers of Poland.
We ourselves were the dividers of Poland ; for, while we
were courting them to aid us in a war against French prin-
ciples, we furnished them with the pretext, and afforded them
the opportunity of dividing Poland. We were the guarantees
of Dantzic, of which Prussia, our ally, had taken possession.
Did we not say, when the French attempted to open the
Scheldt, that we were the guarantees of the exclusive navi-
gation of the Scheldt to the Dutch ?

mutato nomine, de to
. Fabula narratur.

Prussia was the other guarantee; but regarded guarantees as
little as the French, when Dantzic and Thorn were to be
annexed to his territories. What was this but teaching the
people that the professions of courts were mere delusions —
that the pretext for the war was the danger from French
power and French principles, but the cause, to gratify the
ambition of other powers? How were we ever to make
peace, when we were not agreed upon the terms with those
who assisted us in the war ? Regard for the christian religion
was one of the reasons alleged for dividing Poland; regard
for the christian religion might be alleged for dividing France.
He did not understand that we paid any subsidies, and in

[April 25,

one point of view he was sorry for it. We should then un-
derstand for what we had engaged. As the case stood at
present, how did we know what Prussia or the emperor might
require of us ? As Russia had taken part of Poland, might
not the emperor take a fancy to Bavaria and the Palatinate ?
And thus the difficulties of making

peace become ,greater

than those of carrying on the war? Add to this, that if
rumour or regard to ancient policy could be trusted, Spain
would not consent to the dismemberment of France. Mr.
Fox said he was the more strongly convinced of the observ-
ation he had made npon a former occasion, that in all these
quarrels there was a material difference between the ratio sua-
soria and the ratio justifica, which were alternately to be sub-
stituted, the one for the other, as called for. If; as he feared,
this war was undertaken against principles, let us look to the
conduct of Germany, Russia, and Prussia, and, if the spirit
of chivalry was so alive amongst us, see if there were no
giants, no monsters, no principles, against which we had
better turn our arms. For his part, he had no hesitation in
saying, that though France had unhappily afforded many in-
stances of atrocity, yet the invasion of last year, and which
our present conduct seemed to justify, was the most gross
violation of every thing sacred which could exist between ,.
nation and nation, as striking at the root of the right which
each must ever possess of internal legislation. The mode of
getting out of this situation was by agreeing to the address,
censuring Lord Auckland, and thus convincing the other
powers of Europe that we would not be parties to their plans
for dividing kingdoms. It was, Weed, matter of great doubt,
whether or not peace for Europe could now be obtained for
any great length of time. The encouragement we had given
to the robbery of Poland might be expected to inflame the
passions of avarice and ambition. There was, however, one
nation, Spain, which had a. common interest with us, and
with which he wished to see a cordial union against the dan-
gerous aggrandizement of the imperial courts and Prussia.
All our victories in the present war had been obtained by
their arms exclusively, and every victory gave fresh cause of
jealousy. To agree to the address would have another good i7
effect. It would satisfy the people, that the reason for the
war and the pretext were the same; and that there was not
one language for the House of Commons and another for the
Hague. Upon these grounds, he conceived the country under
great obligations to his honourable friend for bringing forward
the present motion, as tending to call forth from the minister
a repetition of those causes and objects to which the nation
had a right to look up for the commencement and COP.-

tinuance of the war.

The House divided on Mr. Sheridan's

YEAS [Mr. Sheridan}
Mr. Grey 3u. - NOES

So it passed in the negative.


April 29.
A SPIRIT of commercial speculation and commerce had been

Cl for some time increasing in every part of the kingdom, and
had now got to such a height, as to threaten public credit with very
serious danger. The circulating specie being by no means suf.
ficient to answer the very increased demands of trade, the quantity
of paper currency brought into circulation, as a supplying medium
was so great and disproportionate, that a scarcity of specie was
produced which threatened a general stagnation in the commercial
world. In consequence of this alarming state of public credit,
Mr. Pitt, on the 2.5th of April, moved, that a select committee of
fifteen be appointed to take into consideration the present state of
commercial credit, and to report their opinion and observations
upon it. On the z 9th, the report of the select committee was
brought up, and on the motion that it be taken into consideration

Mr. Fox said, that he did not intend to make any opposition
to going into the proposed committee ; but if at the present
moment, he forbore to do so, he trusted it would not be con-
strued into his giving any kind of assent to the measure. He
agreed with his honourable friend behind him, (Mr. Jekyll,)
that, taking the evil and the remedy together, it involve&
matter most important to the country, and of very delicate
and difficult discussion. It seemed to him a business of a
very anomalous nature; nor had he ever heard of a system in
any shape similar, having been hitherto adopted or thought of.
But, although he could not feel disposed to give it his assent,
yet he confessed, that under the present most alarming circum-
stances of the country, as to mercantile credit, he wanted
nerves to give it a decided opposition. In such a case, he
should be apt to be somewhat diffident of his own opinion, if
opposed by those who had occasion to bestow more time and.


He therefore gave it his hearty

motion :

Mr. Neville } 21 1.1 Mr. Jenkinson

[April 29,

attention on the subject, for whose opinions he entertained
respect, and who might be better qualified than himself to
form a judgment as to the probable effect of the measure with
respect to commercial credit. He rose, therefore, chiefly for
the purpose of saying, that it did by no means appear clear
to him at first sight, that the remedy proposed would be
effectual fur the purpose intended ; and that as it was, in his
opinion, a measure of very considerable difficulty and danger,
he hoped it would receive a full and deliberate discussion
when brought forward to-morrow. Whether the present
calamitous state of commercial credit was or was not owing
to the war, was surely a matter not capable of proof; but,
seeing the coincidence betwixt them in point of time, those
would unquestionably be rail), on the other hand, who should.
pretend to say decisively that they were totally unconnected.
He begged to warn the House and the public, that there
ought to be a considerable degree of confidence as to the
good effect of such a measure as the present, before it should
be adopted. If the executive government was to interfere

. in
such a case, might it not be the beginning of a system of which
we could not see the end ? If the sum now proposed to be
raised should be found insufficient, were they to stop ? These
were points for the consideration of the House, and he con-
ceived them to be of very serious moment. He confessed he felt
a reluctance to a measure so novel and important, and he
trusted that every possible information would be brought
forward upon the subject.

Parliament and government, Mr. Fox observed, were now
()Dina to assume a new character and a new function : theygoing

in their nature, the one legislative, the other executive;
but now they were about to depart from their natural functions
and to support the credit of commercial houses by advancing
money upon their stock in trade. It surely would be incumbent
upon ministers to chew that this was necessary on the part of
parliament and of government, and that it could not be so
effectually or properly done by the bank, or any other great
moneyed body of men, much better qualified than the legis-
lature could possibly be, to ascertain the solvency of merchants
and the value of goods. He considered this as the introduc-
tion of a new system, which ought to be very seriously
examined, because it might lead to consequences the most
alarming. There were two points of view in which he thought
it ought to be placed before the House, namely, as it might.
affect the public purse, and as it might affect the constitution.
The public were to be called upon to lend five millions of
money to the traders and manufacturers upon the security of ,
their goods and property. Might not the public be exposed


to lose a great part of that sum by advancing it upon articles,
the value of which government did not sufficiently understand
to be able to ascertain how much might be safely lent upon
them, or to persons with whose circumstances it had not the
means of being acquainted ? The bank of England was in
every respect better qualified than government for such a
task ; and it was not a very favourable symptom, that the
bank had declined granting the aid to public credit, which
was now solicited from parliament ; for it would seem as if the
persons who were to be assisted were not in such circum-
stances as would make it safe for government to- advance
money to them. It was the interest of the bank to discount
good bills, and when it refused to do it, one might well fear
that the owners of those bills were not considered by the bank
as labouring only under a temporary embarrassment.

When he considered the new system in the light in
which it would affect the constitution, he felt so serious
an alarm, that nothing could possibly reconcile him to it,
but a conviction that it was to exist only for a short period,
and not to be drawn into a precedent. No author that
he had ever read had proposed any system like that now


crested ; but perhaps he might hear it justified either by some
theory or experiment of which he was as yet ignorant. The
measure proposed was in his opinion dangerous to the consti-
tution. It was investing government with the whole commercial
influence of this country. He might entertain very high senti-
ments of the gentlemen about to be appointed as commissioners,
but he thought the power which they were likely to possess
would endanger the liberties of their fellow-subjects, more es-

.,, peeially when they acted under the control of government.
In a constitutional view, therefore, the present appeared to
him a measure exceedingly alarming to the freedom of English-
men ; and one which ought, unless fully vindicated, to be re-
sisted. The commercial ought never to be involved or
blended with the legislative or executive authority. He
had always understood, that the spirit of commerce was
more free and enterprising when unfettered with the con-
nection now described ; and he implored the House to
pause before they sanctioned a system unknown to our con-
stitution, and which might subvert our liberties. If the
measure were thought laudable by government, why did
not the commercial interests assist each other, rather than
surrender their freedom to those in power ? On these grounds,b
he trusted that the system was to be merely temporary, and
that the most effectual guard would be placed round it, to
prevent it from being abused, and from endancrerina the very
thing it was intended to support.


[April 30,

April 3o.
The House being in a committee to take into consideration

the said report, Mr. Pitt moved, " That his majesty be enabledto direct ex
chequer bills to the amount of five millions, to beissued to commissioners, to be advanced by them under certainregulations and r

estrictions, for the assistance and accommo-
dation of such persons as shall be desirous of receiving the same, on
due security being given for the re-payment of the sum so ad-
vanced, within a time to be limited."

Mr. Fox said, he did not wish to trouble the committee
jectmuch at length upon the present occasion. He felt the sub-to be such, that he hardly knew how to speak at all u ponit, and the more so, as he had considerable doubts upon the
expediency of the remedy, supposing the principle of the

pro-posed measure to be unobjectionable. With regard to the
necessity of aiding the public credit at this humiliating andunhappy moment, there was not indeed, either in that House
or abroad, any room for difference of opinion. The state of
public credit was matter of lamentation to this country.Humiliating and l

amentable it must be; for the very circum
stance of that House being in a committee to consider of
means to aid the commercial credit of the nation was decidedevidence of that fact; and he must add, that, the whole

takeninto consideration, we were surrounded by
circumstances of a

most dangerous nature. We were told, that, in point of fact,there was no real danger, for that the distress was merely
temporary, and that the remedy now proposed would be fully
adequate to its removal. He wished to God that might turn
out to be true ! but, at the same time, it was not quite satis-
factory to see that government were obliged to take up

whatthe bank of England would not touch. The answer to this
was, that the bank of England was not in the habit of

enter-ing on a speculation of this nature, and that it would not be
consistent with the regularity of their proceedings to do so at
this moment. Was there any thing so peculiarly regular
and precedented in the legislature taking up the measure,
that taught gentlemen there was no real danger ? If the
bank of England, accustomed as they were to commercialdealings, thought it a scheme upon which it was not prudent
to adventure, how did gentlemen arrive at all at the conclu-
sion, that there was no danger to the public in such an ad-
venture? If it was not the habit of the bank to advance
money upon a certain species of security, he would say,

neitherhad it ever yet been the habit of the public to advance
their money upon that security; and that if there was to be.



any innovation in the affairs of commerce, it Was better that
it should be made by the bank than by the public.

But, it seemed, the bank had been applied to in vain upon
this occasion. What was the reason that the bank had been
applied to in vain ? He feared the reason why that appli-
cation was unsuccessful would not be very likely to induce the
public to adopt the measure. These reflections compelled him
to entertain doubts upon the prudence of the measure. But,
it. was again said, that the bank had already issued money
enough upon discount. If that was the case, he was afraid
the public could not be much benefited by issuing exchequer
bills for five millions more, and that means should rather
be devised for paying off those in the market. He did not say
that his opinion upon this subject was direct, hut he could
not help suggesting his doubts ; he should be very glad to
be answered by arguments, and he declared upon his word
that he should be happy in hearing his observations refuted.
He could not help again observing, that the bank must have
some strong reasons for refusing to discount in the usual way ;
for, generally speaking, they were pretty ready to discount
when they thought they could do so with safety, for that was
well understood to be for their interest; if that was the case in
general, how much more so was it on the present occasion ?
Who could be more interested in the general credit of the
commerce of the country than the bank of England ? What,
then, must be the conclusion of a man of common sense when
such a body of men refused to discount ? What must they think
of the situation of the country ? These points pressing upon
his mind, he owned he should not be sorry to hear that the sub-
ject went no farther that night. Again, he must observe, the
bank refused all share in this business for one of two reasons ;
either that they did not like the security that was to be of-
fered to them, or that they had already so far employed their
money as not to be able to afford the relief wanted. If the
first was the reason, there would be a difficulty indeed in the
way of the present measure. The commissioners, whoever
they were, could not be more conversant in commerce than
the gentlemen who had the management of the affairs of the
bank of England, and therefore the plan could not have a
very flattering prospect of its issue. If the bank hesitated, by
what mode of reasoning was it that the commissioners should
not hesitate; and in this view he thought himself, as one of
btli .trustees of the interests of the public, bound to hesitate.
If the other reason was allowed, namely, that the bank had
,already issued all it could afford, lie could not see the ultimate
advantage to the public credit by the issuing exchequer

[April 30.

He must again repeat, that he spoke upon these points .
with doubts, which he should take pleasure in having removed,
and grief in having confirmed, and he must really say he did
Hot know what to do. He knew not how to say that he
would not agree that'the committee should proceed upon this
subject, for the purpose of supporting the commercial credit
of the kingdom, and to remove the calamity of the country ;
.and yet he did not see how this plan would answer the pur-
pose for which it was intended. He felt also another dif-
ficulty, and that arose from a motive of delicacy, from the cir,.
cumstance of having had nothing to do with entering into the
present war, — the cause, in his opinion, of all our calamities ;
having on the contrary, done every thing in his power to pre-,.
vent it, so he did not wish to be represented as a person not
feeling the calamity, because he had not contributed to pro-
duce it.

A very important part of the question remained ; he meant
the constitutional point that would be involved in it; a matter
in itself of the highest importance. How was government to
take what related to commercial dealings into its hands, without
establishing a precedent of the most dangerous and alarming
nature, and without creating a general timidity in commercial
men with regard to the fate of their future speculations? How
were the committee sure that this would not damp the ardour
of commerce, and shake the general principle, which was the
life of commerce itself, the control which every man had over
his own property ? How were they sure that the commissioners,
when appointed, would be free from partiality, prejudice, fa-
vour, and affection, and all the weaknesses which were com-
mon to our nature ? And how could it be determined that
these commissioners would receive the security of one whose
way of thinking upon politics might be agreeable to the mi-
nister, and refuse an equally good security from a

person of a
contrary way of thinking ? Was not this opening a door to
the most unconstitutional and dangerous patronage? Good
God ! did the committee see the extent of the power which
this might give to the executive aovernment ?— a power
which it was the first duty of that House jealously to watch.
Before, therefore, he voted for such a measure, he ought to
see something like the probable effect of it. He ought to give
power of this nature with a timorous and reluctant mind. He
ought to feel the danger to which his country was exposed in
the possible abuse of such a power. He ought to know some-
thing of the proposed end before lie consented to such a be-
ginning. He repeated, that although he was not in the least
degree accessary to the commencement of this calamitous war,
yet he should be glad to be instrumental in bringing it to a
conclusion as speedily as could be effected with due regard to the

honour of the country. He blamed not the majority on that
occasion, but gloried in being one of the minority. He wished
to see the hour when this destructive measure was at an end, for
then commercial credit would return, and with it commercial
enterprise and vigour.

The resolution was agreed to without a division.


May 2.

MR. Duncombe presented a petition from Sheffield, signed by
eight thousand inhabitants, praying for a reform in Parlia-

ment. He said he was a friend to a temperate reform, but he would.
not go the length which seemed to be the object of this petition,
a representation from population alone. But, however, as far
as the words of this petition were to be considered, he begged
leave to tell the House, that the petitioners were only manu-
facturers, and not very well acquainted with the language re-
quired for addressing the House of Commons, and that cir-
cumstance, he trusted, would be an extenuation of their fault.
He then moved, " That the petition be brought up." The mo-
tion having been supported by Mr. Francis, Mr. Grey, and Mr.
Lambton ; and opposed •by Mr. Ryder and Mr. Wilberforce,

Mr. Fox said, that on a subject of this kind, he could not
consent to give a silent vote. If the question was at that mo-
ment, whether the prayer of the petition should be granted,
he would not hesitate to say that he would give it the most
direct and unqualified negative; for, however he might have
been misrepresented out of doors, there was not in the king-
dom a more steady and decided enemy to general and univer-
sal representation, than himself. But as the question was not
at present that the House should comply with the prayer, but
merely that it should receive the petition, his vote should be
of a. very different kind ; for he must strongly support the
thotion.fbr bringing it up. He did not deny that the House
might with propriety reject a petition, on account of disrespect-
ful language, but he never remembered more than one, which
in his opinion- ought to have been rejected on such an account,
if it had been in the power of the House to reject it; and that
was the petition presented, by Mr. Horne Tooke, against the
last ecy.Lion for the city of Westminster. But as it wwasavoc


and authority, that its acts were not valid, and that the


ects were not nd to obey them ; tis g the
root of all order

and governme nt; and






had defended the remonstrance on this ground, that the sub-
ject having a right to petition for a particular object, he musthave a right to urge every thing relative to that object; and
as the object in this case was to procure a dissolution of par-
liament, the city of London was warranted in saying that it
ought to be dissolved, because it had ceased, in the opinion of
the city, to be a legal parliament, and to keep it sitting and
making acts which the people were not bound to obey,
must be productive of the most fatal consequences to the pub-

licpea. ce.Wlr Fox said, he did not mean to adopt the learned lord's
doctrine to its utmost extent, for he believed it was too far
strained ; but he quoted it to sinew, that in the opinion of a
person now high in his majesty's counsels, the right of petition-
ing was so sacred, that it was not to be defeated under the pre-
tence that it was not exercised in this,or that thrill, or with
this or that degree of respect. Applying this doctrine to the
present case, he said the petition ought not to be rejected, even
though it should, in the most unqualified teruis, deny the
House to be the genuine representative of the, people ; for if
there was a defect in the representation, if any who ought to
be represented were unrepresented, the . fact could not be
stated without its being stated at the same time, that the
House did not fully represent the people; without making
this out, there could be no ground for a reform ; and if it was
asserted and made out, then the House, according to the doc-
trines which he had that day heard, must reject the applica-
tion as disrespectful : this surely, would be an absurdity of the
grossest kind, and the admission of such a principle was the
more fatal, as it necessarily perpetuated abuses, and rendered
a redress of grievances impossible.

As he had never seen the petition which was now the sub-
ject of discussion, he could not say decidedl y that there were
no objectionable parts in it ; but if the objection was limited
to the first part of the petition, he was so far from thinking it
disrespectful, that he thought it absolutely necessary, in sup-
port of the prayer of the petition, for the petitioners to state,
that the House of Commons is not virtually, and, in the just
sense of the word, the true representative of the people of
England. It had been said, that there was a material distinction
between the language which might be spoken in the course
of debate in that House, and the language which was proper
and decent to be made use of in petitions. It had been said,
that freedom . of speech was an essential part of the C9ASti-..,


petition complaining of an undue election, the FIouse had no
discretionary power, for it was obliged by law to receive it.
Under any other circumstances, a petition containing similar
language ought to be rejected, because the language was n ot used
for the purpose of supporting the prayer; but the prayer was
made solely for the purpose of affording the petitioner an op-
portunity to libel the House of Commons. Mr. Fox said, that
the rule which governed his conduct as to the admission or re-
jection of petitions was this : if the introductory matter was
relevant to the prayer, he thought the petition ought to be re-

although the language might be offensive in which *-
that matter was enforced : but if the introductory mat.. r was
irrelevant to the prayer, and conveyed insult or libel, he in
that case would not hesitate to vote for its rejection. 'With-
out such a distinction as this, he did not see how a petition
for a reform in parliament could ever be admitted ; for it must
state that the House was not pure, or that it was corrupt, or
that it did not fully represent the people. If these assertions
were not true, there could be no ground for an application
for reform, and if petitions containing them were to be rejected,
because such assertions attacked the character or the authority
of the House, then there was an end of all hope of reform;
and, what was more, there was an end of the right of the sub-
ject to petition; for if to state his grievance was a libel, the
more real that grievance, the less he must venture to state it,
and consequently it must remain unredressed.

In the opinion of some men, the right of the subject to pe-
tition was so sacred, that nothing contained in the petition
could warrant the rejection of it. He remembered parti-
cularly that a noble and learned lord, now holding the high
office of chancellor, (Lord Loughborough,) asserted many
years ago in the House of Commons, that so extensive and

absolute was the power, and so undeniable the right of the

ct to petition king, lords, and commons, that however
offensive or even treasonable the matter of it might be, neither
could the petition be rejected, nor the parties presenting it be
tried or punished for the contents. This argument was main-
tained on an occasion when the learned lord to whom he
had alluded, was defending the famous remonstrance of the
city of London to the king*, in which his majesty was prayed
to disolve his then parliament : the remonstrance went so

as to state, that the House of Commons, by its decision in
the case of the Middlesex election, had forfeited all power

See the debate in the House of Commons, March Is. am. New Parl,fist. Vol. xvi. 87en

tution. But, was not the freedom of petitioning equally so ?
And, if so, might not petitioners state their grievances in strong

terms ? He could not see with what propriety this petition
rejeccould be rejected, unless they were to say that they wouldt all petitions praying for universal personal

ation ; for his part, he would not refuse to admit them, because
he did not conceive himself entitled so to do, though he was
position.pretty well assured that he could never agree to such a pro-

It was a matter of surprise to him, he said, that an ob-
jection should be started to the petition then under

consi-deration by those who had voted for the reception of theNottinghamshire petition in 178 5
; for the latter was, in his

mind, the most dangerous that bad ever been presented; it was
levelled against the constitution in eneral ; for it stated,
that the petitioners had been taught that

that all the formerProsperity of the kingdom had proceeded from a happyc
onstitution; but that, being awakened from their dream,they found that the very frame of the constitution was de-

cayed, and that the happiness of former times was the ef-
fect of a better spirit in tile people, and not of their

stitution. It might be asked, he said, after all this, whether
he thought any petition could be so framed as that it would
be proper for the House to reject it? His answer was, as he
had said before, that if the introductory matter was

disrespect-ful, and net relevant to the prayer, he would not hesitateto reject it : but, if it was relevant, he would not be over
nice in examining and weighing words ; on the

contrary,he would be inclined to overlook offensive terms, if they
conveyed truth, however disagreeable, and tended to enforcethe prayer of the petition. If the House was to shew

over delicate on such occasions, and reject a proper prayer,
merely because it was supported by arguments not over pleasing
to the feelings of the members, the consequence might be fa-
tal to the constitution itself; for the House would cease to be
loved and respected by the people; for want of the people'slove and respect it must become impotent as against the
crown ; and the crown would become impotent

- also, and losethe power of restraining violence and anarchy. He would,
therefore, lay it down as a rule, that no petition ought to be
rejected, unless it was evident that the introductory arguments
were inserted for the express purpose of insulting tile House.
The right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer had,
in other times and in other situations, professed himself afriend to p

arliamentary reform ; why he should not be a friend
to such a measure in the present times, be was unable to

ceive. After the many and unanimous declarations of at-

taChment to the constitutiou echoed from every part of the
kingdom, it was not to be supposed that there could be any
where an intention to subvert it; at least, if there was, there
was not a shadow of success : this was, therefore, a time
when looseness in the wording of a petition might well be
overlooked; but if instead of that, the House should be
disposed scrupulously to weigh words, and to find them dis-
respectfid, without evidence that the disrespect was intentional,
the consequence would be, that tile people would despair of
ever obtaining a redress of their , grievances from an assembly
that was too obstinate even to hear those grievances stated. In
his opinion, there was nothing so likely to persuade the people
that they had few grievances, as for the House to shew them-
selves willing to investigate them. There was, somehow or
other, an idea of a different kind always entertained by the
people, when their superiors seemed averse to listen to their
complaints. He would therefore conclude with giving his
hearty vote for bringing up the petition.

The motion was also supported by Mr.Wliitbrcad, Mr. Sheridan,
and Mr. Bouverie.

Mr. Fox, in explanation, said he was confident of the words
he had quoted from the speech of the present lord .chancellor
in 1770. But it was not his opinion only, it was also the opi-
nion of Mr. George Grenville, and he believed of some who
were still members of that House. He, however, had no
difficulty in saying, that if a petition was presented to that
House, denying its power to act as the representative body
for the people, to raise supplies, and so on, tending to bring
the power of the House into public contempt, to the recep-
tion of such a petition he should give his negative ; but there
was nothing of that nature in the present petition, and
therefore he should vote for its being now received.

The House divided :
f Mr. Ryder


Mr. Sheridan1
Mr. Grey 2 9. -N°E s /Mr. PToelleleCr:rew S

So it passed in the negative.


cured, which considerably exceeded a majority of the House. The
petition dwelt at considerable length, upon all the points already
mentioned, and detailed a variety of other abuses, all which the

et offered to substantiate by proof; and it. concluded byistatng the great necessity there was for the application of anP mediate remedy, and the high importance of such a measure ; and.
prayed the House to take the matter into their serious consider-
ation, and to apply such remedy and redress to the evils complained
of as should appear proper.—The allegations of the petition were
dwelt upon with great eloquence and ability by Mr. Grey, who
concluded by moving, " That the said petition be referred to the
consideration of a committee." Nearly all the principal speakers
on both sides of the House took part in the debate, which was pro-
tracted to the unusual length of two days. The supporters of the
motion were Mr. Erskine, Mr. Duncombe, Mr. Francis, Mr.
Whitbread, Mr. Sheridan, and Mr. Fox. It was opposed by
Mr. Jenkinson, Mr. Powys, Mr. Windham, Mr. Stanley, Mr,
Buxton, Sir William Young, Sir William Milner, the Earl of
IVIornington , Mr. Anstruther, Mr. Pitt, and Mr. Adam. At tha
close of the second day's debate,

Mr. Fox said, he was sorry to trespass on the patience
of the House at so late an hour, when, after two days' debate,
he could have but little hope that he should either enter-
tain or instruct. It was new and extraordinary, that, by
the course and mode of argument pursued by the right
honourable the chancellor of the exchequer, he should
feel himself called upon to apologise for persisting in the
opinion which he had always held upon parliamentary re-
form, or to assign his reasons, and justifY himself' for not
altering it, as the right honourable gentleman had thought
fit to dot He had never before imagined that the pre-
sumption of guilt lay against consistency, .and that whoever
presumed to think as he had always thought must imme-
diately be put on his defence. If the opiniens Which the
right honourable gentleman formerly professed, if the propo-
sitions which he had endeavoured to persuade parliament to
adopt, were so very erroneous, mid pregnant with such alarm-
ing consequences as he had now depicted, it was but natural
to suppose, that he would have read his recantation with com-
punction, and expressed humiliation instead of triumph in re-
capitulating the enormous mischiefs to which his former errors
might have exposed his country. He assumed that the right
honourable gentleman had completely changed his sentimentsb
o11 parliamentary reform, for he had expressly said so, with
the poor reserve, that the time might yet come when he should
lie it as expedient as he had done before. The arguments

had used would apply equally to all times; and it would
II 4




May 7.
•A G

REEABLY to the intimation which he had given in the
course of the preceding session, and to the promise which he

had made to the society of the Friends of the People, on the 6th

of May,

Mr. Grey made his celebrated motion for a Reform
inParliament. After a variety of petitions, pointing. to the same ob-

had been laid on the table of the House, Mr. Grey presented
one, purporting to be the petition of certain. persons whose nameswere th

ereunto subscribed. The petition was of such length, that
the reading of it employed nearly half an hour. It stated, withgreat propriety and distinctness, the defects which at present existin the repr

esentation of the people in parliament. It took noticeof the division of the representation, or the proportions in whichthe diff12rent counties contribute to the total number of the repre-
sentatives; shelving, under that head, the absurd

disproportionwhich takes place in a variety of instances ; insomuch, that thecounty of Cornwall alone sends more members to parliament- than
the counties of York, Rutland, and Middlesex, put together, &c.It proceeded to take notice of the distribution of the elective fran-chise, or the pr

oportional number by which the.different
represen-tatives are elected ; stating, under that head, that a majority of

the whole House of Commons is elected by less than 15,000 persons;
or, in other words, by the two-hundredth part of the people to ber
epresented, supposing that they consist only of three millions of

adults, &c. It went on to take notice of the right of voting, orthe various restrictions and l imitations under which the privilegeof a vote for the choice of a representative is bestowed ; stating thegreat evils and i
nequalities that prevail in that respect. It after-

wards took notice of the qualifications to be possessed by candi-
dates and those elected ; and then considered the evils arising from
the length of the duration of parliaments. It went on to detailthe mode in which elections are conducted and decided; and under
that head, shewing the evils arising from the length of time towhich polls are protracted, from the influence of

corporations bythe powers entrusted to returning of ficers, and from the appeal to
the House of Commons under the operations of the acts loth, r r th,25th, and 28th of Geo. III. as far as the same relate to expenceand delay.

The petition proceeded to take notice of the mischief
resulting from the defects and abuses which it had previouslypointed out, particularly by the system of private patronage andthe influence possessed by peers and wealthy commoners in the no-mination of what are called the representatives of the people ; shelv-ing, under this head, that, by the patronage and influence ofseventy-one peers and ninety-one commoners, the return of nofewer than three hundred and six members of that House

was pro-II

[May 7.

have been more candid tahave said so explicitly, than to have
• held out a hope which, without a second change of opinion
as.entire as the first, could never be realised. In his argu-
ments against the present motion the right honourable gentle.
man had had recourse to the mistake, that the object of the
present motion was universal suffrage : against this, which made
no part of the motion, more than half his speech was employed,
and every iota of that part borrowed from what had been
urged against himself ten years ago, by those who opposed his
first motion for a reform in the representation. Here the right
honourable gentleman, was only a plagiary ; not a common pla-
giary indeed, but such a plagiary as Virgil, for instance, who
improved and adorned whatever he borrowed. He was obliged
to admit that his honourable friend who made the motion
disclaimed universal suffrage for his object; but then, lie said,
look at the petitions ! only one of which, however, contained
this doctrine. Was he ready to say, that, when he brought
forward his motion in 1782, none of the petitions then before
the House contained the very same doctrine ? But, in addi-
tion to the evidence of the petitions, his honourable friend
had, on some other occasion, met certain persons at a tavern,
known advocates for universal suffrage, which was almost
proof positive that his honourable friend was so too ! But how
did this sort of inference operate against the right honourable
gentleman himself? When he brought forward his plans of
reform, he was acting at all points with the Duke of Rich-
mond, the great apostle of universal suffrage; and it was no
very unreasonable supposition, that his first motion on the
subject of reform might have been concerted with his Grace
at Richmond-house. If, then, men's intentions were to be
canvassed by supposed privity to the designs of others, the
privity of the right honourable gentleman to the Duke of
Richmond's system of universal suffrage could not be denied,
and he must be pronounced guilty by his own rule.

The right honourable gentleman's next objection was to the
mode the very same mode which he himself had adopted.
On more mature consideration he had altered his mode ; but
here he must intercede for the right honourable gentleman's
juvenile judgment, and in particular request that he would not
insist on dragging through the dirt all those who had supported
him in his first motion. What reason lie had for changing a
motion, which he lost only by twenty votes, was perhaps bet-
ter known to himself than to others; but he had no right to
say, that ii, motion of the same kind was more dangerous now
than his own was in 1782. Mr. Fox said, that he, who had
supported all his motions for reform, thought the first the least
objectionable. The mode of proceeding lately insisted upon,


that a member who proposed the redress of any grievance must
move a -

specific remedy before the House could take the griev-
ance into consideration, was directly contrary to the most
approved parliamentary practice. The member who moved
for a committee might go into it with a specific statement,
which lie might see reason to alter, unless, -indeed, the right
honourable gentleman had got an exclusive patent for alter-
ing opinions ; or the committee, supposing the grievance to
be proved, might suggest a plan of their own, subject, like
every other, to future modification or rejection by the House,
when it appeared in the form of a bill. Such was the most
convenient and the most ordinary mode of proceeding in
matters of great importance. Now, what Was the right ho-
nourable gentleman's specific plan ? He owed an apology to
all those who voted for it, and to him (Mr. Fox) among the
rest, and who, although they approved of a parliamentary re-
form, did not approve of his particular plan, but trusted, that
when the general question was carried, they should be able
to frame the plan in a less exceptionable manner. These were
the precise conditions on which he then called for the support
of all who wished well to parliamentary reform ; and now he
pretended to say, that, by supporting it, they pledged them-
selves, not to the general question, but to the particular plan.
The general rule was, for all who agreed as to the existence
of a grievance, and the necessity of a remedy, to concur as
far as they could, and then to debate the particulars at a more
advanced stage. This was a sufficient answer ad homhzein to
the right honourable gentleman, and to all the arguments
against the mode. All those who wished well to the general
subject ought to concur in support of the present motion, andif that were carried, the specific plan would come properly
under discussion in a future stage.

Another objection was' to the time. When the right ho-
nourable gentleman made his motion, he alleged, as the rea-
son for it, that there were no adequate means of supporting a
good minister, or of repressing a bad one, without a reform in
the representation ; that to the inadequacy of the system had
the misfortune of the American war been owing; and that it
was necessary to provide against the nation's falling into a
similar calamity. What had since happened to make the ca-
lamity less to be dreaded, or the precaution less expedient?
Under the administration of the Marquis of Rockingham, an
administration of which he approved, the right honourable
gentleman first proposed reform, and that, too, in a time of
war. Under another administration, of which he did not ap-
prove, he again proposed it, and in time of peace. On nei-
ther of these occasions did the right honourable gentleman



[May 7,

consider the character of the ministry as at all affecting the
expediency of his motion, nor had he ever argued on it in
that way. A third administration succeeded, of which he
certainly did not entertain a bad opinion, for he was

at thehead of it himself; still he maintained, or said he maintained,
all the doctrines he had held before on the necessity of reform.
His reason could not be that he distrusted the virtue of the
then House of Commons, for it was a favourite House ofC

ommons, on all occasions much extolled by him. Such
a favourite indeed, that his plan of reform was not to com-

nience till after the dissolution of that parliammt. Thus,
under all possible circumstances of time, in time of war, in
time of peace, under an administration which had his confi-
dence, under an administration that had it not, and when he
himself was minister, had the right honourable gentleman
agitated the question of reform. What was there now to
make it improper for another to do that which it had been
proper for him to do in every variety of time and circum-
stances? The prosperity of the country was no argument
against reform, for it was not urged as a necessary measure to
restore prosperity, but to give security to the prosperity which
we enjoyed. That security, by the right honourable gentle-
man's own admission, no change of ministers, nothing else
could give; for he had moved it when minister himself; and
he did not surely distrust his own administration. When his
honourable friend gave notice of his motion last year— a part
of his argument which had been very unfairly treated — lie
said, that a time of national prosperity and peace, as the mi-
nister had described that to be, must be considered as favour-
able for reviving the question of reform. Since then, this un-
fortunate and mad war had been entered into, and his ho-
nourable friend said, 44 You who objected to. my motion last
year, as improper in the season of prosperity and peace, can-
not now make the same objection in the season of war and
much public distress." This, which he adduced merely as an
al:omen/um ad homines, to prove the inconsistency of his oppo-
nents, was attempted to be made a charge of inconsistency
against himself. What objection could the right honourable
gentleman raise to reviving the question of reform in a House
of Commons which he had found so favourable to him on
every other subject ? He would hardly venture to say, that
the House of Commons had been so universally complaisant
to him, that he was sure they would never support a bad mini-
ster. Had they often joined him in opposing ministers whom
he thought bad, he might indeed say that they would never
suffer misconduct in a minister; but on nine years' experience
of support to his own administration, it would be rather too

1793.] •

much to make the same inference. There could be no objec-
tion to the motion being made now, except that it was made
by his honourable friend instead of the right honourable gen-
tleman. In the pride of his new wisdom, his present self felt
such contempt for his former self, that he could not look back
on his former conduct and opinions without a sort of insulting
derision. As Lord Foppington said in the play, " I begin to
think that when I was a commoner, I was a very nauseous
fellow ;" so the right honourable gentleman began to think,
that when he was a reformer, he must have been a very foolish
fellow : he might, nevertheless, have retained some degree of
candour for his honourable friend, who had not yet received
the new lights with which he was so marvellously illuminated.
If the right honourable gentleman had rested his objections on
the change of circumstances produced by the events in France,
his argument would have been rational, or at least consistent.
But lie appealed to the recollection of the right honourable
gentleman, whether he had not in 1 7 85 argued as earnestly
against universal representation, and painted the dangers of it
in colours as strong as he had done now? The events in
France, therefore, had produced no aggravation of the danger
in his view of the subject, but rather made it less, in as much
as the example of its effects in France had brought it into
utter discredit in the mind of every thinking man ; and what
he had not considered as an objection to his own motion in
1 7 85 , he had no right to insist upon as an objection to the
motion of his honourable friend now.

He had always disliked universal representation as much
as the right honourable gentleman; but that dislike was no
reason for charging it with_ more mischief than was fairly
imputable to it. It had not been the cause, as the right
honourable gentleman alleged, of all the evils in France.
The first, or constituent assembly, was not elected on this
plan, but on old usages and old abuses; yet that assembly
had done some of the most unjustifiable things done in
France: it had despoiled the clergy without regard to situ-
ation or character, and destroyed the nobility. The second,
or legislative assembly, was not chosen by individual suffrage;
for when the constitution was framed, wild as the French
were, they had laid many restrictions on individual suffrage,
and made the distinction between active and inactive citizens.
It was, therefore, unjust to charge on it what was done by
assemblies elected before it was brought into use. France,
after doinn. great honour to herself by shaking off her oldbintolerable despotism, had since been governed by counsels
generally unwise, and often wicked. But, what had this to
do with our reform? It had been said, that French prin-
ciples, though not more detestable than the principles of

Russia, were more dangerous and more to be guarded
against, because more fascinating. Would any man now
say that French principles were fascinating? What, then,
had we to fear from what no man in his senses would wish
to copy ?

A right honourable friend of his (Mr. Windham) had last
night, in a very eloquent, but very whimsical speech, endea-
voured to prove that the majority was generally wrong. But -
when he came to answer some objections of his own suggest-
ing, he found himself reduced to say, that, when he differed
from the majority, he would consider himself as equally inde-
pendent of the decision of that majority as one independent
county member of the decision of another—which was just
to say, that he would put an end to society; for where every
individual was independent of the will of the rest, no society
could exist. It was singular for him to defend -the decision
of the majority, who had found it so often against him; and
he was in hopes that his right honourable friend would have
shown him some easy way of solving the difficulty. His right
honourable friend said, that a wise man would look first to the
reason of the thing to be decided, then to force, or his power
of carrying that decision into. effect, but never to the majority.
He would say, look first and look last to the reason of the
thing, without considering whether the majority was likely
to be for or against you, and least of all to force. Mr. Fox
admitted that the majority might sometimes oppress the mino-
rity, and that the minority might be justified in resisting
such oppression, even by force; but as a general rule, though
not without exception, the majority in every community must
decide for the whole, because in human affairs there was no
umpire but human reason. The presumption was also that
the majority would be right: for if five men were to decide
by a majority, it was probable that the three would be right
and the two wrong, of which, if they were to decide by force,
theremould be no probability at all. What was the criterion
of truth but the general sense of mankind ? Even in mathe-
matics, we proceeded from certain axioms, of the truth of
which we had no other proof but that all mankind agreed in
believing them. If; then, what all men agreed on was ad-
mitted to be true, there was a strong presumption, that what 4
many, or the majority, agreed on, was true likewise. Even
reverence for antiquity resolved itself into this; for what was
it but consulting the decision of the majority, not of one or
two generations, but of many, by the concurrence of which
we justly thought that we arrived at greater certainty ? His
objection to universal suffrage was not distrust of the deci-
sion of the majority, but because there was no practical mode
of collecting such suffrage, and that by attempting it, what


from the operation of hope on some, fear on others, and all
the sinister means of influence that would so certainly be
exerted, fewer individual opinions would be collected than
by an appeal to a limited number. Therefore, holding fast
to the right of the majority to decide, and to the natural
rights of man, as taught by the French, but much abused by-
their practice, lie would resist universal suffrage.

Without attempting to follow his right honourable friend,
when he proposed to soar into the skies, or dive into the deep,
to encounter his metaphysical adversaries, because in such
heights and depths the operations of the actors were too
remote from view to be observed with much benefit, he would
rest on practice, to which he was more attached, as being.
better understood. And if, by a peculiar interposition of
Divine power, all the wisest men of every age and of every
country could be collected into one assembly, he did not
believe that their united wisdom would be capable of forming_
even a tolerable constitution. In this opinion he thought he
was supported by the unvarying evidence of history and
observation. Another opinion he held, no matter whether
erroneous or not, for he stated it only as an illustration,
namely, that the most skilful architect could not build, in the
first instance, so commodious a habitation as one that had
been originally intended for some other use, and had been
gradually improved by successive alterations suggested byno
various inhabitants for its present purpose. If; then, so
simple a structure as a commodious habitation was so difficult
in theory, how much more difficult the structure of a govern-
ment? One apparent exception might be mentioned, the
constitution of the United States of America, which he believed
to be so excellently constructed, and so admirably adapted
to the circumstances and situation of the inhabitants, that it
left us no room to boast that our own was the sole admiration
of the world. The objection, however, was only apparent.
They had not a constitution to build up from the foundation;
they had ours to work upon, and adapt to their own wants
and purposes. This was what the present motion recom-
mended to the House—not to pull down, but to work upon
our constitution, to examine it with care and reverence, to
repair it where decayed, to amend it where defective, to
prop it where it wanted support, to adapt it to the purposes
of the present time, as our ancestors had done from gener-
ation to generation, and always transmitted it not only un-
impaired, but improved, to their posterity.

His right honourable friend had said, on a former occa-
sion, that if the constitution of the House of Commons were
that the county of Middlesex alone elected the representatives
for the whole kingdom, he would not consent to alter thata

twice —not jealousy captious or malignant, but jealousy
founded on well-examined and rational grounds of suspicion.
?an were not bound to wait till their liberties were actually
invaded; prudence called for means of prevention and de-
fence; and, to justify these, it was sufficient that they saw a
clear possibility of danger.

Now in order to skew that the House in its present state
was unfit for the functions which it ought to discharge, he
would refer to the history of the American war. It was
dangerous to make a concession in argument; for on that
concession was generally built some assertion very different
from what had been conceded. He had once admitted, that
the American war was popular in the beginning ; and on
that had been built the assertion, that he had called it the
war of the people. He never called, nor meant to call it so;
for, in truth, it was nothing less — it was the war of the
court. By the court the project of taxing America was con-
ceived, and the people were taught to believe that their money
would be saved and their burdens eased by a revenue drawn
from another country.

Thus were they first deluded, and then bribed by an appeal
to their pockets, into an approbation of the scheme of the
court. This was no assumption of his, for it was perfectly
well known, that when a considerable addition to the standing
army was proposed, the country gentlemen were induced to
agree to it, by hints that the expellee would be defrayed from
another quarter, instead of falling upon them. In compliance
with the wishes of the court, the House passed the memorable
stamp act. The stamp act was resisted and repealed ; and
the repeal was as popular as the passing of it had been. Was
this a presumption, that the war was the war of the people?
Was it not, on the contrary, a clear proof that the people had
no definite idea of the object of the war? When, by subse-
quent acts of the same nature, and similar resistance on the
part of America, the war was brought on, then, indeed, the
indignation of the people was excited by the supposed in-
gratitude of the colonies to the mother country ; their passions
inflamed; the love of military glory, natural to the minds of
a great and brave nation, roused ; and the war became popular.
But the war itself was the act of the court, deluding the
people by the subserviency of the House of Commons. The
House passed the stamp act ; the House took all the other
measures that led to the war, and voted that it should be sup-
ported, not as the organ of the people, • but as the obedient
servant of the court. What was a successful war, he was
somewhat at a loss to know. The American war from the
beginning he had always called unsuccessful; but he was, year
after year, told that he was quite mistaken, and that the success

[May 7,

mode of repr
esentation, while he knew from experience

thatit had produced such benefits as we had long enjoyed. Now;
suppose, for the sake of argument, that the county of Corn-
wall, somewhat less likely to be a virtual representative of the
whole kingdom than Middlesex, were, instead of sending
forty-four members to parliament, to send the whole five hun-
dred and fifty-eight, such a House of Commons might, for

atime, be a proper check on the executive power, and watch over
the interest of the whole kingdom with as much care as those of
Cornwall ; but, with such a House of Commons, no

would persuade him to remain satisfied, because there was
no security that it would continue to do so. The question
now to be examined was, Did the House of Commons, as at
present constituted, answer the purposes which it was in-
tended to answer; and had the people any security that it
would continue to do so ? To both branches of the question
he answered decidedly in the negative.

Before he proceeded to offer the reasons on which he thus
answered, it was necessary to say a few words on the circum-
stances which, in his opinion, would justify a change. Many
things short of actual suffering would justify not only a change,
but even resistance. When the dispute began with America,
it was not because it was held that the British parliament had
no legal right to tax America, that the project of taxing her

opposed. The Americans, indeed, did maintain that the
British parliament had no such right; but he, and many
others who opposed the measure, admitted the right, and he
was still of the same opinion. *hat, then, was the ground
of the opposition ? It was not any actual suffering on the
part of the Americans : they themselves allowed that the
taxes attempted to be imposed were of the most easy and
unoppressive kind. But although these taxes were so, they
had no security that heavy and oppressive taxes might not,
at some future period, be imposed upon them by a legislative
body, in which they had no representation, with which they
had no very close connection of common interest, and over
which they had no means of control. He, therefore, and
those with whom he had the honour to act, thought this want
of security, for what they were not then ashamed to call the
rights of man, a sufficient cause of resistance. They justified
the Americans in that glorious resistance, for which they
were then called the advocates of American rebels, as some
of them, though too familiar with such charges much to heed
them, were now called the advocates of the French. That
glorious resistance was ultimately successful, and to that
success would yet be owing the liberties of mankind; if in
this country they should unhappily be suffered to perish. 'Jealousy, too, was a good cause of change, or even of resis-


Let gentlemen read that speech by clay, and meditate on
i t by night ; let them peruse it again and again, study it,
imprint it on their minds, impress it on their hearts : they
would there learn, that representation was the sovereign
remedy for every disorder, the infallible security against,
popular discontent; let them learn this, and give to the people,
not the " unreal mockery," but the efficient substance of

He came next to consider the conduct of the House since
the American war. When the. India bill, which he had the
honour to propose, was lost, was it because the bill was
unpopular? By no means. Whatever odium had been
afterwards excited against it, the people had then expressed
no disapprobation. The right honourable the chancellor of
the exchequer had no hand in its defeat; for, ready and able
as he was to speak against it, it passed the House of Commons
by a great majority. By whom, then, was it thrown oat?
Let the merit be given to those to whom it belonged — it
was thrown out by certain bedchamber lords, acting under
the direction of those who had access to advise the king.
The dismission of the ministry followed the rejection of- the

bill, and the House of Commons adhered to the discarded
ministers. The right honourable gentleman would surely
allow, that the House, in order to execute its functions,
ought to command respect. Did it command respect on that
occasion? Was it respected by the crown, by the peers, or
by the people ? The advisers of the crown disregarded its
remonstrances; the peers came to resolutions censuring its
proceedings; and the people treated it not as their organ in
the constitution, and the guardian of their rights, but as a'
faction leagued to oppress them, and with whom they had no
common interest or common cause. Since that period the
House had not only commanded respect, but praise, froth
those who were permitted to advise the crown, not by oppo-
sition, but by prompt obedience; not by a watchful and
jealous guardianship of the interests of the people, but by
implicit confidence in ministers, and pliant acquiescence in
the measures of the court. Thrice had that House of Coin;
mons of which he had spoken, and which he should never
mention but with honour, resisted the influence of the crown,
and nothing then was talked of but a reform of parliament.
The House 'of Commons had been now for nine years a,
complaisant and confiding body, and the cry of reform from.
those who were formerly the loudest and most active was

See New Parliamentary History, Vol. p. 513.

[May 7,

Was fully adequate to every reasonable expectation. At length
came the final blow, the capture of Lord Cornwallis and his
army — the war was acknowledged to be unsuccessful, and theHouse put an end to it, but not till several years after the people
had begun to send up petitions and

remonstrances against it.In some of the petitions on the table the
accumulation ofthe public debt was imputed to the defect of the represent-

ation, and he was sorry to see such an absurdity in them. Theac
cumulation of the public debt was the necessary consequence

of-the wars which we had been obliged to maintain in defenceof our constitution and our national independence; and hefor one had no scruple in declaring

, that every war in which
we had been engaged, from the Revolution to the American
war, was both just and n

ecessary. He would, therefore,
acquit the House of all the debt contracted, except for the
American war, and as much as might fairly- be imputed totoo remiss a superintendence of the expenditure of public
money: for all the debt contracted to support the American
war, after that war became unpopular, the House of Com-mons was undoubtedly a

nswerable. It was not enough for
preventing wars that we were disposed to cultivate peace, if
our neighbours were not as peaceably disposed as ourselves.
'hen, therefore, the petitioners talked of preventing wars
by reforming the House of Commons, they forgot that the
work would be but half done, unless they could give as good
a constitution to France as England would then be possessed
of. But when he mentioned this, lie raised no argumentfrom it against the general pra yer for a reform in the represent-ation. His right honourable friend (Mr. Burke), on presentinghis plan of reconciliation with America in 1775, made aspeech, in which the virtues aid the efficacy of

representationwere displayed with a force and clearness unparalleled. Werethe people of Ireland uncivilised and unsubdued after a
forcible possession of their country for a,

W ges, what was theremedy
then? Representation. Were eWelsh in perpetualcontention among themselves, and hostility to Englishmen,what was the remedy ? Representation.

*Were the countiesof Chester and Durham full of discontent and disorder, whatwas the remedy ? Representation. Representation was t he.universal panacea, the cure for every evil. When the
day-star of • the English constitution had arisen in their hearts, all

was harmony within and without
— Shaul alba nautis

Stella refulsit,
Defluit saxis agitatus humor;
Concidunt vents, fugiuntque nubes,Et tninax (quod sic voluere) potato


1 . 14 Ppt. GREY'S MOTION ' FOR A [May

heard no more. Reform was then the only thing that could
save the constitution : the very sound of reform was now
pregnant with the most imminent danger. When that House
of Commons resisted the influence of the court, they were
told that they were not the representatives of the people, and.
that they were not so chosen as they ought to be. The
people felt that the charge was true in part, and were easily
induced to give credit to the whole. Had. that House of
Commons been chosen in a less objectionable manner; had
the people considered them as their representatives, could
they have been so contemptuously treated and so ignomi-
niously dismissed as they had been ? No; the people would
have seen that the cause of their representatives was the same
with their own : they would have given them their confidence
and their support.

But, it was said, a House of Commons so chosen as to be
a complete representative of the people, would be too power-
ful for the House of Lords, and even for the king : they
would abolish the one and dismiss the other. If the king and
the House of Lords were unnecessary and useless branches
of the constitution, let them be dismissed and abolished ; for
the people were not made for them, but they for the people.
If, on the contrary, the king and the House of Lords were
felt and believed by the'people, as he was confident they were,
to be not only uselid but essential. parts of the constitution, a
House of Commons, freely chosen by, and speaking the sen-
timents of, the people, would cherish and protect both, within
the bounds which the constitution had assigned them. In the
case of the Russian armament., what had been the mode of
proceeding? The minister thought proper to arm against.
Russia, and the House of Commons was called upon to vote
the supplies. Were they allowed to inquire into the necessity
of that armament, or to judge of its propriety ? No; they
were told that to ministers it belonged to judge, and to them
to confide; and on this implicit confidence they voted the
sums demanded of them. In the mean-time, the people
shewed their disapprobation of a war with Russia; the mi-
nister adopted their sentiments ; called on the House of I.
Commons to agree with him in this change of opinion, and
the House acquiesced. He would neither allow the House of
Commons to judge in the first instance, nor, through him,
look for the opinion of the people in the second. He was to.
collect the opinion of the people, and tell those who ought to
be their representatives, and the organs of their sentiments,
what that opinion was. The lesson thus held out to every
man in the House was this : — " If you look for honour orafiar
power, you must take care to conciliate the advisers of the


Icr7o9w3 nIby a ready subserviency to whatever they require. If
you presume to counteract them, you may enjoy the con-•
sciousness of serving the public without hope or reward; but
from power and situation, from all the fair objects of honour-
able ambition, you are for ever excluded."

Having thus shewn that the House of Commons, as now
constituted, was neither adequate to the due discharge of its
duties at present, nor afforded any security that it would be so
in future, what remained for him to answer but general topics
of declamation ? He had sufficient confidence in the maxims
he had early learned, and sufficient reverence for the authors
from whom he learned them, to brave the ridicule now at-
tempted to be thrown upon all who avowed opinions that, till
very lately, had been received as the fundamental principles of
liberty. He was ready to say with Locke, that goverment
originated not only for, but from the people, and that the peo-
ple were the legitimate sovereign in every community. If
such writings as were now branded as subversive of all govern-
ment had not been react and studied, would the parliament of
-1640 have done those great and glorious things, but for which
we might be now receiving the mandates of a despot, like
Germans, or any other slaves. • A noble Lord (Mornington)
had discovered that Rousseau, in his Social Contract, had
said a very extravagant thing. He was not very well qualified
to judge, for he had found the beginning of the Social Con-
tract so extravagant, that he could not read it through, but he
believed it was one of the most extravagant of that author's
works. He did not mean to say that the noble Lord had pro-
duced an extravagant saying from Rousseau as a novelty ; but
it was somewhat remarkable, that an extravagant thing, from
the most extravagant work of an extravagant foreign author,
should be produced as an argument against a reform in the
representation of the people of Great Britain. Reverence for
antiquity was then appealed to, and gentlemen were asked, if
they would consent to alter that which in former times had
been productive of such important acquisitions to liberty.
With equal propriety our ancestors might have been asked, if
they would alter that constitution under which so great an
acquisition to liberty as Magna Charta had been obtained ;
and yet, after the acquisition of Magna Charta, the condition
of this country had been such as was rather to be execrated
and detested, than cherished and admired.

'When gentlemen talked of the danger of rash innovation,
and the great advantages of temperate and slow reform, they
might find all they had to say anticipated in a much more
pleasant treatise than any of their speeches, viz. the Tale of a
.Tub, where brother Jack's tearing. off the Lace, points and em-

1 2

t 6

[May 7.,
broidery from his coat, at the hazard of reducing the coat
itself to tatters, and brother Martin's cautiously picking up
stitch by stitch, exhibited an abstract of all their arguments
on the subject. The Septennial act, in the opinion of many,
had been the means of preserving the House of Brunswick on
the throne. But had such a House of Commons as the pre-
sent been then in being, what would have become of the House
of Brunswick and the protestant succession ? " What !" they
would have said, " adopt so violent an innovation as septen-
nial instead of triennial parliaments; do you mean to subvert
the whole fabric of the constitution ? Triennial parliaments
were sanctioned at the glorious epoch of the revolution ; to
triennial parliaments we owed all the prosperity, all the glory
of the reigns of King William and Queen Mary; to triennial
parliaments were we indebted for the victory of Blenheim."
As rationally might they have said, that to triennial parlia-
ments they were indebted for the victory of Blenheim, as it
might be now said, that to the right of Old Sarum to send mem-
bers to parliament we were indebted for our annual exports
being increased seven millions. If to such sources as these, na-
tional prosperity was to be traced; if for the essence of our
constitution we were to repair to a cottage on Salisbury Plain;
or, for the sake of antiquity more reverend, let us take Stone-
henge for Old Sarum ; then might we undertake pilgrimages
to the sacred shrine, and tell each admiring stranger, " Look
not for the causes of our envied condition in the system of our
government and laws ; here resides the hallowed deposit of all
the happiness we enjoy ; but if you Move one of these rugged
stones from another, the British constitution is thrown from
its basis and levelled with the dust."—A right honourable
friend of his (Mr. Windham, who was chairman of the Down-
ton committee,) had been lately employed for many weary
days in examining the divisions of burgage tenures, to be -
found in a trench at Downton. Had it occurred to his right
honourable friend, that in this trench he was searching for the
most essential principles of the constitution, the investigation
would have been somewhat less irksome, the labour somewhatless fastidious.

The petition presented facts into which the House was 4t,'
bound to inquire, both in its legislative and its inquisitorial
capacity. In the petition it was affirmed, that peers nomi-
nated members to seats in the House; and they had a stand-
ing order that no peer should interfere in elections. In the
petition it was asserted, that bribery and corruption were
openly practised at elections; and they had a standing order
against bribery and corruption. Let the facts be inquire4
into, or these idle denunciations be expunged from their


journals. A select Stockbri
dge had reported bribery against

certain electors of Stockbridge ; and a bill of pains and pe-
nalties, which had been founded on that report, had been

rejected. He was not sorry for it; he wished not to see apoor man punished for selling his vote, while the sale of seats
was connived at. 'The corruption of an individual voter was
undoubtedly an evil, but small in comparison of the mis-
chievous effects which the sale of seats must produce on the
minds of the sellers and the buyers, while both of them knew
that it was contrary to law. Let the House inquire and put

stop to such practices, or avow their expediency and repeal
the laws that made them criminal.

The lateness of the hour, the clearness of the case, and
the danger of rejecting die motion, rendered it unnecessary
for him to insist farther upon it. One word only with re-
spect to the time. It was triumphantly said, by gentlemen
on the other side, that ninety-nine out of every hundred of
the people of England were well affected to the constitution,
.and he believed that they were right. Where, then, was the
danger of inquiring into the defects of the constitution with a
view of correcting them? 'Could they hope for some golden
period, in which the proportion of the ill-affected would be
less than as one to ninety-nine? The objection to the time
was, therefore, a fallacy, a mere pretext for putting off what
the House could not help seeing to be necessary, but felt
unwilling to begin. This manner of postponing, on the most
frivolous pretences, what could not be denied to be fit, was
more properly the object of ridicule than of argument: the
time must come when the House would be unable to disguise,
even from themselves, the necessity of inquiring into the state
of the representation ; and then too they might perhaps give
1.,oidoillii. df_or a new application of the poet's raillery on an indi-

" Let that be wrought which Mat cloth say :
Yea, quoth the Erle, but not to-day."

At four in the morning the House divided on Mr. Grey's motion,
" That the petitiobe. referred to the consideration of a committee."

yEAs Sheridan


Mr. Whitbread 41. ----- NOES
Mr. Powys 2q2

So it passed in the negative.
Mr. Neville


18 RENEWAL OF THE [May 13,


May 13.

'HE House being in a committee upon the bill ‘ 4 for continuingA.
in the possession of the East India company, for a furtherterm, the territorial a

cquisitions and revenues obtained in the East
Indies, and for making further provision for the government and
security of the said territories, and the appropriation of the reve-nues thereof; and for the further continuance of' the exclusivetrade of the said company, under certain limitations and restric-tions, and more effectually securing the benefits thereof; and for
applying part of the funds of the said company in the reduction oftheir debts, and appropriating the residue thereof for the benefit
of the public, and of the said company, pursuant to an agreement
made for that purpose,"

Mr. Fox said, he understood it was supposed by
severalgentlemen, that some objections were to be made to this bill

before the Speaker left the chair, and that
afterwards the

clauses would be discussed ; but, although he had great objec-
tions to the principle of the bill, as others might approve of
the principle, and yet might have objections to some of the
clauses, he had suffered the question for the Speaker leaving
the chair to pass, that those gentlemen might follow their own
ideas upon the subject without much impediment from

him,particularly as what lie had to urge might come at a future
stage of the proceeding. He did not, however, wish to letone opportunity pass without entering his protest against some
of the provisions of the bill. It was thirteen years since the
sentiment of the public had been expressed in that House-
" that the influence of the crown had increased, was increas-Mg,

and ought to be diminished ;" and be was sure, there
was as much reason for that resolution now, as there was at
that time. He objected, he said, to the mode in which this
bill tended to extend that influence; and he must now call
upon all those who in the year 1780 declared, that the in-
fluence of the crown ought to be diminished, to compare the
influence then, and the influence now; and then to

say,whether they could consistently vote for the clause which gave
the nomination of three officers to the crown ; whether they
who voted for a bill brought in by a right honourable gen-
tleman, (Mr. Burke,) a bill which would do him immortal 'honour; whether those gentlemen, he said, who had at that


time entertained the sentiments they then professed upon the
increase of the influence of the crown, could now vote for a
measure which so obviously tended to increase that influence.

He maintained, that the clause empowering the crown to no-
minate officers to act under this bill, and who were to be paid
large salaries by the company, was wrong upon the principle
of it. He thought that in all public situations, where officers
were appointed to any place of trust, the public ought to pay
them, because while the payment came from the public purse,
the public had some check, by their representatives, over the
conduct of such officers; but, by this bill, the public were to
pay circuitously and obliquely, by and through the medium
of the company; for the payment of these officers was so
much in diminution of what the public would otherwise receive
from the revenues of the company. He felt this, and he
must add, that in proportion as the House felt the influence
of the crown to be great, they should be impressed with a
sense of their duty not to increase it. He had heard it said
on former occasions, that the gentlemen acting in the affairs
of India were mere birds of passage; if so, he was sure there
could be no good reason for supposing that they would be less
under the influence of the crown than if they were stationary,.
or that they were therefore the less likely to be corrupt. He
should have other opportunities of delivering his sentiments
upon this subject, and he should avail himself of them ; but
he took that occasion of calling the attention of the House to
the point which he should afterwards take notice of. If gen-
tlemen, who with him had voted, in the year 1780, upon the
influence of the crown, had forgotten the reasons upon which
the House came to that resolution—if they had forgotten
they formerly professed upon that subject, all he could say
was, that he should do every thing in his power to refresh
their recollection, and therefore it was that he wished what
he had now hinted to be taken as a public notice.

May 1" 7.

The report of the committee on the bill being brought up ; on
reading the clause to enable his majesty to appoint two additional
commissioners for the management of the affairs of India, who are
not privy councellors, and with certain fixed salaries,

Mr. Fox said, that when a clause of this alarming nature,
with respect to influence, came to be discussed, he could have
wished to have seen in their places those honourable gentle-
men who had expressed their sentiments so strongly on former


I 20

occasions-against the influence of the crown. It was surely,
on every account, proper that they should come forward,

andgive a decided opinion on this question : let them say

.they had altered their former opinion ; or, if they have not
altered it, which he trusted they had not, whether they could
reconcile the support of such a measure as the present with
that opinion. Persons in their high situations ought to
attend and give their votes. He would wish to know from
them, how far they thought it right to go, in cases of dan-
ger and emergency, in support of any plans brought forward

ministers; and whether they were never to oppose this
shameless increase of influence. As to the thing itself, there
were two very considerable offices, with certain fixed salaries,
added to the patronage of the crown. It was, indeed, hinted,
that perhaps some offices, belonging to another kingdom,
held at present by persons in this country, would be taken off
from the patronage here; but, be that as it might, would not
the patronage of another country bear upon this ? When
the board of control was first appointed, it was said there
were to be no salaries ; and surely this country was never in a
situation which called for stricter economy than when we
were involved in war, and in difficulties of which we could
not see a probable speedy termination. However great his
personal respect for the honourable gentlemen he had alluded
to, he could not but complain of their absence; and he called,
too, upon all those who, in the year r 780, joined in the vote
of that House, that the influence of the crown had increased,
was increasing, and ought to be diminished, to come forward:
let them say whether they were then right; and, if so, whether
that influence had since decreased.

With respect to his majesty's privy counsellors, there wee
•surely many of them who possessed lucrative offices under the

crown, who might have leisure sufficient to attend to the bu-
siness of the board of control; such as the treasurer of the
household, the postmasters general, the treasurer of the navy,
&c. If this were not the case, the appointment of this board
of control, in the manner it was held out at first, was nothing
but a deceit practised upon the public. Mr. Fox said, he
was determined to take the sense of the House that night;
.and, if he was then unsuccessful, to do so in any future stage
of the bill, where the forms of the House would permit him,
with respect to this particular clause, as he was resolved it should
not be said that a fair opportunity had not been given to every
gentleman to give his vote and opinion. If he limited his op-

at present, to that clause alone, it was not because he
.did not dislike many other parts of the bill, but because he

did not wish now to mix any other part of it with this. He


did not wish to say any thing personal to the right honourable
gentleman opposite to him, (Mr. Dundas,) who was not only
treasurer of the navy, put also secretary of state and president
of the board of control. He alluded to this for no other pur-
pose than to ask if that right honourable gentleman had, for
two years past, discharged the important duties of secre-
tary of state, and at the same time had acted as president to the
board of control, whether a treasurer of the household, or a
postmaster general, might not have had leisure to act in the
same capacity? He would only farther observe, that as it was
held out that, when offices were divided, there should be ad-
ditional salaries, it would seem to follow that, when they were
united, there should be a saving to the public, though he bad
never heard that this had taken place with respect to the right
honourable gentleman, or that he did not receive the salaries
and emoluments of all the different offices held by him.

The House divided : for the clause 11 3 : against it 42.

May 24.

On the order of the day for the third reading of the bill,

Mr. Fox said, that havint? before delivered his opinion
upon the subject of the amendment, which he meant to pro-
pose, he would not trouble the House with a repetition of the
arguments on which he founded that opinion ; but as he had
given notice that he should again object to that part of the bill
which went to the creation of new offices in the gift of the
crown, in order that those with whom he had formerly con-
curred in aevote for reducint, the influence of the crown,
might have an opportunity of delivering their sentiments on the
proposed increase of that influence, he certainly should take
the sense of the House upon it. If they still concurred with
him in the opinions they had formerly professed, it became
them, like men who acted from a sense of duty, unbiassed by
any temporary motives, to maintain those opinions by their
votes on the present occasion. If, on the contrary, their opi-
nions had changed, if they had abandoned the principles upon
which he and they had formerly combated the increasing in-
fluence of the crown, it became them, in that case also, as
men who acted from conviction, to avow that change, to ex-
plain the reasons of it, and to confirm it by their votes. In no
case could he conceive it to be proper or consistent with their
duty and their character, to absent themselves, and leave per-
sons who were less inclined to put a candid construction on

122 RENEWAL OF THE [May 24.
their motives than he was, at liberty to suppose that they were
either afraid to avow the change that had taken place in their
opinions, or that, if they still adhered to them, they were un-
willing, on account of some peculiar circumstances at the
present moment, to take that part which their duty required.
At all events, he had done his duty, by giving them this op-
portunity of delivering their sentiments, and should content
himself, without farther trespassing on the time of the House,
by moving to leave out the words "and such two persons as
his majesty, his heirs, and successors shall think fit."

After Mr. Sheridan had said a few words, the House divided.
on the question, " That those words stand part of the bill."

Tellers. Tellers.
YEAS Mr. J. Smyth 1S 'Col. Fitzpatrick ?


1Mr. H. Hobart S t Mr. Whitbread .1 3°'
The amendment proposed by Mr. Fox was consequently rejected.

After which,

Mr. Fox again rose and said : When, Sir, the subject was
first brought under the consideration of the House, I did
expect, that a committee of inquiry would have been ap-
pointed, to call for and to examine the requisite evidence,
which could alone enable us to form our opinions upon so
important a subject, as the government and trade of India ;
and I did expect, that from such a committee a report would
have issued, founded upon the whole of this evidence, and
that, upon the different branches of the subject, the House
would have sat, and solemnly and deliberately determined,
what that system is, which is required for the administration
of our Indian empire and trade. Was this the case ? Nothing
like it ! On the contrary, the only evidence before the House,
that I know of is, that some weeks past, a capital speech was
made by the 'minister for India, giving a general account
of the government and trade of our provinces, and pointing
out the propriety and necessity of renewing the company's
charter, and so forth. In this capital speech, not a word
was heard of the proposed increase of the influence of the
crown, although this was a necessary consequence of the
system which it recommended. To this increase I object,
and I feel it to be my duty solemnly to protest against it, as
fraught with danger to the constitution, and as a measure
which could only have been devised by the most strenuous
advocates for despotic power. Why is this influence danger-
ous ? Because it is irresponsible. Is it to be placed in the
hands of those who are to be vested with the real power ?
No: it is to be given to their agents and dependents, whose


responsibility, from the nature of their situation, it is absurd
to speak of. Upon the ground of this objection, and of
others which I shall presently state, I feel it to be my duty
to oppose the whole of this bill, as disgraceful to its proposers,
and, if adopted, to this House; as dangerous to the public in
general, and repugnant to the principles of the constitution
in particular.

Taking this, therefore, as the ground of his objection,
Mr. Fox conceived it to be his duty to submit a few observ-
ations to the consideration of the House. Many of the mem-
bers would recollect, and all of them must know, that in the
year 1783, he had successfully pointed out the ex.traordinary
influence then in the hands of the directors. At that period,
however, as the influence was independent of the crown, he
thought that it might be wise neither to increase it, nor to
diminish it, but to leave it, as to quantity, where it then stood.
A short time afterwards, upon a fuller view of the whole
subject, he was decidedly of opinion, that it was highly im-
proper to leave this influence with a commercial body, and
that it ought to be vested in those, who, from their characters
and situations, with respect to the public, were better qualified
to exercise it. This was the leading provision in the bill,
which he had the honour to submit to the House in 1783.
The fate of that bill, it was now as unnecessary as it would
be unavailing, to relate. But it was impossible for him to
allow the accusations which had been, in his opinion, im-
properly and unjustly brought against him, to pass without
refuting them, and reprobating them in the terms they de-
served. These accusations were twofold : first, that his bill
tended to lessen, and next to increase the influence of the
crown, though in truth, it had neither of these objects in
view. At that time he had stated, and he again repeated,
that his object was to take the power from the directors, where
it was most improperly placed, and to vest it in commis-
sioners, who were to be immediately under the controul of
parliament. This was a subject, however, upon which he
would not trouble the House at any length, as it was not
immediately before them; but this was his only objection to
enter upon the discussion. I am convinced, (said Mr. Fox,)
that the more that bill is examined, the more it will meet
with the approbation of the public. That. bill had a defined
object, a clear and precise meaning; the bill now under
consideration is the reverse of it in every respect. It has no
defined object, and it has a concealed meaning ; for, under
the specious pretext of avoiding the objectionable influence in
Iny bill, it grasps at the whole of the patronage of India, in
a way totally disconnected with responsibility. • '?

Mr. Fox next observed, it could not be expected upon a

third reading of such a bill, that he should enter at
lengthinto the subject. The manner, however, in which the right

honourable gentleman who had brought in the bill had
treatedthe point of influence was such, that he could not allow his

observations to pass without taking some notice of them. It
has been asserted, that the patronage of India consists in
the appointment of a few writers. Now, if there is a manin this House, if there is a man in this country, if there is
one man in any of the British territories in India, possessed of
a spark of common sense, who can believe this assertion to be
true, I wish him joy of his credulity. I ask any man who is
not insane, in whom, if this bill shall pass into a law, will the
whole of the patronage of India be vested ? Will not the
company and their directors be the mere tools of the minister
for the time being? Who appointed Lord Cornwallis; _or
Sir John Shore ? Was it the company ? No ! it was the
board of control. Is this, then, the boasted measure

whichis to lessen the influence of the crown, to convey no nelr
patronage to the minister, and to give him no room to exercise
his caprice or his prejudices in appointments in India? Whatin reality is this boasted bill ? It is nothing but a continu-
ation of that system of deception, fraud, and rapacity, which
has marked the conduct of ministers in the management of
the affairs of India. Have the House forgotten, or must I
recall to their memory, the declaratory bill ? Did not the
minister for India then embrace the principle, of placing the
whole of the territorial power in the crown, and of appro-
priating the revenues to the maintenance of the military
establishments there; though the bill of 1784 had no such
principle, nor any thing like it ?— Ex pede Herculem.d—Thedeclaratory bill was founded on the I ith clause of the

billof 1784, the object of which is only " to afford the board
information respecting the company's affairs abroad, and to
require the company to pay due obedience to such orders as
they shall receive from the board, touching the civil or mi-
litary government and revenues of the British territorial pos-
sessions in the East Indies." The provisions of the declaratory
bill, however, gave to ministers the uncontrouled power ofappropriating the revenues of India to such military establish-
ments as they should think fit to create or employ. The
declaratory bill thus professed one thing, and by its provisions
effit,cted another.

Having referred to the preamble and the provisions of the
bill, he asserted, that obtaining farther information respect..ing India was its professed object, but vesting the power
and revenues of India in the crown its real object, and then


[May 2 1793.]

pronounced, that the present bill was a continuation of the
system of delusion, fraud, and rapacity, which had been in-
troduced by the bill of 1 7 84 , and by the declaratory bill.
The present bill pretended to wave all patronage, whilst it,
in fact, grasped at patronage of every description. It affected
to say, that responsibility was to be attached to those who
were to exercise power; but, in fact and in truth, it gave
security to corruption, and a facility to the exercise of corrupt
practices. This, (said Mr. Fox,) I am entitled to affirm, be-
cause it will enable the minister to engross the whole power,
and yet screen him from all responsibility. Every thing, by
it, is to be carried onby agents, who, from the nature of all
governments, never can be made responsible for the cor-
ruption of those whose commands they obey. Upon these
grounds, I protest against the whole of this system ; but as it
may be expedient to renew the charter of the East-India
company for a short time, I would propose, as an amend-
ment, " That instead of the words one thousand eight hun-
dred and eleven, the words one thousand seven hundred and.
ninety seven, be inserted," being four years, the same period
which I fixed on as necessary in making an experiment, under
ray own bill.

In a commercial and a political light, Mr. Fox objected
against the whole of the proposed system. In a commercial
light, it pretended to give an exclusive privilege, and yet
admitted provisions which counteracted the whole of this
privilege ; so that, whatever commercial plans might be
adopted in India, and however wise they might be, they
might be overturned at the caprice of the board of control,
though this board might know infinitely less about the busis
ness, than the agents whom they were controuling. In the end,
such an absurd measure must destroy the very spirit and
vigour of the commerce. In a political light, he protested
not less strongly against the whole of this bill, because the
power was to be left in hands where there was no respon-
sibility, and because he considered the whole system to be
dangerous to the constitution, if not subversive of it. Upon
these grounds Mr. Fox concluded, that he must take the sense
or the House on the amendment which he had proposed.

The amendment proposed by Mr. Fox was opposed by Mr. Pitt,
after which it was rejected on a division, by 132; to 26.


May 3o.

ON the 28th of May a committee was appointed to consider
the state of the impeachment against Mr. Hastings. The -

report of the said committee having been brought
up on the 30th,a motion was made by Mr. Charles Townshend, " That a

messagebe sent to the Lords, acquainting them with the reasons why
thisHouse cannot proceed on the trial of Warren Hastings, Esq. at :

the time appointed ; and to desire that. the same may be put off to a
afurther day." This motion being opposed by Mr. Wigley, on,

account of the delay it would occasion,

Mr. Fox said, that the learned gentleman had opposed the
motion now before the House upon fair ground, namely, upon
the ground of delay; that delay he had pretty plainly imputed
to the managers : the question, therefore, must be, with regard
to that learned gentleman's objection, whether the managershad been guilty of any unheeessary delay, on their part, in
the course of this trial ? First of all, he begged leave to
protest against the truth of the allegation, and to declare, that
to his knowledge there had not been, on the part of the
managers, any delay whatever. He did not say that there
had not been delay some where, nor that such delay might
not have been necessary; all that he asserted was, and he.
pledged himself to prove it before he sat down, that whatever
delay there had been, or whether it was necessary or unne-
cessary, it did not proceed in any one instance from the
managers. Supposing therefore, for a moment, that this was
the case, which he promised he should be able-to prove, he
would then ask, whether there was a man in that House, or
in the country, who knew any thing of the nature of this
proceeding, who did not know that that which had taken up
so much time already for evidence, did not also require great
time for deliberation ? Was it not possible that there might
be more evidence to be offered on the part of the prosecution,
when that on the part of the defence Caine to be deliberately
examined, in order to rebut the evidence on the part of the
defendant ? Did not this rule apply to the other side, when
the prosecution was closed ? Did it not apply to all judicial
proceedings, and more particularly to those of a criminal
nature ? Let the House look at the course of the trial from
its commencement. On the part of the managers, much of
the time had been taken up in reading the articles of charge,



and the evidence to support them. Let them look also at the
different mode adopted for the other side. On the part of
the prosecution, the whole of the evidence, at the request of
the defendant's counsel, was read at length. On the part of
the defence, various parts of the evidence were entered as
read, for the purpose of saving time, referring to volumes of
evidence to be printed by the managers before they should
proceed to reply. The managers might have insisted on the
evidence for the defence being read at large, like that on the
part of the prosecution ; but, for the purpose of avoiding, delay
as much as possible, they had consented to this expeditious
mode. He was not blaming the counsel for the defendant
for insisting on all the evidence from books on the part of
the prosecution being read at full length ; perhaps they were
very right; but, then, he expected that there should come front
that quarter no complaint of delay afterwards, especially when
out of favour to them, the managers had consented to shorten
the evidence on the part of the defence, and to give it all
the effect it could have from being read, by consenting to
enter it as having been read at the trial, and consequently
printed with the other evidence. This the counsel on the
part of the defendant could not have done without the consent
of the managers, and yet those very managers, who had been
compelled to go through their own evidence at full length,
because the counsel for the defendant insisted upon their
doing so, and who had consented to accommodate the de-
fendant with the best mode of managing his defence, because
his counsel desired it for the sake of . expedition, were now to
be clanged by these very counsel with having wilfully caused
delay on the present trial !

But it had been said, that the managers had occasioned de-
lay, by proposing questions which could not regularly be
asked, that the opinion of the judges had been often given
against them upon that occasion, and that they had offered
dence which was inadmissible. Upon this be -must confess,
that if there was any reproach to attach to the managers for
such conduct, he was ambitious of having his share of it, and
he claimed a great one. He should not now • say any thing
upon the opinions of those who thought the proceedings of
the managers vexatious in that respect; but would be con-
tented with observing, that whatever their lordships might
think upon the propriety of refusing evidence offered by the
managers, he thought that the managers would have been
highly reprehensible if they had neglected to tender it, and
that the general ground for refusing to receive that evidence
appeared to him ridiculous, and the argument upon it pre-
posterous ; for it was said, that although the evidence in itself


might amount to something, yet it would not raise a degreeof presum p

tion in its favour to entitle it to admission, thus
taking the weight of evidence as an

argument againstpetency ; and with respect to the opinions of the ju its


es, h

could only say, that the managers never knew the principle on
which they proceeded, as they always

gave those opinionsbefore the lords, shut up in their chamber of parliament, to
the absolute exclusion of strangers;

consequently, from such
opinions given in the dark, and to the managers totally behind
the curtain, they had no rule for their guidance and improve-
ment, and therefore they were obliged to persist in every
question they put that might have been objected to by the de-
fendant's counsel, not knowing wha t the judges would approveor what. they would disapprove.

The next co
nsideration was, upon the matter of &et, with

respect to the time which the discussion of this impeachment
had already taken up. It was said, it had lasted six years.
It had so: but how many days had been employed in
that period ? Only 116. In one year only 20 days had been
allowed. If the lords required any

extraordinary diligencefrom the managers, their lordships, from the example they
gave, did not require that diligence with

a very extraordinarygood grace. The managers, however, did riot wish to be ex-
travagant in their requisitions to their lordships ; for they
asked only for a week, upon important ground, for

proceedingupon this trial, although the lords had taken months for them-
selves without condescending to assign any ground

whatever.How stood the case with respect to speeches before

upon this trial? Upon the Benares charge, which he had the
honour of opening, he spoke only one day, and an

honourablefriend of his another day. Two days were consumed in
speeches from the managers on this point: eight were taken
up by the counsel for the defendant in answering them. He
did not say that the counsel took up too much time; he dared
say it was too little for the business they undertook ; hut he
mentioned this to shew how the truth was with regard to thequestion of delay.

Another thing was to be noticed upon this trial, and it
arose out of the cifcumstances of its commencement. When
judgmthe lords said to the managers that they should not ask forent charge after charge separately, but that Mr.

e, Hast-ings should hear the whole of the charges to be exhibited

against him before he should be called upon to make a de-
fence to any, —why was this rule not to be followed with

re-spect to the managers in making their reply to the defence of
Mr. Hastings ? Why was one rule to be followed by the de-
fendant, and another to he marked out for the prosecutors ?




For, according to the mode allowed Mr. Hastings for his
defence, the managers ought to have time to peruse the whole
of the defence before they proceeded to reply to it. And, if the

the defendant required time to answer the speeches
ecrit litieselinfLgers and to rebut the evidence called for the prose-
cution, why was there not to be time for the reply in the same
manner ? He would go farther, and say, that even if he had
known a good- while ago that the defence would have been
closed at the time it was, he was then entitled to think and
expect from the conduct of the lords, upon former stages of
this trial, that they would not have called upon the managers
for their reply till the next session of parliament. How stood
facts upon this point? On the 14th of February, 1 79 1, the
House of Commons sent a message to the lords, importing
that they were ready to proceed upon this trial. What were
their lordships pleased to do? Not a word was heard from
them until the 17th of May, and then, it might be supposed,

made up by their activity for their past neglect. Howthey
the fact? How many days did their lordships allow

the managers to proceed upon this trial in the whole of that
year ? Only four ; and on the 3oth of May their lordships
diligence closed for the session. Did they then tell Mr. Hast-
ings, that he must make his defence to what had been exhibited

acrains1 him in a week, as they called upon the managers to
reply ? Nothing like it; for they allowed him till the next
year to prepare it. Was there one law for Mr. Hastings, and.
another for the managers ? He confessed, that, upon every
view he had of the subject, and from the conduct of the
lords, he fully expected that they would not have called upon
the managers for their reply until the next session.

Another part of the business had been alluded to by the
learned gentleman, which was, that Mr. Hastings had been
obliged to request his friends to come down to the House on
the day of trial in time to form a House, to prevent delay
that must otherwise have happened. Upon this he must say,
that there might, out of the 116 days which had been taken
up in this trial, be three or four on which the lords might
have waited for the Commons for, perhaps, the space of half
an hour. This, lie presumed, was not very disgraceful to the
managers, nor very extraordinary, for on some days the chan-
cellor did not come before three o'clock in the afternoon, fre-
quently at one, and if he should by accident, without any in-
timation to the managers, be in the hall at twelve, it was not
very surprising that the managers were not in court much be-
fore one o'clock.

• If this was laid as matter of blame upon
the managers, he did think the weight of the accusation not
more than they could very well bear, without thinking them-

VOL. y.

selves likely to be weighed down by it. It seemed, however,that now Mr. Hastings called for expedition in the course of
this trial, in hopes of having final judgment this session.
Was there any body possessed of the least knowledge of the
subject, who had the most distant idea that final judgment
could be obtained -

in this mighty business this session ? If
there was, he confhssecl himself bound to admire his candour,
and his confidenc$

in the diligence of the Lords.
The most remarkable part of the objections now started

against the delay of the managers was yet remaining. It was
pretended that the managers must know, or might have known,
the whole of the evidence long ago, for that the whole of it might
have been printed. To which he answered, that was impossible,
for a great part of the evidence on the

part of the defence

had not, by the express desire of the defendant's counsel,
been heard as yet by any body in that court, having been
carried on from page to page, and entered upon the trial as
read, to be printed hereafter ; and even this could not be
ready for their lordships before the very day on which they
had called upon the managers to appear in Westminster Hail
to rebut it ; and how could the managers do justice to that
House, to themselves, and to the public, under such singular
circumstances, if they were to comment upon evidence Which
they had never heard ? With regard to the speeches of the
learned counsel for the defendant, he confessed himself unable
to reply to them also, without time to read them from the
transcript of the short-hand notes taken at the trial; for
under the idea of being allowed to have that advantage, he
had waved the thought of taking full notes himself; and he
must say, that however great and splendid might be the
talents of the learned gentleman who spoke last, he did not
think that even he would be well pleased if he was called upon
to reply without the assistance to which he alluded. Was it,
therefore, fit that the managers should now be called upon to
reply in this situation ? Were they to comment upon 206
pages of evidence which they had not, and which they could
not have read ? Were they to reply to speeches which took hp
altogether clearly twenty-four hours to deliver without reading
them, and weighing the arguments contained in them ? He
confessed himself unable to do so in less than a fortnight ; more
he did not require.

There was another point which he had hinted at before,
which was, that it was possible that evidence would be pro-
duced in reply, and yet gentlemen persisted in saying, that
the managers ought to go on without farther time, before they
had seen all the evidence on the part of the defence. How
was it possible to know what the evidence, which had been

entered as read, might turn out to be? When gentlemen
came to consider these points properly, he hoped the time
.the managers asked would not appear too much, and that
they were not guilty of delay in taking it, if allowed. He
was ready, after the time proposed, to proceed upon the sub-
ject of the Benares charge; at the same time, he doubted the
expediency of it. But, with regard to the other charges, he
must say, it appeared to him to be neither consistent with the
character of that House, nor with justice, to proceed upon the
others, until much more time was taken to consider of the
whole of the defence which had been made to them; rather
than attempt to answer the defence, it would be better not to
answer at all, but to leave the case as it stood, and call
for judgment on it. He was, however, far from being sure
that even that would be of any avail to the defendant, for the
purpose of having judgment in the present session.

Having made these observations, he must say, he was
glad that this debate had taken place, and he was under
some obligation to the learned gentleman whose opposition
had produced it, because it had afforded him an opportunity
of proving what he trusted he now had proved, and what
he had often asserted, that the more this subject was in-
vestigated, the clearer it would appear, that whatever delay
there might be, none of it was imputable to the managers.
On their part there had not, been an attempt at any dila-
tory proceeding. He defied any man, in any situation,
however great his talents or abilities, to prove that the ma-
nagers had neglected any part of their duty iii the course
of this arduous proceeding, or to impute to them any cor-
rupt motives, or to slim what inducement men, situated as
they were, had to have any corrupt motives upon this

The motion was agreed to, on a division, by 87 to 4.2.


June 12.

'UR. Whitbread called the attention of the House to a paper,
called " The World," dated the 2 7th of May, containing a

scandalous reflection on the managers appointed by that House to
N. 2


X :ri,

[June .1.:2,
conduct the . impeachment against Mr. Hastings. t was therestated, that a right reverend prelate, (the Archbishop of York,)
had said, " that it was impossible for him to sit silent, to listen tothe i lliberal conduct of the managers ; that they examined a wit-
ness as if he was not a witness, bait a pickpocket ; and that if Marat
or Robespierre were there, they could not conduct the impeach-ment in a more scandalous manner, &c." This, Mr.

Whitbreadsaid, was highly indecorous, and an insult not only on the
mana-,,erq but also on the House of Commons itself; and they coulde, -5

not expect the House to think highly of them, if they did not vin-dicate
their own dignity, and take such steps as might lead topunish the p r

opagators of such scandalous calumny. He could
have wished to have confined his motion to the person who uttered
the words ; but he found that to be impossible, and that he must
move for the prosecution of the printer of the paper in which they
were reported. Indeed, the printer had thought fit to make corn_
rents on these words, an& those comments were such as tended
to justify the language. Here Mr. Whitbread react the comments,
and contended, that the House ought to take the matter up seri-
ously, both with regard to the printer and the right reverend pre-
late ; the one for the comments, and the other for uttering the
words. That the archbishop had made use of

very scandalous. ex-pressions, he could prove ; for he had been at the pains of procur-
ing a transcript from the short-hand writer's notes taken at the trial.
They stated, that after the examination by Mr. linrke, of a witness
on the 25th of May, the archbishop had said, " Upon my word,
my lords, this proceeding is intolerable ; the gentleman at yourbar is treated like a pickpocket; and if l'slarat or Robespierre-were in the box, they could not conduct themselves in a more
improper manner than I have often witnessed in the course of
this trial." This was the substance of what the right

reverendprelate had said. Mr. Whitbread then expatiated on the impro-
priety and indecency of these expressions, and called upon the
House to support the managers and their own dignity. The mode
which he should propose appeared to him to be the only one
which the House ought to adopt .upon this occasion. It was, to
address his majesty, praying that the attorn ey-general might bedirected to prosecute the printed of this paper, and then to in-
stitute an inquiry, in form, whether the words alluded to had
been uttered, when, where, and by whom. — The said

newspaperwas then delivered in at the table, and the paragraphs complained
of therein being read, Mr. Whitbread moved, " That the said
paragraphs contain matter of a scandalous and libellous nature, re-
flecting on the conduct of the members appointed by this House
to manage the impeachment against Warren Hastings, Esq," The
motion being seconded by Mr. Francis, was opposed by Mr.Secretary Dundas, who concluded his speech with moving, " Thatthe House do now adjourn."— Mr-Windham felt so strongly the
necessity of supporting the managers, that if the honourable gen-tleman who made the first motion should think fit to persist in it,.

i,•he should vote with him, though he could Wish for an
adjourn-ment, Mr.. Burke, after assuring the House that the motiox


vas concerted without the smallest application to him, adverted
to the mischievous tendency of the words in question, and of
numerous paragraphs, which had appeared from.time to time upon
the managers of the impeachment ever since it was commenced.
He was sure the House would at last be compelled .to deal with
.a heavy hand with the authors, printers, and publishers of these
scandalous libels. With regard to the original proposition, he
could not accede to it ; for he shotild never agree to send into
the court of King's Bench the trial of the privileges of that House,
because that House was able, and ought always to be ready, to
vindicate its own privileges. .He said he should not vote at all
upon the subject, and came to the house chiefly for the purpose
of repeating his protest against committing the privileges of that
House to any tribunal under Heaven, except its own, which was
always to be enforced by attachment.

Mr. Fox said he felt himself in an unpleasant situation with
repect to the subject now before the House, not agreeing
exactly with any gentleman who had spoken upon it. If the
doubts expressed by the right honourable secretary could be
proved to be well founded, he should feel no difficulty in as-
senting to the motion of adjournment; but he thought these
doubts ought to be considered a good deal before the House
determined that they were well founded. With respect to the
short-hand notes which had been alluded to, he confessed he
doubted whether they could fitirly be deemed evidence upon
'which any person should be convicted!: and upon a former oc-
'casion he had urged a variety of objections to that proceeding,
but he was over-ruled by the House upon that subject. But
let the House consider how that matter stood. When a ques-
tion came before that House for the censure °fa right honour-
able manager [Mr. Burke, for what he said against Mr. Hast-
ings and Sir Elijah impey upon the trial and execution of
Nundcomarl the short-hand writer was called to the bar of
the House, and asked questions upon his notes of the speech •
of the right honourable manager in Westminster-hall in the
prosecution against Mr. Hastings; upon tile evidence of these
notes that right honourable gentleman was censured by that
House. Now, a question arose upon this: Were the notes of
a short-hand writer good for the purpose of proceeding to cen-
sure a manager of the impeachment of Mr. Hastings, and not
good for the purpose of protecting him from a gross insult?
But this was not all : there were other views in which this sub-
ject appeared to him, and they were more general than any he
had yet heard upon it, and upon which he should be sorry if
the House did not take this business up in a serious manner.
With respect to the conduct of the right honourable manager,
it was what he highly applauded : whether lie should have had
1.emper enough to conduct himself in the same way, was what

w. 3

/ 34

[June 12.
he exceedingly doubted; but he commended the right

honour-able gentleman for his conduct upon that occasion.
Having said this, he must now observe, that he looked far-ther than this impeachment, and felt some apprehension, notonly for the character of that House, but also for the

opinionthe world might be led to entertain of the constitution itself, if
something like justice did not appear to be i mpartially admi-nistered in this country upon the subject of libels. This was
an eventful year: a great Many libels, some upon the

constitu-tion, some only supposed to be so, and some upon other points,
had been brought forward, and their authors, printers, and
publishers, had been sentenced with a severity, with a degree
of rigour, of inhumanity, that no danger that had

threatenedus could justify, no bad or false representation deserved, no
calamity to be averted even called for. Now, if it should go
abroad that there was, in fact, a principle which guided

thatHowe, such as had i *
his bearing often been to his

mindfoolishly and unconstitutionally asserted, that the House of
Commons were ready to resent an insult from below, as

theyimproperly termed it, by which they meant the people, and
that they were ready to overlook an insult

• from above, bywhich was meant the other branches of the legislature—
hesaid, such an impression was once felt, the result would be
aconviction, that the House of Commons, in all its

attachmentto its privileges, proceeded to exercise them only against the
people; and that with regard to the other branches of the
legislature, the House of Commons observed a servile com-
plaisance. He had often had occasion to make these

observa-tions upon several contests with the crown; and he could not
help thinking that they ought now to be renewed, and that
the people should have as little reason as possible to feel the

truth and force of them. Should the case be otherwise, he
should tremble for the fate of the constitution itself. He left
the House to judge whether these observations applied at all
at this time, when there was such a cry for

supporting theconstitution. The House would remember with what readi-
ness some of the people were prosecuted for libels, and

askthemselves, whether the words here spoken were not of that
nature, and whether the only difference was, that in this case the
insult came from a member of the House of Peers ? With
respect to the silence with which this matter had been treated
by the right honourable gentleman, he must say he

approvedof it; but, then, that silence was of no avail, for who
couldconceal from himself; that through the medium of
news-papers, it was become a matter of public notoriety, that the

managers had been grossly insulted on the trial of Mr.
Hast-ings by the Archbishop of York; and not the managers merely,

nor the House of Commons, but also the people of England,
had been insulted. If the House were desirous to have it un-
.derstood that the managers were not to speak on the trial of
Mr. Hastings, but in such and such terms, and that if they
spoke freely, the House would not support them when they
were thus treated, he owned he thought they were hardly dealt
with. When the House chose him as one of the managers,
he was no stranger to them: they knew his way of thinking ;
they knew his manner of speaking: if' they expected that he
was not to speak with warmth and with as much energy as he
was able, that he was not to describe vice in the most odious
colours, and that with an express view of exciting all the re-
sentment and indignation of mankind against the guilty, they
would be disappointed while he continued to be a managen
He therefore had no idea of being compelled to conform to
the fastidious taste of an y peer, who might think this or that
expression ungentlemanly : he must judge for himself, and em-
ploy the words which appeared to him to suit the subject on
which he was speaking; and if the House disapproved of him,
they could remove or censure him.

The question now remaining was, whether the House should,
under all the circumstances before them, proceed to do
themselves justice ? If it could be proved, that that was at
this time impracticable, he should consent to let the business
end here; and upon that subject, he owned he did not feel
himself entirely convinced by any thing that had been said :
the inclination of his mind was, that they might very well pro-
ceed against the printer, and also against the right reverend
prelate; and as to the mode of proceeding in general, he con-
fessed that when the privileges of that House were invaded,
he thought that the House alone were competent to decide the
question : lie was sure they would never be safe, nor of per-
manent existence, if any other mode of procedure was adopted.
With respect to the printer of the paper in question, the
punishment of him was not his object in this business, nor
severity to the right reverend prelate, whose character in
many respects was highly honourable, whose age entitled
him to respect, and whose late domestic affliction made him
an object of condolence. It was not the feeling of a personal
resentment against the right reverend prelate that occasioned
these observations, it was a consideration which, in a member
of that House, ought to be paramount to all others—a re-
gard for the honour of that House, and for the well-beina
and continuance of the best principles of the constitution of
this country. Had the words been applicable to himself per-
sonally, he should have known how to forgive them long ago,
If asked to do so. But he .must have it understood, that if

IC 4

[June i 7,„

any person spoke disrespectfully of the managers upon such a
trial, he spoke disrespectfully of the people of England, and
the House of Commons were obliged to stop such language,
and, if they thought fit, to censure the author of it. He be-
lieved that no judge in any of the inferior courts of this king-
dom would have suffered such words from one party to an-
other ; and the Lords ought to have censured the noble pre-
late after lie uttered the expressions. If the House saw any
difficulty in proceeding, they might suffer the matter to rest
as it stood : he had given his opinion—he had done his duty
--the subject he now left for the judgment of the House.

The House divided on the question, that the House do now

Tellers. Tellers.YEAS f Mr. ,Tenkinson 111, SheridanCaptain Berkeley}

NOES { Mr. Whitbread 8.So it was resolved in the affirinativf.


general situation of the country, if circumstances had not
clearly required of him that he should do so. Before the
prorogation of parliament it appeared to him absolutely
necessary, that some decisive step should be taken respecting
the discontinuance of a war, which had already been pro-
ductive of the most Serious calamities. If upon that day he
neglected to recapitulate and enforce those arguments which
he had formerly advanced; if upon that day he omitted to
urge the impolicy of the war; if upon

. that day he passed over
in silence the manifold evils with which the system of our
confederacy was pregnant; he hoped that those who now
heard him would not conceive that he had changed his


opinion upon the measures which brought about this unhappy
war. Such a conclusion would be unjust, and he trusted no
gentlemen would draw it. He trusted the House would feel
that if he waved all these topics, it was because he did not
consider them as necessary to the illustration of the arguments
he had to submit on the present occasion. He should, there-
fore, for the sake of argument, and for the sake of argument
only, grant that the present war was a just, prudent, and
necessary war, a war entered into for the -interest of this
country, and for the general safety of Europe. This was the
broadest way in which he could lay a foundation for argu-
ment; and upon principles so laid down, he should state why
he thought it necessary at the present time, and under the
present circumstances, for that House to interfere and to give
its opinion to the throne, in such an address as he should
have the honour of moving. If there were any who thought
that this might have a bad effect upon the public mind, all.
he could say was, that on his part it would not be intentional,
as he was of a different opinion.

He had always understood that the grounds of the present
war on the part

al ay
Great Britain were principally these: first,

the particular alliance we had with the Dutch, attacked as
they were by the French : secondly, not only this alliance,
which h point of good faith called upon us to act from a
regard to our own honour, but also on account of the interest
we ourselves had in the issue. - There was another ground
stated, and that might be divided into parts, as, indeed, on
-former occasions it had been ; he meant that which was stated
upon the general footing of the aggrandizement of France,
and the effect and operation of the spirit of their councils.
These were the grounds upon which we undertook the present
war. His object was now to, shew, that upon none of these

: grounds could the war be continued. He knew he might,
and perhaps he should be told; that we had been at con-
siderable expence in this war already, and that we had met
with considerable success in the prosecution of it hitherto;
therefore gentlemen inclined to insist upon these points, would
urge, that under such circumstances it was fair for us to say,
that we were entitled to indemnity for the expences we had
sustained, and security against future clanger, or that if we
had not these, the war should be followed up with vigour.
That principle, as fir as it regarded the situation of our allies,
he did by no means deny ; but the continuance of the present
war for indemnity to ourselves and indemnity only, after the
real object of the war was gained, could be maintained only
upon prudential considerations. Now, taking it as a matter
fel prudence, he should wish to ask, what :could.we promise

June 17.

'HE order of the day being read,

Mr. Fox rose to call the attention of the House to the
motion respecting the war with France, of which he had.
‹riven notice. He said he should not have troubled the
Mouse, nor presumed to have offered his sentiments upon
the subject he was about to introduce, which related to the



MR. FOX'S MOTION FOR nin EJune 17•

to ourselves from the.continnance of the present war ? 'What
was it that we proposed to gain ? These were all the grounds
he should have to submit to the House.

In the first place, therefore, he should apprehend from
these premises, that whatever sentiments of indignation the
people of this country might feel with regard to some of the
proceedings on the part of France, (pretty generally the in,
dignation was felt, and by none more than by himself;) yet
he believed it was not in the contemplation of the people of
this country, at the commencement of the war, to insist on
giving France its old absolute monarchy, or, indeed, to insist
on giving it any form of government whatever, or to interfere
with any form of government that might be found in that
country. He thought he was stating nothing more than
the general wish of the people of this country, and what they
felt at the commencement of the war, that the object of it
was not that of giving, or insisting on, any form of govern-
ment to France. He stated this point negatively, because
it would tend to make the positive part which he should
afterwards submit the more intelligible. We were not to
revenge the death of the Kin °.

of Fiance, at least we were
not to go to war for that purpose. Although he felt as much
as any person in this country upon that melancholy occasion,
and he believed, that in this country at least,. it was an event
unanimously lamented; yet it was not for this that we went
to war. How far the indignation of the people had been
roused upon that topic, it was unnecessary for him to re-
peat; it was sufficient in the present instance for his purpose
to say, it was not the ground of our going to war, either in-
sisted on by the most sanguine advocates for the measure,
or by the still higher authority of the communication from
the throne.

The object of the war avowedly was, to preserve Holland .
as our ally, and to prevent the aggrandizement of France,
which was said to be formidable on account of the sentiments
which appeared to actuate their councils. There was, indeed,
another ground, which was, that the French had declared
war against us. That being admitted to its full extent, would
go only to the establishment of one principle—that of mak-
ing the war a defensive war; by a defensive war he did not
mean to describe the mode of carrying it on, for it must be
carried on, as all mankind knew, by force of arms; but it
was on that account merely a defensive war in principle,
which ceased with the occasion that gave it birth. And if he
were asked, when was the time he would put an end to such
a war? He would answer, when we could make our enemies
desist from carrying on their operations .against us; subject


to the consideration of an indemnity, if indemnity could be
obtained; always keeping in view, that indemnity was also
a point to be governed by considerations of prudence and
discretion. If, therefore, we had no ground for suspecting
that France had any farther means of acting hostilely against
us, or any of our allies, we could not justify to ourselves •the
continuance of the war solely upon the ground that France
had declared war against us. When we had put an end to
the aggression, then was the time to put an end to the war
so Commenced. With respect to Holland, our ally, he must
observe, that the question, whether Holland was now safe
from any attack from France, was easily answered; and he
believed that every man in that House, and every man of
intelligence throughout the country, knew the answer to be
in the affirmative. But whether in the present state of affairs
the future safety of our allies, the Dutch, was to be secured
by our pursuing the war in conjunction with the other com-
bined powers, was a question not easily answered in the same
way. How far, if this war was countenanced by us, the ge-
neral safety of Europe would be preserved, was a topic he
did not wish to decide upon, because it afforded, in his opi-
nion, a prospect that could not be agreeable to any man who
had the least regard for the principles of liberty — all lie
meant in this place was, that the Dutch, as well as ourselves,
were at this moment sufficiently fortified and guarded against
any attack from France. Was there a man this day in the
country who seriously thought that, with regard to Holland
and to us, peace could not be made with France with perfect

He came now to the consideration of the general state of
Europe at this moment. We attacked France, because our
allies were attacked by her, and because we saw in the cha-
racter and spirit of her councils, views of her own aggrandize-
ment. Was this spirit, and were these views peculiar to
France? Had we not witnessed the same spirit in other
powers of Europe? Had not all parties in that House, had
not all the people of this country, concurred in detesting the
conduct of the present combined powers with regard to Po-
land? Was not that scene sufficiently infamous? Did it not
exhibit sufficient tyranny, oppression and breach of faith?
Could we conceal from ourselves the conduct of Russia and
of Prussia upon that subject? Were we to partake of the
infamy of that transaction? God forbid we should ! Let us,
then, ask ourselves, with all the indignation we naturally
entertain against the conduct of France on many points,
whether the conduct of the court of Berlin and the court of
Petersburgh in their invasion of Poland, and afterwards the


June 17.

partition of it, was not equal in infamy to any thing that
France was ever guilty of? 'Upon this part of the subject he
had a few observations to make to some members of that
House, upon the alarm they expressed at the commencement
of this session, at the progress of the French. What, he
asked, did these gentlemen now feel when reflecting on the
conduct and progress of the Empress of Russia and the King
of Prussia? Was this matter of alarm to any of these gen-
tleman ? Alas ! No. It seemed that nothing was now to be
alarming but French principles., Such were the horrid effects
of fear on account of these principles, and so far had it
affected the Empress of Russia and the King

of Prussia, that
they had laid hold of Poland in the panic. He begged par-

. don of the House for introducing any thing ludicrous upon
so grave a subject; but a story which be remembered, ap-
peared to him so apposite, that he could not resist the temp-
tation of reciting it: A person detected in the act of taking
a watch out of the pocket of another, being accused of it,
confessed the fact, but said in his defence, that he had been
'struck with a panic, and in his fright he laad laid hold of
the first thing he could, which happened to be the gentleman's
watch which he conveyed into his pocket. If, in the present
case, Poland was the first thing these great powers, Russia
and Prussia, could lay hold of, such was the effect of these
royal alarms, such the conduct of these panic-struck sove-
reigns, that in the spasms of their fear, they could not quit
their hold, and having each an equal right to retain what
they had within their gripe, most equitably agreed to divide
the kingdom between them ! Did gentlemen think themselves
happy in seeing this mode adopted to resist French principles?
Was this conduct less dangerous to Europe than that of the

• French ? He knew many reasons why it was more dangerous.
One was, that such a combination of despots was carried on
with more secrecy, than in the wild state of a democracy was
possible at any time. And here he wished to know what
answer gentlemen would give him, if he asked, whether
they thought, that, even if the French had been able to
retain all they took, Flanders and Brabant, it would have
been more dangerous


to the general prosperity of Europe
than this division of Poland ? Or that now they were restored,
and supposing them to be under the condition they stood in
by the order of the Emperor Joseph, whether there was a
man in that House of opinion, that our safety required the
continuance of this destructive war ?

As to Savoy, he should say nothing by way of comment upon
the conduct of Great Britain : he believed that business had
been commenced on the part of the French, without any tiling


intended to be done by us, and certainly without any promise
of assistance from us to the party attacked; and therefore
we were not involved in any point of honour on that account.
He had indeed been told, but he had no means of arriving
at real knowledge upon the subject, that application had
been made to us at that time, and that our answer on that oc-
casion amounted to a flat negative. In short, he wished to
ask gentlemen who heard him, whether, from all the circum-
stances put together, relative to this war at this moment,
peace might not now be obtained from France, even with the
restitution of the King of Sardinia's dominions ? But he
should think it hard if this country was bound to insist upon
such terms. It might be asked of him, whether, after we had
spent millions in the prosecution of the present war, and con-
sidering the situation we are in at the present moment, and.
likewise that the convulsion and distraction of the French
make it improbable they would be able to proceed without
destruction, we should make peace ? He would answer —
Yes. He did not think but that some indemnity might even
now be obtained from our arms in the West Indies ; but he
called for peace as a matter of prudence on our part, under
all the circumstances by which we were surrounded. And
here he came to the melancholy part of the argument; for
although no views of commerce could justify the continuance
of wiz war, after the aggression that provoked it was at an end,
yet views of commerce might induce us to conclude a peace as
soon as we had obtained the object for which the war began,
in all cases where our honour was not at stake, even although
the terms were not such as we might originally have ex-

And now he must, however reluctantly, come to the present
situation of this country. The desperate state of the disease
might be judged of from the nature of the remedy which they
had lately been called on to apply ; and here he would desire
them to ask every man, whether peace at this time was not in-
dispensably necessary for the safety of this country in a com-
mercial point of view ? Let them ask every man in the king-
dom, who had any commercial dealings, whether the accounts
he received from all parts of the kingdom, did not call for a
conclusion to this war? Let them ask every man possessed.
of the smallest information upon the subject, whether he ever
heard of a war more destructive to the commerce of the coun-
try than the present? Let them see whether almost every
manufacturing town in the kingdom did not give melancholy
proof of the truth of these reflections. Whether ether the town
of Manchester, and others in its neighbourhood ; whether
Wiltshire, and all the West, did not prove the same thing?.

T 4 2

[June 17.
Some, indeed, had imagined that the city of Norwich had
escaped from the mischief. But he was perfectly sure that if
his honourable friend (Mr. Windham) who was immediately
connected with that city, should take an opportunity ofspeak-
ing upon this subject, he would acknowledge the truth of
these assertions, although he had reason to fear he would
dilfir in the conclusion he would draw. Let them, how-
ever, look at the real state of affairs : let them acknowledge,
that a continuance of war might bring the greatest calamities
upon us. Let them not ask themselves, what indemnity they
ought to have of France ; but what France had it in her
power to bestow ? What Europe had to bestow upon Great
Britain that would recompence her for the shock that might'
be given to her commerce by continuing the present war ?

He knew there were many who maintained, that the pre-
sent war was not the cause of the present commercial ember-
rassments of this country; be did not agree with those opinions.
But supposing them to be right, he would then say, that what-
ever was the cause of our distresses in that respect, we could

,not look with any rational hope of amending
u' condition

without the advantages of peace; and he was ready to express
his perfect conviction, that peace must be had for our re-
covery. Taking this for granted, as he must, he would
ask, what it was that all Europe could give us by way of in-;
demnity for our proceeding farther in this war. What was
it that we were

. now fighting for? For our religion ? It was
not attacked. For our constitution ? It was perfectly secure.
1Vhat if France was distracted, was that circumstance of be-
nefit to us ? What if we made law to-morrow for France?
What if we exacted indemnity ? What had she to give?
What had Europe to give to Great Britain for the prose-
cution of the war ? He said, he saw no room for supposing
that the House would not do him the justice to believe that
he did not speak from any party warmth upon this subject.
He thought, notwithstandingshe had generally the misfortune
to differ from the majority of the present House, that they
would see upon this occasion the necessity of concurring with
him in expressing an earnest disposition for the termin-
ation of the war; because all agreed in opinion, that when-

. ever the object of the war could be obtained the hour of
peace would arrive. What stood now in the way of peace ?
We had no alliance with Austria upon this occasion, nor any
in that respect with the King of Prussia. With regard to
Holland, any proposition for peace must be acceptable to the
Dutch. But an alliance with the Empress of Russia had that
day been laid upon the table; in that alliance there was an ar-
ticle he was sorry to see, by which we engaged not to lay down


1793.] RE,tsTARnisnmEzar OF PEACE WITH FRANCE. 143

arms but by mutual consent; and by which we might be called
upon to adopt the principles of the court of Petersburgh, in
the prosecution of the war : principles in themselves at all
times very dangerous, but alarmingly so at this time, because
we might be compelled to pursue the war until the objections
of the empress were all removed. With respect to the treaty
with the King of Sardinia, that was more direct and positive;
but he should say no more upon these topics at this time, be-
cause that House had not yet adopted them. Another point

Mr. Fox said, he knew the difficulty which had been often
started with respect to peace. Upon this a question had been
asked, whether we were to treat with France in its present
state? To which he answered—Yes. With him, or them,
be he or they whom they might, we ought, and ultimately
must treat, who had the government in their hands: of
this he was sure. If the contrary was true : if we treated with
them only on a plan of our own, as to a form of government,
we must be at war with them until we had beaten them ; and we
should in that case fight with them until they should obtain a
legally established government. Good God ! what was there
in their proceedings that made us look for an established
government among them? What reason had we to expect
that event to take place? 'When and how were we to enforce
it? Let them sutler the penalties of their own injustice—let
them suffer the miseries arising from their own confusion —
why were the people of England to suffer because the people of
France were unjust ? Why was every man in England to be
a suflerer, because the people of France were in confusion,
and that, too, when France had no power to annoy us, and
when we could conclude peace with safety to ourselves and to
our allies? If we were determined to say, we would not make
peace with the French until they had a form of government of
which we should approve, that would amount to saying, that
we would dictate to them a form of government; and if that
had been avowed at the beginning, he was confident the House
would never have entered into the war at all; and although
it was his majesty's undoubted prerogative to commence it of
his own will, yet the House would have refused to pledge itself
for supplies to carry it on. If he was asked, with whom we
could have signed a treaty of peace some time ago? He
would answer, with M. Le Brun. All those who had support-
ed this war had agreed that peace, if it could be obtained,
was a desirable object ; and all that had been said or done by
the national convention, every tiling that had been said or
done-in the city of Paris, demonstrated this, that it had ever
been the opinion of that people, that a peace with this country

144- ItIli. FOX


[June 17;
was the most desirable of all objects for them to obtain. He
owned, for his part, the necessity of this country being at
peace with the French, and he was convinced, that all the
people of England would see it in the same light very soon,
unless they were ready to say they would pay for the follies of
the French. It was a new thing to hear, that to be at peace
with a people, we must. be pleased first with the form of their
government. He knew it was not wise _to treat in general
with those whose power was unsettled. This applied to
treaties of alliance ; but when peace was the object, this doc-
trine was not to be admitted, as, otherwise, we might be at
war for ever.

He felt a considerable deference to others in speaking on
parts of this subject now. From what he had seen some time
ago, he knew there was a cry in that House for entering into
this war; but he thought, that if ever there was a period when
one man spoke the opinion of every man in this country upon
any subject, it was now, when he said that peace was an ob-

• 'IVject the most desirable of all others. He must say, that every
measure should now be taken to put an endto this ruinous
war. An immediate termination of it was almost the univer-

desire of the people of this country. Whether it was the
opinion of that House or not„ he could not tell ; but he be-
lieved, that his opinion upon this occasion was, almost without '
exception, the opinion of the public. He did not advance
this upon slight ground ; he had very good authority for what
he said, and he hoped it would be listened to with the attention
which he was sure it deserved.


A report had gone abroad ; how true it was, he did not pre-
sume to determine, because he had no means of accurate in-
formation ; but certainly a report prevailed, and he knew
there were many who thought, that some of the most efficient
ministers of the crown, sensible of the distresses of the country,
and the absurdity of continuing the war, were at the present
moment friends to peace; and since he had considered of making
the motion with which lie should conclude his address to the
House, some persons had told him, that Ile was supported in
his opinion upon this war by some persons high in his majesty's council. Be that as it might, he did not say he wished
Ibr the sanction of this or of that man ; he hoped that who-
ever favoured that opinion would be emboldened to persist,.
and then lie trusted the crown would be advised in the cabinet
to put an end to this war. If it should be so, it would give
him the most heartfelt satisfaction. He knew that the opi-
nions of many in. that House might be an argument for
changing the opinions of some of the members of the cabinet.
lie therefore thought it possible that by diligence, his object


might be gained. He confessed that lie so earnestly desired
peace, and saw the policy of it so strongly, that if there was
any one of the council of the king who wished for it, what-
ever situation that person held, and if he said he thought the
continuance of this war dangerous, and wished to put an end
to it, such person for such a purpose should have his support;
and lie was in hopes that the motion he should make that
night would strengthen that opinion. He was the more in-
clined to think that such would be the effect of it, from the
experience of the past. They all remembered the American
war — a war during a long period before the termination of
which, there was great reason to believe, that not only the.
House of Commons and the people of this country, but also
many of the efficient ministers of the crown, wished to put an
end to it. -Whether that was the case, as to the latter part,
in the present instance, he could not tell; but this he would
say, that whenever any minister should stand forth, and, re-
gardless of the impression he should make upon the party on
whose favour he might principally depend, avow his senti-
ments upon this subject—let it be the right honourable gen-
tleman opposite to him, (Mr. Pitt,) — he would gladly join with
him upon that subject, and afford him all the aid in his power.
The American war afforded an awful example to the people
of this country, and he hoped we were not doomed to en-
dure another such calamity. He must once more call upon
the members of that House to exercise their own judgment,
to look at the small possible advantage to be gained, and the
almost inevitable ruin of pursuing this war, and then to act
with courage, and put an end to this dangerous and de-
structive measure. He hoped and trusted they would so
act; and if they did, he was confident he should give con-
solation to them by the measure he was now going to sug-
gest. Mr. Fox then moved,

" That an humble address be presented toiiis majesty-9-6 lay
before his majesty the humble representations of his faithful Com-:
mons on the present awful and momentous crisis ; a duty which
they feel themselves the more especially called upon to perform
at this juncture, as a long and eventful period may probably
elapse before his majesty can again have an opportunity of col-
lecting, through their representations, the real sentiments and
wishes of his people :

" In the name of the people of Great Britain, his majesty's
faithful Commons are bound to declare, that they concurred in the
measures necessary to carry on the present war, for the objects of
defence and security, and for those objects only:

'y' OTL.Iia.


any plan of aggrandizement, founded on the present
distressed situation of France, much less any purpose of establish-


146iuR. Fox's MOTION FOR THE
[June 17,

ing among the French people any particular form of government,
never would have had their concurrence or support:

" In expressing these their sentiments and opinions, on entering
into the present war, his majesty's faithful Commons are sensible
that they are only repeating those benevolent declarations which
true policy, and a . careful attention to the real interests of the
British nation, induced his majesty to use in his most gracious
speech from the throne at the beginning of the present session of
parliament, and in repeated messages to this House :

" To represent to his majesty, that though his faithful Commons
have the most perfect reliance on his majesty's sacred word and
promise, solemnly pledged to this country and to Europe, not to
interfere in the internal affairs of France, or to enter into the views
And projects of other powers who, in the present war, may be
actuated by motives far different from those which govern the
conduct of his majesty, yet they feel it to be their indispensable
duty to call his majesty's most serious attention to some of the
circumstances which have occurred since the commencement of
the present unfortunate contest :

" The French arms, which after a successful invasion of Brabant.
had threatened the security of his majesty's allies, the States Ge-
neral, have since been confined within their awn territory, and
are now occupied in defence of their frontier towns against the
united forces of his majesty and his allies : the danger appre-
hended from the former conquests and aggrandizement of the
French nation appears therefore to be no longer a subject of just
uneasiness and alarm :

" Some of the powers engaged in the confederacy against
France have, on the other hand, openly avowed, and successfully
executed, plans of domination and conquest, not less formidable
to the general liberties of Europe. The rapacious and faithless
dismemberment of the unhappy kingdom of Poland, without
having produced, as f ir as it appears to this House, any remon-
strance from his majesty's ministers, has excited in his majesty's
faithful Commons the highest indignation at so daring an outrage
on the rights of independent nations, and the keenest solicitude to
rescue the honour of the British government from the suspicion
of having concurred or acquiesced in measures so odious in their
principle, and so dangerous in their example, to the peace and
happiness of mankind :

" The severe calamities which, since the commencement of the
present war, this nation has already experienced, the shock given
to commercial credit, and the alarming consequences which the
failure of the mercantile and manufacturing interests threatens to
the. public revenue, and to the general prosperity of the country,
cannot have failed to attract his majesty's attention, and to excite
in his benevolent mind a sincere desire to relieve his subjects from
distresses, a termination of which they cannot hope for but in the
speedy re-establishment of peace :

" His majesty's.
faithful Commons make it, therefore, their most

earnest and solemn request, that his majesty, taking into his con-
sideration all the above circumstances, will not fail to employ the


earliest measures for procuring peace on such terms as are con-
sistent with the professed objects of the war, and with that good
faith, strict justice, and liberal and enlightened policy, which have
hitherto so peculiarly distinguished the British nation."

The motion was supported by Mr. Hussey, Mr. Jekyll, Mr.
William Smith, and others ; and opposed at considerable length
by Mr. Windham, Mr. Burke, and Mr. Pitt. After which,

Mr. Fox again rose. He confessed himself unable to resist
the opportunity of troubling the House for a short time, even
at that hour of the night, for the purpose of replying to some
of the principal arguments that had been urged against his
motion. If any argument against attempting to make peace
was to be drawn from a supposed kind of tacit crengaement of
gratitude to the emperor for 'his assistance in saving Holland,
there could be no end of the war. He should state to the
people of England, and especially that part who could not
judge for themselves, and were consequently most liableto be deceived, the truth on that subject. Was it meant, in
plain words, that we were not to make peace till all the objects
which the emperor might propose, should be fulfilled ? If
that was the fact, he wished in God's name to know, if we
could be informed what those objects were Were they just?
Were they honourable? Were they to the advantage of this
Country? No ! they were secret; and we were to spend our
treasure and our blood to support that prince, to rob the
Elector of Bavaria of his territories. The emperor had
made no renunciation of all his objects; and since this court
was to be drawn in to co-operate with whatever might be his
views against France, it was a mockery in the king's ministers
to disclaim intentions which they meant to carry into effect
indirectly and circuitously, if not openly, in favour of the
emperor. With regard to the manufacturers of this country,
he did not deny that they might be incompetent judges on the
present question ; but though they were not competent judges
as to the propriety of continuing the war, they must abso-
lutely pay for its continuance. Then let us give them reasons
for the measure; let us not delude them. But could that be
done? No ! for so far from being able to tell thorn what
those objects were, the House had not inquired into them
themselves. A right honourable gentleman (Mr. Burke) had
declared, that the language which he had used that day
ought not to be held unless it was to be followed by the draw-
ing of the sword. After the language which that right ho-
nourable gentleman had himself applied to France,' at a time
when we were boasting of our neutrality, he confessed he did
not expect such a reproach from that quarter. That right

L 2

1 47

[June r 7.

honourable gentleman had spoken of M. Brissot in a manner
not very creditable to himself. He had judged of him from
the writings of his enemies; which was as unfair A test of his
character, as it would be if any one were to judge of that
right honourable gentleman's character from what had been
written against him by Mr. Hastings's friends.

As to the character of the persons now holding the govern-
ment of France, if that were to be urged as a reason for con-
timing the war while they should continue in power, was
this more or less than proclaiming, that, so long as those men
remained in power, we would continue the war to punish
ourselves, and not them, for their crimes and enormities ?
This declaration, however, was ranch fairer than the argu-
ment of the right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer ;
for he bad asserted, that if we could obtain reparation and

objecsecurity, the form of government in France would be notion to our making peace, and, in his opinion, he had
spoken well. But he had afterwards dwelt on the difficulty of
expecting so favourable a circumstance. For his own part,
he thought it much better to say, like the first honourable gen-
tleman, that we must always wage war against such a power,
than like the right honourable gentleman alluded to, who said,
that the existence of the power in France would be no objia-
tion to peace, if peace could be properly attained, but after-
wards insinuated the impossibility of its attainment. If he
understood the right honourable gentleman aright, there were
three species of security on which we might

rely. The first
was a change of power in France. Was that our object?
If so, we were at war with France for the purpose of giving
her a constitution. The second species of security was to
arise from the persons in France still entertaining the same
principles, but convinced by the chastisement they might suffer
of the inefficacy of attempting to carry them into execution :
but if our arms should prove victorious, as a supposition of
that security implied, would a people who had thus severely
suffered be thus easily convinced ? The third consisted in a
relinquishmen t

of a part of their dominions ; and if such
were the object, had we not already obtained that species of
security? If it were said that we must possess Normandy and
Brittany, let ministers say so; and, extravagant as the declar-
ation might appear, it would be intelligible. It had been
asked by the right honourable gentleman, were we to stop,
because they had stopped, when France, by stopping, had
only ceased to do us an injury ? and ought we not to chastise
them for that injury ? Yes. We ought to do both. We
had chastised them, and therefore we ought to stop, because
they had stopped. We had gained that species of indemnity


which the right honourable gentleman wished, by the capture
of some of her West-India islands. Did that right honour-
able gentleman desire to prosecute the war farther, merely
that he might be the tool to serve the unjust purposes of some
German prince? In the course of his whole argument he
had talked as if this country was suing for peace. This
was weak. Was it suing for peace, when the proposition
had first come from the enemy? 'With our miraculous
successes and armies, the right honourable gentleman con-
sidered a proposition of that kind as having the appearance
of suing for peace ; but, under such circumstances, would it
not appear more like making an offer to grant it? It would
not be mean, but manly ; not base, but magnanimous.

An honourable friend TM-. Windham.) had asserted, that
asking for the object of a war previous to its commencement
was a new principle. He begged leave to give that position
(and he was sure his honourable friend understood him to
he speaking logically, not personally,) the flattest contradic-
tion. Whenever war was commenced, it had been usual to
state some object on which that war was to depend. Was
a dislike to the doctrine of the rights of men to be pushed so
far, that the people were to be denied the right of knowing
why they were to suffer the expellees and distresses of war?
One right honourable gentleman had said, that to make
peace with France would be to make war with our allies:
but, would not the example of overtures for peace from Great
Britain be rather likely to produce a general peace on the
continent ? The right honourable the chancellor of the ex-
chequer had said, that our distresses were but temporary :
he hoped so too. He believed he had likewise said, that they
were only imaginary : he (Mr. Fox) did not wish to give his
word where it might not be taken; but if he were inclined to
pledge his veracity to any fact, it would be to the direct con-
trary. That right honourable gentleman had called his speech
at the commencement of the war a desponding one. He,
however, did not think it was, under the existing circum-
stances. As to the principles of the French revolution, his
opinion remained exactly what he had before stated, though
he saw and detested their present scandalous perversion. The
extreme, however, of their principles in favour of democracy
was not worse than the species of principles which he had
heard urged in favour of royalty. He thought, however, that
of all the arguments that had been urged against royalty, none
was more erroneous than that most popular one which rested
on its expence. The expellee of royalty itself was paltry,
and not worth the attention of a great nation ; but if the
public were to be involved in the expellees of a war for the

I. 3

x 5 o

2 I,
purpose of establishing royalty in another nation, it was
enough to render them disgusted with royalty, and would give
ject.the utmost force to the revolutionary arguments on that sub-If there were persons among us who wished for the
establishment of revolutionary principles in this country, he
believed their numbers to be very few; to no description of
men could his proposition be so odious as to men

composinga party of that kind. It was a proposition abhorrent to their
principles, and would inevitably crush them. It was only
by war that such people and such principles could thrive.On the question of an i

nterference in the internal concerns
of Prance, he should freely declare his opinion. He thought:
that such an interference ought not to be the object of this
country; but that if it were necessary as a means of obtaining
our object, it ought not to be disclaimed. As to what he had
said concerning a difference in the cabinet, he had spoken
from the information of the right honourable gentleman'sfriends, in the n

ewspapers, on the subject; and they had
adopted a new mode of serving him by circulating such

fidsereports. On the cabinet he, for his part, could expect to
have no influence; but if what he could say on the part of
the public ever had any influence, he hoped it would

moment. He had now done his duty. He had attemppd
to check the torrent of that calamity which the present war
had too fatally produced, and should persist in, and take the
sense of the House upon his motion.

The House divided :

. GI-111.017y 1 47.

So it passed in the negative.

YEAS Tellers.SMr. Windham /
t Mr. Jenkinson • .1 1°7'


janUaly 2I. I 794.
ji-'HE session was this day opened by his majesty, with the,following speech :

" My lords and gentlemen; the circumstances under whichyour arc now a
ssembled, require your most serious attention. —

We are engaged in a contest, on the issue of which depend the'm
aintenance of our constitution, laws, and religion ; and the se-



curity of all civil society. — You must have observed, with satis-
faction, the advantages which.have been obtained by the arms of
the allied powers, _and the change which has taken place in the
general situation of Europe since the commencement of the war.
The United Provinces have been protected from invasion ; theAustrian Netherlands have been recovered and maintained ; and
places of considerable importance have been acquired on the
frontier of France. The re-capture of Mentz, and the subsequent
successes of the allied armies on the Rhine, have, notwithstanding
the advantages recently obtained by the enemy in that quarter,
proved highly beneficial to the common cause. Powerful efforts
have been made by my allies in the South of Europe ; the tem-
porary possession of the town and port of Toulon has greatly
distressed the operations of my enemies ; and, in the circumstances
attending the evacuation of that place, an important and decisive
blow has been given to their naval power, by the distinguished
conduct, abilities, and spirit of my commanders, officers, and forces,
both by sea and land. — The French have been driven from their
possessions and fishery at Newfoundland ; and important and
valuable acquisitions have been made both in the East and West
Indies.— At sea our superiority has been undisputed, and our
commerce so effectually protected, that the losses sustained have
been inconsiderable, in proportion to its extent, and to the cap-
tures made on the contracted trade of the enemy.—The circum-
stances by which the farther progress of the allies has hitherto
been impeded, not only prove the necessity of vigour and per-
severance on our part, but, at the same time, confirm the expect-
ation of ultimate success.— Our enemies have derived the means
of temporary exertion, from a system which has enabled them to
dispose arbitrarily of the lives and property of a numerous people,
and which openly violates every restraint of justice, humanity,
and religion ; but these efforts, productive as they necessarily have
been of internal discontent and confusion in France, have also'
tended rapidly to exhaust the natural and real strength of that

" Although I cannot but regret the necessary continuance of
the -war, I should ill consult the essential interests of my people,
if I were desirous of peace on any grounds but such as may pro-
vide for their permanent safety, and for the independence and
security of Europe. The attainment of these ends is still ob-
structed by the prevalence of a system in France, equally incom-
patible with the happiness of that country, and with the tranquillity
of all other nations. — Under this impression, I thought proper
to make a declaration of the views and principles by which I am
guided. I have ordered a copy of this declaration to be. laid
before you, together with copies of several conventions and.treaties
with different powers, by which you will perceive how large a part
of Europe is united in a cause of such general concern. — I reflect
with unspeakable satisfaction on the steady loyalty and firm at-
tachment to' the established constitution and government, which,
notwithstanding the continued efforts employed .to mislead and
to seduce, have been so generally prevalent among all ranks ofL 4


[Jan. •
my people. These sentiments have been eminently manifestedthe zeal and alacrity of the militia to provide for our interndefence, and in tine distinguished bravery and spirit displayedevery o

ccasion by my forces both by sea and land; they ha
maintained the lustre of the British name, and have shown they
selves worthy of the blessings which it is the object of all o
exertions to preserve.

" Gentlemen of the House of Commons ; I have ordered ti
necessary estimates and accounts to be laid before you, and

' am persuaded you will be ready to make such provision as tin
exigencies of the time may require. I feel too sensibly the repeated proofs which I have received of the affection of my subjects, not to lament the necessity of any additional burdens.

Iis, however, a great consolation to me to observe the favourabl(
state of the revenue, and the complete success of the measure
which was last year adopted for removing the embarrassment
affecting commercial credit. — Great as must be the extent of our
exertions, I trust you will be enabled to provide for them in such
by my people.a manner as to avoid any pressure which could be severely felt

" My lords and gentlemen ; in all your deliberations, you willundoubtedly bear in mind the true grounds and origin of the war.
An attack was made on us, and on cur allies, founded on prin-

ciples which tend to destroy all property, to subvert the
laws andreligion of every civilized nation, and to introduce

universally 01,4wild and destructive system of rapine, anarchy, and impiety, the
effects of which, as they have already been manifested in France,
furnish a dreadfid but useful lesson to the present

age and to

posterity. — It only remains for us to persevere in our unitedexertions ; their dis
continuance or relaxation could hardly pro-

cure even a short interval of delusive
repose, and could neverterminate in security or peace. Impressed with the necessity of.

defending all that is most dear to us, and relying, as we may, with
confidence, on the valour and resources of the nation, on the
combined efforts of so large a part of Europe, and, above all, onthe in

contestible justice of our cause, let us render our conduct
a contrast to that of our enemies, and, by cultivating and practis-
ing the principles of humanity, and the duties of religion, en.deavour to merit the c

ontinuance of the Divine favour and protee-
tlon which have been so eminently experienced by these

kingdoms.'An address of

thanks, in approbation of the' speech from tine
throne, having been moved by Lord Cliffden, and seconded by
Sir Peter Burrell, a debate of great length ensued. After tho
proposed address had been supported by Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Haw,.Inns Browne, tine Earl of Mornington, Mr. Windham, and Mr.
Secretary Dundas ; and opposed by the Earl of Wycombe, ColonelTarleton, Sir William Milner, Mr. Courtenay, and Mr. Sheridan,

Mr. Fox rose and spoke as follows: Notwithstanding, Sir,the lateness of the hour, I feel it incumbent upon me to
tres-pass upon the attention of the House, by delivering In semi-.'


me/Its at some length upon a question in itself of the highest
importance, and which, by the advocates for the prosecution.
'of• the war, has, in my opinion, been treated in the most
confused and complicated manner. In the course of what
I have to offer, I shall endeavour, if possible, to dissipate the
mist, in which the subject has been studiously involved, and
to call the attention of the House to what is the real state
of the question. I shall once more endeavour to obtain an
explicit declaration of the object for which we are engaged in '
war, that the people of this country may no longer be the.
dupes of artifice, and be made to believe that they are ex-
pending their money and their blood for one purpose, while
in fact they are called upon to do so for another.

I hope that the noble earl (,iornington) will not deem
me guilty of any incivility, if I say, that on this point, the
last few sentences of his speech, long and eloquent as it was,
were much more to the purpose, and afforded more valuable
information, than all the rest: The noble lord has declared,
in explicit terms, " That while the present, or any other
jacobin government exists in France, no propositions for
peace can be made or received by us." Such are his remark-
able words, from which we are now, for the first time, to
learn, that while the present government exists in France
peace is impossible. Had these words been uttered last year,
they would have rescued the nation from the degrading situa-
tion of having been drawn into the contest, step by step, of
having been seduced by the arts of invective and delusion,
and of having placed their confidence in men who did not
blush to disguise the real motives of their conduct, and to
disclose only such false pretexts as might tend to deceive and
to mislead. We are thus at once to be betrayed and insulted,
and after having been drawn into the war by artifice, to be
told that we must persist in it from necessity. After having
been made the dupes of false pretences, we are to be told
that we are pledged to what those who have deceived us
clime to lay down as principles, that we have now gone too
far to recede, and that we must continue to carry on war
because it is impossible to make peace.

Such, Sir, is the situation in which we are placed. But
let us look to the conduct and declarations of ministers last
year. The right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer,
in the course of last session, although he deprecated the con-
tinuance of a jacobin government, nevertheless declared, that
he would not consider that as a bar to a negociation, pro-
vided the objects then held out, namely, the safety of Hol-
land, and the exclusive navigation of the Scheldt, could be
.secured. The right 4ouourable gentleman went farther, he

"2 I







[Jan. 2 I .
illustrated his doctrine by his practice; for he actually opened
a negociation with persons deriving their powers from the
then jacobin government of France.. What, then, became
of the argument, that there could be no safety fbr neighbour-
ing states, no security for the observance of any treaty, while
such government was permitted to exist ? Ministers had
treated both with General Dumourier and with M. Chau-
velin, and if, in consequence of such negociations, peace had
then been preserved, what must now have become of that
reasoning which is so studiously brought forward to show
that peace is impossible, and which must have applied with
equal force at that dine as at the present moment. But I
shall, perhaps, he told that the appearance of negociation
was merely fallacious, that its object was not to preserve peace,
but the more easily to delude the people of England into a
war. I shall, perhaps, be told, that the preservation of peace
was neither expected nor intended by ministers as the result
of their negociations; and indeed in order to be convinced
of this it is only necessary to look to the manner in which
these negociations were conducted. The means which they
employed will best prove how far they were sincere with re-
spect to the end which they professed to have in view. Did
not the insulting and-haughty correspondence of Lord Gret17.
ville with M. Obauvelin prove to the world that the British
government had no wish to preserve peace ? Did it not prove
that they had begun a negociation which they had no intention
to complete, that they were only seeking for pretences to re-
concile the minds of the people to a war in which they had
previously determined to embark ? It now- appears, that while
they were so anxious to put the war upon the footing of pro-
tecting au ally, their object in reality was the subversion of
the ruling power in France. Such were the arts by which
they deluded this country into a ruinous war; such the false
pretences which they set up in order to draw money from the
pockets of the people for purposes in which they might other-
wise not have been disposed to concur ; and such the means
which they employed to bring about a war, which they affirmed
to be strictly defensive in its object !

Again, Sir, I will ask the question, though I own I shud-
der to hear the melancholy information; but if it be so, if the
fatal die be cast, let not the country be left ignorant of its
real situation; let it be unequivocally told, that we are en-
gaged in a war, which can have no termination till we have
exterminated French jacobinism, or, in other words, till we
have conquered Prance. Is it at last decided, that we are to
stake the-wealth, the commerce, and the' constitution of Great
Britain, on the probability of compelling the French to re-

1 55

pounce certain opinions, for which we have already seen that
they are resolved to contend to the-last extremity? If such
is the case, dreadful is our situation; but let us at least be ap-
prised of our danger. And such, indeed, must be the case,
if the majority of this House have come over to that system
of extermination which last year was supported only by a
few individuals, actuated by that sanguinary spirit which is
the consequence of excessive alarm, and which at that time
ministers, from motives of policy, thought proper solemnly
to disavow.

I admire, Sir, the eloquence of the noble lord's peroration,
but I must own that I heard it with much less satisfaction, as
I could perceive it not to be altogether new, and that the
manlier of it had been exactly borrowed from certain speeches
and reports that have been made in the French convention.
And I cannot help remarking, that, from a sort of fatality,
those who profess the most violent detestation for the princi-
ples and modes of expression adopted by the French, are
continually copying them in their sentiments and language.
The noble lord asked, what dependence could be had upon
the religion of a Robespierre, the justice of a Cambon, or
the moderation of a Danton? The answer of the French con-
vention to his majesty's declaration appealed in terms not de-
cent to be mentioned in that House, to the wisdom of one
monarch, the good faith of another, and the chastity of a third.
My honourable friend, (Mr. Windham,) in attempting to prove
that the origin of the war was not imputable • to this country,
treated the established principles of the law of nations with as
little respect as M. Genet, the French minister to the United
States of America. My honourable friend said, that no de-
pendence could be placed upon the authority of Vatel, with
respect to the . question of an interference in the internal
affairs of other nations, and that arguments might be drawn
from his work favourable to either side. • He contended, that
there ,might exist circumstances of such a peculiar nature, as
to supersede authority, and preclude the application of esta-
blished principles. Exactly in the same manner reasoned
M. Genet; " I would throw Vateland Grotius into the sea,"
said that minister, " whenever their principles interfere with
my notions of the rights of nations." Just so, my honourable
friend seems disposed to treat them whenever they controvert
his ideas of those principles which ought to regulate our con-
duct in the present moment. Thus both, in order to suit
their own convenience in departing from the established stan-
dard, give their sanction to a new code. I, however, more in-
clined as I am to adhere to the ancient standard, and to follow
established rules a judging, hold the opinions of eminent

[Jan. 21,

men, dispassionately given on subjects which they have accu-
rately studied, to be of considerable importance. I consider
those opinions formed under circumstance's the most favour-
able to the discovery of truth, to be the result of unbiassed
inquiry and minute investigation, and therefore entitled to
great weight. in regulating the conduct of nations. Those
writers, in laying down their maxims, were not distracted by t!-
local prejudices or by partial interests; they reasoned upon
great principles, and from a wide survey of the state of na-
tions, and comparing the result of their own reflections with
the lessons taught them by the experience of former ages,
constructed that system, which they conceived to be of most
extensive utility and universal application. From the system
of such men I should be cautious to deviate. Vatel, than
whom I know of no man more eminent in the science on which
he has written, has laid it down as a principle, that every in-
dependent nation has an undoubted right to regulate its form
of government. Upon this authority I last session reprobated
the conduct of Austria and Prussia, in attacking the French.for no reason but because they were attempting' to regulate
their internal government—a conduct which has, I fear, been
more fatal to the political morality of Europe than any thing
the French have yet done. It is true, as my honourable
friend (Mr. Sheridan) has stated, that the French are not
alone chargeable with those crimes and calamities which we
have beheld follow one another in such rapid succession.
To them alone is not to be imputed that scene of carriag
which has desolated the nations of Europe. Those who have
been most forward to bring against them the charge of cruelty
are themselves the accomplices of their crimes. I am not apt
to think that war in general has a tendency to make men more
savage than they were before ; yet I must confess, that I re.
carded the manifesto of the Duke of Brunswick, upon its
first appearance, as the signal for carnage and general war. I
am no advocate for French cruelties ; but, to the spirit
breathed, and the declarations contained, in that manifesto,
I can trace much of that scene of horror and bloodshed which
has followed. For carnage, by whomsoever committed, I ne-
ver can be the apologist; such a task is equally repugnant to
my judgment and feelings, and therefore have I been anxious
to keep myself clear of all concern in measures which have
tended to lead to it, and to enter my solemn protest against
those steps which I saw likely still farther to increase the effk-
sion of human blood. It is some satisfaction to me to reflect, •
that I had no share in that system of policy, which, in what-
ever motives it might originate, has in its consequences been '
productive of so many atrocities, - Posterity, feeling a just


abhorrence for those cruelties which have disgraced the pre-
sent age, will be better able to investigate their causes, and to
discriminate their authors. They will look farther, perhaps,
than to the sanguinary temper of a people who were seeking
to establish their freedom ; for the love of liberty is not ne-
cessarily connected with a thirst for blood. They will endea-
vour to discover by what means that sanguinary temper was
produced: they will inquire if there was no system of pro-
scription established against that people ; if there was no com-
bination formed, in order to deprive them of their freedom?
Those who were concerned in framing the infamous mani-
festoes of the Duke of Brunswick, those who negociated the
treaty of Pilnitz, the impartial voice of posterity will pro-
nounce to have been the principal authors of all those enor-
mities which have afflicted humanity, and desolated Europe.
If this country has had any share in the detestable treaty of
Pilnitz, she will not be acquitted of her share of the guilt;
To that treaty I ascribe the origin of the war, and all its
subsequent calamities. Can it be pretended, as has been.
asserted, that France has been in all cases the aggressor ?
Was she so with respect to Prussia? The proof to the con-
trary is obvious. We had a treaty of alliance with Prussia,
by which we were bound to furnish certain succours if Prussia
should be attacked. Were we called upon for those succours?
No such thing. Sufficient evidence this that Prussia did not
consider the war with France as a war of defence, but a war
of aggression, voluntarily undertaken.

But whether we or the French were originally the ag-
gressors, makes no great difference now. This much we
know, that they offered to negociate, and that all their propo-
sals were treated with a disdain, which could not fail to render
peace impossible. Robespierre, that great authority, whom
the advocates for the war never fail to quote when they find
him on their side, accuses Brissot of having involved France
in the war with this country. On the strength of Robes-
pierre's impartial judgment 'in the case are ministers excul-
pated from the charge of having caused the war ! Such are
the authorities which their friends bring forward in their vin-
dication, and such the arguments by which they attempt to
defend their conduct ! Upon the subject of' acts of aggression,
previous to the war, there subsists this difference between
I{ rame and Great Britain: France was always ready to nego-
elate ; the British government invariably refused. France
expressed the strongest dislike to war, and seemed anxious to
take every step to avoid it; the British government sheaved
not only an inclination for war, but employed every mea-
sure that could tend to provoke hostilities. From the very

z 5 8

Van. 2 I.

circumstance that Robespierre attached it as a crime to Bris-sot, that he was the author of the war, I draw a very different
conclusion from that which has been attempted to be impressed
upon this House. It thews, that even the most

violentpartyin France were adverse to a war with this country. And in
the charge brought against Brissot, I certainly coincide with
Robespierre. Whatever might have been the views or the
conduct of the British minister, he, as a wise statesman, ought
certainly not to have induced France to declare against this
country till the last moment. I clearly think that war might
have been. avoided. Such was the opinion which I expressed
last year, contrary to the sense of the majority of this House,
contrary to the voice of the nation at large, and contrary to
the sentiments of some of those friends whom I most highly
valued. Such was the opinion which I supported, at the
price of any political weight I might possess in this House;
at the price of any little popularity which I might enjoy
abroad; and of what was still more dear to me, the friendship
of those with whom I was most closely connected. However
painful the sacrifices which I was then obliged to make,

I re-pent not of what I then did ; on mature reflection, I find as
much solid satisfaction from the advice I then gave, and from
the conduct I then pursued, as it is possible to derive fronz i i ,
the have been.


that they were precisely such as they ought

But, Sir, the origin of the war is now a matter of secondary
consideration. The first question is, how can it be concluded ?
My opinion still is, that we ought to treat with the present
or with any other government to which the present may give
place in France ; while others contend, and an awfull consi-
deration it is, that no treaty with any modification of jacobin
government can be secure. In discussing this question, it
is my wish, if possible, to reconcile both sides of the House.
A desire has been universally expressed, that an honour_
able and secure peace should be established ; such also is
my desire; and if peace cannot be concluded on such
terms, I will then grant that the war ought to be carried
on. But it remains to be proved that such a peace cannot
at present be obtained. If I shall be able to show that it
can, I shall then have established my principle, that we
ought to treat with the jacobin government of France. The
question of security I shall now examine, considering an
attempt to negociate in the only two points of view under
which, as appears to me, it can possibly fall. My own opi-
nion, or rather conjecture, is, that peace may be obtained.
But however well or ill-founded this opinion may be, we are *1,
to consider first, whether such a peace as may be supposed

attainable, is so desirable as to induce us to negociate ; and
next, whether a failure in the negociation will be attended
crith such dangerous consequences as ought to induce us not
to hazard the attempt.

However, Sir, we may abhor the conduct of Frenchmen
towards Frenchtnen, whatever indignation we may feel against
crimes at which humanity shudders, the hatred of vice
is no just cause of war between nations. If it were, good
God ! with which of those powers with whom we are now
combined against France should we be at peace? We, proud
of our own freedom, have long been accustomed to treat
despotic governments with contempt, and to mark the vices
of despots with vigilant sensibility. Of late, however, our
resentment has been most readily excited by the abuses of
liberty ; and our hatred of vice is very different on different
sides. In France an old despotism is overturned, and an at-
tempt made to introduce a free government in its room. In
that attempt great crimes are committed, and language is ran-
sacked, and declamation exhausted, to rouse our indignation,
and excite us to war against the whole people. In Poland,
liberty is subverted; that lair portion of the creation seized
by the relentless fangs of despotism; the wretched inhabitants
reduced to the same situation with the other slaves of their
new masters, and in order to add insult to cruelty, enjoined
to sing Te Deum for the blessings thus conferred upon them ;
—and what does all this produce? Sometimes a well-turned
sentence to express our sorrow, or mark our disapprobation.
But hatred of vice is no just cause of war, nor ever was among
nations ; and when. I hear men declaim on the crimes of
France, who know how to reason as statesmen, I cannot but
suspect that they mean to deceive, and not to convince. But,
it is next said, can a. secure peace be made ? The question
is, I confess, difficult of solution. On the one hand, abstract
consideration must be avoided ; on the other, experience and
precedent attended to as much as possible. Do I think that
a peace, concluded with such a government, would be secure?
Perhaps I do not think it would be as secure as. I could wish
fbr the permanent interest of this country ; but I desire the
House to recollect what has been the nature of almost every
peace that has been made in Europe. From a retrospect of
the circumstances under which former treaties were ratified,
it will, in all probability, be as secure as any peace that has
been made with France at any other time, and more so than
any that they, who would make no peace without the restor-
ation of the monarchy, can ever expect to make. The pre-
sent rulers of France, itis said, have declared themselves our

[Jan. 21.

natural enemies; and have contrived schemes, and sent emissa-
ries to overturn our constitution. Was not all this constantly
done by Louis XIV. ? Was he not the declared enemy
of our glorious Revolution ? Did he not keep up a corre-
spondence with the jacobite party •among us; and endeavour,
by force and artifice, to overturn our establishment in church
and state ? Had our new-fangled politicians lived in those
times, they would have said, before the peace of Ryswick,

unjus" What ! treat with Louis XIV. who has made war upon youtly, who has fomented treason and rebellion, who has
attempted to destroy all that you hold sacred, and instead
of a limited monarchy, and the protestant religion, to impose
upon you the fetters of despotism and popery ?" Such muse
then have been their language; but King William and his
ministers would have thought those who held it fitter forbedlam than a cabinet. But, it is said, the jacobins have
threatened to over-run Holland, and extend their conquests
to the Rhine. And did not Louis XIV. invade Holland ?
Were his projects of conquest so moderate as to be confined
within the Rhine ?

The whole argument then comes to this, that you must be
satisfied with the best security you can get, taking care that
the power with whom you make a peace, shall have no tempt-
ation to break it, either from your misconduct or want of
vigilance. The best security for Holland is, the emperor's
possession of the Netherlands, and repairing the fortifications
of the barrier towns, which he is bound by treaty to maintain.-
Whether the emperor shall be obliged to do this at his own
expence or whether Holland and Great Britain shall assist
him, is matter of future discussion ; certain it is, however,
that it will cost us much less than another campaign. If we
look at the declaration to the people of Prance, the first idea
presented by it, although afterwards somewhat modified, but
again confirmed by the declaration at Toulon, is, that the re-
storation of monarchy must be the preliminary to peace. Now
suppose that instead of the jacobin republic, some stable form
of government, but not a monarchy, should be established,
with which we might think it safe or necessary to treat, what
would become of our promises to Louis XVII. and the people
of Toulon ? Then, as to our security, according to the de-
claration, as soon as the French have a king we will cease to
make war upon them, and then they may set about modifi-
cations of their monarchy. But how are these to be made?
Not, certainly, with a guard of German troops surrounding
the hall where those who are to make them are assembled.
France will then be left in precisely the same situation as she,


was in 1789, from which flowed all the mischiefs that are now
said to render it impossible for us to treat with them. Such
is the notable security which the minister proposes to obtain !

The minister also promised at Toulon, or those whom he
employed promised for him, to restore the constitution of 1789,
and it was, in fact, restored there. Louis XVII. was not
styled King of France and Navarre, &c. but King of the
French, and all the authorities appointed by the constitution
of 1789 were re-established. How did this agree with the
conduct of our allies? While we were in possession of Toulon,
General Wurmser entered Alsace, where he issued a procla-
mation, dismissing all persons appointed to offices under the
constitution of 1789, and restoring, till further orders, the
ancient system, which we are apt to call despotic. I will
suppose a thing too absurd to be supposed but for the sake
of argument, namely, that France is brought to submit to
whatever we may chuse to propose. Must she have a king?
She consents. Must that king be Louis XVII.? She consents.

What, in this case, will be our security ? Do ministers mean
to restore to France all they may take from her in the course
of reducing her to this submission ? Do they mean to restore
Valenciennes, Conde, Quemoy, and St. Domingo? No: the
secretary of state says not : he declares that you must have an
indemnification for the expence of your services in the war.
Admitting that Louis XVII..will in that case have a proper
sense of gratitude, and that gratitude in kings is stronger
than in other men ;—a position, however, rather doubted;
for although " as rich as a king," " as happy as a. king," and
many expressions of the same sort, are common sayings, the
breasts-of kings have not always been considered as the deposi-
tories of gratitude. The phrase of " as grateful as a king,"
Is not yet proverbial. Yet, supposing that Louis XVII. would
be as grateful as this country could desire, as monarchs
must be subject to the voice of their people what would that
voice be? That France was deprived of her former pos-
sessions, that she was shorn of her ancient lustre, and that no
lair occasion should be lost of regaining what had been ravished
from her. And thus France would seize the first opportunity of
attacking us, when we might possibly have no ally but Holland,
and when Prussia or Austria might be leagued with France.

Sir, will any man say that this is not the probable course of
events? Unless, indeed, it can be shewn that princes are more
honest and true to their engagements than other men; but
from what history this observation is to be collected, I am yet
to learn. I know, indeed, that there are certain high stoical
sentiments, such as " We know what becomes us to do, and
in that line of conduct which duty prescribes . we are deter-


Pan. 21.

mined to persevere, be the consequences what they may." On
such sentiments men may act, if they please, for them-
selves, but this House can have no right to act so for their
constituents, whose interests they are always bound in the
first instance to consult. Are gentleman ready to say that,
sensible of all the calamities which must result from their ad-
herence to their present line of conduct, they are nevertheless
determined to persist, and to brave those calamities with their
eyes open ? There are causes, indeed, which dignify suffering;
there are some occasions on which, though it is impossible to
succeed, it is glorious even to fail; but, shall we expose that
country, with whose welfare we are entrusted, to certain ca-
lamity and repulse; and all for a ridiculous crusade against
the jacobins !

When I heard that the success of the campaign waS to be
made matter of boast in the king's speech, I thought it the
highest pitch of effrontery to be found in the annals of any
nation. Little did I imagine that his majesty would conceive it
necessary to recapitulate•from the throne all the successes ob-
tained before th e rising of the last session ofpar]iament; successes
ofwhich we had been told over and over. If, however, these suc-
Cesses were estimated from June, whmh is majesty last addressed
the parliament, to what do they amount ? Or if,which is, indeed,
the only rational mode of forming a judgment of the future,

the situation of France when first attacked 1w Austria and
Prussia, is compared with her present situation, what is the
prospect of final success? Far from imagining that I should
have to contend, that the campaign has been neither success-
ful nor glorious, I expected to be asked, when I came to talk of
peace, "What ! are you so pusillanimous as to suffer your spirits
to be depressed by a few untoward events ? Would you so
far degrade your country as to offer terms of peace now, which
we disdained to offer in June, when our good fortune was at
its height? 'When we have been repulsed at Dunkirk;
when the Prince of Saxe-Cobourg has been repulsed at Mau-
beuge ; when we have been driven from Toulon in a manner
so afflicting, if not disgraceful; when General Wurmser has
been routed in Alsace; the siege of Landau raised ; and the
Duke of Brunswick can scarcely protect the German cities on
the Rhine — to offer terms of peace would be to supplicate,
not to negociate."

Such an appeal to my feelings, I must have endeavoured
to answer as well as I could ; but from that task I am.
completely relieved, by the boast made by ministers of their
victories. If the advantages we obtained were such as they
represent them to be, we can negociate without dishonour;
we can assume the dignified character of being in a con-



dition to dictate the terms of peace, and of forbearing to
insist on all that our superiority entitles us to demand. Here
then is an additional reason for pursuing the course which
I recommend. The right honourable secretary (Mr. Dundas)
has said, that our object in the West Indies was to gain some
solid advantage for ourselves, as an indemnification fior the
expenses of the war. This, however, is a perfectly distinct
object from that of giving such a government to France as
ministers might think it safe to treat with ; and in many re-
spects contradictory to the other. In pursuance of the object
of solid advantage to ourselves, whatever islands we took for
Louis XVII. we must wish to keep ; and as we wished to keep
the islands, must wish that Louis XVII. who would have a right
to demand them of us, should not be restored; and thus our
two objects would run counter to each other. The right ho-
nourable secretary has also said, that if we were to make
peace with France on the principle of uli possidetis, the cam-
paign would be the most advantageous and the most glorious
in the records of history. Advantageous in that point of
view, it certainly might be ; but glorious it can hardly be
called, when it is considered that we are leagued in it with. so
many other powers against a single nation whose force we had
formerly met, not only without allies, but with those who
ought to have been our allies marshalled under the standard
of our enemy.

But the real object of the war is the destruction of the jaco-
bin power in France. Have we succeeded in that object?
Is it not clear to the apprehension of every man who pos-
sesses the smallest degree of information, that we arc now
more distant from it than ever? The right honourable secre-
tary has informed us, that ministers have been greatly em-
barrassed, whether they should send the forces at their dispo-
sal with Sir Charles Grey to the West Indies, or with the
Earl of Moira to co-operate with the royalists in France.
The answer is easy. If the war with the persons who now
govern France is, as the friends of ministers state it to be,.
belluni ernecinum, they ought not to have hesitated a mo-
ment. All expeditions ought to give way to that which alone
could most materially promote their object.; namely, the aid
afforded to the royalists, for the purpose of marching directly
to Paris, and exterminating that party, which is the object of
such detestation, that ministers can alone be satisfied with its
utter extirpation. I hope that they have not in the present
instance, as sometimes happens to men fluctuating between
two purposes, so divided their attention, as to have allotted
I'oorneliliteheerctauasl.us fficient force, and thus contrived to render
both ineffectual.



[Jan. 2 r,
My honourable friend (Mr. Windham) has stated, that an

idea was last session held out to the country, that the war
would be concluded in one campaign, and that this unreason-
able expectation, artfully instilled into the minds of the public,-
is the chief, if not the sole source of any disappointment,
which may be felt in the present moment. It is true, that I,
and those who then thought as I did, represented the dangers
to be apprehended from the war; but I appeal to the recol-
lection of every man who heard us, whether we ever said that
the war was likely to be terminated in one campaign. On
the other hand, was it not insinuated, if not expressly stated;
in the speeches of those who advised going to war, that one
campaign would be sufficient to bring it to a conclusion ? Do
not ministers know that the same idea has been circulated by
every ministerial scribbler in every ministerial newspaper ?
And is it not notorious, that this delusion has induced many
persons to approve of the war, who would otherwise have op-
posed it ? My honourable friend has ridiculed the idea of the
war having, united the French among themselves. He has
asked, whether, instead of union, there has not taken place a
contest of two parties, which has led to a series of murders?
All this Igrant to be true; we have, indeed, beheld the most
sanguinary scenes in France, in consequence of the contests
of jarring parties; the complete triumph of the present
jacobin party has lately been sealed by the blood of their op-
ponents. But whatever may have been the contests of parties
in France, or whatever the consequences to which they have
led, I affirm, that the war has produced in that country not
only union, but what is still worse for the allies, a degree of
energy, which it is impossible to withstand.

Let us look, Sir, to the real state of the ease: When the
session closed in June, there were parties existing in France
of equal strength. The Girondists occupied Lyons, Baur-
deaux, and other places; the royalists possessed La Vendee ;-
and the convention had to contend with Austria, Prussia,
.Russia, Great Britain, the Holy Roman empire, Sardinia,
Tuscany, and Naples. (Tuscany, by the way, did not come
under the British wing so willingly as the right honourable
secretary asserted.) Yet, with these powers against them,
the convention have not only quelled all internal insurrec-
tions, but defeated their foreign enemies. Toulon was taken
by the British, in consequence of certain conditions stipulated
by the inhabitants. And yet even with the certainty of the
guillotine before them, these inhabitants were so unwilling to
assist the British, that no other than an ignominious evacu-

ation •
could be effected. As far as can be collected from' in-

formation, there is not now an insurrection from one end of


France to the other. What, then, is the inference? That
there is no probability, nor even possibility, of overturning
the jacobin government of France in another campaign, nor
in another after that. The French are now inspired with
such an enthusiasm for what they call liberty, that nothing
but absolute conquest can induce them to listen to any plan
of government proposed by a foreign power. Considering
the spirit of the French in this point of view, I am not much
comforted by any thing that the noble lord has said of their
finances. I remember to have heard much the same argu-
ments delivered from the same side of the House during the
American war. The noble lord will find, in the debates of
those days, much talk of a " vagrant congress," which was no
where to be found, of their miserable resources, and their
wretched paper-money, at 3 0o per cent. discount, of which,
with the few halfpence you might happen to have in your
pocket, you might purchase to the amount of a hundred dol-
jaM The Americans were represented as exercising against
the royalists the most unheard-of cruelties; and then came
what was now the master argument, that if such principles of
resistance were suffered to exist, if the cause of the Americans
was ultimately to be successful, there must be an end of all
.civilized government, and the monarchy of England must be
trodden in the dust. At the time when such arguments were
made, we were in possession not only of one port like Toulon,
but of almost all their principal ports. Yet, I was not then
deterred from recommending what I now recommend —
negociation, while negociation is practicable. I lived to see
.Great Britain treat with that very congress so often villified
and abused, and the monarchy subsist in full vigour, certainly
faller than it had ever before subsisted since the Revolu-
tion. And if it were not presumptuous for a man to reckon
on his own life, I might say, that I expect to live to see Great
Britain treat with that very jacobin government with which
you now refuse to treat; and God grant that it may not be
under circumstances less favourable for making peace than
the present !

Having shewn that as much security might be obtained by
treating now with France as in any case that comes within our
experience, it remains only to prove that even if negociation
should fail, we have still much. to gain, and nothing to lose.
We shall thereby demonstrate to the world, that the war, on
our part, is strictly defensive; and convince the people of
England that their money is expended not to gratify the ca-b ,
price of an individual, but to protect the honour and interests
of the country. In France the advantage will be still greater ;
for there, where enthusiasm supplies the place of military clis-

11 3

[Jan. 2 I.

cipline and military skill, where it makes the people submit
to tyranny almost beyond human'

patience, we shall diminish
that enthusiasm, by shewing them that they are not engaged
in a war of defence, but of conquest. The country will no
longer be governed by declamations against the allies, and
exhortations to fight upon the frontiers: the refusal of the ja-
cobins to treat will ruin them in the opinion of the French
people; and thus we shall at once secure the great ends of
policy and justice. We shall shew to the people of England,
that we do not wantonly lavish their blood and treasure ; we
shall reconcile them to the war, if its continuance should
be found necessary ; and we shall disarm the enthusiasm
of the people of France, by proving to them our own mo-
deration, and our disposition to make peace upon equitable

Whatever Frenchman can do, I am told that Englishmen
can do .

also. I have no doubt Cut they can ; and that under
the same circumstances, the efforts of the people of England
would equal or exceed the efforts which are at present made
by the people'of France. Frenchmen, as they conceive, are
contending for their independence as a nation, and their
liberties as individuals. Some, indeed, say, that we are en-
gaged in a similar contest, but few or none believe this to be
actually the case. "We make fine speeches, in order to shew
how much we are alarmed, and to communicate the alarm to
others. But what effect do they produce? They are the re-
sult of cold declamation and artificial eloquence: they are the
speeches of orators, not the effusions of manly feeling ; no-
body is persuaded of the facts which they assert, or impressed
with the sentiments which they convey. The success of this
or that compaign will make little or no difference with respect
to the security of our religion and liberty, so often brought
into the question. The French, on the other hand, dread
equally the despotism of Austria and of Prussia: I wish they
*nay not add, the despotism of Great Britain. In France
they have ceased to make speeches on this subject, because
every man feels it unnecessary to declaim on that which he is
convinced every other man feels equally with himself.

On the conduct of the war, and the mismanagement of the
force with the direction of which ministers were entrusted,
the lateness of the hour would induce me to postpone any re-
mark, did not the boastful manner in which they have talked
of their own exertions render it impossible for me to be
Silent. The right honourable secretary has expatiated on
the protection aflbrded to commerce. Has he forgot the
situation in which commerce was left in the West Indies ?
Has he forgot how long the whole Jamaica fleet waited for


convoy, and under what convoy it was at last obliged to sail ?
Does he not know, that at the very moment he was speaking,
the French had blocked up the harbour of Cork, and with
few frigates parading the British channel, arc making prizes of
our merchantmen, and chasing our cruizers into our own ports?
Sure I am, that if such unexampled protection has been af-
forded to our commerce as the right honourable gentleman
boasts of; our merchants are the most unreasonable and un-
grateful people in the world. On this subject they hold a
language very different; their complaints of want of protec-
tion are loud and general. When the right honourable gen-
tleman was taking a review of the campaign, and representing
it as so highly creditable and satisfactory to himself and his
colleagues, I am surprised he forgot to' mention Dunkirk.
Of the expedition against Dunkirk, by what strange omission
I know not, the right honourable gentleman did not say a
single word. I should be glad to know, Sir, the wise man
who planned that expedition, and advised the division of the
combined forces in Flanders. If I may trust to information,
which I see no reason to doubt, such advice was never given.
by the Duke of York, and was directly contrary to the semi-
3 nents of that experienced general the Prince of Saxe-Cobourg.
If the plan was reprehensible, let us look to the manner in
which it was carried into execution. What exertions were
made by ministers after the siege was undertaken to ensure
success? What must have been the feelings of a gallant Bri-
tish prince, who, through dangers and difficulties, had ap-
proached the sea, the natural dominion of his country, and
expected to find the whole coast a fortress for him, at behold-
ing his troops destroyed by the gen-boats of the enemy com-
manding the shore, and impeding all his operations ! Of that
expedition, so full of imbecility and blunders, on the part of
those who directed, and who were bound to co-operate in the
undertaking, not of those to whom was left the task of execu-
tion, without being furnished with the necessary means, some
account must be given. This failure ministers are bound to
explain. To the conduct and skill of the Duke of York I have
every reason to believe that the subsequent preservation of
West Flanders was owing. The wise precautions taken by
him upon that occasion saved that country from the fate to
which it was exposed by the rashness and imprudence of

With respect to Toulon, I have always understood that we
obtained possession of it by negociation, and that it was de-
livered up to us on conditions agreed upon with the inhabi-
tants. If it was right so to take it, it became a matter of indis-
pensable duty to defend it. But what was done on the part

AI 4


Nan. 21.
of ministers to fulfil this important part of the agreement?
Might they not have sent such a force of British or Austrian
troops to occupy the heights that surround Toulon as would
have foiled all the attempts of the enemy ? Instead of this,
they sent a miserable crew of Neapolitan and Spanish troops,
without discipline, experience or courage, neither skilled in
the arts of defence, nor capable to resist the ardour of an im-
petuous enemy. Such were the men whom they opposed to
a French army, whose courage was exalted to the highest
pitch by a sense of national honour, and their enthusiasm in
the cause of freedom, When they understood, however, that
the place was to be attacked, they considered some additional
assistance as necessary, and in order to make a suitable pro-
vision against the danger, they borrowed an idea from the
enemy, and threw in, as a reinforcement, the abilities of a civil
commissioner, Sir Gilbert Elliot. Of the circumstances
under which Toulon was evacuated, we arc not sufficiently

tiinformed to speak with confidence. But from all that mini-
sters have thought proper to publish, and all that we have
heard from other quarters, I fear it was an event as disgraceful
to the British arms, as afflicting to humanity. I shall be told,

•that it is not fit to blame officers in their absence, and there-
fore that the conduct of Lord Hood is not now to be discus-
sed : but, Sir, by the address I am called upon to praise Lord
Flood ; arid surely, before I give my assent to such an address,

have a right to inquire into the grounds of approbation.
The conduct of Lord Hood, I am told, ought not to be
censured; it has not yet been an object of examination and
discussion ; and if on this ground it be proper to deprecate
censure, it is surely equally proper to withhold praise. At
present I can only judge from what appears on the face of
the transaction, aided by those imperfect accounts which mini-
sters have thought proper to communicate to the public. The
evacuation seems to have taken place under circumstances
against which policy ought to have provided ; and I fear the
result was such as British humanity will contemplate with but
little satisffiction. I am told, indeed, by the right honourable
secretary, that no man was left behind who was disposed to
quit the place; and I am bound to give credit to his assertion.
But, when I read in the accounts given into the French con-
vention, of two hundred in one day, and four hundred in
another, (and accounts of this sort have, unfortunately, in
general, proved but too true,) who, for the assistance which
they afforded the English, were conducted to the guillotine,
what am I to infer? Am I to infer, that from the experience
of the conduct of the English, such was their detestation of
their character, that-they chose rather to wait for death from



the vengeance of their countrymen, than to seek for safety
from British protection ? If such is the inference, in what
a point of view does it place the honour of the British nation,
and the boasted generosity of their character ! But if the fact
be otherwise, if after having betrayed these men to assist in
your views, you abandoned them to that ruin which was the
consequence, their blood is on your heads, and at your hands
will it be required. What people henceforth will be desirous
of the friendship of Britain, or able to repose themselves with
confidence in your fidelity ? What dependance can they have
upon the efficacy of your assistance, or what security even
against your desertion'? Toulon, purchased by compromise,
you have lost with disgrace; you have placed yourselves in a
point of view entirely new to British character ; you have
proved yourselves neither useful as friends, nor respectable as
enemies. You have now to contemplate loss and repulse as
the result of a transaction . equally degrading to your resources
and your principles, every part of which stamps your efforts
with feebleness, and brands your character with dishonour.

Nevertheless a noble lord (Mulgrave) whom I do not see
in his place, and who arrived in this country a short time
before the evacuation, affirmed in his dispatches, that Toulon
was in a state of comfortable security. What idea, Sir, must
we have of what constitutes a state of comfortable security,
when such proves to have been the event ! When ministers
had failed at Dunkirk, and, perhaps, notwithstanding this
assertion of comfortable security, foresaw that they should fail
at Toulon, they projected, or rather talked of a descent on
the coast of France, under the command of the Earl of Moira;
when we ask why that expedition was so long talked of, and
never undertaken, the right honourable secretary tells us, that
it was delayed for want of troops. What ! when we had at
last hit upon a plan which was to conduct us to the gates of
Paris, were we obliged to abandon it for want of men ? Were
no Hanoverians, Hessians, or even Austrians, to be found ?
Miserable, indeed, must be the alliances entered into by the
minister, if' neither those whose cause he had undertaken to
support, nor those whom he had taken into his pay, would
furnish him with men sufficient for an expedition, the success
of which might have redeemed so many miscarriages ! Did
he defer that expedition till winter, because the difficult navi-
gation of the coast of Normandy was peculiarly safe at that
season ? Or did he chuse to delay it, because the Prince of
Cobourg would be unable to act, and, of consequence, tile
French troops in that quarter would be disengaged ?

With the knowledge of these events, if we retain the least
spark of that independence which was once the characteristic


of a British House of Commons, we cannot concur in 'an
address which tells his majesty that we think the campaign
has been successful. If there is a man among us who is
not the sycophant of ministers, he cannot say that the con-
duct of it has displayed any thing on their part but imbecility
and want of resource. The right honourable the chancellor
of the exchequer possesses great talents and great eloquence;
and the long period during which he has had the opportunity
of displaying those talents in office, has, no doubt, added
to the number of his admirers; but he must now pick from
the very lowest class of his flatterers before he can collect
thirty men around his own table who will tell him that he is
a great-war minister. His friends, perhaps, will tell us, that
he may do better another time, and therefore they will con-
tinue to support him; but, at what expellee is the experiment
to be made, and how much British blood and British trea-
sure must be lavished, while he is learning how to conduct a
war ! The right honourable secretary has said, that when
Lord Hood had taken possession of Toulon, all the states of
Italy hastened to put themselves under the protection of the
British fleet. What haste the Duke of Tuscany made to
seek that protection, and with what reluctance he was com-
pelled to accept of it, the memorials, or rather menaces, de-
livered by Lord Harvey, who, I believe, acted in perfect
conformity to his instructions, will sufficiently evince. While
we were declaiming against the insults of the French to
neutral states, we took upon us to dictate to the Duke of
Tuscany, not only with respect to his public conduct, but
his private feelings. Lord Harvey was instructed to tell him,
that he misunderstood the interests and disregarded the wishes
of his people; that the minister in whom he confided was a
person unworthy of trust; and that he himself had no proper
sense of the duty he owed to his uncle and his aunt, and all
his relations of the house of Austria. Our conduct to the
Genoese was modelled upon the same principles; and we only
had not the guilt of bombarding Genoa, because that republic
refused to depart from its neutrality.

What, too, was the conduct which was observed towards
the Swiss Cantons? On that subject I am particularly in-
formed, in consequence of a letter which I received from a
noble relation of mine, (Lord Robert Fitzgerald,) employed
by ministers in that quarter. In this letter he states, that he
was instructed, on the part of the British court, to intimate
to the cantons, that they might, indeed, preserve their neu-
trality, but that they should hold no commerce with France.
What sort of neutrality was that, Sir, which excluded all,
commerce, which deprived them of every advantage which


such a situation entitled them to expect? And what sort of
respect did ministers show for the rights of independent states,
by thus presuming to dictate to them the terms upon which
they should regulate their conduct with regard to other
nations? Of the same nature was the interference attempted
in the instance of Denmark and Sweden ; and if these courts
bad not had the wisdom and the firmness to resist all the arts
and menaces employed to draw them from their system of
neutrality, and engage them in the combination against
France, they might at this moment have been sharing, in
common with the other powers of Europe, all the hardships
and miseries of war. Such has been the scandalous conduct
of ministers towards neutral states ! But did these very mi-
nisters forget, that they had themselves all along boasted of
their neutrality; that they had on every occasion held forth
as their justification, that if Fiance had not declared war,
this country would still have remained neutral ? Such was
the credit due to their assertions, and such the coincidence
between their professions and their conduct ! At the very
moment they were inveighing against the French as invaders
of the rights of nations, and boasting of their own strict ob-
servance of neutrality, they were committing the most daring
infringements on the rights of independent states, and at-
tempting, by the most unwarrantable means, to engage them
to take part in hostilities against France. The injustice of
such a conduct could only be aggravated by its meanness.
The nations with respect to whom this interference was exer-
cised, were such only as ministers might hope to frighten by
their menaces, and awe to compliance by the terror of superior
force. We condescended not only to lay aside all respect
for justice, but all dignity of character, and to become the
bullies of those states whom we deemed incapable of resist-
ing our imperious demands. Oh, shame to our policy ! Oh
spot indelible to the British name ! When, indeed, I con-
sider the present system adopted in the courts of Europe,
when I look at the infamous conduct of Russia and Prussia
towards Poland, I own that I tremble for the fate of Europe.
Convinced I am, that no power which is not founded in jus-
tice can either be sound or permanent. If, indeed, the
courts of Europe are menaced with imminent danger, they
have chiefly to apprehend the consequences of their own recent
proceedings. If in no cabinet there is to be found any rem-
nant of decency, any sense of honour, such a state of things
must tend more to the dissolution of established systems than
all that can be effected by jacobin principles or jacobin force.
The rage of the jacobins may, indeed, be directed against


[Jam 21.
the outworks of their power ; but they are themselves under-
mining the foundation.

next come to the conduct of ministers with respect to
America. In this instance they seem likewise to have adopted.
the maxim of M. Genet, in setting aside the authority of Vote],
and testifying the most perfect contempt for the principles laid
down by established writers on the law of nations, where they
happen to differ from their own notions of political con-
venience. Their system of aggression on the rights of in-
dependent states, they followed up with respect to America,
by issuing an order to seize on American vessels bound to
the French West-India islands. This order, however, they
were afterwards prevailed upon to withdraw, in consequence
of being informed by the merchants, that congress could
never brook so wanton an aggression, so unprovoked an in-
sult; and that the measure, if persisted in, must infallibly
produce a rupture between America and this country. 1,
trust, the retraction has come in time to prevent the con-
sequences of the error, but it can reflect but little honour on
the ministers of this country, that they have been compelled
to respect the rights of an independent state only from a
dread of its power, and that they have shewn themselves
to be more influenced by a sense of fear, than by a principle
of justice.

And here, Sir, I cannot help alluding to the president of
the United States, General -Washington, a character whose
conduct has been so different from that which has been pur-
sued by the ministers of this country. How infinitely wiser
must appear the spirit and principles manifested in his
late address to congress than the policy of modern European
courts ! Illustrious man, deriving honour less from the
splendor of his situation than from the dignity of his mind,
before whom all borrowed greatness sinks into insignificance,
and all the potentates of Europe (excepting the members of
our own royal family) become little and contemptible ! He
has had no occasion to have recourse to any tricks of policy
or arts of alarm; his authority has been sufficiently supported
by the same means by which it was acquired, and his conduct
has uniformly been characterised by wisdom, moderation, and
firmness. Feeling gratitude to Prance for the assistance re- Oh
ceived from her in that great contest which secured the in-
dependence of America, he did not chuse to give up the
system of neutrality. Having once laid down that line of
conduct, , which both gratitude and policy pointed out as most
proper to be pursued, not all the insults or provocation of
the French minister, Genet, could turn him from his pur-,


pose. Entrusted with the welfare of a great people, he did.
not allow the misconduct of another, with respect to himself,
for one moment to withdraw his attention from their interests.
He had no fear of the jacobins; he felt no alarm from their
principles, and considered no precaution as necessary in order
to stop their progress. The people over whom he presided
he knew to be acquainted with their rights and their duties.
He trusted to their own good sense to defeat the effect of
those arts which might be employed to inflame or mislead
their minds; and was sensible that a government could be in
no danger while it retained the attachment mid confidence
of its subjects — attachment, in this instance, not blindly
adopted, confidence not implicitly given, but arising from
the conviction of its excellence, and the experience of its
blessings. I cannot, indeed, help admiring the wisdom and
the fortune of this great man ; by the phrase "fortune,"
mean not in the smallest degree to derogate from his merit.
But, notwithstanding his extraordinary talents and exalted
integrity, it must be considered as singularly fortunate, that
he should have experienced a lot, which so seldom falls to the
portion of humanity, and have passed through such a variety
of scenes without stain and without reproach. It must, in-
deed, create astonishment, that, placed in circumstances so
critical, and filling for a series of years a station so conspicu-
ous, his character should never once have been called in
question; that he should in no one instance have been accused
either of improper insolence, or of mean submission in his
transactions with foreign nations. For him it has been re-
served to run the race of glory, without experiencing the
smallest interruption to the brilliancy of his career. But, Sir,
if the maxims now held out were adopted, the man who now
ranks .as the assertor of his country's freedom, and the guar-
dian of its interests and its honour, would be deemed to have
betrayed that country, and entailed upon himself indelible
reproach. How, Sir, did he act when insulted by Genet?
Did he consider it as necessary to avenge himself for the mis-
conduct or madness of an individual, by involving a whole
continent in the horrors of war? No; he contented himself
with procuring satisfaction for the insult, by causing Genet
to be recalled; and thus at once consulted his own dignity
and the interests of his country. Happy Americans ! while
the whirlwind spreads desolation over one quarter of the
globe, you remain protected from its baneful effects, by your
own virtues and the wisdom of your government ! Separated
from Europe by an immense ocean, you feel not the effects
of those prejudices and passions, which convert the boasted
seats of civilization into scenes of horror and bloodshed l

Van. 2I.

You profit by the folly and madness of contending nations,
and afford in your more congenial clime an asylum to those
blessings and virtues which they wantonly contemn, or
wickedly exclude from their bosom ! Cultivating the arts of
peace under the influence of freedom, you advance by rapid
strides to opulence and distinction; and if by any accident
you should be compelled to take part in the present unhappy
contest ; if you should find it necessary to avenge insult, or
repel injury, the world will bear witness to the equity of your
sentiments and the moderation of your views, and the success
of your arms will, no doubt, be proportioned to the justice of
your cause

Sir, I have now nothing more with which to trouble the
House; I am sensible, indeed, that at this advanced hour I
have already detained them too long. But I was anxious to
put the question upon its true footing, and to free it from that
misrepresentation in which it has been so studiously involved.
'We have of late been too much accustomed to inVective and
declamation; addresses to our prejudices and passions have
been substituted instead of appeals to our reason. But we
are met here not to declaim against the crimes of other states,
but to consult what are the true interests of this country.
The question is not, what degree of abhorrence we ought to
feel'of French cruelty, but what line of conduct we ought to
pursue, consistently with British policy. Whatever our
detestation of the guilt of foreign nations may be, we are not
called to take upon ourselves the task of avengers; we are
bound only to act as guardians of the welfare of those with
whose concerns we are immediately entrusted. It is• upon
this footing I have 'argued the question, and if I have suc-
ceeded, I trust the House will be disposed to support me in.
the amendment with which I shall now conclude; intreating
his majesty to make peace, whenever it can be done upon safe
and honourable terms, without any regard to the form and
nature of the government existing in France. But if gen-
tlemen will carry on the war until the jacobin government of
France be exterminated, they must be prepared to carry on
the war to all eternity. Mr. Fox then moved the following
amendment to the address proposed : " To state the deter-
mination of this House to support his majesty in the measures
necessary to maintain the honour and independence of the
crown, and to provide for the defence and safety of the nation;
but at the same time to advise his majesty to take the earliest,
means of concluding a peace with the French nation, on such
terms as it may be reasonable and prudent for us -to insist on:
That, whenever such terms can be obtained we trust that no•
obstacle to the acceptance of them will arise from any con-

a 794-]
siderations respecting the form or nature of the government
which may prevail in France."

After Mr. Pitt had spoken, the House divided on Mr. Fox's
amendment :

cMr. Grey 1 —

YE A S Mr. Adam S 59'
So it passed in the negative.


January 31.

"VTR. PITT having moved, " That the copy of the treaty be-
tween his majesty and the King of Sardinia, signed at

London the 2 5th of April 1793, be referred to the committee of
supply ;"

Mr. Fox said, he considered this treaty to be one which his
duty to his constituents did not permit him to assent to with-
out some observations, and a satisfactory answer to those
observations. He had never conceived that it could be wise
to enter into any treaty by which we were to receive nothing
and to give every thing; or to bind ourselves to maintain a
perpetual war for the benefit of the party with whom we
contracted, without something stipulated in our favour that
might be held an equivalent for so hazardous an engagement.

When he looked at the treaty, he should have supposed that
the King of Sardinia had had it in his power to put into our
possession the port of Nice, or to afford us an easy passage
into France through his territory of Savoy. These, indeed,
would have been advantages for which we ought to have given
something in return; because, under certain circumstances,
they might have contributed much to the facility of carrying
on a war with France. But, when he recollected the
cumstances under which the treaty was made, he found that
the King of Sardinia had lost both Nice and Savoy before
we thought of entering into any negotiation on the subject.
He admitted that the- assistance of the King of Sardinia
might be useful in the prosecution of the war; but in obtain-
ing assistance we ought to estimate the benefits on either part,
as well what we gave as what was to be given us. By this
treaty the King of Sardinia was bound only to maintain



I Sir Peter Burrell 277 ,

,tots PR. John Smyth


I 76

o,000 men for the defence of his own territories. If we

had expected any thing more of him we had been miserablydis
appointed; for that part of France which was justly sup-

posed to have been the most averse from the present reigning
system in Paris, and therefore the most likely to enter into
our views, far from receiving any support from the King ofSardinia, had been left to pay the forfeit of what the con-
vention called treason to the republic. What,- then, did we
gain by this treaty, in stipulation or in fact? That the King
of Sardinia should keep up a force to defend his own ter-
ritories. What did we engage to perform ? Not only to
pay a subsidy of 200,000l. a-year in aid of maintaining this
force, but to restore to the King of Sardinia all those ter-
ritories which the French had wrested from him, while :ye
were sitting quietly by and boasth)g of our neutrality. Unless
we could afford to make war for ever; unless we supposed
ourselves exempted from the ordinary vicissitudes of human
affairs, we might be reduced to purchase peace by great
sacrifices on our own part, in order to make good our engage-
ments with the King of Sardinia, or to subject ourselves to
the reproach of breach of faith, by making peace without
obtaining the restoration of his territories. One would have
thought, that for all this the King of Sardinia was to do
something of equal importance for us; but in the treaty we -
looked for an equivalent in vain. We were not only to pay '11

,him for keeping up a force to defend the territories he had -41i
still remaining, but bound ourselves not to make peace with-
out restoring to him the territories he had lost.

For the sake of argument, Mr. Fox said, he would admit
that the restoration of Savoy to the King of Sardinia was ne-
cessary to the balance of Europe, and that no peace ought to
be made with France but upon that condition. Why, even
in this case, fetter ourselves with an engagement which we
could not possibly know that we should be able to fulfil?
When the time of treating for peace came, with how much
more advantage, and how much more honour to ourselves,
should we have said, " The King of Sardinia is not to be Op-
pressed because he is weak. In all transactions between na-
tions, justice is to be regarded as well as power. The restor-
ation of Savoy is demanded by justice, and essential to the
future tranquillity of Europe. We shall listen to no propo-
sitions for peace of which this is not a preliminary." With
how much more advantage and honour might we thus have
stipulated for the restoration of Savoy, if this miserable treaty
had never been made? We should then have stood forward_
as the protectors of the weak, and the defenders of the ba-
lance of power. Now, we had not given, but sold our assist-


Rnec to the King of Sardinia—and sold it, for what? For
nothing. Ministers having done this, and the House having
sanctioned it, they were next to call upon the people of
England to pay a subsidy of 200,0001. He knew, that in
every war to be carried on by a confederacy, we must pay the
weaker powers whom we engaged in that confederacy; but we
were not certainly to pay them all ; nor those whom we did,
for defending themselves. Did we suppose, on the present
occasion, that the King of Sardinia had no inclination to de-
fend his own dominions? If we did, our money should have
been asked`for as a grant, not as a stipulation, which was to
involve us in difficulties of a thousand times more consequence
than the value of our money, We could not, however, sup-
pose that the King of Sardinia was not inclined to defend
himself; without our paying for it. Our treaty, therefore,
was not a purchase, for we did not buy the King of Sardinia's
inclination; nor was it a gift, for we, the givers, came under
an obligation to the party to whom we gave. It might be
said, that the treaty bound the King of Sardinia, to continue
the war as long as we might think fit, even after he himself
might wish to conclude it. If this was what we had gained
by the treaty, would not the neutrality of the King of Sardinia
have been more beneficial and far less embarrassing? It would
not be argued, that there was any chance of a separate peace
between the • King of Sardinia and France ; or that the King
of Sardinia had any prospect of recovering Nice and Savoy,
without our assistance. What, then, had we done? If the
recovering of his territories was of more importance to the
King of Sardinia than it could be to us, we had given a sub-
sidy, where we ought to have received one.

He should perhaps be told, that the treaty being concluded
by his majesty, the proper representative of the country in all
transactions with foreign powers, the House could not refuse
to ratify it, without subjecting themselves to the imputation
of a breach of faith. This doctrine he must peremptorily
deny. If the House was considered as bound to make good
every treaty which his majesty, by the advice of his ministers,
might think proper to conclude, there was a complete surren-
der of the public purse to the executive power. Mr. Fox
concluded with observing, that having thus briefly stated his
objections to the treaty with the King of Sardinia, the other
treaties, particularly that with his Sicilian majesty, were not
to be considered as having his approbation, because he did
not state his objections to them at the same time.

vol. V.



February 3.

rI-IE secretary at war having moved in the committee of supply,.
That a number of land forces, including 3882 invalids,

amounting to 60,244
effective men, commissioned and non-com-

missioned officers included, be employed for the year 1794," this
augmentation of the army was opposed by Mr. Hussey on the
ground of its inefficacy for the purposes of the war. The navy of
Great Britain, he said, ought rather to have been augmented. A
few stout ships were of much more utility than a land-force, inmaking such an impression upon the enemy as would be solid and'
serviceable to the interests of this country. He entertained no
doubt of the courage and gallantry of our officers and soldiers ;
but would rather have seen our naval list carried to 100,000 men,than vote for any farther increase of the army. After Mr. Jenkin-
son and Mr. Pitt had spoken in support of the augmentation,

Mr. Fox said, that although a future discussion was promised,
some sentiments had fallen in the course of the debate on
which he must make a few observations while they were fresh
in the memory of the House. He agreed perfectly with the
honourable gentleman who had opened the discussion, on the
propriety of the time he had chosen for making his obser-
vations, as well as of the observations themselves. Accord.,
ing to the best practice of the best times, it was strictly in.
order to consider the ability of ministers to direct to the most
beneficial effect that force to pay for which they were about
to vote the money of their constitutents. He was glad to find
gentlemen on the other side of the House so much pleased as
they professed to be with the successes of the campaign. Ifit

were possible to talk with levity of a situation of Europe,
which he considered as highly disastrous, he should congra-
tulate the House on the issue of a campaign with which all
parties engaged in it were pleased. We extolled the success
of our armies; so did the French that of theirs. We ap-
plauded the evacuation of Toulon as a most fortunate event;
the French celebrated the same event by public festivals. So
that both parties might meet and join in a common ju7-bilee. Unfortunately for him, he could not participate in
these rejoicings, while he saw Europe brought into a situation
which must be afflicting to every man who retained the least
spark of justice or humanity.


Since the prorogation of parliament, when the advantages
we had obtained were set forth in terms as vaunting as they
could well bear, we had seen little success and much defeat.
When he saw that all the latter part of the campaign had
been uniformly unsuccessful ; when the successes of the early

part instead of conducting, as might have been expected, to

,new successes, had only led to disaster and disgrace, he an-
oared but ill of the future ; as in such circumstances every ra-
tional man must augur. He could neither agree with. the
honourable gentleman, nor with the right honourable the
chancellor of the exchequer who corrected him, on the subject
of responsibility ; which instead of laying wholly with generals,
or jointly on generals and ministers, lay wholly with mi-
nisters in the first instance. There was, or ought to be, a
military man in the cabinet, and he supposed the commander
in chief held that situation now, on whose information and
advice ministers were to decide both as to the propriety of un-
dertaking expeditions and the force requisite for them. They
might have much information respecting which the officer ap-
pointed to command in any expedition might be ignorant ;
consequently they, and not he, were to judge of the force
necessary, and the acceptance on his part of a command with
an inadequate force was no justification for them. If he knew
that an officer had misconducted the force entrusted to him,
{and he hoped no man would be so uncandid as to suppose •
what he said to have any particular application,) he would
charge ministers with the blame in the first instance, because
it was their duty to employ none but proper persons. When
they were put upon their defence, they might skew reasons
for the choice they had made, and in proportion to the validity
of those reasons would they be exculpated. He did not pre-
tend to know whether the commander in chief of the com-
bined army, and the illustrious prince who commanded the
troops sent against Dunkirk, approved or disapproved of the
expedition ; but this he knew, that if, on the general inquiry
into the business, it should appear that it was undertaken con-
trary to the judgment of such professional men, the circum-
stance would form a strong aggravation of the charge against

The righthonourable the chancellor of the exchequer had said,
that the defence of Toulon was not to supersede the expedition
to theWest Indies. In one point of view, the defence of Toulon
was paramount to the capture of all the West India islands, for
it was to preserve the faith of the nation solemnly pledged to
the inhabitants, who had put themselves under our protection.
We entered Toulon by treaty, not by conquest, as the ally of
Louis XVII. in conjunction with the King of Spain, to whom

N 2,

[Feb. 3.

[Feb. 3.

the place was as much surrendered as to us, and on the ex..
press condition of restoring to the inhabitants who admitted
us, what they called their constitution of 1789, although he
heard that the part of the treaty to which he alluded had been
broken by our subsequent proclamations. We got possession of
the ships and stores in trust for our ally Louis XVII., and after
that, to boast of destroying them as the ships of an enemy,
was a perversion of terms. He admitted, that when they
could not be defended, we had a right to destroy them, or,
'what was still better, to bring them away, in order to prevent
their falling into the hands of those who were the enemies of
Louis XVII.

- But this was to be lamented as a misfortune,
more especially if any considerable part of them did fall into
the hands of his enemies, not vaunted as an instance of extra-

, ordinary success. Let ministers hold to Louis XVII. or his
representative, if he had any ; let them hold to French royal-
ists the language they held to the House, of preferring

expedition to the West Indies to the defence of Toulon : let
them say, " We have got possession of a port and a fleet in
trust for you; but we must take your West-India islands for
ourselves; we cannot attempt the one without endanger-
hag the other; and we prefer taking what we mean ,to
keep at all events, to defending what we must restore to you
when re-instated on the throne of your ancestors," and see
with what cordiality and gratitude it would be received. If
seating Louis XVII. on the throne of France was the object
to which ministers looked as the means of peace, they ought
to have sent the whole force at their disposal to Toulon, if
necessary, in preference to every other expedition, on mo-
tives of common pokey, much more on the strongest of ail
motives, that of good faith.

He had often heard, as he had again been told that day,
that all the inhabitants of Toulon who chose it were taken
away by .

the British fleet. Was it not true, however, and no-
torious, that hundreds, nay thousands of the unfortunate re-
mainder, had glutted the vengeance of those whom they had
made their implacable enemies by the confidence they reposed
in us? If it should be said, that these victims preferred stay-
ing to being brought away, that would contribute but little to
his satisfaction ; for what must our treatment of those men
have been, what opinion must they have formed of us, seeing
that they preferred the fury of avowed enemies to our pro-
tection ?

It had been insinuated, that the surrender of Toulon had
been effected by blockade and famine, and the decided supe,
riority in regard to appointment, of the English over the
French fleet. This did not appear, upon investigation, to be

1 794']

the real state of the case, for there never was any contention
between the fleets; for the French fleet was commanded by per-
sons inimical to the French government, who surrendered their
trust upon certain terms. And this French fleet had been
reported by Admiral Trugnet, to the convention, to be in a
state upon which no reliance could be placed. With respect
to the destruction of the French fleet at Toulon; which was
made a boast of as the greatest blow the naval power of France
had ever sustained from the effect of a single action, he ob-
served, that as they were vessels which we had taken, and
engaged to preserve for Louis XVII., we could only justify
destroying them upon one principle, that it was the only
means of preventing them from falling into the hands of the
enemy. He defended the expression used by his honourable
friend, (Major Maitland,) that we had acquired no military
glory at Toulon. By this lie (lid not mean, that the particu-
lar generals, or officers, or privates, had not discharged their
duty there. He knew they would ever do their duty when
they were put in a situation to act; but what was meant was,
that the result of that business was not an acquisition of glory
to this country. The ground, it was stated, upon which the
expedition against Toulon had been concerted, was an expec-
tation that they would have been joined by the royalists of
Lyons and Marseilles, who were at that time in considerable
force ; but any person who remembered the American war,
ought to know the futility. of such expectations : we hoped
and trusted that one town, or one state, would be more fa-
vourable to our cause than others had been ; but as often as
we expected, so often were we disappointed. In the same
way our hopes from the Lyonese and Marseillois had been
frustrated, and those unfortunate persons who set their faces
against the tyranny by which they were oppressed, had, many of
them expiated, on the block, the crime of federation ; nor
had we been able to raise any diversion in our favour in any
of the provinces in the neighbourhood of Toulon, either in
Provence, or in Languedoc, or in Dauphiny.

Mr. Fox said, he next wished to enquire, if the force sent
to Toulon Was sufficient to preserve it? From every thing he
could learn on the subject, and from military men, he under-
stood, that to preserve that place, a force of at least 30,000
effective men would have been necessary. What was the force
sent for the protection of that place ? There were only.
ts,000 men, and those not all English, nor equal in point of
service to half' the number of English, but a motley group,
consisting of Piedniontese, Spaniards, French, and 'Neapoli-
tans ; and to complete the success of the business, an actual
dispute, he understood, existed between Admiral Gravina and

IC 3

I 82

[Feb. 3.
our general, who should be commander in chief of this army.
If Success was to be considered primajitcie evidence of merit,
he had a right to asume that ill success was evidence of de-

merit : as such he should consider the expedition, or the pro,

d expedition under the Earl of Moira ; but he might be
told, that it could not yet be called unsuccessful, as it had not
been entered upon ; but he contended, that it was unsuccess,
ful, insomuch as it was injurious in its effects to the cause
which it was intended to serve; for what Frenchman would
be mad enough to hazard his life, by opposing the tyranny
which he detested, upon the hope that he would receive assist-
ance from this country, when our troops had been in the im-
mediate vicinity of their coast, and had not been able to effect
any thing to serve the cause of the royalists, either in LaVendee, or in any other part of France ? And they had,
moreover, the example of Toulon to deter them. As to the
question, whether Toulon or the West-India islands were to
be preferred by this country ? that was a question which very
much depended upon what was the object of the war. If our

t was to gain permanent possessions, which we deter-
mined to keep, there could not be a moment's doubt but that the

West-India islands were of the most importance; butif the ob-

of the war was, as it seemed to be confessed by the minister
and the majority of that House, to force upon the people
of France, in conjunction with the other powers of Europe,
some form of government in the place of that tyranny
which now subsisted there, for the attainment of that object,
the possession of Toulon would be more instrumental than
Martinico, Guadaloupe, Saint Domingo, and all the other
West-India islands together.

An expression had fallen from the right honourable the
chancellor of the exchequer, that we were not now at

with an army, but an armed nation. This taken in one point
of view was a very alarming circumstance, for he believed no
position would be more readily admitted, than that an armed
nation, so long as it acted upon the defensive, was invincible,
and happy he was that it was invincible, for it was the only
security that one nation had against the designs of combined
and ambitious neighbours, for the preservation of its liberty
and independence: he did not mean that kind of liberty
which they had in France, but that rational and desirable
liberty which was enjoyed under a well-regulated government.
If Great Britain should be attacked by a combined force of
the powers of Europe, which was not a thing impossible, the
troops they were about to vote that night would be as nothing
to oppose against it. 'Would sixty thousand of her sons be
all that would take up arms in defence of Britain ? No; we



should arm as one man, we should have but one sentiment, to
conquer or to die; and, on this principle, he rejoiced that an
armed nation was invincible. The same reason that made an
armed nation invincible in defence, rendered it in attack quite
the contrary. The desire of conquest could animate but a
few, and they would be opposed by the same principle of re-
sistance in their attempts to conquer other countries which
enabled them to defend their own. The French, therefore,
would not succeed in their attempts at conquest if they had.
not abandoned them, and we might make peace with them,
in full as much security that it would be permanent as we had
done at any former period. If in former times we had said,
that we would make no peace with France, without a change
of that government, which we knew to be hostile to our own,
we should have been at war for more than a hundred years.
What were the dangers we had now to dread from France
more than those we had actually experienced and repelled ?
An honourable friend of his had said, that when a danger
rose to a certain magnitude, all beyond that became of no ac-
count, because we already saw what we dreaded more than
loss of life. Now, what was the danger from which we were
delivered in the days of the pretender? A powerful foreign
despot attempted to seat on the throne a prince whose right
we had abjured; to overturn our constitution and establish an
arbitrary government; to subvert the Protestant and introduce
the Roman catholic religion ; in one word, to ravish from us
all we held most dear, and force upon us all we most abhorred.
Yet we never went into the extreme of saying, " We will
make no peace with the government that has attempted this ;
we can have no security while a ruling power exists, whose
principles are so hostile to ours." Sorry he was to find such
sentiments entertained now; for if France was become an
armed nation, we might accelerate the calamities we dreaded,
but we should not conquer France. He should, perhaps, be
told, that, if France had become an armed nation, it might
be necessary for us to become one also. But we ought not to
become an armed nation in order to carry on an offensive war.
If, unfortunately, we should ever be driven to fight on the
same terms as the French had been, we too should become
an armed nation, and like them be invincible.

The resolution was agreed to.

[Feb. to,



1-41 ARLY in the session Mr. Secretary Dundas bad brought
down a message from his majesty, stating, that is corps of

Hessians employed in his service having been brought to the coast
on the Isle of Wight to prevent sickness on board the transports,
his majesty had given orders they should be quartered in the island.
This corps constituted a part of the army destined to co-operate
with the French royalists in La Vendee, under the command of
the Earl of Moira. The House thanked -his majesty for the com-
munication : but as it seemed that the ministers of the crown
meant to pass silently over this transaction, which, though circum-
stances might render it proper, was in a constitutional view alarm-
ing, Mr. Grey, on the moth of February, called the attention of
the House to the subject in a speech replete with historical, parlia-
mentary, and constitutional information, clearly proving that the
measure in question was contrary both to the letter and the spirit
of the constitution, as established at the Revolution ; and that,
whenever such a measure became necessary, ministers should
either obtain the previous consent of parliament, or resort to

a. bill
of indemnity. Mr. Grey concluded by moving, " That employing
foreigners in any situation of military trust, or bringing foreign
troops into the kingdom without the consent of Parliament first
had and obtained, is contrary to law." The motion was opposed
by Mr. Powys, Mr. Windham, Mr. Wallace, Mr. Montagu the
attorney-general, Mr. Yorke, Mr. Pitt, and also by Mr. Serjeant
Adair, who moved the previous question. Mr. Grey's motion was
strongly supported- by Mr. Whitbread, Lord George Cavendish,
Major Maitland, Mr. Francis, Mr. William Smith, and Mr. Fox.

Mr. Fox began with observing,. that he never recollected a
question that had given rise to so much extraneous matter, or
to so great a variety of abstract arguments as the present. He
felt considerable difficulty in replying to the different ob-
servations made on both sides of the House, but notwith-
standing all the grave advice from the attorney-general, on
the danger of agitating the question, he considered himself
as indispensably bound by his duty to his constituents to de-
liver his sentiments on the present occasion. The honourable -
and learned gentleman had expressed his doubts on this ex-


I 7943

tension of the, prerogative, and wished that the question
might not be argued;

the right honourable the chancellor

of the exchequer had differed materially from the learned
gentleman, and had given a decided opinion upon this point
of prerogative. It was not for him, he said, to account for
the conduct of the right honourable gentleman, who perse-
vered in his opinion on a question that had excited no small
share of indignation, even among those gentlemen who co-
operated with him on other subjects. If the doctrine of the
right honourable gentleman were true, he argued, that nothing
which had been said by the most atrocious libelers of the
constitution could be reprehended by administration ; because
the arguments of the right honourable gentleman went to
prove, that we had a constitution in words, but not in reality.
But thank God, he exclaimed, this was not true ; for the bill
of rights was in direct contradiction to what had been ad-
vanced by the chancellor of the exchequer and his right ho-
nourable friend (Mr. Windham) who sat near him. That
right honourable gentleman had thought fit last year to mani-
fest his fears, and had supported the minister in every question,
since he joined the ministerial standard. He had deserted his
friends, because he thought the constitution in danger : this
he must attribute to the acuteness of his feelings ; and the
same motive which urged him to depart from his friends,
should now have induced him to resist this most violent and
unconstitutional stretch of prerogative.

.Mr. Fox-reprobated the conduct of ministers, in attempt-
ing to justify the landing of foreign troops in this kingdom
without the previous consent of parliament. It was unneces-
sary for him, he said, to point out the consequence that must
arise from such doctrines, if adopted, where foreigners, being
the instruments of any misguided prince or licentious govern-
ment, might be turned against the dearest rights of the con-
stitution. Great stress had been laid by the chancellor of the
exchequer on the circumstance, that they were not to remain
long in the country ; but now the House was informed that
they were to remain in the kingdom until sent on foreign ser-
vice. He was of opinion, that a bill of indemnity should
have been at least introduced to justify the measure, a measure
which, during the American war,. was declared, in both
Houses of Parliament, to-be one that annihilated Magna Charta.
If a bill of indemnity had, been brought in, the preamble
would have run thus, as in former instances ; " Whereas
certain doubts have arisen :" but to this constitutional phraseo-
logy the minister was averse, as he argued, that the preroga-
tive of the crown was fully competent to the introduction
of foreign troops, agreeably to the bill of rights. His

[Feb. ro.

learned friend (Mr. Seijeant Adair) had observed, thatit was
better not to argue the question than for

• the opposers of his
honourable friend's motion to have a decision against them;
but this was an argument to which he never could be brought
to subscribe; for, though left in a minority, it was his duty
to persevere in what he thought for the benefit of his country;
and though the House might not take care of its honour,
it did not follow that he should deal treacherously with his
own. A bill of indemnity had been offered to the right ho-
nourable the chancellor of the exchequer, but this he rejected
with indignation : he, however, conceived it equally the duty
of parliament to form a bill of indemnity on one question, as
it might be necessary to bring forward a bill of attainder on
another. But if a bill of that nature was brought forward,
gentlemen on the other side of the House would thereby seem
to confess, what they were not willing to admit, that the pre-
rogatives of the sovereign were not such as they wished to
maintain, though he trusted, that the House would ever ex-
ercise its dignity, and chew them that the king was endowed
with no prerogative that militated against the constitution.

It had been said on the other side of the House, that the
gentlemen who supported the motion had presumed on more
wisdom than their ancestors; although the precedent of 1737
clearly bare them out in every argument they had offered. It
was urged, too, that they had not brought forward a single
new argument on the subject in debate. Then, how incon-
sistent was it to accuse them of being bold innovators, and
agitators of a question repeatedly discussed, and which it was
argued should sleep for ever. Mr. Fox ridiculed with much
success the idea that as the word "war" was not precisely spe-
cified in the bill of rights, and the word 64 peace" was
alone mentioned, that his majesty could, consistently with the
constitution, introduce foreign troops into the kingdom. This,
he said, was a fallacious argument, reprehensible in the ex-
treme, as being a most daring attack on the principles of the
bill of rights, which he defined not to be an enacting, but a
declaratory law, upon which the House should, on all occa-
sions, put the most liberal construction. Allowing the right

'Mhonourable the chancellor of the exchequer every argument
that could operate in his favour founded on the precedents
which he adduced, he would ask him what had been the law
anterior to the passing of the hill of rights or the act of settle-
ment? If the House had been guided by precedents, those
acts. never would have passed, which prevented the landing or
the suffering of foreign troops to remain in this kingdom. He,
maintained, that it was monstrous and absurd to say, accord-
ing to the right honourable gentleman's definition of the bat

1794.7 EMPLOY 11,

of rights, that the royal prerogative could be exercised to land
foreign. troops in this country in time of war, or in time of
peace. If this were the case, how could he reconcile to him-
self the mutiny bill, the preamble of which did not recog-
nize any such prerogative, but was in direct contradiction to
the arguments adduced by the right honourable gentleman?

Mr. Fox reminded gentlemen of the debates that had taken
place in the year 1 7 75, on sending foreign troops to garrison
Minorca and Gibraltar. With what indignation was the pre-
amble of a bill of indemnity brought in by ministers then re-,
ceived, because it stated that doubts had arisen respecting the
legality of employing foreign troops in any part of his ma-
jesty's dominions without the consent of parliament ! The bill
with this preamble passed the House of Commons: but when
it came to the House of Lords, it was thought better to throw
it out entirely than suffer it to pass with a doubt expressed in
it on a point of such constitutional importance. During the
debates on this subject it was that Lord Camden had laid it
down as a maxim, that the law knew no distinction between
peace and war, with respect to the right of bringing foreign
troops into this country, and that it could be done at no time
without the previous consent of parliament". The bill of
rights, Mr. Fox said, was to be considered as declaring the
constitution on particular points recited in it, which had
been previously attacked and endangered, not as declaring
the whole of the constitution. In what books, or in what
practice anterior to the Revolution, did gentlemen find this
distinction between peace and war, which they now so much
relied on ? The Dutch guards in the time of William the third,
were not suffered to remain in this kingdom by virtue of the
royal prerogative. They were voted in the army estimates,
and had therefore the sanction of parliament. Where, he
asked, could an instance be brought of foreign forces being
introduced, without the approbation of the Commons? In the
year 1 745, it was true, they were introduced; but then the
country was in a state of rebellion, and even at a period so
alarming, it was acknowledged that the minister did an illegal
act, for doing which he was indemnified by the subsequent
approbation of parliament. In 1775, there was a previous
consent of the House, and therefore all these precedents went
to deny that any such dangerous prerogative existed in the
crown, which those gentlemen who opposed his honourable
friend's motion hachsuggested. An act of indemnity, he con-
fessed, was unusual where it applied to the officers of the

See New Parl.Iiistory, .vol. xviii.. p. 8 r st.


[Feb. o,

crown, when acting illegally; but. where a number of persons
were implicated; for instance, if these troops were resisted by
those on whom they were billeted, in consequence of their
being an illegal force, a circumstance which might lead to
consequences the most disagreeable and dangerous, then a
bill of indemnity was necessary to avert the evil. So far such
a bill, in his mind, would have been a more salutary measure,
than the previous question, which had been moved by his ho-
nourable and learned friend:

Mr. Fox entreated gentlemen to act with great caution and
deliberation on a quession as momentous as ever arrested the
attention of a British parliament, and to resist, with a manly
firmness, the strange and incoherent doctrines advanced by
his majesty's ministers: It had been asserted, that these fo-
reign forces had been introduced here for the purpose of
foreign service ; but he cared not what was the cause, where
the consequences to the bill of rights were so fatal. Subse-
quent events might reveal the mystery. But again he would
wish to impress on the House the consequences which might
Attend this unwarrantable exercise of the prerogative, if these
troops were to become the instruments in the hands of a
wicked prince, or a venal minister. The divine prerogative of
the crown was language which he did not expect to have heard
in the course of that night's debate. During the arbitrary
reign of James, it was true that it was considered blasphemous
to attempt defining that prerogative, to which he set no
bounds ; but he conceived at this time that words more suit-
able to the tongues of British freemen, were those that defined
and supported the divine rights of the Commons. They were
assured by his majesty's ministers, as an excuse for the land--
ing of these troops, that they were not to remain long in the
country. But this was not the question. Would the minister.
say that the introduction of these troops was legal or consistent
With the spirit of the constitution ? Who were to tell an army
of Austrians, of Hessians, of Hanoverians, or of Dutch, that
their further continuance in England was contrary to law ?
He would appeal, he said, to the right honourable gentleman's
own good sense on the occasion, whether or not it would be
either wise or prudent to neglect ascertaining our rights, till
we were surrounded by an army of foreign mercenaries —
till the critical period arrived, when the members of that
House would be questioned on their ingress and egress respect-
ing their political sentiments—till they were surrounded by
perhaps 30,000 usurpers, who, under the pretext of defend-
ing their liberties, would sacrifice and violate the few remains
of the constitution. Let gentlemen recollect the danger of
an imperious military government—let them recollect, that a


powerful army was an engine of the most alarming nature—
let them remember, that such a weapon had more than once
overthrown the liberties of Europe—that if we yielded in the
first instance, we betrayed the confidence reposed in us by
our fellow-citizens — that he who dared present our bill of
rights as a remonstrance to an army of foreigners, would find
it a useless piece of parchment and that our wisest conduct
would be a steady adherence to the maxims of prudence of
our ancestors, who had uniformly resisted, upon this point,
every act of innovation. By pursuing a contrary conduct,
we should hazard the liberties of the people and the privi-
leges of parliament, and he entreated those who heard him
not to desert either, through private friendship or personal
interest. If there existed a party in this country who mani-
fested a wish to lower the monarchical branch of the consti-
tution, that party would be defeated by not rendering that
power odious by a wicked and dangerous extension of the
prerogative of the crown. Let the Commons. prove true to
the people, and the people would remain obedient to the
commons. We had no invasion to fear but an invasion of
the constitution and the parliament, which was its natural
watchman, would regard with a jealous eye any measures•
calculated to destroy the balance of power in the three estates,
by an unconstitutional extension of the prerogatives of the
crown. At a moment when the eyes of the world were
turned towards the constitution of England, he implored the
House not to suffer its admiration to cease by defacing this
noble structure. Ireland, lie said, was a free and imperial
kingdom ; though she might suffer foreigners at home, yet if
they once crossed the channel and arrived in this- country,
they must be recognized as an illegal army, and government
could not, without the consent of parliament, suffer them to
remain in this kingdom. It was therefore incompatible with
Magna Charta to oppose the motion of his honourable friend;
and, consistently with the arguments he had had the honour
of submitting to the House, he must oppose the previous

Tile previous question being put, the House divided

Tellers. Tellers.
y EAs i'Mr. Grey f Mr. Hide East}

tMr. Plumer 3 35 * — "Mc'Es' 1Mr. Yorke

.Mr. Grey's motion was consequently negatived.


March 74.

This important subject was again brought before the Houseby Mr. Grey in a somewhat different form. He controverted,in the strongest terms, the opinion given in the course of the
former debate by Mr. Pitt, which, coming from sucl: authority, he
regarded as of the utmost importance. Mr. Grey said, that he was
far from calling in question the propriety or necessity of landing
the Hessians ; but he could never suffer it to be advanced, as a
principle of the constitution, that the king had a right to introduce
foreign troops into the kingdom as a regular branch of the roveprerogative. On the contrary, the letter, spirit, and practice of
the constitution all militated against it. He concluded with mov-
ing, " That leave be given to bring in a bill to indemnify such
persons as have advised his majesty to order a certain corps of
Hessian troops to be disembarked and stationed, for the present,
on the Isle of Wight, at Portsmouth, and the places adjacent."
The motion gave rise to another interesting debate. The prero-
gative of the crown to introduce foreign troops without the con-
sent of parliament was defended by Mr. Grenville, Mr. An-
struther, Mr. Yorke, the attorney general, and Mr. Pitt. Mr.
Grey's motion was supported by Mr. Francis, Mr. Serjeant Adair,
Mr. Sheridan, the Earl of Wycombe, Mr. W. Smith, Mr. William
Adam, and Mr. Fox.

Mr. Fox said, it was not his intention to enter into any
argument, after the able discussion the question had received
from his honourable and learned friend (Mr. Seijeant Adair);
nor, indeed, was there any occasion, for none of the argu-
ments which he had advanced had been in the least refined.
His honourable and learned friend had considered the subject
in a plain and manly point of view; and from what he had
heard advanced by him, and from his own opinion on this
important subject, he concluded, that if the introduction of
foreign troops into this country was legal, to talk of liberty
was absurd, to speak of a free constitution was weakness.
If the House did not come to some resolution on the illegality
of the measure, all the libels of those who said we had no
constitution would be converted into melancholy truths; and
even Mr. Paine himself had not written a word of falsehood;
but the question had been that night too well argued for him,

jector any unprejudiced man, to entertain a doubt upon the sub-_
. Ought. such a question to be agitated in a free par*

liament ? Ought such assertions as had been advanced, tofind their way into that House ? Or ought we to remain
moment in doubt, whether such a dangerous and arbitrary


power should be vested in the hands of the executive ma-
g, istrate ? If there was, or if there ought to be, such powerin his majesty's ministers, all he would say was, that every
idea he had formed of the British constitution was vanished ;
and as long as he remained in that House, and had the liberty
of speech, he would remind the House of its situation; and.
again and again remind the country also, that it was not the
intention of our ancestors that his majesty's ministers should
possess this authority. The attorney-general had, although
he opposed the motion, again declined to state his own opi-
nion on the general question ; but it was not very difficult to-
guess what opinion must be; for if it had been conform-
able to that of the minister, it would not have been withheld.
Indeed, he was surprised to see the learned gentleman so soon
forget those sentiments he had advanced on a former night :
the learned gentleman seemed to feel the difficulty of his situ-
ation, and Mr. Pox said he was afraid he could not help him
out Of that difficulty.

As to the illegality of introducing these troops, he hoped.
there would be but one opinion. He trusted that the House
would execrate the idea of the crown having this power ; and
he hoped it would be equally execrated throughout the country.
The objection made that night to the motion was, that, be-
cause bills of indemnity were unusual, they ought not to be
granted. On a former night the motion was refused, because
it was unnecessary. Indeed, there were different opinions in
the House on this clear and constitutional principle ; some
said they ought not to interfere because the measure was
illegal; others justified the proceeding ; whilst others refused
to give any vote on account of the illegality. With regard to
precedents, they had been so fully debated, that he would not
trouble the House on that head. He said it would be criminal
to sit silent now, and not at least establish a precedent for
our posterity, since it was the silence of other parliaments on
similar questions, that gave us the smallest cause to doubt of
the illegality of such a prerogative as was now maintained.
I-lad this occurred to those great men who framed that act,
or had they the smallest doubt that the legality would be dis-
puted, they would have guarded against the cunning of the
artful servants of the crown. One honourable gentleman had
alluded to the case of a sick Hessian, and had asked, if one
sick Hessian was landed on our coast, would we require a,
bill of indemnity ? And this case, he said, applied in the
present instance. But how could any gentleman use such an
absurd argument? Was that the case, or was it not? When
this message was sent down by the crown, it was asked, how
many foreigners were to be introduced? His majesty's mi-

nister answered he could not declare. It was next demanded,how long they were to remain in this country ? On that headwe were left equally uninformed. But now it turned out,
that this country was to be the rendezvous of this foreign
army, and here they were to remain till a descent on France
should be practicable. He declared he should be very happyif the House would agree to the motion, and give his ho-
nourable friend leave to bring in a bill; for the legality of the
power would then be fully discussed, and the people of this
country would know whether or not they were free, and
whether their constitution was worth protecting.

It had been said that every prerogative was carefully
watched, and that ministers were responsible for any abuse.
He did not suppose a minister would engage in a measure
decidedly illegal, unless he had some grounds to justify thatillegality; but if their intentions were pure, if they were
upright, what objection could they have to this bill of in-
demnity? He could not dive into the hearts of men, but he
knew ministers were naturally attached to prerogative, and
often increased it to answer some favourite object. He alluded

opto the argument that had taken place in 1767 respecting the_
corn embargo, and .quoted the authority of Lord Mansfield,
to skew the propriety of ministers having recourse to in-
.demnity, when even necessity should urge them to act il-
legally. Nothing could be more dangerous than this pre-
rogative, unless, indeed, the refusal of the crown to assemble
parliament. If a minister could introduce foreign troops
when the parliament was sitting, he might as well attempt
it when it was not sitting. In such a case, every subject was
bound to rise is arms to oppose him, and bring him to a
proper sense of his duty.

He trusted that gentlemen would not return to their con-
stituents, and tell them that the minister had the power to intro-
duce foreigners at his discretion. That they would not say,
" We have reposed in him, with regard to mercenary Hessians,
that power which we are jealous of giving with respect to
-our own militia. We have permitted him to send from the
country our own- regular troops, and have suffered him to
substitute in their place Prussians, Hessians, Austrians, or
Russians. We have surrendered those rights which our
fathers struggled to procure; we have reposed in him that
in/limited confidence which his predecessors were never suf-
fered to enjoy. 'We gave our liberties to be protected by

trangers, who are ignorant of their value; we have thus

sported with your freedom, and abandoned your dearest rights
to the discretion of ministers." No, said Mr. Fox, let us not
betray the trust reposed in us: let the crown lawyers come


forward and not decline giving their opinions: let them de-
fend this important point : let them declare the language of
the British law, which is so clear and decisive on the subject;
and let no man in this House conceal his sentiments on this
material, this fundamental principle. He said he would vote
for the bill, though he would not deny that he preferred the
former motion, as the more regular and parliamentary pro-
ceeding On the decision of that night the liberties of
Englishmen were at stake; for, if the legality of the proceed-
ing should be confirmed, those liberties would thereby receive
a shock from . which it would be impossible, he feared, to,

After Mr. Pitt had replied to Mr. Fox, the House divided on
Mr. Grey's motion :


Mr. Gre

Mr. E. J. Elliot 1 „
Y" 3 {Mr. Francis] 41. E3 (Mr. Anstrutheri

So it passed in the negative:


February 25.

rtN the 7th of February Mr. Wilberforceobta
ined leave to

bring in a bill " for abolishing the trade carried on for sup-
plying foreign territories with slaves." Upon the second reading
of the bill on the 25 th, in reply to Mr. Jenkinson, who thought
the bill could produce no good, inasmuch as it could not operate
during the continuance of the war, (for during that time the
foreign trade could not exist,) and was likely to produce evil,

Mr. Fox said, that as the honourable gentleman who spoke
last admitted the trade proposed by this bill to be abolished
for .ever, had now no existence, it would be impossible for
him to maintain with any consistency the impropriety of this
bill. Because, if the trade had no existence at present, the'
question was, Whether we should revive it ? The trade now
having no existence, what became of all the arguments they
had heard concerning the mighty capital embarked in it, the
sanction which parliament had given, from time to time, to its
continuance, the violent attack on private property, the injury



E Fenb. s
to commerce, the danger of innovation ? All these arguien2t :if arguments they could be called, were fled; nothing note
remained, but for parliament to take care that, having fled,
they should never return. This was essentially and em-
phatically their duty; because, if parliament should

now re-
main silent upon the subject, the friends of the trade, on
attempting to revive it, would say, that not having taken
measures to prohibit the revival when the trade was dead,
and consequently no injury could arise to any individual,
they had acquiesced in its principle, and held out encourage-
ment for others to adventure- when an opportunity should
offer; and then it would again be attempted to be proved, that
parliament had pledged itself to support this abominable, this
execrable traffic.

Having said this, he came to
- notice the determination of

that House, to abolish the slave trade gradually, and the
period at which the House bad fixed the final abolition of
this trade, namely, the 1st of January, 1796. Of that re-
solution he considered the present bill a material part, and
the House in pursuing it did nothing more than hold out to
this country, to Europe, to the world at large, that they were
sincere in their intention. He trusted also that the honour-
able gentleman (Mr. 'Wilberforce) who first brought forward
this subject, would not abate in his zeal and ardour for the
glorious cause in which he had engaged: Perhaps it might
not be absolutely necessary in this session, but, sure he was,
that the agitation again in that HODSe, of the general, ques-
tion of the total abolition of this detested traffic, should not
be delayed beyond the next; for he was clearly of opinion, it
could not be too frequently agitated. In what state was this
great question at the present moment? He would not speak
with disrespect of the House of Lords; but, surely, if this
question had, from the multiplicity of business before their
lordships, not received their determination, it could not be
improper for the House of Commons to be vigilant, and to
remind their lordships of the subject. The House would
recollect, that the Lords had received the resolutions of the
House of Commons on the subject of the slave trade in April
1792. What progress their lordships had made in the sub-

ject he could not find, but he had understood that their lord-
ships had that very day farther Postponed the consideration
of the slave trade to that day fortnight. Therefore, if theLords delayed this question, if they shunned it, if they

shrankii•om it, if they shifted or neglected it, the House of Commons
Ought again and again to remind them of it. He did not
accuse their lordships 'of any sinister intentions upon this

any other subject ; he had too much confidence in their in-


tegrity, their justice, their humanity, and their prudence, to
Suspect them of any intention. to prevent the abolition of so
foul a trade.

The bill passed the Commons, but was rejected by the Lords.


March 6.

DIVERS treaties which his majesty's ministers had concluded
with the several powers forming the coalition against France,

having, by the enormous expellee they created, and the nature
of the obligations therein contracted, become objects of such
magnitude, as to excite great alarm throughout the country, Mr.
Whitbread this day moved; " That an humble address be pre.
sented to his majesty, to represent to his majesty, that his faith-
ful Commons having taken into their serious consideration the
various treaties winch have, by his majesty's command, been laid
before this House, cannot forbear to express their deep concern,
that his majesty should have been advised to enter into engage-
ments, the terms of which appear to this House to be wholly in-
compatible with the declarations repeatedly made to this House
from the throne, relative to the professed objects of the present
unfortunate war ; To represent to his majesty the afEiction and
alarm of his faithful Commons, that his majesty should have been
advised to make a " common cause" with powers whose objects are
unavowed and undefined, but from whose conduct his faithful
Commons have too much ground to dread, that they carry on war
for the purpose of' dictating in the internal affairs of other coun-
tries; views which have been repeatedly and solemnly disavowed
by his majesty and his ministers, and which are utterly abhorrent
from those principles upon which alone a free people can, with
Honour, engage in war: To represent to his majesty, that if the
present war had been what his majesty's message in the last session
of parliament stated it to be, a war of aggression on the part of
France, and of defence on the part of Great Britain, that, by a
treaty previously in existence between his majesty and the King of
Prussia, the co-operation and assistance of that power were in-
sured to this country : That it does not appear to this House, that
the succours stipulated by the defensive treaty of 1788 have been
required by his majesty, but that a new convention has been
entered into, the stipulations of which have no other_ tendency
than: the involving us in schemes, as foreign to the true interest,
as they are repugnant to the natural fetlings ,of Englishmen, and
of imposingg -a restraint Upon his majesty's known disposition- ter

0 2

• 196

FOR A [March 6.
avail himself of any circumstances which might otherwise

enablehim, consistently with the honour of his crown, and the welfare

security of the country, to relieve his people from the
present burdensome and calamitous war : To represent to

hismajesty, that the irruption of the French into Savoy, and their
possession of that part of the dominions of the Kin.. of Sardinia,did not appear to his majesty so far to endanger the balance

ofpower in Europe as to induce his majesty on that account, to
commence hostilities against France. That his faithful Commonsdo therefore express their disapprobation of that part of the treaty
recently concluded between his majesty and the King of Sardinia,
by which his majesty is bound not to lay down his arms until the
restitution of Savoy shall have been accomplished; a species of
engagement which it can at no time (excepting in cases of the
greatest emergency) be either prudent or proper to make, and


much less for an object which was not deemed, in his majesty's
wisdom, to be so connected with the interest of this country, as
to occasion a declaration of war: To represent to his majesty,
that it appears to his faithful Commons to be the general tendency
of these engagements, to involve us in connections of undefined
extent, for objects which we disapprove, and have disavowed :
and this, with powers on-whose principles of equity and moder-
ation we are instructed by experience, to have no reliance, and
whose complete success may, in our opinion, prove fatal to the
liberties of Europe : To represent to his majesty, that having thus
expressed ow sentiments upon the engagements which his majesty
has been advised to contract, we feel it our bounden duty most
humbly and earnestly to implore his majesty to consider of such
measures, as to his royal wisdom shall seem adapted (consistently
With that national faith, which, in common with his majesty, we
desire to preserve religiously inviolate,) to extricate himself from
engagements which oppose such difficulties to his majesty's con-
cluding a separate peace, whenever the interests of his people
may render such a measure advisable, and which certainly
countenance the opinion, that his majesty is acting in concert
with other powers, for the unjustifiable purpose of compelling the
people of France to submit to a form of government not ap-proved by that nation."

Mr. Whitbread supported this address by
a variety of powerful

arguments. The views of the combined powers were justified
by Mr. Jenkinson, who stated, that the main object of the war
was, to recover from the French the countries they had taken;:
The means employed to obtain this end were, he said, entirely
proper. 'We could not be too solicitous in preventing the French
from extending their dominions. The honourable mover had.
endeavoured to make a deep impression on the minds of the
members by an appeal to their passions respecting the melancholy
case of Poland. Such an appeal was, however, in his opinion,
inapplicable to the present situation of affairs. There was an old
adage, that when your own house is on fire, you ought not to.
exert yourself to extinguish the flames in that of your neighbour.
but he affirmed, that while his own house was on fire, he wotifil

.1794.] 1SEPARATE PEACE wrrg ritAxcr 97.

not go the distance of a mile to extinguish the flames of another.
Forming the analogy, he insisted, that it was absurd to talk of
Poland, a territory at such a distance, when there were the
greatest apprehensions of danger so near home. While we lamented
the misfortunes of Poland, let us look to ourselves ; let us en-
deavour to extinguish the flames of discord which now prevailed.in France, and then we might have a chance of peace on rational
and permanent grounds.

Mr. Fox said, that he thought himself bound, in the first
place, to return his most cordial thanks to his honour-
able friend, for the able and eloquent manner in which he had
brought forward the motion, and, next, to give it every de-
gree of support and countenance which it was in his power to
bestow. An answer to a very small part of his honourable
friend's speech had been attempted to be given by an honour-
able gentleman ; but those arguments, which had been de-
duced from the general distress of the country at the end of
what had been most falsely called the tenth gear of unexampled
prosperity, and the consideration of the enormous and increas-
ing burdens under which we groaned, had been passed over in
silence, and that for a reason sufficiently obvious, namely, be-
cause they were unanswerable. Independent of any remark
with regard to the origin of the war, on which so much had
already been said, it still remained for them to examine into
the manner in which the war was conducted, and into the
views of those with whom we carried it on. It was impossible,
by any sophistry, to evade the conclusion, that Austria and
Prussia were the fomenters of this contest, by the stipulations
of the treaty of Pilnitz ; a treaty which had for its object an
unwarrantable and impious purpose, namely, the destruction
of an independent state, by lawless and insatiable ambition.
When this was considered, every principle of reason and mo-
rality loudly called upon us to balance the advantages we
might reap from such an alliance, with the shame and dis-
grace attendant upon any engagement with those with whom
we had connected ourselves. It had been asked, in respect
to Poland, whether or not when our neighbour's house was
on fire, it would be wise to run to extinguish a fire at a mile's
distance? Mr. Fox begged leave to continue the allegory, and
to ask, whether it would be commendable in a man, when he
found his neighbour's house on fire, to call in a band of plun-
derers and robbers to his assistance. Rather than make as
common cause with them, either by pumping the engine, or
even handing them a bucket, he would hazard every danger
to which he might be exposed by the conflagration.

He admitted that the treaty of Pilnitz, although a notorious
aggression on the part of the Emperor and the King of Prussia,


[March 6;

was an aggression for which an apology might have been made
and accepted, provided all intention of following it up hadbeen un

equivocally disavowed. But, was the treaty annulled ?
-Was any apology made for it? Did not the emperor persist
in avowed interference in the internal (lairs of France ? Did
he not make constant complaints of the clubs of France, and

other matters which could only concern the sovereign of the

cts of that country? With respect to the King of Prussia,
he had no pretext forattacking France. He did not even pre-
tend that he had any. He never called upon us for those suc-
cours, which, had lie not been the aggressor, we were hound by
treaty to furnish him. Next, we were told, that the conduct
of those powers with whom we were confederated towards
Poland, was not to be considered with relation to the present


war. From the same persons who held this language, lie had
often heard on former occasions, that a commercial connection
with Poland might be one of the most valuable that this
country could form. That system was now forgotten. Poland
was no longer of importance in the scale of nations. Be it
so : but, were we to shut our eyes to the perfidy of those
powers with whom we contracted alliances ? Where was the
instance in the French convention, or the jacobin club, that
could match the perfidy of the King of Prussia to Poland ?
He not only encouraged the Poles in modelling their consti-
tution, but he publickly congratulated them on having made
their monarchy hereditary in the family of his relation, the
Elector of Saxony; and twelve months after, he had the un-
exampled impudence to declare, that this very alteration had
given just offence to the Empress of Russia, and was a sufficient
cause for joining his arms to hers against Poland. Surely,
this was sufficient to teach us caution ! When negociation
with France was the question, we were told, C4 Think not of
France as a nation, look not to general maxims of policy, con-
sider only the morals and characters of the men with whom
you must negociate." When the conduct of our allies was
Mentioned, we were told, " Think not of the cruel and per-

fidious dismemberment of Poland, look only to the present

t, and the aid they can afford you to obtain it." Hence
he conceived this was the inference, "Make peace with no
man of whose good conduct and good faith you are not per-
fectly satisfied; but make an alliance with any man, no matter
how profligate or faithless he may be."

When he spoke of kings, he desired always to be under-
stood as speaking of courts and cabinets ; for he held it to be,
in general, as true in other countries as in this; that for the
actions of princes their ministers were responsible, Till that'
disgrace on civilized society, the hnprisonment of the virtuous.


and meritorious, La Fayette was done away, no Frenchman
who loved his country could repose confidence in the pro-
fessions of the combined powers. It was in vain that we had
virtue, humanity, religion in our mouths, while passion and
malignity were rankling in our• hearts, and displayed in our
actions. He had been informed that the King of Prussia, in
answer to applications for the liberation of M. de La Fayette',
had said, that La Fayette was not his prisoner, that he was
the prisoner of the combined powers, and could not be re-
leased but by general consent. This answer he knew had
been given; with what truth, ministers could best tell : but even
if it was false, it was so much the more incumbent upon us to
clear ourselves from the obloquy of being parties to the cruel
treatment he had received. By our own declarations, al-
though these were not all very consistent with one another,
we engaged to support the constitution of which La Fayette
was one of the principal authors. Under the constitution of
1789, we accepted of the surrender of Toulon, in trust for
Louis XVII. According to the forms of that constitution,
the government of Toulon was administered while we were
in possession of it. Louis XVII. was not styled King of
France and Navarre, as by the old government, but King of
the French, as by the constitution of 1789. On the restor-
ation of monarchy we offered peace to the French, .and thus
we explained, that we would be satisfied with that sort of mo-
narchy which La Fayette had assisted in endeavouring to
establish. Where was the French constitutionalist who did
not then call for La Fayette? With how much more effect
might he have been sent commissioner to Toulon than
Sir Gilbert Elliot? But, mark the horrible contrast between
our words and our actions. While we were holding this lan-
guage to the people of Toulon, he who loved rational liberty,
who loved his country and his king, who had sacrificed, in
their defence, all that makes life desirable, was languishing in
one of the most loathsome dungeons of a Prussian prison.
About the same time that we were professing to support the
constitution of 1789, General Wurmser had entered Alsace.
What were his orders from the emperor ? . Did he pro-
fess to support the constitution of 1789? No : his orders were
to abrogate every authority under that constitution, and re-
store the old form of government. This, which was matter
of fact and practice, proved that the views of the emperor
could not be the same with ours.

When Dumourier, the most enterprising and the most ac-
tive general that had lately appeared, proposed joining the
Prince of Saxe Cobourg, he was declared a wise and virtuous
citizen, resolved to give peace to his country, and to assist

0 4


[March 6,
with his army in restoring, not the old despotic system, but
the limited monarchy of 178 9

. Why was this proclamation
issued by the prince of Saxe Cobourg ? Because he meant to
adhere to it ? No such thing. As soon as Dumourier's de-
fection was found to be, not the defection of an army, but of
a ber

eneral and a few followers, all his wisdom and his virtue va-
mshed with his power, and within four or, at most, five days,
the Prince of Saxe Cobourg, without waiting to see what effect
his proclamation would produce in France, with audacity and
effrontery unparralleled in history, issued a second proeht4'
motion retracting every word of it. This he mentioned to
show, that there was as little sincerity in the emperor's pro-
fessions as in those of the King of Prussia. The Prince of
Saxe Cobourg was not a man to issue proclamations hastily
or without orders ; and from the dates, and other circum-
stances, it was evident, that he must have bad the second
proclamation by him when he issued the first. Soon after, the
" wise and virtuous" Dumourier came to this country, which
he was almost immediately ordered to quit; and he had since
been reduced to a situation not much to be envied by a French
general even before the revolutionary tribunal. What was
the lesson thus held out to Frenchmen ? That it was better
to run the hazard of the guillotine in France, than to take
the certainty of misery and

-contempt among the allies. Such
was the capacity we had shewn for overthrowing the jacobin
power in France ! Had the King of Prussia, or had Russia,
acceded to our views any more than the emperor ? If they
had, what better security for their good faith had they given
us, than they had given to Poland ? Were they, who held
themselves bound by no engagements, to make a splendid ex-
ception in our favour, and keep sacred to us promises which
were given to others only to betray ? We talked of indent,
nity for the past, and security for the future, as our objects in
the war. Let us suppose 'ourselves in the situation of a well-
disposed person in France, an enemy to the tyranny of the
iacobins, and see how these would operate. Security we t
might think reducing the exorbitant power of France, and to
this the well-disposed Frenchman might assent. For indem-
nity, we might be content with sonic of the West-India islands;
and to this also the Frenchman might agree. But, then, our
allies would want an indemnity, and what would be enough
for them ? If the Frenchman looked to Poland, he would see
that nothing short of the partition of France would satisfy
them; and could he be expected to risk his life by rising in
opposition to the convention, when the most flattering pros-
pect was the ultimate ruin of his country ? If France shouldbe

subdued, (an event which he never considered as probable,)



the . whole kingdom might not be sufficient to indemnify all.the powers at war ; and then we must have to fight for the di-;
vision of the spoil, without even that delusive calm, which had
been said to be all that could now be obtained by a peace with
France. It was pretty well known that some of our allies
were not very cordially disposed towards one another.
Where Prussian and Austrian troops were brought together

they were much more inclined to fight with each otherthan against the common enemy, and were only restrained
by the strong arm of power. Except ourselves and Holland,
not a state had joined the confederacy but those under abso-

monarchies. Holland, we all knew, had been drawn
into the combination by influence equivalent to force, and
would rejoice in an opportunity of getting out of it with

But he should be told, that it was easier to look back and
find fault than to look forward and point out a remedy. The
motion made by his honourable friend presented the means of
finding that remedy. The inclination of Holland to peace
could not be doubted ; Spain, if he was not much misinformed,
would consent to it without any indemnity ; and it was very
generally reported and believed, that Prussia demanded of Us
a subsidy of 7 oo,000/. as the condition of prosecuting the war.
This, if true, was a fortunate circumstance, for iteopened
door for peace with the consent of all the allies. The late
campaign had been called successful beyond our hopes. The
latter part of it, certainly, was not that which could be thought
the most fortunate. Now, after being told, as the House was
repeatedly told last session, that France was only capable of
one desperate effort; and after seeing that effort baffled, in:
the early part of the campaign, but the loss nearly repaired
in the subsequent part of it, not by desperate efforts but by per-
severance, lie could not entertain very sanguine hopes of the
next campaign, even if it should begin as brilliantly as the last.
He was not bold enough to assure himself, or the House,that
we should be able to obtain the restoration of Savoy, which
we had bound ourselves by treaty to obtain; but if he were, he
should still object to giving the means of making peace out
of our own hands. When ministers were charged with ne-
glecting the business of convoys, they answered, that France,
in the first instance had reaped the fruits of her unexpected
aggression ; yet this unexpected aggression, as it was called,.
was made several months after the conquest of Savoy, after
the battle of Jemappe, and the invasion of the Austrian

Mr. Fox said, it was matter of great consolation to him,
that in spite of popular clamour, he had used every endeavour



to prevent the war; and, when it was unfortunately com-
menced, to render it as short as possible. Believing now,
that several of the allies were disposed to peace, he thanked
his honourable friend for affording him an opportunity of re-
peating and recording his opinion on the subject. He would
say nothing of the calamities inseparable from war, although
on every question they were perfectly in order. It was idle'
to say, that because they were general topics, and applicable
to every war, they were fit matter of argument against none.
The very circumstance of their generality, rendered them
matter of serious consideration before we entered upon any
war. It was impossible to devise productive taxes that would
not fall ultimately upon the lower classes ; and when such
additional burdens


haul been imposed, it was impossible to call
war a state of prosperity. Every new tax fell heavier than
those which went before it, because its weight was added to
that of all the preceding. Thus, the taxes for the American
war fell heavier than those for the war preceding; those for
the present heavier than the taxes for the Anierican war; and
those for any future war must be heavier still.

The House divided:
Tellers.YEA s Mr. Whitbread?
Mr. J. Smyth /2G•---NOES -r 130-,j Mr. Sheridan

. ore Carew .)So it passed in the negative.


March I o.

Y sentences of the court of justiciary at Edinburgh, and of theLP
circuit court at Perth, Mr. Muir and Mr. Palmer, for the

crime of l easing-making, were adjudged to transportation,. andBotany Bay was understood at the time the sentences were passed
to be the place to which they would be transported. These were
the first instances in which transportation was imposed by the court
of justiciary in Scotland for an offence of that nature. On the
loth of March, Mr. William Adam called the attention of the
Rouse to the subject, by moving for a copy of the record of the
trials of Thomas Muir and the Rev. Fysche Palmer. From the
records demanded, his object, he said, was to question the legality
of the sentences passed upon them. But as no appeal could lie
from the decision of the court, however questionable, he proposed,
in consequence of the doubtfulness of the case, to move for the



production of certain records relating to the trial, and for a pe-
tition to the crown in their favour. The crimes for which they
were indicted, were stated in Scotland leasing-making, correspond-
ing to that misdemeanor in England, called a public libel on the
government, and tending to disturb the peace. No other crime
was charged in their indictment ; and transportation could not be
legally inflicted for leasing-making the only punishment for
which by law, was fine, imprisonment, or banishment. Nor, if the
acts charged in the indictments did not amount to leasing-making,
were they charged with any crime known to the laws of Scotland.
He then adverted to various circumstances attending the trial,
which he decidedly reprobated as oppressive and unjust ; and con-
demned the sentence altogether, as, illegal, arbitrary, and unwar-
rantable. On these grounds, 1‘ ,r1r. Adam maintained, that their
punishment exceeded all the bounds of equity and moderation.
He concluded by declaring, that he had undertaken the present
business neither from interested motives, personal affection to the
sufferers, whom he knew not, nor disrespect to the judges who had
presided at these trials ; but solely from a persuasion, that an im-
partial administration of justice was the surest preservative of
public liberty, and that the perversion of the law, where the in-
terest of the whole community was at stake, tended to introduce
despotism or anarchy. — The lord advocate of Scotland, Mr.
Windham, and Mr. Pitt, contended strongly for the propriety of
the sentence, and of the proceedings of the Scotch courts. The
first of these gentleman even went so far as to assert the superi-
ority of the Scotch over the English laws, for the punishment of
libels and the suppression of sedition. The second seemed to in-
sinuate, that if the English laws were not equal to those purposes,
the Scottish law should be substituted.

Mr. Fox rose and said : — It was my wish, Sir, that this
question should neither be agitated in this House, nor in the
House of Lords ; but since it has been brought before the
House, and since doctrines of the most extraordinary and
monstrous nature that ever fell from any gentleman within
these walls, have been advanced by a learned lord opposite
me, who has risen to vindicate the conduct of the tribunal
of Scotland, and to defend the part . which he has taken in
the proceedings, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour,
I should feel myself deficient in the duty which I owe to my
own character, as a representative of a great and free peo-
ple, if I withheld my sentiments, and contented myself with

a silent vote on this occasion. The present, Sir, is a
question of the greatest importance a question involving in
its consideration, not only the fortunes of two suffering and
oppressed individuals, but the consequences which will be
produced to posterity, by establishing a precedent inimical
to, the liberties of mankind. No wonder, Sir, that my ho-
nourable friend who has just sat down, (Mr. Whitbread,) should


have displayed such honest indignation, and expressed him-
self in so feeling a manner on such a subject; but there is
one point in the speech of my honourable friend, which
cannot help taking notice of, and on which I am under the
necessity of entirely dissenting from him. My honourable
-friend has declared, that if any minister should dare to in-
troduce into this country the law of Scotland, he hoped
there would be found in this House men bold enough to
impeach him. I cannot agree with him on this point; for
so dearly do I prize the freedom of debate, in such vener-
ation do I hold the free and unlimited discussion of any
political or constitutional question within these walls, and so
jealous am I of-every tiling which would look like an infringe- '46. •Mem of this our most valuable privilege, that if the minister
Were to advance the most dangerous and detestable prin-
ciples, if he were even to propose a bill to this House, to
alter the succession to the throne, and introduce in the place
of our sovereign, a foreign pretender, I would hold him
justifiable for the unconstitutional measures he attempted in-
to introduce, and would with my voice endeavour to rescue-
him from a public impeachment or prosecution.

The learned lord over against me, in his panegyric on the
laws of his own country, has thought proper to throw out
insinuations against the laws of England. From his train
of reasoning, and from the many arguments he has brought
forward, in attempting to defend his favourite system of
Scottish jurisprudence, it struck me, and it must have struck-
every man open to the most common impressions, that it
was his sincere and fervent wish, that his native principles
of justice should be introduced into this country; and that
on the ruins of the common law of England should be erected
the infhmous fabric of Scottish persecution< Indeed, Sir,
when I recollect what has been advanced by the learned lord,
I can easily account for the sentence pronounced against
these two unfortunate gentlemen. If that day should ever
arrive, which the lord advocate seems so anxiously to wish
for— if the tyrannical laws of Scotland should ever be in-
troduced in opposition to the humane laws of England, it
would then be high time for my honourable friends and my-
self' to settle our affairs, and retire to some happier clime,
where we might at least enjoy those rights which God has
given to man, and which his nature tells him he has a
to demand.

I will now, Sir, address myself to my honourable friend
who has just sat down (Mr. Windham), and ask him what
he meant by an expression which fell from him, implying a
doubt of the laws being adequate? Does he mean to assert


that the laws are not adequate in this country to punish
sedition? There was a time when my honourable friend
agreed with me, that the laws were adequate, and surely he
must think so still. He has told us, that it' they are not suf-
ficient to check the career of sedition, laws ought to be in-
troduced to answer that purpose. Would my honourable
friend introduce the tyrannical laws of Scotland ? No: struck
with a sense of the cruelty of the punishment which has been
inflicted on these gentlemen, struck with a conviction of
the iniquity of the whole proceedings, impressed with a
veneration for the laws of his country, and an apprehension
of the inevitable and fatal consequences that must result to
English liberty, from the horrors of such innovation, he has
qualified a little his expression, and has ingeniously slipt in
an —" your f is the only peace-maker, much virtue in if:"
My honourable friend has said, if the laws are not adequate,
why then let the laws of Scotland be introduced in their
place. The question, Sir, is unfortunately a complicated
one. In complicated questions it will always happen that
there are some particular parts in which gentlemen disagree;
there will be parts that some will overlook and others com-
bat; but in every question, however intricate, there are
certain essentials in which all who value truth, and act from
the honest impulse of their heart, must be unanimous. Most
true it is, Sir, that in every country there will be points on
which the sentiments of men will be at variance, for it is the •
nature of men to differ; but justice in every country is the.
same, and in what relates to her there can be but one opinion.
If, therefore, this sentence must in England be considered
as notoriously unjust, and repugnant to every principle of
humanity, it is impossible for ingenuity to varnish such a
system of iniquity, or give to that which on its very face
wears the features of cruelty and oppression, the appearance
of justice or humanity.

Now, Sir, let us examine a little what the lord advocate
has stated with respect to precedent, and on this point I will
be bold enough to assert, that except in one case, I mean the
statute of bankruptcy, the learned lord has not pointed out a
single case which bears on the present motion, or warrants
the interpretation he has put on the word banishment. 'With
respect to the act of 1703, it is a limiting act; it uses simply
the word banishment. In the statute of 1672 the word ba-
nishment is mentioned with additions: so that if gentlemen
examine all the statutes which have been made, it must strike
the minds of those open to conviction, what the real meaning
and the fair and honest interpretation of the word banishment
implies. The lord advocate, to vindicate the proceedings OA


the trial, and give it at least an air of justice, has treated
theword .

in rather a singular Manner, and has
endeavoured toprove that it is synommous with transportation. But let us

refer to the last statute quoted, namely, that of 1672, and
gentlemen will clearly discover, that. wherever it was

theintention of the legislature to extend banishment to transport-
-ation, the place destined for the culprit's transportation was
specifically declared. Hence, in the statute of 1672, we

see.banishment to the West Indies; if this word extended to
-transportation, why "is the place pointed out in some

and omitted in others ? The reason is obvious : when the law
of Scotland only meant simple banishment, that is, exiling a
Irian from his country, it only used the word, and gave him
the liberty of chusing a spot for himself; but where the offence

.„called for more severe punishment, the place of transportation
was identified. There is one statute, and only one, which
makes in favour of the learned lord's argument, and that is
but a poor assistance; I mean the statute of 1696. That
statute enacts, that banishment, or otherwise, should be the
consequence on conviction ; now, to argue on the word
" otherwise," and make it a ground for a severer punish-
ment than the word banishment, would be contrary to all
rules of law, and, 'in- my mind, every principle of Englishjurisprudence. The precedent of 1 7 04

was made by theprivy council of Scotland, the most reprobate and despicable
tribunal that ever disgraced the annals of its history; we know
this, as well from the circumstances of the case itself, as from
what fell from the noble lord on the woolsack last year, who,
when this precedent was mentioned, started up and declared„he would pay no attention to any thing which came from that
infamous and reprobate tribunal.

I come now to this enormous and gigantic sedition, which
has induced the lord advocate to ransack precedents which
have laid dormant for two centuries. In the last century he
says there are no precedents, though in that period there were
two rebellions, and we find the names of a Graham and se-
veral others, who were convicted of more atrocious offences,
but punished with less severity. But what is this sedition ?
The learned lord has mentioned the name of Mackenzie, and
has misquoted him, in support of his own principles; but
this is an authority which I never mention without reluctance
and humiliation, (but I am obliged to have recourse to him, as
there is no other constitutional writer,) because this very man
was the flattering apologist of the tyrannies perpetrated in
the latter years of the Stuarts, and which are now attempted
to be revived in Scotland. Indeed, Sir, so strikingly dis-
c7ustRil .

are the whole features of this trial, and so enormous its


proceedings, that when I first heard of them, I could not pre-
vail on myself to believe that such proceedings had actually
taken place ; the charge itself, and the manner in which that
charge was exhibited, made my blood run cold within me. I
read the first edition, I discredited ; I read the second and
third editions ; I was inclined to disbelieve them all ; nor would
I even believe it now, but in consequence of what I have heard
from this lord advocate himself. But, if sedition is to be
proved by such an evidence as Anne Fischer, evidence which in
no civilized country ought to be permitted, there is an end ofjustice. This infamous evidence, this domestic spy, was evenquestioned respecting the private and unguarded conversation
of her master, and her testimony was allowed, because it was
solicited. Good God ! Sir, what man amongst us, if our ser-
vants and our friends were called to give evidence against our
private declarations, would not stand guilty ? And which of
us would not be liable to transportation ? If so tyrannical a
law exists, our fortunes, our honours, our lives, are at the dis-
posal of the executive power. But since the lord advocate
has introduced a neighbouring country, and has spoken much
of the word sedition, I will ask him where he is to find this
word sedition ? It is not to be found in the common law of
England or Scotland ; but I will give him a little assistance to
help him out of his embarrassment, and will advise him to
change this word into incivism. Let the lord advocate imi-
tate the example of France; let him convert sedition into
incivism ; and let him, like the unfeeling and ferocious rulers of
that people, doom the suspected to Botany Bay or the guillo-
tine. Let him tell me where I can find a common-law case of
sedition in Scotland. The only authority he can produce is
Mackenzie, and that is unfavourable to his argument. Let
him shew me by what laws of eternal justice such proceedings
as have lately taken place in Scotland can be vindicated. It
is too much for professional men to expect that we should
pay implicit obedience to their doctrines. Does the lord ad-
vocate suppose that I will give unlimited confidence co his
ipso dixit ? He is wrong if he imagines we are not equally
capable of discussing subjects of legal policy. It is evident
from all that has been said, that the legality of the sentences
passed upon Messrs. Muir and Palmer is highly questionable.

My honourable and learned friend who opened the debate,
has clearly shown, that the pannals were indicted on tile
statute of leasing-making; we have also clearly seen that the
penalties to be inflicted on the convicted, are either banish-
ment, fine, imprisonment, or corporal punishment. The
lord advocate has seriously asked the House, if these men
were not transported, what would be done with them ? Shall I
imprison them, said he ? Imprisonment is a poor chastisement


learned lord's discretion to give Mr. Muir either to the
lows ! — to wild beasts! or to Botany Bay ; and, of thewhole
he had happily selected the mildest ! He was utterly amazed
when he learned that a judge had seriously supported such
unaccountable nonsense from the bench — such nonsense as
ought not to he suffered from the youngest or most ignorant
student. He bad always entertained the highest veneration
for the character of a judge ; and his indignation was roused,
to find that the learned lord, instead of discharging his duty
with the gravity becoming the bench, had acted with igno-
rance, levity, and hypocrisy. After having put his invention
to the, rack, he had at last hit upon the mild punishment, of
fourteen years' transportation beyond the seas ! Good God !
Sir, any man of spirit (and such he believed Mr. Muir to be)
would sooner prefer death than this mildest instance of the

's mercy. But. another of these learned lords, or per-
haps the same, (for with their names I profess myself totally
unacquainted,) asserted, that now the torture was banished,
there was no adequate punishment for sedition,! Here, Sir, is
language which also shows the temper, the ignorance, the
levity, the hypocrisy of this imprudent man : let him be either
serious or in jest, the sentiment was equally intolerable. I:
know not which of them advanced such a proposition, but
God help the people who have such judges !

.1 admit, Sir, that the conduct of a lord advocate is less ma-
terial than that of a judge; but I do not think, that in Great
Britain any person should be declared guilty, before

,he is
arraigned and convicted of the offence. Shall we send Muir,
Palmer, Skirving, Margaret, and Gerald, to England ? said
the lord advocate. BLit here he acts, with respect to Mr.
Gerald, as he did towards Mr. Muir, and supposes him guilty,
without ever being brought to a trial. The abuse of dis-
cretion has been made a.topic of debate; but I assert, that
when these learned lords are about to exercise discretion, they
should look to England, and regulate their conduct by her
example. What, Sir, was the case here? A Mr. Winter-
bottom was convicted ;

and punished with fine and imprisonment.
In the course of his imprisonment, he was placed among the
common felons. As soon as the attorney-general of this
country was made acquainted with the circumstance, with
that humanity which should ever attend his office, he ordered
him instantly to be removed; exclaiming at the same time,
" God forbid, let his crime be sedition, or what it may, that

41I should suffer this man to mix with such company, to have
his morals corrupted and tainted with their villainy I I will
hot allow it." But, how different was the conduct of the
humane court of justiciary! They send the unjustly-accused



and convicted to herd with the most infamous and. abject,
and even think this punishment too mild for the of-
fence. I wish gentlemen would' speak out—that they
would tell us what their notions are of the law of Scotland.
Let us, for Heaven's sake, be informed what the opinion of
the House really is as to this tyrannical law. Were I to
live in Scotland, I should consider my life, my property,
and my liberty to be insecure, and should place no confidence
in the enjoyment of any of those blessings.

It cannot have escaped gentlemen, that not many years ago,
associations were formed in this country, exactly on the same
principles that Mr. Muir and his friends formed their asso-
ciations. Sir, it is precisely for those very offences which
were committed by those very associations in England, that,
Mr. Muir and Mr. Palmer are now condemned to transport-
ation for fourteen years. But it will be said, that the French
revolution has changed the nature of the case. It may be
so: but I wish never to believe, that what -was once merito-
rious, what was once fit, and what was considered as the
only means of preserving the liberties of this country, can all
of a sudden have so changed its complexion, can have be-
come so black and atrocious a crime, as to call down on the
head of him who so far reveres the constitution of England,
as to wish to restore it to its primitive perfection, the unre-
lenting vengeance of persecution ; while those very men, who
perhaps sat this tatat example, have fled into the arms of, „
power, as into an asylum, and are now enjoying the emolu-
ments of the highest places this kingdom knows — the wages,
perhaps, of their apostasy. Yes, Sir, these unfortunate gen-
tlemen have done, what the right honourable the chancellor
of the exchequer, what the Duke of Richmond, have done
before them. They have clone no more. Can this House
forget the addresses of those two personages to the people ? and
this, not to petition for a reform in parliament, not simply
to state the abuses, and to pray for, in the language of sup-
pliants, a redress of those abuses; but to demand, I say
demand them as their right. As long as gentlemen shall
recollect the Thatched House, and these very associations,
it is impossible they can forget their addresses to the people.
Oh, human folly and inconsistency ! Why are these very
men now exalted to the most envied stations, while poor
Muir and Palmer are doomed to waste out the remainder
of their lives in a foreign climate, the 'companions of out-
casts, felons, the most degraded of the human species ! And
have we not, at some period or other; all . of us called as-
semblies? Have we not all of us been guilty of crimes which
might drive us to Botany Bay? Happy am I to beast, that

P 2,



however I may disapprove of those violent prosecutions which
have been conducted in this country against individuals, on
charges of sedition, that ,these, when compared with the trials
now before us, arc merciful and humane. Happy am I. to
boast, that it is my fortune to be a subject and an inhabitan

of England. Were I a native of Scotland, I would instantly

_prepare to leave that land of tyranny and of despotism.
Until these infamous laws arc abrogated, you may talk of

justice, you may talk of juries, but all trials arc mockeries.-
Until these infamous laws are abrogated, the liberty of the
subject is insecure and unprotected; and Scotland, like France,
is a land of despotism and oppression.

After having bestowed a very warm panegyric on his ho-
nourable and learned friend, Mr. Adam, who had that day
delivered one of the most excellent and argumentative
speeches ever heard within those walls, Mr. Fox concluded
by urging, that the present question was of the very first im-
portance, not only to the. people of England, but to all
civilized society. Until such time, continued he, as there is
a law to send me to Botany Bay for publicly avowing my
sentiments, I shall think it a duty incumbent upon me to
condemn the actions of those in power, whenever they may,
as in the present instance, call forth the, execration of man-
kind. if England, unhappily relapsing into despotism,
should ever be governed by such principles, then farewell, a -long farewell, to our boasted freedom !

The motion was also warmly supported by Mr. Sheridan, Mr >Whitbread, and Mr. Grey, after which the House divided
Tellers. Tellers.YEAS


Mr. reSheridan} ' NOES { Lord AdvocatelMr. Anstrutherf
So it passed in the negative. Mr. Adam's speech on intro-ducing his motion was, by all parties, deemed one of the first that -

had ever been delivered upon a subject of law within that House.




March 17.

melancholy situation of General La Fayette, who, since
his flight and capture 'on neutral ground, had been groaningin the dungeons

of Magdebourg, exciting the compassion of manyrespectable persons, General Fitzpatrick called the attention of


the House of Commons to the subject, by this day moving,
" That an humble address be presented to his majesty, to repre-
sent to his majesty, that the detention of the peneral La Fayette,
Messieurs Alexander Lameth, La Tour Maubourg, and Bureau de
Pusy, in the prisons of his majesty's ally the King of Prussia, is
highly injurious to the cause of his majesty and his allies ; and most
humbly to beseech his majesty to intercede with the court of
Berlin, in such manner as to his royal wisdom shall seem most
proper for the deliverance of these unfortunate persons." General
Fitzpatrick in the course of a most able speech, insisted, that La
Fayette had suffered for his attachment to the constitutional mo-
narchy which we now professedly wished to restore, and enlarged
on the merits and services of that unfortunate person, as far over-
balancing any errors with which he might be chargeable. After
the motion had been seconded by General Tarleton, Mr. Pitt
opposed it as equally improper and unnecessary. He denied that
La Fayette's conduct was ever friendly to the genuine cause of
liberty, and affirmed, that the interference required would be
setting up ourselves as guardians of the consciences and characters
of foreign states.

Mr. Fox said, that the right honourable the chancellor of
the exchequer, perceiving the difficulty of answering the par-
ticular arguments of a speech on which he had justly bestowed
the praise of great ability, had deemed it wise to oppose the
motion on as general grounds as possible. The speech of his
honourable friend had not been more distinguished for ability
and eloquence, than for truth and solidity of argument. If
ever there existed a man who, in a great and hazardous
situation, amidst the conflict of opinions carried on either
side to extremes, could claim the merit of having steered a
temperate and middle course, -uninfluenced by the violence of
the moment, and directed by preconceived opinions, that
man was M. La Fayette. In consequence of the treatment
which he and his fellow prisoners had been made to suffer,.
and the pretext well known to have been alleged for con-
tinuing that treatment, namely, that they were the prisoners of
the allied powers, not to interfere in their behalf, was to suffer
this country to be implicated in the odium, and handed down
to posterity as the accomplice of the diabolical cruelty of
the Prussian cabinet. If in any point his honourable friend.
who made the present motion had failed, it was in not paint-
ing this cruelty in colours sufficiently strong. How were
these unfortunate gentlemen confined ? in separate apart-
ments, that they might not enjoy the melancholy consolation
of communicating their sorrows to one another—in dungeons
sunk under ground, where the only apertures to which they
could turn for air, presented to their view a court where other
prisoners were almost daily suffering the various punishments

P 3


to which, he would not call it law, but arbitrary will, had
condemned them. This he affirmed on information that
could not be doubted, to have been their situation at Mag.
debourg. Yet even this condition was capable of being
aggravated. Though debarred from communication with onebb
another, they had sonic satisfaction in knowing they were all
within the walls of the same prison. Two of them were,
therefore, left at Magdebourg, and two removed to other
places. So severely was this felt, that M. La Fayette im-
plored it as a boon of the King of Prussia, that M. Latour
Maubourg might remain in the same prison with him; and
this; boon, small as it must appear, was denied him.

But it was asked, what were we to do in such a case? He
maintained that the customs of civilized nations presented no
bbstaele to our interposition. In the case of Sir Charles
Asgill, private applications there made from this country to a
court with which we -were then at war. The good offices of
the Queen of France were solicited; they were granted, and
proved effectual. America, the ally of France, yielded to an
interposition in behalf of humanity; and what prevented his
majesty from using his good offices with an ally in the cause
of humanity also ? But if no such instance were to be found,
the nature of the war in which we were engaged, and the
particular situation in which they were placed might require,
and would therefore justify a new mode of proceeding. Had
not the King of Prussia declared that M. La Fayette was
the prisoner of the powers combined against France, and
that he and his friends could not be released but by the ge-
neral consent of those powers ? Did his majesty's ministers
not believe that this declaration had been made hy the King
of Prussia himself and by his ministers, to various persons
both publicly and privately ? In answer to this it was said,
that we were not engaged in the confederacy against France
et the time when those unfortunate gentlemen were made
prisoners. By this declaration, however, of the King of
Prussia, from which we were not excepted, part of the odium
was thrown upon us; and there was no way for the combined
powers to clear themselves from it but by each of them in
particular declaring that they disavowed the whole proceed-
ing. The ministers had, indeed, said that they were not
parties to it ; but this was not enough, there ought to be an
authentic declaration by the king, to which every English-
man might refer, in any part of the world, and clear the
character of-his country from so foul a reproach.

If the national honour demanded this, it was equally called
for by policy. We had offered friendship and protection to
all the. wellediepoeed French, whn should declare in favour


of monarchy ; and to the people of Toulon we had granted
that protection as far as we were able, on condition of their
declaring for monarchy, as limited by the consitution of i 789.
The right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer had
denied that La Fayette was in the same situation with those
to whom friendship and protection had been offered; but, by
every fair and candid inference, he most clearly was in that
situation. If we had promised, and actually given protection
to those who declared for the constitution of 1789, must it
not follow in the mind of every man, not a caviller, that the
persons who had supported that constitution, at the hazard of
all that was dear to them, were to be protected also ? If
M. La Fayette, instead of being in a Prussian dungeon, bad
been, like many others, concealed in. France, and had come
forward on the proclamations at Toulon, to accept of the
offers there held out, could we then have refused him pro-
tection ? If he had even been in a French prison, within the
reach of our force at Toulon, and had solicited his release,
could we have refused attempting to release him, even at
some risk, supposing the attempt to have been consistent with
military prudence ? In the name of common sense, then,
why refuse now to make an easier and safer effort in his favour?
All the general reasons alleged against it, admitting them to
their full extent, ought to yield to the strong claim of hu-
manity. These reasons must necessarily rest on the general
policy with respect to the Nvar ; and of that could there be a
doubt ? Had not the imprisonment of La Fayette and his
friends prevented many from joining the standard of royalty
which we wished to rear in France? It was improper to
mention names; but he knew many, and ministers he was
sure must know many more. Without entering into detail,
the very reason of the thing must shew, that when French-
men were balancing in their minds, between declaring for the.
allies, or joining the ruling party, the Ihte of La Fayette must
decide their choice. Did ministers any longer entertain the
hope of conquering France, or establishing any form of go-
vernnient in it, but by the assistance of Frenchmen? He
knew the professions they held out to Frenchmen, namely,
that all who repaired to the standard of monarchy were to be
protected, and that monarchy being once re-established, they
were to be left to temper it with such modifications as they
should think fit. Of all the forms of monarchical govern-
ment, did they mean to proscribe exclusively that of 1 789 ?

If they did, why had they not said so? Why had they
givenground for believing the contrary? Frenchmen in this
case must suppose, either that our declarations were all as faith-
less as those of the King of Prussia and the Prince of Saxe


2 13

the case, it behoved that House to consider whether they
were not called on to consult their own feelings, and en-
deavour, by an honourable interference, to promote the suc-
cess of that cause which they professed to support. . Upon
these grounds he should support the motion of his honourable

The motion was also supported by Mr. Grey, Mr. Whitbread,
Mr. W. Smith, Mr. R. Thornton, Mr. Martin, Mr. Stanley, and
Mr. Courtenay ; and opposed by Mr. Burke, Mr. Ryder, the so-
licitor-general, and Mr. Jenkinson. On a division the numbers
were :

Tellers.General Fitzpatrick I

YEAS 46. — No E s f Mr. Jenkinson)1Colonel Tarleton
/ Mr. J. Smith S 153-So it passed in the negative.


March 25.

R. ADAM, still persisting in his determination to introduce,
if possible, some regulations into the Scottish coins of

justiciary, that would be more favourable than the present to the
liberty of the subject, and to a milder administration of justice,
moved, this day, " That a committee be appointed to take into
consideration so much of the criminal law of Scotland as relates
to the crime of leasing-making ; the crime of sedition; the right
of appeal from the supreme criminal courts in Scotland; the right
of convicted persons to a new trial ; the law as it regards the
competency and credibility of witnesses, particularly in answering
the preliminary questions; the law respecting the admissibility
of evidence under the allegation of art and part ; the mode of
returning and chusing the common jury ; the legal grounds of
objection to jurymen; the power of the lord advocate as public
prosecutor; the propriety of introducing a grand jury for the
purpose of finding bills of indictment, and making presentments
in criminal cases; the power of the court in punishing contempts
of court ; the power of the sheriffs, and other magistrates, in tak-
ing precognitions, or informations for the commitment and trial
of persons accused; the power of courts of inferior jurisdiction
-in criminal matters to try crimes without the intervention of a
jury ; and to report the same, with their opinion thereupon, to
the House." After the motion had been ably supported by'
Mr. Serjeant Adair, and opposed by the waster of the rolls, the

1794.] CRIMINAL LAW -or

lord advocate of Scotland, and Mr. Secretary Dundas, who con-
tended that the Scottish nation were very happy under their own
laws, and that the alterations proposed would be a violation of
the articles of the union,

Mr. Fox rose and said: Sir, I have often been surprised
at doctrines advanced in this House ; I have often prepared
myself not to be astonished at any desertion of former . pr d

ciples; I have often had my understanding perplexed an
confused; but never did I find myself so much at a loss as
on the present occasion. The learned lord advocate com-
menced and concluded his speech with reproaching my learned
friend who sits near me, (Mr. Serjeant Adair,) . with misquot-
ing and mistaking the law of Scotland ; but after preparing
to expose my learned friend's ignorance, after increasing our
expectations, lie did nothing more than repeat, but in a louder
tone, what had fallen from my learned friend, .and what had
been asserted by both the gentlemen who spoke so ably in
support of this motion. I really, Sir, supposed that I did
not hear the lord advocate, or that I misunderstood him.
My learned friend, speaking of the construction Of petty juries
in Scotland, said, that from the forty-five chosen to try the
cause, fifteen were struck by the court. Now what statement
can be more alarming to justice, what more dangerous to the
liberty of the prisoner? But when the lord advocate comes
to speak on the same subject, notwithstanding h is surprise at
the ignorance of my learned friend, he uses the very same
words, and says, that after the forty-five were given in to the
court, the judges selected fifteen ; not as in England, by
taking the first twelve that came, or on special juries, by
ballot, but by selecting number one, two, or any other num-
ber as best suited his purpose; and the manner i.n which the
first list was made out by an inferior Officer of the court, only
served as an additional cause for alarm, because it rendered
packed juries more easily obtained ; for certainly the power
of the judge to select such as he pleased from the number,
was tantamount to a packed jury. If the lord advocate in-
tended that we should believe my learned friend had mis-stated
the matter, he should have framed some argument, either to
chew that the jury was not packed, or that there was no danger
Qf such an event taking place.With respect to the power of the lord advocate, he can
create prosecutions. I collect from the learned lord, that
if the guilt of any person is made out, the court will order
the prosecution to be commenced; but -this is only with
respect to public crimes, in which the lord advocate may
,corrarkenc. -or discontinue any prosecution. Da he has


treated the argument of the able mover with great unfairness:
he has said, that my learned friend wishes. to introduce the
whole of the criminal law of England into his country, and
on the impropriety of this measure he has dwelt for a con-
siderable time: he should recollect, that my honourable friend
was not. speaking of felony or larceny, but of public crimes
against the state; and that it was only the criminal law
which related to those crimes, that he wished to introduce.
In that sense I am certain the House understood him. Did
my honourable and learned friend mean any thing else, much
as I admire his talents, and much as I might respect his
intention, I certainly could not coincide with him. In many
respects I revere the criminal law of England; but it would
be after serious reflection, and unprejudiced consideration,
that I would consent to extend it, with all its penal statutes,
to any country; because there are several of those statutes,
that contain provisions, of which I can by no means approve.
My honourable and learned friend meant only to introduce
the criminal law which relates to sedition; and in his exa-
mination into the law of Scotland, with a view to its alter-
ation, he does not assert that he would change it generally,
but particularly, and only as far as relates to leasing-making,
and the other points enumerated in the question.

The lord advocate has spoken of the act of union. He
says, that by this act we are prevented from making any
change in the jurisprudence of Scotland; but he ought to
have recollected, that the emphatic words of that act not only
declare what the law is, but that the criminal law of Scot-
land may be altered by the parliament of Great Britain, when
in its wisdom it should be deemed expedient and requisite
for the public good. He has mentioned the different laws
which support his assertion; the learned lord, however, says,
that we should not proceed to make any alteration, until it
come recommended from the throne, as- had been the case
in respect to the law of treason. Indeed, Sir, we have lately
heard such strange things advanced of our constitution, we
have seen it receive so many wounds, that we ought not to be
astonished at this suggestion. Does the learned lord mean,
that we are to wait until ministers come down to this House
to complain, that the prerogative of the crown is exerted too
strenuously against the privileges of the people, that they who
oppose their measures arc punished too severely, and that
the law ought to be made more lenient ? I cannot understand
what the learned lord intends by this idle assertion, which
means nothing; and that it does mean nothing, is the best
construction that can be put upon it. The next case the • .
learned lord said, bad proceeded after 2 previous inquiry


between the House of Lords and the court of justiciary. I
have as high an esteem for the House of Lords, in their

udicial capacity, as any person can possibly have, but I
cannot allow them any exclusive right to legislate, nor that:-
any such alteration of the law ought to originate with them;

. for in their legislative capacity pro tanto the House of Com-
mons is in every degree equal. Indeed, the learned lord
saw the folly of this argument, for he was obliged to own that
the bill was rejected in the first instance, and came from the
Commons at last : but, then, he said it was carried through
by the attorney and solicitor general; this might appear to
the learned lord very proper ; but I trust we have not yet
forgotten all sorts of equality so much as to sanction a mea-
.sure because it comes from this or that lord in one house,
or from the attorney and solicitor general, or any member
in the other. We all have the same trust reposed in us by
our constituents, and our duty being the same, so is the.
degree of respect to be paid to us. This question, I contend,
should be treated as a practical one. But, Sir, there may
be some members in this House, and I have reason to think
there are, who were not present during the late discussions:
there may be some,- who, attending cursorily, and hearing the
debate relating to Mr. Muir and Mr. Palmer, and the one of
this night, may conclude that the proceedings adopted with
respect to these gentlemen were legal; but I persist in con-
tending that this was by no means the case. These arc the
first punishments inflicted on such crimes. It is true, they
argue on the other side, that they are legal. They argue
from analogy ; they admit (for obliged they are to do so), that
in the sixteenth century no such punishments were inflicted
on conviction of such offences; they can consequently find no
precedents to bear them out on this occasion. In vain they
searched; no industry, no trouble was spared. Certainly
the lord advocate would have availed himself of it, could any
such be found. But, Sir, the right honourable secretary
asserts, that the people of Scotland enjoy practical happiness.
When did they attain this desirable situation? Let him point
out the date, and name the period. Was it under the reign
of Mary, or the two first Stuarts? Was it at the union of
the two crowns, in the reign of Charles the Second, or of
his brother James? If there has been any period at which
happiness has been enjoyed in that country, it must be since
the union or revolution: but these crimes were never pu-.
Wished with such dreadful severity till within the last eighteen
months; and no precedent can warrant that severity, except
the infamous and abominable precedent of 5704. The right
honourable secretary says he likes the criminal law of En g-,

land, but that of Scotland better; he will not therefore con-
sent to alter it; and he doubts whether it can he altered.
Has it not, Sir, been altered by parliament since the union ?
Did we not change it with respect to treason in 1708 ? Yet,
in the reign of Queen Anne, when we did change it, we
were not considered guilty of a breach of faith.

But, Sir, does not every circumstance of the late proceed..
ings dictate the propriety, nay more, the necessity, of going,
into an inquiry ? What was advanced by one of the judges of
the court of justiciary on a late occasion ? " New crimes,"
said the judge, " arise.from the new state of things; and courts,
not legislatures, are to find new and adequate punishments."
From the time of the union down to the present, no such pu-
nishment is found. The circumstances ofthe country are new;
the lord advocate is puzzled ; he finds no precedent for a
century ; he looks for the law ; and where does he endeavour
to find it? Not subsequently to the union ; no, but beyond
the union of the two crowns; and not finding it any where,
he has recourse to ingenuity; he reasons from analogy, and
finds he may transport these culprits to Botany Bay ! This,
Sir, is a new case ; for which there is no punishment pre-
scribed by statute, no precedent to support it, nothing which
can warrant it, but an argument from analogy. For my part,
I think the new method of punishment in Scotland as danger-
ous as the old method in England is adequate. What then
is it we say to you ? We tell you, " We live in a country not
totally exempt from the crime of sedition, though we allow
there never was less of it than since the accession of the House
of Hanover; we, who are well acquainted with the crime, are
able to judge what is the punishment suited to the offence:
we know that, in point of fact, the punishment inflicted in
this country is so adequate, that sedition was never less com-
plained of. We have practice in our favour : you are totally
ignorant of the crime, and equally ignorant of the punishment
suited to the crime; you may have had more confusion in your
country for the last century than we ; but we think a few li-
Ids, and one or two mobs, better than two rebellions ; this
'crime to you is new, to us it is old ; we tell you your new re-
medy is dangerous ; our old one we find adequate; we there.
fore wish to recommend it,."

But, while we are kindly interfering, while we are offering
our friendly advice, we are told that we are speculatists, that
we are no judges, and incapable of dictating what ought to be
your conduct. When we offer part of the criminal law of
England, and tell you that imprisonment is the punishment
suited to the offence, you return for answer, that imprison-
ment for many years is worse than transportation. This, Su',


I deny. Imprisonment cannot be compared with transport-
ation for fourteen or even seven years. But what is the
case in this country? The punishment in few cases of libel
has exceeded two years; the longest I ever heard of (the case
of Lord George Gordon) was five years; and that, Sir, give
me leave to say, was not a proceeding which reflected the
highest honour on the country. But for a misdemeanour, I
know a single instance of seven years' imprisonment having
been inflicted. Does any one think seven years' imprison-
ment is equal to the offence of sedition ? Indeed, Sir, when
I heard of this severe punishment being inflicted on a man in
this country, and when I saw it connected with the name of
the judge, for whom I have a personal esteem, (being no
other than my learned friend, when recorder of London,) I
inquired what crime the prisoner could have committed ; but
found he was convicted of an offence little short of murder,
and that the misdemeanour was aggravated by several other
shocking offences. Surely, the crime of sedition does not re-
quire a greater punishment than that which our constitution
inflicts on those convicted of the most heinous offences ! The
learned lord has gone into clergyable offences; but, Sir,
arosuing about felonies has nothing to do with the present
question; this constitution could not have been preserved, if we
did not observe a greater jealousy with regard to state crimes
than any other. I cannot suppose there exists a desire injudges and ministers to press excessive punishment in cases ofpetty larceny, or other small offences ; but I can well imagine
that punishment may be pressed against those who oppose their
measures, or are obnoxious to their scheines; the jealousy should
be greater where we have any reason to fear that men high in
power may be actuated by improper motives. Treason is the
same in both countries; nor can I see any sort of difference with
regard to sedition ; it is not more local than treason, -and is
equally directed against the King of Great Britain, in what-
ever part of the kingdom committed ; the punishment, there-
fore, ought to be the same on both sides the Tweed.

But, suppose sedition to be an English crime, and that an
Englishman in Scotland were to publish a libel against the
government of this country, he must by the laws of Scotland be
tried upon principles totally different from English. How
absurd ! An English crime ought to be tried by English laws,
and on English principles. I confess, I feel, Sir, the impor-
tance of this question; I feel that the House has the greatest
Interest in the motion of this night. Considering the question
merely as it relates to sedition, there is ample ground for go-
ing into an inquiry : we should know what it is; that we may
not comment upon, speak about, write of, or venture to pro-

ments, which, if declared here, would be taken no notice of?
Has no one in this country a right to think or speak on poli-
tical questions but members of parliament? Indeed, Sir, if
general sedition is allowed as a charge, and such witnesses as
Anne Fischer are produced to maintain and support it, I can
easily conceive the danger of delivering sentiments freely in
any place. I recollect that, when I was a boy, attending the de-
bates in the gallery of this House, a sentiment fell from the
late Earl of Chatham, which warmed and filled my breast
with admiration ; and which did him more honour in my eyes,
than many things that have since been related of him. The
American war was then extremely popular, and a member
having asserted that there was a rebellion in America, 64 I re-joice," said this great man, " that America has resisted :I rejoice that she has shewn that symptom of British spirit and
British blood in her veins ; and I hope it will flow unimpaired
to her descendants, till they have accomplished all they mere."
This raised him high in my estimation; this splendid senti-
ment he never after denied ; for though he left this House, it
is well known what lie uniformly advised in another. If this
great man had been in Scotland at that time, and ministers
had had the opportunity of prosecuting these words before the
court of justiciary, his sentence would have been transportation
or perhaps this punishment would not have been sufficient; if
one of those judges who latel y presided, had then the di-
rection, the torture might have been introduced as alone ade-

But, Sir, allow me to say a few words in answer to a chal-
lenge thrown out by the right honourable secretary. Does
he mean to say that, intrusted as he is with a great employ-
ment in this country, and enabled consequently to know the
extent and application of the criminal laws of Scotland, lie
thinks those laws inadequate ? Why then, Sir, reflecting on
his situation, and seeing all the trusts that are reposed in him,
does he suffer crimes to be inadequately punished? Will he,
forgetful of his situation, sit supine, and leave them unpunish-
ed? Or, will he act the more manly part, and say, I cannot
see crimes punished in so inadequate a manner, without at-
tempting to alter the laws ? Which will he do ? Will he prefer
the latter ? If he do, I give him credit for his courage, and his
consistency, absurd and eccentric as the idea of increasing
the punishment is : if he do not alter them, I cannot give him_

The speech to which Mr. Fox here refers, was the last the Earl of
Chatham ever made in the House of Commons. It took. place on the
z 4th of January 1766. See New Earl. Hist, Vol, xvi. p. 104.

VOL. v.

pose reforms in Scotland. If in England I am accused of
sedition, it is not the general crime which is laid to my charge ;
there is some specific act stated : supposing even the act I am
accused of proved, and that I am found guilty, if it does not
appear a crime in the eye of the law, I still shall be relieved.
But what is the case in Scotland ? The general crime is
stated in the indictment : I have seen the general crime, the
3najor proposition of the syllogism, in the case of Mr. Gerald :
but the lord advocate treats with levity di e idea of packing juries;

jand he tells us with triumph, that in all the late proceedings theuries were unanimous. What does this argument prove ?
Nothing. It is true they might all be unanimous, but surely
they might still have been all collected under the eye of the

and direction of the court. Good God, Sir, however
I may disagree with many of my friends on other topics, will
they not all agree with me in this? Will they not alt see its
danger in the same view that I do? Will they not all coin-
cide with me in declaring; that no man is safe, no man's
liberty secure, if he can be charged generally on the crime of
sedition ?

I am taking the late proceedings; for argument's sake, to
be strictly consonant to law ; though God forbid I should ever AI
be inclined td think them so; yet is there not something, with
respect to the evidence in those cases, which calls for your in-
terference ? The House will recollect the evidence of Anne
Fischer, that infamous witness, that domestic spy, whose testi-
mony I cannot think of without shuddering at it ; yet she,
and other such witnesses, were produced as to the general
charge of sedition. Do I stand, Sir, in a British House of
Commons? Which of us is safe, if charged on

the general

ground? If every action is to be examined, if evidences from
different quarters are to be collected to prove different charges,
without any specific act being stated in the indictment, I ap-
peal to every man who hears me, whether there can be any
liberty in the country where such practices are allowed ?
Which of us can be comfortable in our minds, if such doe-
trines are countenanced ? Let us set free our countrymen in
the other part of the island. Let us go into the committee;
let us both legislate and declare. The people of Scotland
have a right to expect both ; and I hope, when the House
shall be more accurately acquainted with the proceedings, to see
the sentence condemned, the mode of conducting these trials
censured, and the production of that most infamous witness
Anne Fischer both reprobated and regarded with disgust.
What, Sir, is not a man to say out of doors what has been
advanced within the walls of this House? Is a man to be,
punished with transportation for advancing political senti-

credit either for courage or consistency : if he attempts to alter
them, I then give him credit for his courage ; for others have
been very severely punished for less dangerous attempts. But
this assertion of the right honourable secretary, that the laws
and inadequate, is not an assertion which has accidentally
escaped in the warmth of debate; it must have been an ex-. 11,
pression carefully considered, and minutely examined; it has
been ruminated over for four or five days; nor, Sir, ought it
to he received with indifference : his official situation makes
every thing which comes from the right honourable gentle-
man of importance. The right honourable gentleman does
not say he advances this, because he is dared to it. I would
nevertheless advise him to beware how he meddles with the
liberties of Englishmen, and consider well before he increases
punishment. Let him not think our laws inadequate until
he shall have made some motion to that purport, and has as-
certained whether this House thinks with him on that point.
•I am fully satisfied that something ought immediately to be
done to correct this abuse of law in Scotland, and to put
an end to the tyranny practised under the pretext of admin-
istering justice in that part,

of the kingdom.

The House divided:
Tellers. Tellers.

f Mr. Whitbread I
Lord Advocate /

77-YEAS 24.— NOES -E-N1 Mr. Hussey j
i Ir. Attorney Gen. j

So it passed in the negative.



Mr. Fox said, that the measure said to be going through
the country, by way of a recommendation from his majesty
to the people, to stand forth and assist the executive govern-
ment with voluntary subscriptions, he had held often, held
now, and was likely to hold, to be entirely illegal, and a
measure the most dangerous to the constitution of this coun-
try. If the object was to legalize that practice, he was per-
fectly sure that there should have been a bill for that purpose.
A bill must pass to authorise the application of such money,
even after it was raised, otherwise not one shilling of it could
be legally applied. This opinion he had frequently given
during the American war, and all he had ever heard upon
the subject had not, in the most distant degree, tended to
alter that opinion. Having said this, he must now confess,
that with respect to facts upon the present case, he was with-
out information : he spoke in that respect entirely from rumour.
What had been sent to the lords lieutenants of the counties, and
what their answers might be, he knew not; but, supposing
the message alluded to, of a recommendation for the opening
of a general subscription, to have been sent, he had no doubt
that acquiescing in such a message, and applying such money
without an act of parliament, was not only illegal, but highly
dangerous. Whenever the subject came forward, he should
be ready to argue it on the points he had just mentioned ; and
he hoped that the House would not proceed on doubtful points
without first removing all difficulties that stood in the way of
the regularity of the proceedings.

March 24.


March 17.

THE ministers having issued a requisition under the name of arecommendation, for the raising of volunteer companies of
horse and foot, in order to preserve internal peace, and suppress do-
mestic insurrections, and to aid the military, if necessary, against
an invading enemy, the subject was mentioned in the House of
Commons on the 17th of March, by Mr. Baker, who objected to
the measure as an irregular one.. Parliament, he said, was the only
legal organ of the country, through which the people should con-
sent to assist the carrying on of any measure to be paid for out of
the public purse.

Mr. Sheridan having moved an address to the king for a coin.
munication of all the papers relating to this subject,

Mr. Fox'said, he could not let that opportunity slip of de-
claring his opinion on the subject to be the same with the
minority of that House, and with the House of Lords in the
year 1778, on the illegality of these subscriptions in any case
whatever. The whole defence on that occasion was, that those
contributions were purely voluntary and bona fire sponta-
neous, that there had not been a hint on the subject from the
crown, or from any of his majesty's servants, and that there
was nothing that could be construed into an application in the
most remote manner. But in this case, there had been a
direct application from the king's secretary of state officially;
and it was a maxim universally maintained, that when he wrote
a letter of that kind, though lie did not say, " I 314 com-



mantled by his majesty," &c. it did imply a command, and
that he was acting in -

obedience to such a command. - He

was, therefore, clearly to understand, that the king had sent
his mandate to different parts of the country, to ask, without
the consent of parliament, who would, and who would not,
contribute what was necessary for the defence of the country.
He hoped they should soon have an opportunity of discussing
the business at length. There was something in the adver-
tisement, as if' those who did not chase to obey the call of the
lord lieutenant to these meetings, were not well affected, to
the king and his government. Parliament was now actually
sitting, and the representatives of the people of England had
come there expressly to consider, whether they would or
would not comply with the request of his majesty; and yet
his majesty, by his secretary of state, was now levying money
on his subjects without the intervention of that House, when 'IF
the constitution had, over and over again, declared, that
money should not be given to the king by the people of Eng-
land through any other channel than that of their representa-
tives in parliament.

ilicovh 28.

This day Mr. Sheridan again called the attention of the House
to the subject, and concluded an able and eloquent speech with
moving, " That it is a dangerous and unconstitutional measure for
the executive government to solicit money from the people as a
private aid, loan, benevolence, or subscription, for public purposes,
without the consent of parliament." Mr. Sheridan was answered
by the attorney-general, who justified the conduct of ministers, as
agreeable to precedents and constitutional authorities. He cited
the letters written by the Earl of Shelbourne, while in office, to the
lieutenants of counties,. in 1782, as a case precisely similar to the
present ; and mentioned the raising of companies by private sub-
jects, at their own expellee on other occasions, in much the same
light. He concluded by moving the previous question. Mr. Powys
said that the safety of the country, in the present contest, called
for the most active exertions, though he could not altogether ap-
prove of the measure in the manner it had been adopted. He
thought it best, however, to get rid of the motion, and should
therefore vote for the previous question.

Mr. Fox said, that he had attended to the present debate
with a consideraMe degree of curiosity, as he understood,
from what had dropped from the right honourable the chan-
cellor of the exchequer on a former night, that the charge of
political inconsistency was to be brought against him. I'wo
points had puzled him considerably; the first was, who was


to make the charge; the next, what the charge was to be.
He could not expect it from the honourable gentleman who
was alarmed at the danger of Hessian troops being sent to
Gibraltar, but saw not the smallest ground for apprehension
from their introduction into this country ; nor from the right
honourable gentleman on the other side, who commenced his
political career as the firm and unalterable advocate of par-
liamentary reform, but who had since not only abandoned
that cause, but had been its strenuous opposer in whatever
shape it had appeared. I recollected, said Mr. Fox, the
vulgar adage, that he whose house is made of glass, ought
not to throw stones; and likewise that most excellent maxin
of a most excellent book, " Let him that is innocent, throw
the first stone." I was pretty certain, therefore, that this
charge of inconsistency must come from some young member,
as a young member would be the least liable to have the charge
of inconsistency retorted upon him. The contest for some
time upon whom this duty should fall, seemed to lay between
a young member, (Mr. Jenkinson,) and the learned gentle-
man who made it, and who, though not a young member, is
young in respect of the transactions of which he has taken
upon himself to speak. From a young member of parliament
I expected perfect consistency, especially from a member
who had undertaken the charge of inconsistency against an-
other. But the honourable gentleman who seconded and
supported the motion made by the learned member, is not so
young a member; he well recollects the circumstances which
took place in the year 1782; and if that honourable gentle-
man saw any thing censurable in the conduct of that day,
why did he not fully and fairly condemn the measure? Did
he do any such thing? So far from it, he was perfectly silent
on the subject ; he either saw nothing that could be con-
demned, or thought it too trifling for censure. Certain I am
that, in Lord Shelburne's letter, he will not find the most
distant allusion to any subscription. It was a circumstance
that never entered the minds of any of those gentlemen who
composed the administration of 1782. They had no 'idea of
the kind; and if' any person had intimated that my Lord
Shelburne's letter had suggested such an idea abroad, it would
have been matter of great surprize indeed.

The learned gentleman has asserted, that he who asks for
money's worth, asks money. 'With this principle, in its full
extent, I can by no means concur; if so, the impress of sailors
Is a mode which the king possesses of raising a supply inde-
pendent of his parliament. It is a distinct prerogative vested
in the crown, arising from peculiar circumstances, and pecu-
liar necessity, with which the other has not the most remote

2 3


connection. My Lord Shelburne's letter was 'hot a solicit-
ation, it was not a request, nor even a hint at any contribution
or subscription ; and if any such were entered into in conse-
quence of that letter, they must have been of so trivial a na-
ture as not to have made any impression upon my memory.
This letter had merely for its object to take the advice of the
people at large, with respect to arming for the defence of the
country. It was not intended to take the people from their
several employments: he who pursued agriculture was not
required to abandon his plough, nor the artizan the im-
plements of his trade; all that was wished for was, that they
should give up a few hours of their time to acquire some
little knowledge of the use of arms, in order to render them
in some measure capable of defence, and to prepare them
against danger that might threaten them. It has been
urged, that the measure in 1782 differed not from that which

opposed in I 778, supported by my Lord Camden and Lord
Ashburton. I had, in the year 1782, the honour to be of
his majesty's cabinet council, consisting at that. time of eleven
members, ten of whom had opposed the subscription of 1778.
Was it likely that we should, directly after our entering into
the ministry, adopt those principles in 1782, which we had
with such firmness opposed in 17 7 8 ? Lord Camden and
Lord Ashburton, men well acquainted with the law and the
constitution, were at that time in the cabinet. The Marquis
of Rockingham, though no lawyer, was a man who under-
stood the constitution, and his greatest enemies will allow, that
he possessed firmness and consistency, that he had not that
versatility of character that could make him act on principles
when in administration opposite to those which he avowed
when in opposition. It seems rather extraordinary, that now
after a period of twelve years has elapsed, an attempt should
be made to convict me of inconsistency,. which at the time of
the transaction was never thought of. Would it not be na-
tural, if any objection were made to the measure adopted in
1782, to have stated, you are now acting upon the identical
principles which you opposed in 1 7 78? Was any such ob-
jection started ? No, Sir, the objections were of a very different
description. The danger of becoming an armed nation, like
Ireland, was strongly urged, and the injuries that had been
committed by the volunteers of that kingdom, who, in my
opinion, far from injuring their country, rendered it great
and essential services. I have, Sir, consulted the record of
the . debates of that day, the parliamentary register, which,
though not in every instance the most indisputable authority,
certainly gives the general line of argument, and the great
principles advanced. In them I can find nothing to brand


me with the charge of inconsistency. On the contrary, I
find directly the reverse, and that the expressions which I
then employed exactly correspond with the principles which
I at present maintain.. The learned gentleman says, that I
did not oppose the giving ships, and other private aids. He
mentioned the offer of a 74-gun-ship from the Earl of Lons-
dale, the name of which is not to be found in the list of the
navy of Great Britain ; and other ships from the East India
company. These measures I did oppose, and that in my
speech at the opening of that session. I opposed and censured
them, because 1 looked upon every gift of that nature as an
injury to the constitution. In arguing the question of law,
the learned gentleman began with the latest precedents, from
a hope, I suppose, that, after a legal manner, he could make
the matter appear more clearly, but he seems to have been
disappointed in his hopes; surely the learned gentleman must
have quibbled away his senses in the pursuits of his profession,
or he could never have argued this point in the manner he
has done. The precedent of 1782 he has contended to be
similar to the present, and also to that of 1778. I shall here
take the liberty of quoting the authority of a right honourable
gentleman, (Mr. Burke,) whose abilities all must confess and
admire, and whom for many years I had the happiness to call
my friend : his opinion is clear and decided upon this head,
in favour of the doctrine which I support. The learned gen-
tleman contended, that the ground of argument used by Lord
Ashburton and Lord Camden, in the year 1778, turned en-
tirely on those contributions being left at the disposal of his
majesty. I remember the arguments of Lord Ashburton well:
he confined himself to no such narrow system ; he took the
broad and general ground of objection to contributions in any
shape. I remember, too, the arguments of Lord Thurlow,
who certainly advanced many forcible reasons which had con-
siderable weight in my mind, though I concurred in opinion
with Lord Ashburton ; but the point for which he contended
was, that contributions were legal and constitutional, when
they came voluntarily from the bounty, of the people, without
solicitation on the part of the sovereign. The- authority of
the twelve judges he has cited, which he thinks is not to be
surmounted ; but the circumstances which occurred in 1745
are not to be quoted as precedents for measures which should
not be adopted, except in case of the recurrence of such de-
plorable times. The judges, he says, had they done wrong,
should have called for a bill of indemnity. How long, Sir, is
it since the learned gentleman became the advocate for bills of
indemnity? A few days since he maintained a conduct and
opinion widely different from this; he tells us, that, on the

2 4

present occasion, he delivers an opinion, not because it is ne-
cessary to deliver an opinion on a great constitutional question,
but because it is pleasing to many of those who are dear to him.
On a former day, when another constitutional question was
discussing, and when he then, as he does now, supported the.
previous question, he would not, he said, deliver an opinion.
From this, may we. not suppose, that it would not be so
pleasing to his friends ; and that his silence makes for us
In one case as much as his arguments make against us in
another ? That great palladium of British liberty, the bill
of rights, which should never be mentioned but with vener-
ation, and respect, I now hear spoken of with apprehension,
lest it should be made use of as an argument to deprive us of
some privilege or right : because the bill of rights is silent on
the subject of voluntary contributions, on that ground such
contributions are held to be lawful ; as well might it be said,
that because it contains a declaration of the subject's right to
petition the king, but is silent. with regard to his right of
petitioning the Commons, that therefore no such right exists.
The learned gentleman has depended much on the constitu-
tional authority of Lord Coke; but I wish at the same time
he had quoted Sir Francis Bacon, a man of great talents and
erudition also, though unable to withstand the lure of cor-
ruption. In his political conduct, much as I defer to his
opinions in other points, Lord Coke does not seem to be quite
consistent. In the case of Mr. Oliver St. John, (his ex-
pression I shall use, because forcible and well founded,) speak-
ing of contributions, he says, 44 contributions never can be
voluntary, some giving through pride, others through fear,
and some from interest." Sir Francis Bacon, in his life of
Lord Coke (though it is not very fair to take the account
from his rival or enemy,) says, that when the case of Mr. St.
John was first represented to him, he delivered it as his opi-
nion, " that all gifts, however voluntary, were illegal," but
when he came to judge Mr. St. John in the star-chamber, he
changed that opinion ; and, at all events, the sentiments of
Lord Coke, which go to support this doctrine, are taken
from his posthumous works, which never underwent a revi-
sion ; though possibly if they had, they would never have
appeared to the world in the shape they now do. With regard
to the opinion given by Lord Hardwicke, which has also
been relied on, it was certainly an extra-judicial opinion, and
therefore of less authority.

But, are these contributions innocent .as far as regards the
constitution ? Are they attended with no evil consequence
whatever? Allowing this right of private contribution, might
not a great party, or great power, joining with the crown,


enable the latter to carry on a war contrary to the opinion of
parliament, or to undertake measures still more destructive
to their liberties? It is certain ministers could be found to
urge such measures, and assist their execution. This argu-
ment has been urged already by my honourable friend, (Mr.
Sheridan,) and still remains unanswered. The motion, it is
said, does not apply to what has happened. Now, what is it
that has happened? The executive government have issued a
request or requisition, stating, that it would be desirable to
enter into subscriptions for certain purposes; and what is my
honourable friend's motion ? That such conduct is danger-
ous and unconstitutional. Does not this go to the very
point to which it ought, namely, to a censure of his ma-
jesty's ministers for misconduct? Gentlemen say, if therebe misconduct, why do you not impeach ? I am not for
impeaching ministers for every offence; the object of an im-
peachment is to procure punishment for great offences. It
does not appear to me in what manner the king can make any
request to his subjects, as separate and distinct from the two
Houses of Parliament, who arc co-equal in authority with
him. In his individual capacity, the only connection he can
have with the subject is to command him, which if the com-
mand be lawful the subject is bound to obey. It is not an
easy thing for a subject to refuse the request of a king : we
cannot refuse him with the same indifference we would a
fellow-subject; and, if an individual were to refuse to comply
with his demand, would not his ministers be apt to point him
out as an object of suspicion ? I think such requests incon-
sistent with the dignity of a. king, and the situation of a
subject. Wherein consists the utility of the measure? Will
it be said, that it is not a tax upon the poor as well as the
rich? I know of no way by which we can tax the rich, that
will not ultimately fall on the poor. It is foolishly ima-
gined in France, that to deprive one great man of his dishes
of silver and gold, and another of his money, will be of
advantage to the poor. No, Sir, these are the means by
which the poor are maintained. The luxuries of the rich
constitute the principal means of their support, by employing
their industry. If the rich man gives up part of his pro-
perty in voluntary contributions, lie must deduct so much
from his expellees, which the poor must ultimately feel. In
short, a system of taxation that will affect but one class of
men is a thing impossible.

But why should his majesty's name be carried beggingbt,
about the country to excite discontents and jealousies ? Why,
if it is for the purpose of raising, a defence for the kingdom,
are not the Commons applied to '? if there be a danger, it is

rather that they will be too profuse, than not sufficiently
liberal in their grants: why then should ministers occasion
these differences? Is it for the sake of those who have lately
joined their standard, in order to exhibit with what facility
they are disposed to contradict all those opinions and prin-
ciples they had ever maintained? But let opinions be what
they may, in case of invasion, are not we all equally appre-
hensive of the danger, and equally interested in the event;
unless it be supposed that the national convention keep a list
of the minority, and upon coming here would preserve their
lives and their properties inviolate ? That I shall be this
night left in a minority, I have but little doubt, as I had it
yesterday from good authority, being so told by a lord of the
bedchamber, a wonderfully sagacious animal at smelling out'a
majority in either House ; therefore I have the less reason to
regret that the previous question has been moved. Upon the
whole, Sir, I consider this measure of raising money by
public contribution so impolitic and unconstitutional, that
were a bill brought in similar to that passed in the reign of
Charles the Second, authorizing his majesty to receive volun-
tary contributions, and limiting the sum to be so received, I
should oppose it with all my power. Let us adhere to that
wise custom of our forefathers, as the best preservative of
our independence, the sole right to grant money to the crown.
Suppose the House of Lords were to offer out of their pri-
vate pockets to contribute to the exigencies of his majesty,
would you not spurn at the proposal Even in the less en-
lightened days of Henry and Edward you would not suffer
it, and will you at this period allow your right to be en-
croached upon at every county meeting?

The motion was opposed by Mr. Windham and Sir James
Saundcrson. On a division the numbers were:

Tellers. Tellers.
yEA s I Col. Tarleton I 34.— NOES I Mr. NevilleMr. Grey Mr. John Smyth S zoo.

So it passed in the negative.

April 7.
On the third reading of the volunteer corps bill, the measure

of voluntary aids was again brought fbrward and defended at
some length by Mr. Pitt.

Mr. Fox said, he could not conceive why the right honour-
able the chancellor of the exchequer should have thought it
necessary to go so much into the business on the third read-
ing of the bill, having said so little upon it before, unless it


was because he saw that the measure was not adopted, in
various parts of the country, with such eagerness as he ex-
pected. If the right honourable gentleman's speech was
meant as a puff' for the subscriptions, it was well adapted to
its end ; if it was meant as argument to persuade a House of
parliament that such subscriptions were constitutional and
legal, nothing could be more impotent and inconclusive. The
right honourable gentleman said, it was right to afford men
an opportunity of chewing their opinions, and to convince
the enemy that the war was not a war undertaken and pro-
secuted by the English government, but by the English peo-
ple. This, which, the right honourable gentleman stated as
an advantage, was one of the most material objections to the
measure. Under such circumstances as the country was now
said to be, a statesman, far from seeking opportunities of
exasperating opposite opinions by forcing them into collision,
would endeavour to soften and conciliate. No man, after
being told that the subscriptions were proposed as the test of
his opinion, could be imagined to feel subscribing or not sub-
scribing as a matter of indifference. He must know that, if
he did not subscribe, he was to be held, in the estimation of
at least a very powerful part of his fellow-citizens, as enter-
taining opinions of the most shocking tendency. It was said,
that from a voluntary subscription there could be no ground
for apprehension, because it' the people suspected that it
might be employed against their liberties, they would not
subscribe; and if' they did subscribe, the deluded people of
France must see the falsehood of what their rulers were daily
telling them, that the English government, not the English
nation, were their enemies. He was sorry to see, that, for a
considerable time past, not the English government, but the

hEnglish nation, had been held out as the object of abhorrence•
to the people of France.

But supposing the case to be otherwise, the rebels of France
would say to the people, " Mark the number of the sub-
scribers in England ; they are the only persons who are adverse
to our principles, all the rest of the English are obviously
our friends." All this arose from the mischievous distinction
attempted to be made between the rich and the poor; classes
of men who were taught to believe that they had separate and
even opposite interests in society, while their true interests
were one and the same. What was the common language of
the French ? That the rich only were their enemies, the
poor their friends. Would not the subscriptions inflame this
language; and enable them to say, " The rich only, and
persons connected with government, will contribute to the
defence of the country; the rest of the people are ready to


receive us with open arms." But the measure would not
even mark the distinction which ministers pretended to expect
from it. Many persons, as zealous for the war as ministers
themselves, might object to subscriptions on the recommend.:
ation of the crown, as unconstitutional ; many, who with
him, thought the war unnecessary and impolitic, would do so
too ; and yet ministers knew, that both descriptions would be
as ready to oppose a foreign invasion as ministers themselves.
In 1778, when voluntary subscriptions were opposed, were
not France and Spain on the point of declaring war ? Was
any man supposed to oppose them because he wished the
country to be invaded by France ? "What Englishman did
not as much abhor an invasion of his country by .LouisXVI.,
great as the moderation and the virtues of that monarch
were, as by Robespierre and Danton ? Were Marcus
Aurelius to rise from the dead, who would not subscribe, if
necessary, to oppose an invasion by his arms ? The question
was not, who was the invader ? the resistance was made to
an invasion by a foreign foe.

The right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer had
enlarged on the impossibility of arriving at perfection ; a po-
sition of the truth of which most of his hearers were probably
convinced before. The exertions of human creatures were
not to attain perfection, but to come as near it as they

• could. But how did this apply ? Those who thought with
him, contended only, that calling for voluntary subscriptions
was a prerogative which the crown did not possess ; while
those who took the other side said, the king must possess
the prerogative, because human institutions could not be per-
feet. In what respect would denying this prerogative clog
the wheels of government? Could any instance be pointed
out in which the country would suffer if such a prerogative did
not exist ? But then, it was said, a prerogative that can do
no good can do no harm. The prerogative in question might
be efficient for mischief to the country, but never for good.
While no danger was apprehended to the constitution at
home, men's confidence in parliament for providing for the
defence of the country against danger from abroad, would
make them think it unnecesary to be eager in coming for-
ward with individual subscriptions ; but, for purposes of mis-
chief tending to subvert the constitution, in which many
might be interested, and for Which parliament would not pro-
vide, individual subscriptions might be large and dangerous.

Mr. Fox said, he disdained the defence set up by the right
honourable gentleman for the proceeding in 1782. Rather
than defend it on such grounds, he would frankly own that it
was inconsistent with the opinion he held in 1778. In the


letter of the secretary of state on that occasion, he saw nothing
analogous to the request for private subscriptions. It did not
even contain an allusion to any subsequent application to par-
liament; a clear proof that it was not meant to convey any
request for raising money. If he had been capable of erring
on that occasion, the other members of the cabinet, and the
Marquis of Rockingham who was at the head of it, a man
whom, both on account of his public character and his private
worth, he could never mention but with reverence and affec-
tion, would not have suffered it. The measure now adopted
was inconsistent with that of 1782, as was the measure of
1778 ; and those who had opposed the subscription of 1778,
and supported the present, were the persons to whom the
charge of inconsistency applied. His having suffered the ad-
dress of December 1782, in answer to a speech from the
throne, alluding to subscriptions entered into after he was out
of administration, to pass nem. con. was no reason for saying
that he approved of those subscriptions. A right honourable
gentleman, (Mr. Burke,) in terms the most eloquent and
splendid, objected to almost every part of that speech, and yet
suffered the address to pass without moving an amendment.
The answers to the letter from the secretary of state of 1782
he had no means of seeing, although they were constantly
made the ground of argument against him. It was of little
consequence to be told, that they were not referred to as
proofs of inconsistency ; for unless he could say, with some
other gentlemen, that he thought one way then, and another
way now, the arguments built upon them could prove nothing
but inconsistency. The right honourable gentleman who
had refused to produce them for the information of the House,
had now offered to show as many of them as he could. He
.regretted that the offer was made just at the time when a dis-
cussion upon than was likely to be at an end. He should
have thought that the right honourable gentleman who warned
an officer (Sir James Murray) not to give any information to
the House unless called for by a vote, would have warned his
learned friend, the attorney-general, against producing, as
matter of argument, papers which he could not suffer to be
laid before the House as matter of information.
_ The attempts now made to prove him inconsistent were
highly flattering: for what could be more flattering than to.
rest the defence of a measure almost entirely on some opinion
that he was supposed to have entertained twelve years ago ?
In 1782 the whole measure proceeded upon a principle in
which he and the noble lord, then secretary of state, agreed,
however they might differ on other points, namely, that
the people had a right to artn

their own defence, without




the orders of government. On that occasion no man was
called upon for money ; the expcnce, whatever it might be,
either in arms or in time, was to be paid by government. On
the present, money was the only thing asked for. He under-
dertook not to maintain the legality of giving ships to the
crown by subscription, although of that the danger was small,
because ships could not be manned without money. In the
present instance, an army was to be levied by the king with
money given him without the consent of parliament. If the
measure of 1782 was similar to this, it was strange that those
who disapproved of the subscriptions in 1778 should not have
told him of it at the time. If it were true, as contended for,
that the king had the prerogative of landing foreign troops,
he might now get money to pay those troops by voluntary
contributions. The fund would probably last for a very short
time ; but when the troops were landed, and so paid for any
given time, he should be glad to know how long the subscrip-
tions would be voluntary ? .Men who refused to subscribe
would then be marked in a very different way from that in
which it was now supposed they would be marked. That
such power could not exist in a free constitution, it was easy
to maintain in defiance of all precedents.

Mr. Fox proceeded to examine the several precedents ; and
spewed clearly that they did not apply. He observed, that
those who thought the degree to which a principle was car-
ried in politics to be every thing, ought to see the necessity of
watching and resisting the very first degree from the manner
in which things inconsiderable in themselves were drawn into
precedent. An invasion by the French, as he had before
said, was equal in all possible cases. It was a thing which
every man must resist, not only with his property but his life;
and what greater peril could be stated? No man could now be
said to refuse subscriptions upon the same grounds as certain
persons were supposed to have done in 1745. Then it might
be possible, although he did not know it to be so, that some
persons might feel themselves in such a situation, as to think
they could be bettered by restoring the house of Stuart to the
throne. Was there a man in that House.who could be bet-
tered by a successful invasion of the French ? Who, under
such a calamity, could even hope to be safe ? Those who were
the most apt to throw out the insinuation did not themselves
believe it, because they knew it to be impossible. The right
honourable the chancellor of the exchequer said, the sub-
scriptions were desirable, in as much as they would draw forth
men's opinions. Would he say, as a man of honour, that he
believed any person who refused to subscribe had a French,
ticket of civism in his pocket, or held a French invasion in

less abhorrence than he did himself? Here, then, was a new
objection, namely, that people might feel themselves forced to
subscribe under a menace of the severest kind — a menace
to their reputation as good citizens. Under all these objec-
tions, and finding it not relied upon as a measure of finance,
for the right honourable gentleman had owned that he ex-
pected little from it, he must persist in his opposition.


April 8.

r `HIS day Mr. Harrison moved, " That leave be given to bring
in a bill for the purpose of appropriating a certain part of the

emoluments arising from certain pensions and sinecure places, for
the service of the public, during the continuance of the war, at
the disposal of parliament ; and also for the purpose of appropri-
ating a part of the emoluments arising from certain efficient places,
amounting to more than a specified sum, to be applied to the same
purpose." The motion was supported by Mr. Coke, Mr. Curwen,
Mr. Sheridan, and Mr. Fox ; and opposed by Mr. Hawkins Browne,
Mr. Montagu, Mr. Burke, Mr. Rose, Mr. Pitt, and others. In
answer to what fell from Mr. Rose,

Mr. Fox admitted that he did hold one sinecure place, but
not more. He was, he acknowledged, one year clerk of the
pells in Ireland; and, to accommodate the government there,
he had, upon an improvident bargain, given it up, and ac-
cepted a pension in lieu of it, divided into two parts ; but
why it was called two places, he did not comprehend. The
place had not been granted to him, but was given by George
the Second to his father, for services done to government :
it was enjoyed by his father, afterwards by his brother, and
then it devolved to him as part of his inheritance. Mr. Fox
proceeded to state his opinion as to the present motion, which,
he said, was different from that of his honourable friend,
however he might agree with him in the necessity of adopting
such a plan at the present unfortunate juncture. He .

the motion applicable to the times, and therefore he should
support it. The sacredness of property was to be determined
by a general view of what might be considered property, and
not by any degrees. Pensions and sinecures held by patent
were as much property as any other possession ; and the prin-

ciple of property was so sacred, that no argument of degree
could for a moment be admitted as ground for trenching upon
it. Where his majesty had a right to grant a place for life,
ministers might be made to answer for giving it to an impro-
per person ; but the grant, if legally made, was good. A very
large proportion of the property of the kingdom would be
found in the same predicament, particularly that of a noble
relation of his, the Duke of Richmond, and several others,
none of which, it would be thought, could be invaded; and
if they were to look into the grants of the crown, the greatest
part of the landed property of the kingdom would be found
resting on that security. For this reason, if the bill should
ever go to a committee, he should expressly be for exempting
all sinecure places granted for a term of years, because he
would not allow an infringement on property in the first in-
stance. Principiis obsta. He did not think, however, when

. ministers were attempting to raise supplies in a new and un-
constitutional manner, that it was unbecoming in any mem-
ber of that House to call on persons holding great offices and
places under the crown, to chew their zeal by a voluntary sur-
render of some of their official emoluments.

Gentlemen who would give themselves the trouble to in-
vestigate, would see that 'Dthe propriety of the bill proposed
arose from the new mode of raising supplies by way of sub-
scription. When ministers went out of the legal road for
means to support the measures necessary to the war, and jus-
tified their doing so on the principle that it animated the peo-
ple, and excited zeal in the cause, it surely could not be
deemed inexpedient to call on those for aid whose business it
peculiarly was to manifest zeal, and exert every effort in the
maintenance of the war. Mr. Fox said, he should not take
any notice, because it had. been so fully answered already, of
the monstrous proposition made by a right honourable gentle-
man, (Mr. Burke,) that the crown was to be the sole judge of
the merits that called for reward, or the quantity of reward that
was to be bestowed. If the proposition itself; which the mo-
tion before the House stated, had been brought forward durieg
a time of peace, lie should have his doubts how far it would
be expedient; but, under the existing circumstances, he con-
sidered it a fair and prudent measure, as tending, in common
with the subscriptions which had been promoted, to evince the
zeal of the objects of it in common- with the rest of the

The conduct of the two secretaries of state furnished him
with an additional argument in favour of the measure. He
did not mean to say, in respect to the one, that 40001. a-year, ,
as treasurer of the navy, was too large a recompence for his,:


services, in addition to his place of secretary of state ; but he
himself had admitted the principle, when lie fairly resolved
to take the salary but of one, and not of both places. In
like manner, with regard to the other noble secretary, who
had relinquished his salary as auditor of the exchequer. But -
if they thus relinquished such considerable salaries, what be-
came of them? Why should they not be applied to the benefit
of the public ? The fact was, that the whole transaction was
nothing better than a manoeuvre, and instead of benefiting the
public, the amount of those places reverted back to the civil
list, which was a mode of adding to that list without the
consent ofparliament, and all that was thus saved to the civil
list became the means of extending the influence of the crown
in the hands of the minister of the day; which influence,
upon a comparison with what it was in 1782, would, he be-
lieved, be found to be much increased. Thus the public were
deceived with the appearance of saving, and consequent be-
nefit, when, in fact, the public gained no more than they
would have gained if those salaries went to their original des-
tination. He was decidedly of opinion, that, upon the whole,
the efficient offices of the country were not paid over-much,
and that what they got might be necessary to their support or
reward. With respect, however, to certain great officers, such
as the first lord of the treasury, the two secretaries of state,
&c. it was to be remembered, that when the present chan-
cellor of the exchequer was formerly in power, one of the last
acts of that administration was to record a minute in the
treasury office, that in future those offices were to be reduced
in their salaries ; the first to 50001. a-year ; the two second to
45oo/. each. It was true, that when he (Mr. Fox) Caine into
office, administration, not thinking that principle a wise one,
did not adhere to it : and upon their going out, and the right
honourable gentleman again coming into place, it would scent
that he also thought better ofit, because he did not think pro-
per to return to his former regulation. By what they did
upon that occasion, however, they left, as it were, their last
dying act upon record in favour of the reduction.

With regard to the nice calculations of the reduction of in-
fluence by means of the reformation boasted by the honourable
gentleman (Mr. Rose) to have been effected in the treasury,
although the question was not properly before them, he would
put it on its proper footing, and then sec how it stood. The
advantages to be hoped from such a reform were founded on
principles net so much of economy as of influence. This
being the case, he desired the House to compare the influence
before, with the influence as it existed at present; and though
Great Britain and Ireland were more distinct than formerly in
some instances, that man, hensaid, knew but little, Who did

vox. v.

not know that the influence of the crown then extended itself
to Ireland ; and it could not be denied, that influence in either

t"kin gdom served mutually to strengthen the hands of admi-
nistration. The situation of India, likewise, with respect to
the subject of influence, would be found another splendid ex-
ception to the honourable gentleman's proposition.

There were some general topics, that applied to the present
question, which he could not avoid taking notice of. One
honourable gentleman had asserted the flourishing state of
this country. This was a language which must be considered
as harsh and grating to the cars of those who were labouring.
under the burdens occasioned by the present singular con-
cussion of events. It was doubly insulting, as coming con-
nected with a budget, which added 900,0001: fresh taxes upon.
the subject. Was it in that addition of taxes that the people
were to look for the proofs of the flourishing state of our af-
fairs ? It might possibly be said, that some of thin burden was
of a nature in itself beneficial, as containing regulations highly
salutary. This might be true with regard to spirits; there,
however, if the benefit was certain, the tax must be as cene
tainly inefficient; and so vice versa, if it should be productive
by the quantity consumed, what became of the benefit to the
lower orders? Allowing, however, for the moment, that this
regulation was generally beneficial, was even that plea of be,
nefit applicable to the others? The increase, for instance,
on sugars; what could it be called, but completely burden-
some upon even the lowest orders, where tea, from habit, was
to be considered among the absolute necessaries of ? It
had been likewise stated, that our commerce was in a flourish-
ing state. How was that to be proved ? Not by a compa-
rison between the present and former wars (although even
there the argument would fail, the last war perhaps alone ex-
cepted,) but by taking our situation in the present war, as
compared with the years of peace immediately preceding, to-
gether with the similar analogy in former wars. In this true
way of considering the subject, he was sorry to say, we should
find no cause of triumph. The state of our manufacture-:
was likewise made a ground of exultation ; and it was said,
that Norwich was constantly lugged in as an exception to the
assertion. In point of fact, this was not true; but if it were,
the reason was obvious, because Norwich had been a principal
victim to the baneful effects of the war. It was not, however,
to that place alone that they were confined : look- throughout
Yorkshire and Lancashire, and would it be denied that dis-
tress, the most poignant, reigned universally through those
manufacturing counties ? 'Whether this distress were fairly
owing to the war or not, it certainly was not decent to state
them as if they were in a very flourishing situation.

'With respect to the disposition of the various places in the

gift of the crown, Mr. Fox said, he did not mega to question
the propriety of any individual gift, but should content him-
self with observing, that the whole administration must be of
the most meritorious description to deserve, in any degree, the
accumulation of places with which they had been loaded.
He agreed, that when a minister served his country, with
the approbation of the king, and that Bouse, it was highly
fitting that his labours should be amply and liberally rewarded;
and it was upon this principle that he had in some degree op-
posed a bill formerly brought in by Lord John Cavendish, for
abolishing the offices of the tellers of the exchequer, because
he conceived it but reasonable, and beneficial to the true in-
terests of the country, that the crown should have it in its
power to reward such of its servants as should serve with abi-
lity and fidelity; but when war pressed on us with all its
train of difficulties, when all parts of the country were called
upon, almost with threats, to subscribe towards defraying the
expences, he thought it reasonable that those who involved
the country in such difficulties, and who were the first to call
upon the people individually

for support, should themselves
begin, by setting the example which they wished to be fol-
lowed. In like manner, too, he was of opinion, that the
charges attending the carrying on of our government were
not inordinately expensive, because though compared with
some they might appear large, yet, taking the whole of human
affairs and human reasoning with us, they would be found as
moderate as could be expected. It was not, nevertheless, an
argument, that, because perfection was not attainable, it was
not to be attempted ; in striving to lessen some of the evils, a
great deal of good was to be attained ; in striving to lessen
some of the expences, much benefit was to be derived.

It had been said, that the present mode of negociating loans
was likely, in time of war, to save 500,0001. for the public; it
should however be remembered, that this mode, promising as
it might be, had been tried for only two years ; and, though
it had been successful in the last, it had led, in the first, to a.
very improvident and disadvantageous bargain. To repeat
the names of those who would have given better terms, : would
be only to mention some of the most respectable inhabitants
of this metropolis. Consols, it was certain,. would have been
taken by these persons at 75, instead of 72, the price given.
For the reasons which he had stated, he should vote for bring-
ing in the present bill ; and lest the bill might never reach
a committee, he would take that opportunity of declaring
what regulations he should think it right to propose if it were
2a a committee. He should think it but just to exempt Lavery


place in which any legal interest could be established. As
to the rest, he should propose to examine them, office by office,
and determine, upon their individual merits, how much should
be taken from each. In this view only he could agree to the
bill, as thereby it would be founded in some degree on pre-
cedent, and as being at this time rendered peculiarly necessary
from the circumstance of the subscriptions set on foot. He
declared he was himself much attached to old practices, but,
if driven to it, he must apply to new remedies.

Mr. Fox said, he could not conclude without doing some
justice to his feelings by taking; notice of the expressionsb-1
which had fallen from the same gentleman relative to the pro-
perty made by his father, as paymaster of the forces, coupled
with a statement of the immense deficiencies which remained
unaccounted for in the pay-office. He appealed to the House
whether it was fair and candid to unite these two circum-
stances together, so as to make them appear connected, with-
out one solid ground for any thing like serious accusation ?
If the honourable member meant such insinuation, he would
reply, that it was not founded in fact, and he would defy him
to the proof; but he did not believe he meant any such thing.
He ought however to have considered how deeply he wounded
the feelings of a gentleman by such insinuations. The fact
was certainly true that his father had made a large fortune—
great fortunes were made by the predecessors of his father in
that office—great fortunes were also made by his successors.
It was as true that great and unaccounted deficiencies existed
in his office ; but it was equally true that such deficiencies were
as great and as unsettled under former paymasters as him,
and with as little personal blame. Of a disposition generous.
beyond suspicion, he was liable to expose himself to imposition.
He was of an easy nature, which was not always— he believed
seldom — the mark of a guilty mind. The case of Lord
• Chatham himself was a proof that accounts might be long
out-standing without any disinclination to have them adjusted.
Without taking any ostensible part in the discussion of the
accounts, he certainly had seen the reports on the subject
by those reports he called upon gentlemen to judge, and not
to be led away by insinuations, which he again challenged
any man to vindicate or substantiate,

The. House divided
Tellers. Tellers.

YEAS {Mr. A.Taylor 7 N„ Mr. Neville 7 1,„la.jor Maitland 9"' "' t Mr. Sargent •
So it passed in the negative.




April 17.

IN addition to the plan of raising an internal force by voluntary
subscriptions, Mr. Pitt moved on the 7th of April, " For leave

to bring in a bill to enable subjects of France to enlist as soldiers
in regiments to serve on the continent of Europe, and in certain
other places, and to enable his majesty to grant commissions to
subjects of France to serve and receive pay as officers in such
regiments, or as engineers under certain restrictions." Leave
was given to bring in the bill, and on the motion for: ts passing,
upon the 7th,

Mr. Fox said, he was really sorry, at that stage of the
business, to trouble the House, as their minds must be to a
considerable degree made up upon the subject; but .he ab-
solutely felt himself called upon to say at least a few words,
because the bill appeared to him in sonic points of view, to
be of the utmost importance, and, if carried into effect upon
those principles upon which it had been maintained, likely
to produce consequences of the most alarming tendency, and
calamities the most dreadful that ever War in modern times
had produced. In the earlier stages of the bill, he was not
very anxious to deliver his sentiments upon it, because he
wished to be silent as to his objections, until he had heard
the reasons which should be urged in its favour; and although
the House was then in the last stage of it, the same distress
and difficulty remained as to the principle upon which it had
been brought forward, as existed at the commencement of
this proceeding. It was true, several objections had been
made to the some amendments had been proposed, with
different degrees of success, and some answers had been given
to the objections; but these applied chiefly to the provisions
of the bill. As to the principle of the bill, very little indeed
had been urged in its support, and nothing that had in the
smallest degree changed the first opinion he entertained on
the subject; on the contrary, many of those reasons which
had been urged in favour of thy. bill, and which had been
approved by the majority of the House, had excited in his;
mind very great alarm at the measure altogether. Almost
all that had been said by one set of its defenders amounted
to this, that those men who were to be inlisted under it,
would feel that, from success, they might hope to be restored.




to their honours, their fortunes, and their country; from
defeat, they must expect to meet either poverty or death.
Standing in this alternative, where success promised so much,
and defeat placed before their eyes the most dreadful cala-
mities, they must, it was supposed, engage with ardour in the
cause. Another set of the defenders of the bill, and par-
ticularly one right honourable gentleman, (Mr. Burke,) had
said, " that the bill was an auspicious beginning of a new
system; that the honours, rights, and property of the emi-
grants must be restored to them before our own could be
said to be secure; that Great Britain, with regard to its
property, and its rights, should feel an identity of interests
with the emigrants of France; and that, except those pro-
perties and those rights, were restored to them, our own
would be comparatively of little value." This, Mr. Fox said,
must be admitted to be a position perfectly novel, and would,
in his opinion, in its nature and tendency, be dangerous to
this country and to Europe, if adopted by government or
sanctioned by parliament.

He wished, for a few moments, to call the attention of the
House to the progress of the business. Though inimical to
the war in its commencement, and wishing sincerely, as he
thought it for the interest of the country, that it should be
avoided if possible, yet being once entered upon, he held it
right that it should be prosecuted with energy and effect.
To this end he promised his support, thinking that it was
to be carried on as all former wars had been carried on, by
fleets, armies, and money; and, in the view in which it was
stated to the Home at its commencement, that was the species
of support that it was understood government looked for ;
for it was at that time distinctly stated, that the object of the
war was to repel a distinct aggression of France against
Great Britain and her ally the United Provinces, which
aggression was the insult offered to this country by certain
decrees of the national convention, and by their attempt to
deprive Holland of the exclusive navigation of the Scheldt.
That those were good grounds of war could not be denied,
unless satisfaction might have been obtained by negotiation.
They were certainly proper subjects to discuss by negotiation;
and it was his opinion, if those means had been tried, that
the present war might have been avoided. But such was
not the opinion of the executive government; it was not the
opinion of the House of Commons; and we therefore had
recourse to arms to procure satisfaction for the insult, security
from further aggressions, and indemnity for our losses. Mr.
Fox said, he sincerely lamented that such was the opinion of
the executive government, and of the House of Commons;



because he believed it to be the cause of all the evils we had
already suffered, and of the many calamities in• which we
and the rest of Europe were likely to be involved. He
wished that we had had recourse first to negotiation; and
if that had failed to procure us all we had a just right to
demand, no doubt could have been entertained of the pro-
priety of our entering into a war, and endeavouring to
procure from France, by the success of our arms, that justice
which she refused to the wisdom of our councils.

At the commencement of the war, the government of
France made no part of the consideration of parliament as
connected with the question of peace, except as .to how far. •
such a government was capable of affording security against
future insult and aggression. When that security was dis-
cussed in that House, and those who were most disposed to
decry every thing that belonged to the government of France,
were driven to an explanation of what they meant and what
they really intended to insist on, the opinion of the House he
understood to have been this, that it was a matter of much
difficulty, to know precisely what kind of security could be
obtained from the present government of France; but it was
then admitted, that to obtain some security on that point
was not altogether impossible; and that if security could
be had, there existed no objection to the fbrin of government,
nor should that be considered as any obstacle to concluding
a peace. There was no necessity for him to argue, that
there existed a possibility of obtaining security from such a
government, because from the statement of the condition,
obviously the possibility was admitted. If those gentlemen,
who argued this conditionally, did not feel the possibility of
obtaining security, they certainly dealt in a very unfair and
uncandid manner with the House and with the country;
for if they were of opinion, that we could not obtain security
from the present government, ought they not, ill an open,
bold, and manly way, to have then declared, that it would
be impossible to obtain peace while that government had
existence, and that, to obtain so desirable an object, that
government must of necessity be destroyed? That, however,
was not the state of the case last year; nothing of that sort
had been insisted upon; no such opinion was ventured to be
advanced; and he was very much inclined to believe, that
if the object for which we were about to engage in the war
had been stated by the executive government to have been
the subversion of the government of France, that it would
not, either in that House, or by the people of the country,
have been supported. He complained, therefore, on the
part of the people of England, and on the part of the House

1 . 4

of Commons, that we had been led into a war upon one
pretence, and that the operations for carrying it on were
directed to purposes and objects totally different from those
held out to that House and to the country, by his majesty's

He would ask, if this measure was necessary for carrying
on the war on the principles avowed last year, although it
was not then either a fit or necessary one? It would be a
trifling answer to say, " It might not have been necessary
then, but we know it to be so at present, and it is never too
late to mend." The manner in which they proposed it
should have been fair, open, and sincere; they should have
told the House the truth ; they should have confessed their
own Inches last year, and shewn they were willing and de-
sirous, by new diligence, to make the best atonement in their
power to their country for their former neglect and inatten-
tion : they should have said with one voice, " We now look
upon the war as such, that this measure should have been
adopted originally, and that it is a necessary one, though we
entertained a different opinion at first."

.They should declare
to the House what was in reality their system and their object;
in what particulars it had been altered from their original
plan; and then, whether such alteration was for the better
or the worse, have left parliament to judge. Certainly, he
thought the war - on our part to be both just and necessary,
provided it was impossible to obtain, in the first instance,
satisfaction and security by negotiation; but he could never
agree that we should continue the war for the purpose of
imposing a form of government on France. He certainly
thought, that even though the government of France was an
unjust or wicked government, it was in direct contradiction
of the first principles of an independent state, and of the
sovereignty of nations, to interfere with its formation. If a
people, in the formation of their government, have been
ill-advised, if they have fallen into error, if they

have acted
iniquitously and unjustly towards each other, God was their
only judge; it was not the province of other nations to
chastise their folly, or punish their wickedness, by chusing
who should rule over them, or in what manner and form they
should be governed.

These points, continued Mr. Fox, seemed to have been
universally understood and assented to last year; they were
points agreed on by all the authors lie had ever had an op-
portunity to consult, who had treated of the law of nations,
or the nature of government. Now, it seemed, we had en-
tirely changed our system, and were to employ the French
emigrants in support of our new one. If the purport of


this bill had been simply to enable Ins majesty to enlist fo-
reigners, he should have considered it in a much more fa-
vourable light; but, to his understanding and Comprehension
it appeared to be Ibis: that we pledged the faith of this
country to the emigrants for the full restoration of all their
rights, titles, privileges, and properties, which they had lost
by the Revolution, and that we would overturn the present
existing government of France by force of arms. With re-
spect to those unfortunate men, the emigrants, there was no
man who felt more sincerely for their situation than he did.
It was true he differed in sentiments with most of them ; he
disapproved of their conduct in many instances ; but, if dif-
ference of opinion were a cause of withholding sympathy and
compassion, this would indeed be a dismal world to inhabit.
Difference of opinion was, in his mind, one great cause of
the improvement of mankind, because it led to inquiry and
discussion. It was his opinion that in all points, civil and
religious, toleration of opinion was wisdom; upon that de-
pended all the peace, he had almost said all the virtue, and
consequently all the happiness of the world. 'This humane
doctrine was the :Treat leading feature of the mild and bene-
ficent system of Christianity, and what had tended to render
it such an inestimable blessing to mankind. He should,
therefore, by no means say any thing harsh of the emigrants,
though differing from them in sentiments ; on the contrary,
it appeared from their conduct, that they were sincere in
their professions. But because he sympathized with and
compassionated the sufferings and misibrtunes of those men,
it was not necessary that he should be willing to pledge the
faith of the country for the restoration of all they had lost
by the Revolution, and for the total subversion of the pre-
sent ruling powers in France; that was a conduct, which, if
adopted, would, in his opinion, expose this country to great
and tremendous evils.

The war in itself, considering the present condition of
France, Mr. Fox considered as formidable to this country
and to its constitution. Whatever might be the objects to
be attained by it in the minds of other men he could not tell;
two only seemed most desirable to be entertained: the first,
that its duration should be as short as possible ; the second,
that in its prosecution it should be as little bloody and savage
as the nature of the case would admit. The present bill he
principally objected to as militating against those two wishes
of his heart; for it would certainly tend both to prolong the
war, and render it more savage, bloody, and inhuman, than
any war that had ever disgraced the annals of modern nations.
If the object of the war, as had been originally . stated, was


to recover the exclusive navigation of the Scheldt for the
United States, or to repel any insult offered us by the French,
or to obtain satisfaction for present, and security against
future aggression, he confessed that he should be sanguine in
his hopes with respect to its termination. He might then
think, that those who considered the last as a fortunate
campaign, had not viewed the matter so unfairly ; because,
if such were the objects of the war, the consideration of the
places we had taken might induce the French to think of
peace. If we took Pondicherry, that might bring us a step
nearer peace; because prudence might induce them to the
measure, in order to save the remainder of their Indian pos-
sessions. The capture of St. Domingo, or Martinico, would
be another step nearer the attainment of that desirable object ;
because a regard for the preservation of their other domi-
nions in the West might incline them to conclude a peace.
In that point of view it was easy to conceive how a nation of
Europe might be conquered in the East or West Indies :
successes of this kind, in all former wars, had been so many
steps towards the conclusion of peace. Upon such grounds
as these were founded the peace of Utrecht concluded by
Louis XIV., the peace of Fontainblcau by Louis XV., and
the peace of Paris in 1783 by Great Britain. But was that
the case in the present war ? No such thing; because the
object of the present and former wars was essentially different.
If the principle of the present bill was carried into effect,
we must necessarily destroy the present existing government,
or what you please to call it, of France. it would avail us
nothing, if our object be the destruction of the French go-
vernment, to take the whole of their East and West India
dominions; it would avail us nothing that Brissot, or Danton,
or Robespierre were put to death ; for what would the French
say ? "True, we have had all these losses ; but we are not
fighting for dominion or territory, or for particular men ; we

_ --

are fighting for our existence, and for the existence of our
government." Successes of this kind, therefore, had no
effect whatever towards accelerating the conclusion of a peace.
It was true, it might be said, that the more we took of their
possessions, the more we should reduce their strength, and
therefore the more we should incline them to wish for peace.
This mode of arguing was certainly right when one thing was
held equivalent to another, and when the great object was
the loss or gain of possession or dominion. These arguments
had force or application only to a case where we chanced to
be at war with a government that it was not our object to,
destroy, but they could have no bearing whatever on the case
of a war with a government, the destruction of which was


made a necessary preliminary of peam To such a govern-
ment, therefore,. the loss of an island, of islands, could
afford no argument for making peace, because the persons
exercising the powers of government knew that our object and
endeavours aimed at their entire destruction.

It might be said, that by degrees we might so weaken
them, that they would consent to any form of government
rather than continue the war; for, by diminishing their
power, we should lower their pride. He would ask, was
there any man in that House, or any man in the country,
that had ever considered the subject, who thought that in the
'present situation of France such an effect could follow from
such a cause ? Could we conceive that those men, with such
a spirit, whether from terror of their rulers, depravity of
heart, enthusiasm, or from whatever cause such a spirit and
disposition might have originated; could' we conceive that
these men would be found, in any considerable number, to
change the sentiments they had almost to a man adopted, of
forming a government for themselves, and tamely and sub-
missively bear the yoke of a foreign power, and take any go-
vernment that should be dictated to them ; and all this because
we might have proved successful in the East or West Indies?
If any person could hold such an opinion, his mind must be
strangely constituted indeed ! It might, however, be said,
that our successes would tend to make the people discontented
with their present rulers, and diminish their attachment to
their government. Was such an effect to be expected, or at
all likely to be produced ? Was there a man, woman, or even
a child, in France, who, having borne all that they had borne
within the last five years, who, having witnessed the horrors
and blood with which their country has been deluged, to
whom each day had been a day of life and death, yet had
nevertheless adhered to their government and their rulers,
would now desert them merely for the loss of an island in the
East or West Indies ? We all knew that when the mind was
irritated and goaded, when it was busied in viewing daily
objects of terror at home, it was not likely to be much af-
fected by remote consequences : they were either not taken
into its consideration at all, or, if considered, compared with
nearer evils they were looked on as nothing. If our object
was, therefore, against the government, and not against the
possessions of FraLce, there was no man of sense who would
not admit that those different 'advantages which he bad enu-
merated, had not the smallest tendency to promote or restore
peace; and there could be . no advantage which we could pos-
sibly gain, that could contribute to this end, unless we should
be able to take Paris, or some other material part of France;


which would be found an undertaking of infinite difficulty
and dreadful danger.

It was not his intention, Mr. Fox said, to inquire into the
conduct of the war. He had stated these points merely for
the purpose of pointing out the difference between the two
kinds of war to which he had alluded, as to the circumstances
which tended to the acceleration of peace; and certainly, in
that point of view, the difference was great indeed. Viewing,
therefore, the present bill on such a principle, and consider-
ing it, what the common sense of mankind must admit it to
be, a virtual engagement on the part of this country to restore
the ancient government of France, and to replace those emi
grants in the situation they formerly enjoyed, surrounded by
all that pomp and dignity we heard so elegantly depicted,
peace appeared to him an object infinitely tely distant. It was
impossible to say what turn the affairs of France might take;
nothing could be more improper, or even ridiculous, than
any attempt to predict what might occur: but looking on the
circumstances of that country as they were at. present, he felt
himself bound to say, that the conquest of the French seemed
to him a task so dangerous and difficult, that he should be
unwilling to advise it to be undertaken. It had been said on
a former night by an honourable gentleman, (Mr. Jenkinson,")
and it was wisely and truly said, that the best mode of con-
quering France was to take Paris, and that the only means
by which this could be effected, would be by first taking the
strong towns on the northern frontier, which might serve as a
protection for our troops, and enable us to march forward
with security : that, Mr. Fox said, he also conceived to be
wise and just reasoning, and the only way in which Paris
could be taken ; but, the very mode proposed for attaining
this object, convinced him at once of the difficulty, and al-
most impossibility, of carrying it into effect. When we
looked on the iron frontier of France, and saw what must be
passed, before we could have any fair prospect of marching
to Paris, we must be convinced that the task was of an Her-
culean kind; required an Herculean labour, length of time,
and an uninterrupted series of success to accomplish ; and we
should also take into consideration the nature of the cause,
and the temper and disposition of the people with whom we
have to contend.

It had been mentioned more than once, and he presumed
by way of reproach to him, that he gloried in the victory
of Jemappe. He had heard it, often as it had ,been men-
tioned, without pain or emotion ; for he had not said any
thing upon that subject which he had yet found cause to re-
pent of; nor did he retract a single syllable of what he had



ever said on that occasion. It had been asked, by way of
derision, was it any thing extraordinary for 6o,000 men to
vanquish 20,000, and wherein consisted the glory of the
action ? He did not mean to say that it was a thing extraor-
dinary or surprising; but let them not therefore howl va-
lour or military character of the French too cheap even in
their present situation. It was not his design to detract from
the valour of the Austrians or Prussians, much less did he
wish to detract from the well-known bravery and military skill
of his countrymen ; at the same time, if it was wise and ne-
cessary to look our danger in the face, let us not think of de-
spising our enemy : from this error many fatal consequences
had often arisen. He should refer the House for the military
character of the French, to the manifesto of the King of
Prussia: when assigning his motives for withdrawing himself
from the war, he spoke of diem as a people of uncommon
bravery, and approved tactics. This was the opinion of ex-
perience; and not merely the opinion of the king himself,
but that of all his generals and officers; men, if he might use
the term, the most learned in military affairs, and founded
on dreadful experience of their prowess.

Experto erudite, quantus
In clypeum assurgat, quo turbine torqueat hastam,

In the description which this declaration gave there was nothing
upon which any reasonable hope could be founded, that the
French were a people easy to be conquered : to which he must
add, that the experience of history had taught him to expect
that such a people, fighting under such circumstances, must
be very formidable to the most powerful enemy that could be
opposed to them; and if we were to conjecture the future
from the consideration of the past, such an event, as the com-
plete conquest of the French in war, could not be reasonably
expected. If, therefore, this was likely to be a pursuit so
hopeless, he should wish to ask, whether it were prudent, or
consistent with the dignity and honour of this country, (for the
honour of a nation, like the honour of an individual, was the
most valuable and sacred of its possessions,) to employ those
unfortunate people in such a visionary scheme? It was not
right to pledge our honour for the performance of what all
the world knew to be extremely difficult to perform, and what,
perhaps, many experienced people considered as altogether
impossible to effect.

Having thus endeavoured to shew that the prospect of peace
would by this measure be placed at an infinite distance, and
that it was highly improper to pledge ourselves for the per-
formance of what all the world must perceive to be very

doubtful, if not desperate, namely, to overturn the present
existing government of France, and to restore to these emi-
grants all the rights, honours, and privileges they formerly0 3
enjoyed, he was led to consider the effect that this Nvar, by its,
continuance, would have on the hearts and the general mora-
lity of the people of Europe. He did not mean to boast the
possession of humanity as peculiar to himself; more than to
any other person; but he begged leave, at the same time, to
say; that he hoped he did not possess less than any other man,
who had not more acute feelings, or a better understanding :
he was, therefore, convinced, there was not one man in this
country, however he might differ from him in opinion as to
the justice, or the origin, or the necessity of the war, who
felt more real anguish for the calamitous state of Europe at
this moment than he did. It had been said, and truly, that
one of the many evil consequences of the war was, that it
tended to render the hearts of mankind callous to the feelings
and sentiments of humanity. When we daily heard of the
massacres of such numbers of individuals, that memory could
not even recollect their names ; when we contemplated the
slaughters at Lyons, at Marseilles, at Bourdeaux, at Toulon ;
he much feared that the effect would be injurious to the morals
of all Europe: the misfortunes experienced by multitudes of
individuals at these and other places had been so great, that
the mind was bewildered in the magnitude and complication
of the misery. He was' clearly of 'opinion, that the human
mind might be made so familiar with misery, and scenes of
horror, as at last to disregard them, or at least to view them
with indifference. It was difficult to preserve always the
acuteness of the feelings; and it was, in his mind, no small
misfortune to live at a period when scenes of horror and blood
were frequent. By the constant repetition of such scenes, our
feelings were by degrees blunted, and in time became indif-
ferent to what at first would interest them with the most
amiable sympathy and distress. Humanity on this account,
had been, by the Stoics, deemed a weakness in our nature,
and in their opinions impeded the progress of the judgment,
and consequently the improvement of morals ; but his senti-
ments so widely differed from theirs, that he thought huma-
nity not only not a weakness, but the strongest and safest
friend to virtue. No man could lament, therefore, more than
he did, the mischief done to mankind by making the heart
too familiar with misery, and rendering it at last indifferent;
because, on the heart and on the feelings, chiefly depended
our love of virtue; and he was convinced they did more ser-
vice to the cause of virtue,, than the wisest precepts of the,
wisest men. Humanity was' one of the most beautiful parts

of the divine system of Christianity, 'which taught us not only
to do good to mankind, but to love each other as brethren ;
and this all depended on the sensibility of our hearts, the
greatest blessing bestowed by Providence on man, and with-
out which, with the most refined and polished understanding,
he would be no better than a savage.

The feelings of all Europe had already suffered by the re-
peated horrors of France; but, with regard to egeir cause,
the French appeared to have, in a great measure, been ,
driven to these violent scenes of bloodshed and horror. It
was with a nation as with an individual ; for if an individual
was placed in a situation in which he felt himself abandoned
by the whole world, and found that no one was his friend, that
no one interested himself in his happiness or welfare, but that
all mankind, as it were by general consent, were his enemies,
he must become a misanthrope and a savage, unless he pos-
sessed a mind more heroic and exalted than we had any
right to expect. Such was the situation in which France had
been placed; almost all Europe had united against this single
people; not for the purpose of regaining any territory upon
the Rhine, or restraining the strides of an ambitious monarch
towards universal empire, as had been the case with the com-
bination against Louis XIV.; not for the purpose of repelling
an aggression, or to obtain reparation for an injury, or satis-
fhction for an insult, or indemnification for losses, and secu-
rity for future peace, but for the open and avowed purpose of
destroying a people, or compelling them to accept a form of
government to be imposed on them by force of arms; and
that, too, the form which, from every conjecture that could
possibly be made, they most detested and abhorred—their
ancient monarchy. Could it be wondered at that the French,
under such circumstances, were savage and ferocious? He
did not say that it was the intention of the combined powers
to compel them to return to their ancient form of government;
it was' enough that they were under the apprehension of it,
and that almost the whole of Europe were leagued in arms
against them ; and no man could deny, but, as a people, they
had an equitable mid moral right to resist such an attempt,
and to refuse their submission to such dictation.

A right honourable gentleman (Mr. Burke) had drawn a
pleasing picture of the happiness of the people of France un-
der their monarchy, and had bestowed what he considered
an unmerited eulogium on that form of government, where
the French peasant was described to have sat in happiness and
security under his vine or his olive. He, for his part, Mr.
Fox said, had certainly no pretensions to any thing like pro-
found philosophical obseryation on men or 'twirlers, but he

had been in France where this mild and temperate monarchy
was, and had seen some of their peasants, who were so far
from having any thing like security for the possession of any
property they might have, that it was altogether at the dis-
posal of the higher orders; and their situation in general was,
to all appearance, so replete with misery, so abject, and so
wretched, that they could not be objects of envy to the sub-jects of the most absolute despots upon earth. He knew that
France had" been called " a mitigated absolute monarchy :" ,
This he would deny, from experience, and contend, that it
was most fierce and barbarous. Ile did not mean to compare
the situation of the people of France, under their monarchy,
with the situation of the people of this country, or with the
situation of the inhabitants of Holland, of the United States,
or the happy Cantons of' Switzerland; he would compare
them with the inhabitants of Germany and Italy, and the
other despotic governments of Europe, and contend, that
their situation was by far the most distressed and wretched of
any of them. Seeing this to have been their situation, and
apprehending the object of the combined powers to be to re-
place them in that bondage, it was not surprising that they
should become furious.

In a former debate on this bill, he bad heard it asked,
Whether, if any of the emigrants employed by this country
should be taken and put to death, we were to retaliate? He
had heard also, in reply, a solitary, but dreadful," Yes ;" and
surely the wit that had been used on this reply was as ill-timed
as it was inapplicable. Dreadful were the consequences that
must follow the adoption of a system of retaliation ; dreadful
the situation in which these unhappy men would be placed,
who must, if taken, be considered as rebels, and put to death:
as to these unfortunate men, the war would be a civil war to
all intents and purposes ; and every man knew that civil wars
had never been distinguished by humanity. A great military
authority (Lord Mulgrave) had asserted, that these evils, so
much apprehended, were not likely to be produced. He re,joiced at this information ; but, nevertheless, he believed that
those gallant men who fought under the Prince of Conde,
and were unfortunately taken prisoners, had been to a man
put to death. The same noble lord- had asked, whether we
should suffer ourselves to be bullied by the French out of the
means which were in our power? Certainly not ; but let us be
certain, in the first place, that these means rested upon fair
grounds, and were such as we had a just right to use. The
opinion which he was about to state, was like many other of
his opinions, perhaps singular; it was this, that war ought to
be carried on as mercifully as possible, without any regard to

persons. He certainly could not find this opinion either in
books, or in the practice of Europe; and history taught all
who perused it, that the treatment of prisoners in civil wars
was never remarkable for humanity. Let us look to our own
history, and to what were called good times. We had had,
during the present century, in this country, two rebellions,
in the years f7 1 5 and 1745. Did we then reverence this
merciful maxim? Did we consider that the treason of every
man was done away by his holding a commission from a fo-
reign power, when taken in the field of battle? No : Mr.
Radcliffe offered this plea; but it did not avail him : he was

If the French were to land in this kingdom, and there
chanced to be any body of people so abandoned to all sense
of duty, so lost to the love of their country, so dead to their
own interest and happiness, as to join them, shoulit we pardon
any of them, who should produce a commission from the con-
vention ? 'We should not. If, therefore, any of these emi-
grants were taken in the field of battle, in arms against their
country, was it to be supposed that the convention would re-
spect the commissions granted by the King of Great Britain,
or that those commissions would afford them protection, or
secure them from punishment? In the present question, if we
determined not to retaliate, in what a disgraceful and calamitous
situation did we place those whom we employed ! And if we
did retaliate, good God ! in what horrors would Europe be
involved ! In whatever point of view he considered the mea-
sure, it appeared highly objectionable; it would tend, if adopt-
ed, to render the war more bloody and of longer duration.

Let us take a view (continued Mr. Fox) of ancient history,
and see how wars have been conducted, and compare them
with the present; we shall then see the reason why the present
war is more bloody and more cruel, than any of those wars
recorded in modern history. In modern wars, the contest
has been, generally speaking, concerning the possession of
territory; at least the loss of territory, for the most part, has
determined it; each acknowledging the independence of the
other as a nation; and therefore the parties, like two indivi-
duals at law, did not seek to destroy each other after their
difference was determined. In ancient wars, the contest was
between powers seeking the destruction and extermination of
each other as a nation. It is not my wish to take from the
mild effects of the Christian religion, which also has tended
to soften the manners of men, but the merciful manner in
which modern wars have been carried on, in comparison of
the ancient, has resulted chiefly from this great difference be-
tween their objects. Delenda est Carthago, said the ,Roman


senate, of .Carthage: Athens conceived it was for her interest
to destroy the government of Sparta, and, vice versa, the Ma-
cedonians were convinced of the necessity of extirpating the
Greeks. To these wars of the ancients, the civil wars of mo-
dern times alone afford a parallel, because their objects are
also to effect the destruction of governments; and for this
reason, they are less merciful and mild than wars waged be-
tween independent sovereigns. The present contest with
France may be justly termed a civil war, in the force, the
acrimony, and savageness with which it is carried on.

The combined powers had declared that the government of
France must be destroyed, and that declaration had rendered
the French desperate and cruel. That was a system at which
humanity shuddered; that was a system promoted by the pre-
sent ; a system openly avowed and maintained by those
who supported the principles of this measure. That system
had already had its effects in this country; it had rendered the
people callous; some through fear, a power which deprived a
man of rationality; others by indifference, which prevented .
a man from exerting his intellects, and benumbed his feelings.
To what but this could be imputed the excessive severity of
the °sentences lately passed upon Mr. Muir, Mr.- Palmer, and
others, for having done nothing more than an honest man,
acting perhaps under the influence of a misguided judgment,
might conceive it to be his duty to do; for having done no-
thing more than pursue a little too closely the former con-
duct of his present prosecutor? To what but this could be
imputed the general disinclination of the House, and lastly,
its absolute refusal, to interfere with these sentences? If any
man, three years ago, had committed such an offence, and
had received such a sentence, the House would have fired
with indignation, and interfered to prevent its execution.
That punishments so enormous should be inflicted on gentle-
men of a liberal education, and irreproachable manners, pro-
bably possessed of good hearts, and whose only crime so nearly
resembled the virtues of other men, who even arrogated to
themselves some merit on that head; that such men, for a bare
misdemeanour, should receive a sentence worse than death;
a sentence that had the certainty of death, without its imme-
diate release from misery, a lingering, peevish infliction of a
punishment, which, in cruelty, exceeded immediate death;
and all this for a conduct not long since deemed meritorious;
this was owing to the horrid examples of France, and arose
from inordinate fear, and miserable apprehension. \Vas he
not, then, entitled to say, that the present war was dangerous
to the constitution of this country, since it tended so directly,
to extinguish, in that House and in the people, the spirit which.-



had hitherto guarded the constitution from the daily attacks
of the executive power ? Impressed so forcibly with these sen-
timents, he felt himself unable to withhold his opinion; not
from any expectation of making any deep impression on the
majority of that House; that, he was well convinced, would
be a hopeless expectation ; but because he conceived it his
duty so to do, that the public might be called upon to exert
their judgment.

There were two points more to be considered, before he
could take leave of the subject: first, the probable effect this
system would have on the French character ; and second, the
immense expence the measure might introduce in the public
expenditure of this country. With regard to the first point,
it was to be observed, that the French character was a marked
one ; and nothing was more prominent in it than an attach
meat to their country, which might be called patriotism, , or
nationality, but which consisted in the desire of having France
appear magnanimous and great in the eyes of the world.
Perhaps in this they had never bean equalled, except by the
ancient Romans. This ought to make tile House cautious as
to what might be the result of employing any very consider-
able number of these men. Let them consider, that should
we even succeed in placing Louis XVII. on the throne, and
a question of indemnity were to arise, perhaps these very
French troops we had employed might take part against us ;
they might possibly have also other interests in betraying us.
He did not mean to say they would do it, but at the same
time it would not be altogether discreet to hold out to them
too great a temptation. Suppose, however, that we should
.fail in our attempts, and should be forced to return to the
first object of the war, what would be then the consequence ?
We should become the sad spectators of the rum we had oc-
casioned ; we should hear these emigrants reproach us in this
manner : " We depended on your promises, and you have
deceived us; we relied on you with confidence, and you have
thus prevented us from using any endeavour to reconcile our-
selves to our country." "We should then be forced, either to
cast them out to the wide world in misery and distress, or to
burden the people of this country for their maintenance; a
burden that would be more heavy, .and less just, than that in
consequence of the protection afforded the loyalists in the
American war. -With regard to the expence, it was impos-
sible to say to what extent it might go ; and as our resources,
like all human things, had their limits, we could not be quite
sure the people would be able to bear the burden; nor could
we be sure, supposing them able, that they would be long
willinZ to do so. When so desirable an end would be aceorn-,


[April 3o.

pushed God only knew ! but he contended, that we should
endeavour to accelerate the period of peace, and to make the
war as little savage and ferocious as possible: This bill, as
inimical to these two very desirable objects, which were so
much the wish of his heart, should have his decided negative.,

The bill passed without a division.


April 3o.

ON the 28th of April a message was delivered from the king,informing the House of Commons of the treaty concluded
with the King of Prussia ; by which Great Britain and the States.
General had jointly stipulated'.

to grant that monarch a larger subsidy
for the prosecution of the war. When the terms were laid before
the House, it appeared that 1,800,000/. were to be paid him for
the services of a twelvemonth ; of which Holland was to furnish
400,0001. The immensity of such a sum, advanced to a prince in
whom little or no confidence was reposed, awakened the fears of
those who dreaded his duplicity, and that being once in possession
of this treasure, he would feel little concern for those from whom
he had received it. This apprehension was the more justlyfounded, as he was privately negotiating with the French govern-
ment at this very time, and preparing for that secession from the
confederacy which lie had already resolved on. The message was
taken into consideration on the 3oth, when Mr. Pitt

- opened the sub-ject to the House, and moved, " That the sum of two millions five
hundred thousand pounds be granted to make good the engage-
ments which his majesty has entered into with the King of Prussia,
as well as to defray any extraordinary expences which may be in-
curred for the service of the year 17 94, and to take such measures
as the exigency of affairs may require ; and that such sum be
raised by loan or exchequer bills, to be charged upon the first
aids to be granted in the next session of parliament."

Mr. Fox said, it was necessary for him to say a few words
upon the present extraordinary occasion, and the extraordinary
manner in which the subject had been brought forward by
the right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer. The
commencement of the speech of the right honourable gentle-
man appeared to him to be of the most alarming tendency. It
held out a system, which, if pursued, the wealth of this coun-
try, even supposing it to exceed the most sanguine hopes of


the most liberal calculator, was comparatively nothing. It
seemed to convey this idea, that we were not only to subsidize
the King of Prussia, and enable him to carry on his operations
in the war, whenever he might be tired of so doing at his own
expence, but also to bear the whole expellee of any other
power, whenever that power should be in the humour to ex-
press the same inclination. The right honourable gentleman
had said, that if he had the honour of advising the court of
Berlin, he had no doubt which way his opinion would be
given ; because the existence of the nation depended on the
issue of the contest; but that the court of Berlin, from a con-
sideration of the restricted commerce, the limited resources,
and the nature and form of the constitution of Prussia, (which,
by the way, was no proof of its excellence,) might have enter-
tained doubts how far it was prudent to remain a principal in
this contest; yet, notwithstanding these considerations, the
right honourable gentleman would have had no hesitation in
advising that court to have continued a principal in the war.
The house would recollect, therefore, that it was told by the
minister of the King of England, that his ally, ,he King of
Prussia, had been so ill advised, that he had taken the timid,
the weak, the mean, the wicked, the shameful and scandalous
determination, by abandoning the war, or abandoning his own
honour, abandoning the interest and safety of his own subjects;
this was the amount of that observation.

The right honourable gentleman had not, however, stop-
ped there ; he went further, and said, since this was the case,
since such had been the disgraceful conduct of Prtissia, such
the timid and pusillanimous result of the councils of the court
of Berlin, that Great Britain ought to step forward,
and press the King of Prussia to proceed contrary to
the advice of his counsellors, and engage to bear the
expence. What ! when Spain, Austria, and all the other
powers, might come to the same resolution ? Yes, though
all Europe should come to that resolution ; for lie had said,
that from the moment that resolution was taken, it became
our interest and our duty to stand in the place of this monarch,
and to say to him, " Since you are so ill advised upon this
business, and are determined to withdraw yourself from the
contest, let us have your troops, and you shall have our money."
Mr. Fox said, he wished to ask, whether the whole of that ar-
gument was not applicable to Spain, and to all the other com-
bined powers, at present at war with France ? This was not
an idle speculation, it might soon become a reality. Did the
right honourable gentleman know the resources of Austria?
Kid he any thing to say, that could give the people of this
country any ground to hope that the same difficulty would not

S 3

[April 30.

be felt by the other powers as had been expressed by Prussia?
They had the same circumstances of difficulty with regard to
their wealth and commerce ; and all, except the Dutch, the
same defect with respect to their constitution. Was there
any inconvenience felt by the King of Prussia, that did not
belong, in a great degree, to the Emperor, to the King of
Spain, and to the other combined powers ? 'What ; then, was
to be expected to be the result of all this ? Why, that the
whole expence would eventually fall on Great Britain. He
laid the more stress upon this, because-the whole force of the
right honourable gentleman's argument went to this point.
When this came to be coupled with the avowed object oft he war,
the total destruction of the French government, the situation
of this country was dreadful. If we should be of opinion, that
our existence as a nation depended on that point, as the right
honourable gentleman's argument maintained, and the other
powers should follow the steps of the King of Prussia, then,
for the sake of our own existence, we might be brought to pay
ter every man and every horse in Europe, employed against
the French in the present dreadful contest. From our con-
duct in this war, it would seem as if we had been originally
attacked in it, and Prussia not at all; as if France had at-
tacked us iatheEast and the West Indies ; and that the King of
Prussia was only at war with France as our ally and assistant.
But we all knew the fact to be otherwise, that the King of
Prussia originally began it; and, for any thing we could now
prove to the contrary, it was that very beginning of his which
brought on the aggression made by the French on Holland,
and which involved us in the contest. What does the King
of Prussia say to us upon this occasion ? Does he say, " Sorry
I am that I have involved my friends in a disagreeable situ-
ation ; that I have, without intending it, brought upon them
the calamities of war; but now that I have done so, I feel
myself bound, by every tie of honour and of justice, to double,
nay, treble my efforts to get them out of it ?" No : the language
was this, " I have got Great Britain and Holland into
this contest: they are involved in it at this moment from
my adventure, and my dominions are more remote, and con-
sequently not so immediately affected as theirs : I will dis-
continue my efforts, unless they chuse to bear my expellees."

It was hardly possible for the mind of man to conceive a
circumstance more odious, and more liable to suspicion of
every kind, than this conduct of the King of Prussia : it had
in it such materials, and was composed of a mixture of fraud,
perfidy, and meanness, perfectly new to all modern political
history. He had declared it to be our cause, and not his; and
that he would proceed no further on his own account. So


infamous, indeed, had been the conduct of the King of Prussia,
that it was impossible for any man of the least prudence to
trust that court in any thiug ; and yet this was the court to
which the people of this country were, by the proposal of the
minister of the King of England that night, to pay 1,350,0001.
for carrying on the war which that court itself commenced.
What security had we, even after agreeing to pay this money,
that the King of Prussia would not say, he had met with fur-
ther difficulties, and make another demand of us, even in the
course of this campaign ? 'What confidence could we place in
a person who had already betrayed all confidence? How did
we know that the success of this application would not give
birth to others? Though some might be disposed to blame
them, yet in his mind Austria and Spain might come to
us with a much better grace, with more honour, and with
more reason, for a subsidy than Prussia.

All this while, however, it would seem that he was mistak-
ing the thing altogether. It was not Prussia that asked this
of us, it was we who requested Prussia to accept it. It seemed
as if the existence of Great Britain, as a nation, depended upon
this assistance of Prussia. This was called a day of good
fortune to England. A clay of " joy, and satisfaction !" The
right honourable gentleman, indeed, seemedtruck with the
words as soon as he used them, and on that account had en-
deavoured to explain them away ; the explanation, however,
was of a curious nature. It seemed that the existence of Great
Britain, as a nation, depended upon this assistance of Prussia ;
and on this account it was matter of joy, that we possessed
the means of affording this assistance. It might be, compared,
not to the case of a man congratulating his friend afflicted
with a dreadful disease, that though the amputation of a limb
might be painful in the operation, and perhaps doubtful in
the event, yet that it would probably save his life ; but it re-
sembled the case of a man expressing to that friend his joy
and satisfaction that there were no other means of saving his
life. It might have been wished that the minister had pos-
sessed a better taste than to have selected such a topic as a
theme of joy. It should have been spoken of as a scene of
painful suffering, such as this country had seldom if ever before

Having said this, he wished to know in what light we were
to consider the situation of the King of Prussia in the war
at this moment? It was at least extremely ambiguous. Had
he ceased to be a principal or not? Indeed, the right honour-
able gentleman had given no information on that subject;
for a good reason, because .he had none to give. But he
had thought proper to allude to other treaties, and to take


[April 3o.

what he called a comparative view of them and of the present;
and in doing this, he had recourse to a paltry quibble, that
was unworthy of him. He was surprised that a man, pre-
tending to any thing like intellect, or who had a mind of any
size, should attempt it. He meant the allusion to the sub-
sidiary treaty with Prussia against the power of Austria, in
the year 17 5 8, at a time when we were not actually at war
with the House of Austria, though it was well known that
at that period France was supporting the Empress Queen in
Germany, and we engaged, in opposition to them, to espouse
the interests of the House of Brandeubourg. To revert,
therefore, to his question, he would ask, whether the King
of Prussia was any longer to be regarded as a principal in
the war, or not? If he was to be regarded as a principal,
why was he to be treated with on the footing of a neutral
power, or why were we to hire -,, o,coo men above those he
was bound to furnish us with by treaty, merely to enable
his Prussian majesty to display his thirst for military glory
at our expellee.

The next point to be considered was the command of the
troops that were to be employed, and for which we were to
pay the King of Prussia. The right honourable gentleman
had said, iti was proper they should be under the command
of a prince snfond of military glory; now, he did not expect
to hear that it was matter of " joy and satisfaction" to the
people of this country, that when their money was voted for
the maintenance of an army, some officer of' their own was
not to have command and controul over them : in the com-
mon course of common sense, it might have been expected,
that those who paid them should command them, instead of
giving the command to a person who had already given such
very indifferent proofs of integrity. In the next place, how-
ever, we were informed, that this subsidized army was to be
employed for British purposes, and that the conquests it
might make were to be placed to the advantage of the mari-
time powers: but a very slight reflection would convince the
House, that this boasted convenience was productive of no
beneficial consequences; but, on the contrary, rather tended
to retard than to accelerate the purposes for which the treaty
had been made. The great object of all these treaties was,
to enable the continental powers with whom we were con-
nected to fight their own battles with effect, and to create so
powerful a diversion on the side of France, as to hinder the
full effect of her naval exertions. When this was understood
to be the nature and effect of these alliances, every contract-
ing party under the influence of private interest would na-
turally be disposed to the utmost exertion for the common


cause. But we were now so diffident of the zeal of our allies,
that we were determined to make it entirely a British and
Dutch concern; and yet to employ a monarch to act in our
behalf, who took no interest in the issue of the enterprizes he
might undertake. The right honourable the chancellor of
the exchequer had been as perspicuous as he usually was in
'matters of detail, in his comparative estimate of the expence
of this subsidiary treaty, and those which had been concluded
between this country and the other German princes. But
without examining into the minutiae of these different treaties,
he would only remark, that under the stipulations of the
treaty of 1 7 87, the King of Prussia was bound to furnish the
King of Great Britain and the States of Holland with
3 2,000 men, for the sum of 600,000l. so that every shilling
of the remaining part of the aggregate sum was appropriated
to the payment and sustenance of the additional 3 0,000 men,
which was at the rate of at least 121. per man, exclusive of
the 400,000/. which were to be paid to the King of Prussia
before lie began his march; so that-upon the whole the
sum of sixteen hundred thousand pounds was to be paid
to this prince during the first nine months of our alliance
with him.

On this part of the subject it was not, however, his inten-
tion to dwell any longer, as the terms gf this bargain gave
rise to inquiries of very inferior moment, when compared
with those more important suggestions which arose from the
general view of the subject, and the character and conduct
of the party with whom we had formed this alliance. And
here he would ask the House, whether the perfidious conduct
of the court of Berlin to France and Poland was a sufficient
motive to induce us to place implicit confidence in its future
adherence to the faith of treaties? Or could we hope to
derive much benefit from the protection of' the King of Prus-
sia, when his having ruined his own subjects, and exhausted
his treasury, were assigned as the principal reasons for afford-
ing him this supply of money? He was also under some
difficulty as to the extent of the engagements under which
the States of Holland had conic by the stipulations of this
treaty: for, according to its tenor, we were bound, in the
first instance, to pay the King of Prussia the whole of this
sum, and had only the collateral security of Holland to the
amount of 400,000l., and the Dutch were only bound to make
this payment for the course of the current year ; whereas, by
a separate article, we had agreed to continue it during the
continuance of the war. The right honourable gentleman
was, indeed, better acquainted with the resources of the
States of the United Provinces than lie could pretend to


[April 3c.

be; but, could he give the House any assurance, that they
could bear this expence for any longer period than the pre-
sent campaign, however willing they might be to continue
it farther? And however that might be, he was compelled to
say, that amidst the general commiseration which be felt for
every nation involved in this contest, he could not help feel-
ing, in a peculiar manner, for the Dutch, because he was
persuaded they were forced into the war against their in-
clination, and because otherwise they would have preserved
their tranquillity by a candid and open negotiation. At the
commencement of the war, we were told that the Dutch were
seriously aggrieved by the French. It was contended, that
we were bound to maintain to the Dutch the exclusive
navigation of the Scheldt. But did they complain of the
infringement or aggression ? Certainly they did not; they
would, however, have complained; but such was their situ-
ation, and such their awe of the French, that they dared not.
Now gentlemen began to speak more openly, and ridiculed
those who could be so weak as to believe that these were the
grounds of the war. One right honourable gentleman had
exclaimed, " A war for the Scheldt ! une guerre de pot de
chambre ! Do you really think so? Arc you really such fools?
Are you such ideots as to think that what was held forth in
the king's speech, and in the address of this House in answer
to it, as the pretences of the war, to be really the objects of
the war?" Sir, (said Mr. Fox,) to tell you the truth, I am
not that fool; for I never did think so; and I'as much believe
that ministers went to war for the exclusive navigation of the
Scheldt to the Dutch, as they would for the mean object
alluded to by the right honourable gentleman.

But, was it probable that this measure of subsidizing the
King of Prussia would be in the end effectual? The different
powers in the confederacy were in distressed circumstances
already. If report spoke truly, this application for a sub-
sidy to the King of Prussia was made to other powers before
it came to us: others had had an opportunity of sharing in
the glory of this clay, but they had declined the honour; it
was reserved exclusively for Great Britain. If report spoke
truly, the Emperor had the offer of that honour. If report
spoke truly, the King of Spain had the same honour. If
report spoke truly, they were all unable to defray their own
expellees; even the Empress of Russia was in that situation.
It was prudent of them not to engage to defray the exigences
of others, before they were able to discharge their own. It

• appeared now that Great Britain was engaged in a contest
with such an enemy as the King of Prussia had described
the French to be, and that she possessed such allies as, the


Dutch excepted, could not afford to furnish On e farthing for
any external assistance. Even Russia, if she could be con-
sidered as an ally, possessed very insufficient finances. If
Great Britain, therefore, was to supply all the wants of her
allies; if she was to be the only power by whom resources
were to be furnished, what wealth, great as he allowed the
wealth of this country to be, would be adequate to supply
such wants, and to furnish such resources? With those sen-
timents of the objects of the war, which the allies knew the
government of this country to possess, it would be needless
to Niggle about the amount of a subsidy; for as the assistance
of the allies was contended to be necessary, they would them-
selves settle the amount of such subsidies, and, according to
the arguments of the right honourable gentleman, their
demands must be complied with, whatever those demands
might be.

After adverting to a part of the right honourable gentle-
man's speech which, he contended, furnished him with a
supposition that the subsidy to Prussia had been foreseen at
the period when the budget was opened, but that the minister
had been disappointed in the expectation of the amount of
the subsidy, Mr. Fox next touched upon the expellees of the
war. The present year, he contMided, would be a more
expensive one than this country had ever experienced. It
could be considered, however, only as the first year of the
war, and the committee might be assured, that the expence
would increase every year during the continuance of the war.
When the people took this into their consideration, when
they considered the great scale on wleich taxes had been
imposed this year, and the load that would be laid upon
them next year, when they reflected, too, upon the principle
of subsidizing all Europe, the present day, lie believed, would
be to them a day not of " joy and congratulation," but of
real, national concern. They would see, that if the present
system were persevered in, this country would at length
be reduced to the exhausted state in which Prussia now was,
but that, unlike Prussia, she would have no Great Britain
to recur to for assistance, no credulous dupe to supply her
wants; she would find all her allies equally, perhaps more
exhausted than Prussia, who, he believed, was even now not
the poorest of them. He for his part thought, perhaps,
more highly of the resources this country, than the most
learned man who had ever yet spoken or written upon them ;
but as an honourable friend of his (Mr. Whitbread) had said,
they were like every thing else in human affairs, not infinite
but finite, they ought not therefore to be opposed to expence
that was infinite. He then advised the committee to think


[May 2.
of the probable effect on the people of a great accumulation
of taxes, in the prosecution of an object which appeared to
him to be unattainable, namely, success in the war, accord-
ing to the present avowed object of it, — the total destruction
of the government of France. For these reasons, he should
move by way of amendment to the present resolution, " That
the sum of 1,15o,000/. be inserted instead of 2,soo,0o01."

The amendment was negatived, on a division, by 1 34 against33 , and the original motion agreed to.

.211-4 2.

The resolution being reported to the House,

Mr. Fox said, that after having delivered his sentiments upon
this subject in general, he should at present confine himself
to a few points. He thought that the House had at least a
right to be distinctly informed in what situation the King of
Prussia stood with regard to the present treaty; whether
merely as a prince, who hired out his troops to fight, in a
cause in the event of which lie was not interested; or whether
we had entered into this treaty with the King of Prussia as a
person interested and engaged as a principal in the war, but
who was unable to prosecute it further without pecuniary
assistance. In either of these points of view, the present
treaty appeared to him ridiculous and improvident. If the
King of Prussia was to be regarded in the first light, as a
prince who hired out troops, was it not a circumstance un-
precedented, that the command should not be in the persons
who subsidized those troops; especially when the troops so
hired ,

cost more than troops in a similar situation had ever

Mr. Fox said that he should at present confine himself
merely to the question of expellee; not that he approved of
the other parts of the treaty, but because they had been al-
ready debated. We were to pay for these 30,000 troops, if
we kept them a single year, 1,600,000k If the war lasted
another year, certainly the expence would be somewhat less,
because the sum of 400,000/. for out-fit and return, would
be spread over two years, and then it would be 1,400,000/.
per annum. If for four years, it would be 1,300,000/. spread-
ing the expellee of out-fit and return over the whole time,
which, upon comparison, would be more expensive than the
same number of Hessians or Hanoverians. It was to be re-
membered, also, that we retained the entire command and


disposition of the latter; but of these Prussian troops we were
to have neither command nor disposition ; and the execution
of all the projects, though for British purposes, was left in
the King of Prussia's hands. If we' looked at any other
treaty, we should find that the price to be paid under this
present treaty was larger than we had ever paid for the assist-
ance of troops over which we had had the entire command ;
and as we were to have no command whatever over them, the
price was enormous indeed. On the other hand, if we con-
sidered them as the troops of a prince engaged in the war,
we must naturally look to the late treaty entered into with
Sardinia. By that treaty 50,000 men were to be supplied
for the support of the common cause, for which we paid but
200,000/. If we were to pay in proportion to this subsidy
for 3 0,000 troops, the expence would be no more than
120,000/. but, instead of that sum, we were to pay 1,600,000/.
In 1756, we subsidized Frederick the Great, uncle to the pre-
sent King of Prussia : let us compare the terms of that treaty
with the present: he was to furnish 150,000 men, for which
we were to pay 670,000/. According to this rate, we should
pay for 3 0,000 troops, to be furnished now, about 135,000/.
instead of the enormous sum of x,600,000/. For gentlemen
were to consider, that this sum was not paid for 62,000
men ; because in that number were included the 32,000
men stipulated for by the former treaty of 1788. Waving
that consideration for a moment, for the sake of argument, let
them compare these treaties, and see how they stood. When
the 600,coot. to be paid under the treaty of 1788, was added
to the x,600,000/. it •made a sum of 2,200;0001. which we
were to pay instead of the sum of 220,000/. which should be
paid at the rate of the treaty with the late King of Prussia;
or 240,000/. which was the extent of what should be paid at
the rate of the late treaty with Sardinia. Instead of paying
220,000/. as in the one case, or 240,000/. as in the other, we
profusely squandered away the enormous sum of 2,200,0001.;
so that in the one calculation this treaty, as compared with
others of a similar nature, was in this latter statement ten to
one against us: in the former, which was the true statement,
it was fourteen to one against us.

But from the ambiguous situation of the King of Prussia
arose other difficulties. When the question between us and
that monarch was a question of expence, he said, " I am not
so much interested in the event of this war as you are; you
shall therefore bear the whole of my expence." But when it
became a question of who should command the troops, or to
what objects they were to be directed, he would immediately
say, " I am a principal in the war, and equally interested in


[May 13,

its consequences with you; I can as well judge of the effect of
its operation to our mutual benefit ; and will have the sole
command over my own troops." Such conduct was really
intolerable : it was a tricking, shifting, shuffling behaviour
in this prince, acting, no doubt, by the advice of his council;
but that was no reason why the people of Great Britain should
become the dupes of such knavery. He, for his part, wished
to have the situation of the King of Prussia fairly stated : if
he were a mere hirer of men, never was there such audacious,
impudent conduct, as to insist on the command and disposal
of the troops he had let out for hire. If, on the other hands
he was a principal in the war, whom we subsidized, the pre-
sent treaty, compared with others of a similar nature, was,
according to one calculation, fourteen to one, and, even ac-
cording to the most favourable, ten to one, against this coun-
try. He therefore hoped that gentlemen would a little con-
skier how far they could answer to themselves, and to their
constituents (he did not mean their particular constituents,
but all their constituents in the general sense of the word, the
people at large,) for having in a few days voted such an enor-
mous sum of money, without any possible opportunity of con-
versing with them on the subject. He wished to ask them, if
they could consider themselves entitled, by such conduct, to
the character of faithful stewards ? It was too much, that the
wealth of this country should be so profligately squandered,
to answer the unprincipled rapacity, or contemptible finesse,
of any prince or court in Europe.

The resolution was agreed to by the House.


32r72/ 1 3.

ON the tzth of May, the following message from the kingwas delivered to the House of Commons by Mr. Secretary

" G. R.
" His majesty having received information, that the seditious

practices which have been for some time carried on by certain:
societies in London, in correspondence with societies in different
parts of the country, have lately been pursued with increased ac-
tivity and boldness, and have been avowedly directed to the object
of assembling a pretended general convention of the people, in,
contempt and defiance of the authority of parliament, and OD


principles subversive of the existing laws and constitution, and
directly tending to the introduction of that system of anarchy and
confusion which has fatally prevailed in Prance, has given direc-
tions for seizing the books and papers of the said societies in Lon-
don, which have been seized accordingly; and these books and
papers appearing to contain matter of the greatest importance to
the public interest, his majesty has given orders for laying them
before the House of Commons ; and his majesty recommends it to
the House to consider the same, and to take such measures there-
upon as may appear to be necessary for effectually guarding against
the further prosecution of those dangerous designs, and for pre-
serving; to his majesty's subjects the enjoyment of the blessings
derived to them by the constitution happily established in these

On the following day Mr. Secretary Dundas having presented
to the House the books and papers referred to in the said message,
Mr. Pitt moved, " That an humble address be presented to his
majesty, to return his majesty the thanks of this House for his
most gracious message, and to assure his majesty, that this House
will, immediately, take into their serious consideration the subject
recommended to them in his majesty's message, and will adopt
such steps as may appear to them to be necessary on a matter of
such high importance to the safety of his majesty's dominions."

Mr. Fox said, he did not rise up for the purpose of oppo-
sing the present motion, as he conceived iLto be in some
sort a thing of course, but merely to say a few words preli-
minary to his acceding to it ; and he was the less inclined to
oppose it, as he conceived that his assent in no way precluded
him from exercising his right to . discuss the various subjects
referred to in the message when they came before the House;
and that the questions, Whether the object before them was -
properly fit for their investigation ? What the means were by
which the papers were procured? Whether the seizure !of
them was constitutional and legal? And whether the mode
of collecting the information respecting them were justifiable?
were still as open to the investigation and discussion of him-
self and every other member, as if they refused their assent
in Entine to the address. But what he chiefly wished to re-
mark was, that if _the papers were scaled up, and their con-
tents therefore unknown to the House, lie thought it would
be rashness to refer them to a secret committee, unless prece-
dents were first adduced upon which to ground such a mea-
sure ; for of all modes of proceeding, the steps which had been
adopted in the present case seemed to him to be those which
it was most necessary to watch over with vigilance.

The address passed nevi. con., as did also a motion, that the,
books and papers be referred to a committee. Mr. Pitt next
moved, " That the said committee be a committee of secrecy."

[May 1 3 .

Mr. Fox said, he hoped that the right honourable gentle-
man who made the motion, would either support it by some
precedent, or demonstrate that there existed such a distinction
between this and former cases, as should induce the House
to have recourse to new modes of proceeding unsanctioned
by precedent. With regard to the argument urged by the
right honourable gentleman in support of his proposed mode
of inquiry, namely, the fear of discovery defeating the objects
of it, he would only say, that those objects not being suf-
ficiently defined or expressed, could form no ground of argu-
ment. Was the object prosecution ? Prosecution was already.
in the hands of the crown, who seemed desirous of calling
upon the House to take their part in it. He wished to know
what the object of the crown was. He could not suppose it
was impeachment ; for though he would always maintain the
inquisitorial right of that House, he thought that impeach-
ment could not properly conic from the crown. He could
not, therefore, see why the committee should be a secret
committee; yet if; as he had said before, the right honour-
able gentleman could either cite precedents on the one hand,
or mention on the other, grounds sufficient to warrant a
deviation from all rule, he would not object to it.

The motion being put and carried, Mr. Pitt moved, " That the
number of the said committee be twenty-one."

Mr. Fox said, he had no objection to the number; twenty-
one was, perhaps, as proper as any other; but there were
some things which he wished to know respecting this trans-
action. He was particularly desirous to be informed, what
had been the mode of obtaining those papers? For there was
an ambiguity in the words of the message, which left him at
a loss to determine respecting that particular; and he there-
fore wished to know on which of the grounds stated in it the
seizure of the papers had been made? Was it only on the
ground of' the seditious practices, or on an allegation that the
persons implicated had entered so far on the execution of the
plan of a general convention as to be guilty of an overt act
of treason h? As a member of the House of Commons, and
a friend to the constitution, he respected the opinions of par-
liament; and it was a resolution standing on the journals of
that House, that seizing the papers of a person accused of a
libel was illegal, founded on the principle, that such an ex-
treme step should not be taken unless there was an actual al-
legation for treason or felony. He therefore insisted, that by
the resolutions of that House he was warranted in saying,
that seizing papers for seditious practices, or for any thing

short of treason, was illegal. If, then, the present seizure'
was made on an allegation for seditious practices alone, it
was, according to the declared sense of the House, illegal:
if otherwise, it might be legal. He therefore wished that the
House was informed which it was. The c:se he alluded to
occurred, he said, in April 1766. It was discussed and de-
termined on the generality of the warrant. He therefore
pressed ministers to give an answer to the question he had
put, as he was averse to ,countenance any thing that might
militate against the resolutions of that House.

Mr. Secretary Dundas said, that what the substantial grounds
of seizure were, the House would judge on inquiry ; but he would
at present solve the right honourable gentleman's doubts, by telling
him, that the warrants were grounded on allegations for treason-
able practices. The motion was then agreed to.

May 16.

This day Mr. Pitt presented to the House the first report from
the committee of secrecy. He stated at great length his view of
its contents. It appeared to the committee, he said, that a plan
had been formed, and was in forwardness, to assemble a conven-
tion of the people ; which was to assume the character and powers
of a national representation, and to supersede the authority of
parliament. A mere parliamentary reform was not the real aim of
these societies : their papers would make it evidentpthat they had
been during the two last years, leagued in a correspondence with
other societies in this and a neighbouring country ; from which the
clearest inference mi


ht be drawn, that a convention, such as
described, had been tneir original view ; and that they were only
waiting a fit opportunity to realize itr The report, he said, would
shew that a correspondence had subsisted between these societies
and the jacobin club ; that they had sent delegates to the conven-
tion at Paris, which had formally received them ; and that when
the French jacobin government commenced the war against Great
Britain, these societies had to utmost of their power acted an
hostile part, manifested an adherence to the same cause, assumed
their expressions and appellations, and laboured to disseminate
their principles. It was chiefly in the manufacturing towns their
efforts were greatest, from the number of ignorant and discontented.
people with which they abounded. Notwithstanding their endea-
vours to conceal their intentions at times, they had not been able
to disguise them at others. In one of their letters, that to the
society at Norwich, they plainly intimated that they looked for no
reform but from the convention they had in view, advising, how-
ever, a continuance of petitions for reform, as a cover to their
designs. They had the audacity to style the Scottish convention
a lle,goaLl.

representation of the people ; and to justify those whom

the law had sentenced to punishment. The condemnation of those
men was the signal at which they had agreed to come finally to an
issue upon the point, whether the law should frighten them into
compliance, or whether they should oppose it with its own
weapons, force and power. This society, however despicable,
and consisting of the lowest of the people, had found the moans
of a most expeditious and extensive increase : it counted thirty
divisions in London only, some of them amounting to six hundred
individuals ; and it kept a. regular correspondence with many
others, systematically distributed through various parts of the
kingdom, particularly in the manufacturing towns. It had auda-
ciously assumed the task of watching over the transactions of
parliament, and of limiting boundaries to its powers, threatening
destruction if it dared to transgress them. It was no longer than
six weeks, he said, since the corresponding society had laid before
the constitutional society a scheme for calling together a con-
vention of the people, manifestly for the purpose of dissolving the
government, and lodging the supreme power in their own hands.
This was to have been executed in a few weeks. The addresses
they had drawn up to this effect were circulated with the utmost
care and expedition : they had chosen a central spot (Sheffield,)
in order to facilitate the assembling of delegates from all parts ;
and every society was requested to transmit an estimate of its
numbers, that the strength of the combined societies might be
exactly known. These wretches, said Mr. Pitt, expected, by
following the precedents of the jacobin principles and practices to
arrive at the same degree of power. They had, no longer since
than the i4th of April, held a consultation, wherein the members
of every department of the state had been most scandalously
villified, as unworthy and incompetent to hold their official situ-
ations. The report, he also said, mentioned that arms had been
actually procured and distributed by those societies. In conse-
quence, therefore, of the informations contained in this report,
he would move for a suspension of the habeas carpus act, as par-
ticularly necessary when a conspiracy existed in the heart of the
country. Mr. Pitt concluded with moving, " That leave be given
to bring in a bill to empower his majesty to secure and detain such
persons as his.

majesty shall suspect are conspiring against his
person and government."

Mr. Fox rose and observed, that however unpleasant it was
for him to attend that day in the House on account of indis-
position, he had thought it his duty to do so, on being told
that the report of the committee of secrecy was to be made ;
for in the course of that report he had expected to have
heard something new, and something that might call for the
immediate attention of the House. He had listened with all
the attention he was master of to the report; and he must
confess he never was more surprised in his life, than that
those who framed the report, men of such talents and cha-
racter, should have thought it necessary to recommend so

sravrious PRACTICES, &C. 275

sudden, so violent, so alarming a remedy as that which had
been proposed; a proposal grounded upon facts that had
been, all of them, notorious for years. He was aware there
was some part of it which stated to be something new ; but of
that he should say something presently. He was surprised,
however, that the committee should call the attention of the
House so solemnly for the purpose of telling them that two
years ago a society had come to certain resolutions, which
were published in every newspaper in the kingdom ; to tell
the House in a pompous, public, formal manlier, what had
been presented to the national convention of France, and
what answers had been given ; to inform the House in detail
what administration had seen passing before them day after
day, and then to call on the House for its immediate consider-
ation of the probable effect of such events, and of the necessity
of putting an end, by the most violent of all means, to what
had so long been suffered to pass in silence. The report,
-however, was not a mere report of these stale, ridiculous,
contemptible facts; it stated also an inference arising out of
them. He could not arrive so readily as the right honourable
gentleman at a conclusion upon these points, taking them all
to be exactly as they were related. He begged leave to differ
from him and from the whole of the committee upon that
subject: he thought the inference of the committee unfair:
he would go further, he thought that taking, for the sake of
argument, the inference to be fair, that would not warrant
the measure proposed. He should not go into the question
whether these persons had acted consistently or not; that was
not matter for consideration then ; through the whole course
of the business they had wished for a convention,..for the
purpose of legally obtaining a parliamentary reform. The
convention at Edinburgh had been taken notice of; that con-
vention, in all its proceedings published in the newspapers,
had uniformly stated their views to be not to oppose the power
of government, but to seek redress of grievances. 'With re-
gard to conventions of this sort, was the right honourable
gentleman prepared to say they were seditious ? He did not
know that the right honourable gentleman was a member of
any former convention, but he himself certainly was a member
of one in the year 178o ; they were chosen as delegates, and
had several meetings in London and Westminster afterwards;
and if that was illegal, all he could say was, that they carried
on their proteedings with great imprudence, for they went
on in the most public manner, and held correspondence pub-
licly with societies in Yorkshire and other places; they pre-
sented the result of their labours to the House; the House
refused to recognise them in such a character as delegates,



[May 16.

but said that they had a right to petition as individuals, and
therefore received their petition. He mentioned this merely
to shew that such a convention was legal. Never till lately
had such a measure been thought either against the letter or
the spirit of the constitution. If it had been illegal, the mi-
nister had been scandalously negligent, and so had many
others. A scandalous negligence must have attended the ob-
taining a free constitution for Ireland. A scandalous neg-
ligence alone could have suffered the Roman catholics of
Ireland to obtain what was lately granted to them, for it was
by a convention they had succeeded in obtaining their late
privileges. His majesty had received them in the capacity of
delegates, and granted their request. Happy was it for them,
and happy for a great part of the rest of the world, that
such an event had happened. His majesty had received them
with that benignity which belonged to his character; but
would it be contended, that the Roman catholics would have
gained this object, if it had not been for a convention ? He,e,‘
indeed, well knew what extraordinary things were attempted
by those who were supported by great numbers. Let gentle-
men look to the rejection of the Roman catholic petition: in
the first application of the Roman catholics to parliament
there were only about five and twenty in its favour; but how
differently were they received the next year, when they were
so supported, and when they appointed a convention of de-
legates ! After that, would any man say that he had a doubt
of the means by which this had been effected ? But, when he
made this remark, was he consequently saying, that the pro-
posed convention in the present case would be meritorious?
No such thing: he was giving no opinion upon that subject;
he only said, that it would be dangerous for that House to
declare its illegality. There was not any other charge against
these persons, than that they might of their own authority
make an attempt to alter the form of parliament; now, he
asked, if any gentleman was prepared to say, that that very
convention would not apply to parliament for a parliamentary
reform ?

With respect to the number of these persons, he really
believed that it was not very considerable. That they had
increased since their first formation, he had no doubt; for it
would be strange, if the measures of administration had oc-
casioned no dissatisfaction in the country; it would be won-
derful in our history indeed, if a war of two years, carried
on upon such principles, and attended with such disastrous
circumstances, had not excited a spirit of discontent and re-
sentment against the authors of those calamities. He would
go further, for he would not be intimidated; many internal


circumstances, many things had taken place, to which he
could never subscribe; the punishments lately inflicted in
Scotland were of the same nature; he did not approve of
any of these things ; on the contrary, he agreed with those
who thought these proceedings an abuse of the power of go-
vernment, an abuse of law, an abuse of justice, an outrage to
humanity, and likely to tend to alarm every man in England
who had the least esteem for the principles of liberty; since,
if these proceedings should become general, there was an end
of all liberty.

With regard to the nature of the convention which had
been so much talked of, Mr. Fox said, he must make one
observation. Against whom, he would ask, was this thunder
of government levelled? Was it against men of influence?
No. Such a convention could have no influence, and it
would be ridiculous in government to stop them. The con-
stitution had too many admirers, had too many defenders, to
have any fears from the attempts of such men. But if go-
vernment did really believe that they meant to form a govern-
ment of themselves, could they be so mad, so absurd, as to
suppose that they would be joined by any body sufficiently
numerous to create any serious alarm? Surely not. For his
part, he solemnly believed, that if a hundred men were to
assemble together, and presume to dictate laws to the rest of
the community, there could not be found another hundred
who would be willing to join them. This constitution had
too many defenders, too many well-wishers, to fear any such
paltry attempts to overturn it. But he should suppose this
convention assembled by Mr. Hardy and Mr. Adams, and
that they entertained the views ascribed to them; be•would
then say, that the measure now proposed was of infinitely
greater mischief to the people than that which it proposed to
remedy. Were the House aware of the event of this mea-
sure? It was no less than giving to the executive authority
absolute power over the personal liberty of every individual
in the kingdom. It might be said that ministers would not
abuse that power. He must own for his part, that he did
not feel himself very comfortable under that reflection ; every
man who talked freely; every man who detested, -as he did
from his heart, this war, might be, and would be, in the hands
and at the mercy of ministers. Living under such a govern-
ment, and being subject to insurrection, comparing the two
evils, he confessed he thought the evil they were pretending
to remedy, was less than the one they were going to inflict
by the remedy itself. We were going to give up. the very
best part of bur constitution ; and that which every man was
entitled to do, and which he was now doing — delivering the

T 3

[May x6.

sentiments of his heart upon the affairs of government, for
the benefit of the public, would be at an end at once. Might
lie not then say, that there was an end of the constitution of

But was there any instance on such an occasion, of such
a measure? Such a measure had been adopted in the reign
of King William. Was that similar to the present reign?'
The same measure had been adopted in the time of the re-
bellion in 1 7 15, and again in x745. Were the circumstances.
then similar to the present ? At that time there was an army
in the kingdom in favour of a popish prince, claiming a right
to the throne; and that too, if we were to credit report, at a>
time when the people were a great deal divided in opinion as
to the propriety o f

the succession of the house of Hanover.
Was there any such prince now ? Were there any such
circumstances now ? Nothing like it. Here we saw a number
of individuals without arms, without means of any kind
whatever, talking of a reform in parliament. Such being the
circumstances, lie must say, that the House would betray its
duty to the constitution, if it should agree to the present
measure, Having said thus much, he had but one thing
more to submit. He was exceedingly surprised at the pre-
cipitation with which this business was brought forward ; he
conceived that a few days could make no difference, and that
the right honourable gentleman could have no objection to a
call of the House on a question of such magnitude. Was the
danger so imminent, that a number of members must be
deprived the privilege of delivering their sentiments upon so
alarming an exigence ? Could one fortnightmake such a dif
ference ? Was the danger so great, as to exclude all pos-
sibility of deliberation, and compel the House to run head-
long into the snare which the timidity or temerity of the
minister had prepared for them? For his part, detesting
equally the endeavour to intimidate, as the endeavour to en,
slave, he must feel it his duty to oppose the leave for bringing
in the bill. He saw that a fancied terror had intruded itself
upon the faculties of several members, and that they were
prepared to sacrifice their duty to notions of supposed expe-
diency and groundless alarm. Having an invincible objec-
tion to every species of delusion, lie for one should enter his
decided protest against the proceeding about to be adopted.
Ile saw this measure in so dreadful a point of view, that he
should consider himself as betraying his constituents and the
public, if he did not oppose it in every stage. It was a mea.
sure that went to overturn the very corner-stone of the con,
stitution, and which surrendered to ministers the personal
freedom of every man in the kingdom.


The motion for leave to bring in the bill was supported by Mr.
Burke, and opposed by Mr. Martin, Mr. Lambton, Mr. Harrison,
Mr. Grey, Mr. Jekyll, and Mr. Sheridan. Mr. Grey reprobated
the motion in, the strongest terms. He expressed his great sur-
prise that any measure of any sort could be founded on those
trumpery papers alluded to in the report, all of which had been
published long ago, and, if worthy of notice, ought to have been
attended to last year, when at the meeting of parliament there
seemed to sonic gentlemen to be so much cause for alarm. On a
division the numbers were :

{ Lord Mul grave }

{Mr. Grey

201. — -NOESMr. BuxtonYEAS Mr. Sheridan} 39'
Leave was accordingly given to bring in the bill. After which

Mr. Grey moved, " That this House be called over on this day
fortnight." He remarked with much severity on the indecent
haste with which the bill was pressed through the House. Even
the gentlemen who voted for the bill, he was well assured, were
not aware of the extent of the measure until they heard it pro-
posed by the chancellor of the exchequer. Mr. Pitt said, that
as the bill required all possible dispatch, he would oppose the
motion as calculated but for vexatious delay.

Mr. Fox supported the motion of his honourable friend.
He could not but notice, he said, the tone of exultation iii
which the right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer
dwelt on a measure, which, if actually necessary, should be
noticed by all as a serious calamity. He dared that right
honourable gentleman —he dared the whole committee — to
say, that there was any such thing in this country as an armed
insurrection. if there was not, he contended that the delay
of one week could make no material difference as tg the ob-
ject in view: if the object was punishment, there must be
guilt, and the present laws were fully adequate to that : if' it
was merely to prevent the escape of a few guilty persons from
justice that this unprecedented measure was called for, he
maintained that it was scandalous for a single moment to
surrender the liberties of the whole kingdom on such an ac-
count. He lamented that the old established laws known to
the constitution had not been applied to the evil, if any
existed ; for it was an infamous libel on the constitution to
say, that it was only able to maintain itself in times of peace
and tranquillity, but must be surrendered in times of danger
and difficulty. He wished to know for What length of time
this suspension was to continue, or how it could possibly be
necessary? At a time when we were engaged in a war upon
such honourable principles, that it was approved by the whole
kingdom — at a time when there was the most popular
administration that ever governed in this kingdom, who

T 4

Nay 17.

had on every occasion a majority of ten to one — was it at
such a time, that we found it necessary to suspend the
habeas corpus act, from the apprehension of an insurrection
in. the heart of the kingdom ? He contended, that the pre-
tences brought. forward to support this measure were the
most flimsy and barelked he had ever witnessed, and the
measure itself the most daring and impudent. It was true,
that since terror was the order of the clay (to use a French
mode of expression) those opinions might be awhile stifled,
but they would but rankle in secret ; curses Would follow,

not loud but deep," and what might be the final event
-no man could say ! After this measure should have passed,
he doubted whether it would be of any utility for those
who acted with him to continue their opposition in that
House. This was the moment for the House to pause and
deliberate, before they gave up that privilege which might
decide, whether it would be worth the while of any member
to attend a discussion within those walls.

" Tempus inane peto., requieni spatiumque furori."
If violences should succeed, he should feel the consolation of
having clone every thing in his power to avert the impending
evil from his country—that to his latest moments would be
his consolation ; and he did not think in case of any disturb..
ance, that one head in that House would be more secure
than another.

The House divided : Yeas 32 : Noes zoi. After which the bill
was immediately brought in by Mr Pitt, read a first and second
time, committed, and at three o'clock on Saturday morning re-
ported, and ordered to be read a third time at three that afternoon,
if the bill should be then engrossed.

May 17.

On Saturday afternoon the House met again, when the motion . for
the third reading of the bill being put, it was strenuously opposed
by Mr. Grey, Mr. Lambton, Mr. Courtenay, Mr. Sheridan, Mr.
Curwen, Mr. Jekyll, and Mr. Fox ; and supported by Mr. Canning,
Mr. 'Windham, Mr. Dundas, Mr. Pitt, and others. Mr. Windham
in the course of his speech observed, that it could not be reasonably
denied that sufficient proofs had been adduced of a conspiracy to
overthrow the constitution. The principle of universal suffrage,
he said, was alone a source of the most lamentable evils, as France
could amply testify. The mild conduct of government having
failed of putting a stop to the licentious proceedings of ill-inten-
tioned individuals, it was time to employ severe methods ; and if '
those did not produce the end proposed, stronger and severer



measures still must be adopted. The evils threatened must be ob-
viated at all events ; and if the laws in being were inadequate to
that purpose, others more effectual ought to be framed. As soon
as Mr. Windham had sat down,

Mr. Fox rose and said, that he should not have troubled the
House with any further observations on the subject of the
present bill, after having given his opinion so fully upon it the
night before, but for the very extraordinary topics which had
been introduced by his right honourable friend (Mr. Wind-
ham.) If he had expressed himself warmly on the subject
of that bill, he begged leave to say, after the most mature
reflection, that he did not repent of such warmth. He de-
sired to be considered as repeating and confirming every
assertion. It was a bill characteristic of the .worst times, and
which, he feared, predicted much calamity to the country.
We were hurrying into that most dangerous and alarming
predicament, which would produce either the horrors of
anarchy and confusion on the one side, or that despotism
of monarchy, which Mr. Hume called " the euthanasia of
the British constitution" on the other; in either of which
cases he saw the complete extinction of liberty ; and he
dreaded to think what must be the shocking alternative
which he, and others who loved the true principles of the
constitution, must be reduced to in the impending struggle.
The bill was characteristic of those violent times, when, in-
stead of being guided by reason, we were to be put under
the dominion of wild passion, and when our pretended
alarms were to be made the pretexts for destroying the first
principles of the very system which. we affected to revere.
Every warm expression, therefore, which he had used the
night before, he now upon reflection justified anik repeated;
and even yet, while a moment was left him, he deprecated •
the horror of passing the bill into a law.

Mr. Fox said, he would pass over all the lesser topics
of the speech of his right honourable friend, in order to come
to that most portentous part of it, which had made an im-
pression upon his mind never to be effaced, and which fore-
told the destruction of the British constitution. It was an
argument, upon which if the present measure was really
founded, that he hoped would even yet make the House
pause before they proceeded further. His right honour-
able friend had said, that to the existing evil of-the jacobini-
Cal doctrines, remedies ought to be applied in gradation.
From mild remedies he would proceed to remedies less
mild, from less mild to severe, and through all the degrees
of severity. What by this argument was he to think of

the present measure, but that it was only one step in his
ladder, and that if that should fail of producing its effect, he
had still remedies more severe in reserve. The right honour-
able gentleman had tried already his gentle remedies ; the
alien bill was an anodyne, the treasonable correspondence
bill was also a gentle medicine; and as these remedies had
failed of producing the proper effect, nay, as by the king's
speech it was said, that, notwithstanding these measures, the
evil still existed with increased meI'gnity, he was about to try
this severer remedy ; with the declared intention that if this
should also fail, he had still more violent measures to pursue.
When the experiment should have been made, and proved,
like all the former, to have failed of producing the effects
expected from it, he desired to know what must be the
answer to this question, if, next year, enough of the con-
stitution should remain to enable him to put a question to the
right honourable gentleman in his place—what would be
done beyond this ? After suspending the habeas corpus act,
what would he do more? Wouldsuspen ing prohibit all meetings
of the people so as to debar them from all- discussions on po-
litical subjects, and prevent all free intercourse between man
and man ? And when this should be found ineffectual, would
he give to ministers the power of making arbitrary imprison-
ment perpetual? Would he still further go on in the exact
and horrid imitation of the men who now held France in
anarchy, and establish a revolutionary tribunal, or what,
perhaps, he would call an anti-revolutionary tribunal ? Where
would he stop? What limit did he propose to make?
Was there no end to his plan of securities, until he should
accomplish the end of annihilating all doctrines that he might
affect to dread, or destroy all the disaffacted spirits which he
might pretend existed in the country? It was of consequence
tothe House to sec what they were doing. They were told that
what they had done was not enough ; and that even this might
not be enough. Good God ! what was to be done after this?
Under the colour of pretended alarms, Were they to go on to
an unlimited infringement and demolition of all the strongest
and most beautiful parts of the constitution ? The right ho-
nourable gentleman was offended at the comparison that had
been made between the conduct of ministers and their adhe-
rents, and the conduct of the present rulers in France, and
he had with great felicity quoted from Captain Fluellan the
comparison between the river in Macedon and the river in
Monmouth, because there was salmon in both. But with all
respect for his wit, the right honourable gentleman must be,
content to incur the imputation of similarity, when his own
conduct and that of the rulers of France was so similar. They
had taken great pains to throw odium on the pretended de-


signs of a convention, on account of the word convention. Let
gentlemen look at their own conduct, and see if it was not in

substance the same as that of the present rulers in France.
What was the conduct of those rulers? From day to day
they circulated stories of alarms, and plots, and conspiracies,
and' insurrections among the pa,opiL, to inflame and agitate
their minds, and to spread panic and terror over the whole
country, that they might take advantage of their fears, and
obtain unlimited power, to be exercised in carrying on and
confirming that very terror. They inspired the double alarm
of danger from conspiracy, and danger from the exercise of
their own unlimited power, exerted as it every day was, in the
most shocking murders, with hardly the aspect or form of ju-
dicial trial. 'What was the conduct of the ministers here?
Precisely in the same manner they circulated stories of alarms
and conspiracies, to fill the public mind with fear, and, to use
the jargon of the French, to make terror the order of the day.
By • spreading these false and idle alarms, they succeeded in
obtaining powers destructive of the constitution, which, as in.
France, were to be exercised with such inhuman rigour, as to
keep the country iii double awe, and, by fostering indignation
and discontent, give rise again to new jealousies, which would
afford occasion for still further stretches of power. Thus they
followed the example set them by the men whose doctrines
they pretended to abhor, with the most shocking fidelity.
Every part of their conduct was built on the French model,
and he dreaded that it would be productive too certainly of
the same effects.

The precise question fore the House was, to compare the
danger with the remedy. The pretended danger was, as we
might collect from the documents that had been laid upon
the table— documents that every one had see published in
the newspapers — that there was in certain societies a tendency
to a convention. Whether the word convention was a bug-
bear that was to be held up to terrify their imaginations, lie
knew not; but it was of consequence to inquire a little into
the nature of the thing, and not to be startled at names.
A convention, he supposed, meant no other than a meeting
of the people ; and if that meeting was for the discussion of
any subject of general interest, in a legal and peaceable way,
there certainly was nothing in such meeting that could either
call for or justify any such measure as the present. To a con-
vention that had for its purpose to overawe the legislature,
and to obtain any object, either of universal suffrage, or other
wild and impracticable theory, he should not certainly chuse
to give his countenance. But if there was a convention either
of individuals for themselves, or of delegates of towns and dis-


tricts, for the purpose or striving, by petitions and addresses to
the three branches of the legislature, to put an end to the
present most ruinous and unprovoked war, he should certainly
neither be ashamed nor afraid—at least not until after the
present bill had passed into a law—to attend, and be a mem-
ber of such convention. But what was to be dreaded from
even the convention that was threatened, which the laws of
the country were not of themselves sufficient to check ? If
they meant, by their intended convention, to overawe the
government of this country at a moment of such unprece-
dented strength as the government now possessed, he would
say that they were fit for Bedlam, and for Bedlam only. So
perfectly and entirely was it possible for magistrates, in every
part of the kingdom, to execute the laws, that he would ven-
ture to say, that if any man, or men, at such convention,
committed any illegal act, he or they might be sent to prison,
and tried for the offence as securely as if no convention

The danger, then, called for no such remedy ; and it was
not because any such remedy was necessary that the present
bill was introduced. It was to keep alive the passions of
the people; it was to.

agitate and alarm their minds, to put
them under the dominion of terror, and take from them
the exercise of their rational faculties. Ministers knew. well
the dangerous predicament in which they stood : they had
weakly and, as he thought, wickedly, involved the country
in a most disastrous war; every day plunged them deeper
and deeper in the fatality which they had brought upon their
country; they saw no hopes of extricating the nation from
it with honour, nor of proceeding in it with success, and
they dreaded all reflection on the subject : they knew that
they had no safety but in depriving the people of repose ;
they knew that if the alarm should be suspended for a mo-
ment, and if men were allowed time and leisure for the ex-
ercise of their understandings, the war, and the principles on
which it was undertaken, would be scrutinized and discussed.
They dreaded to encounter so hazardous a trial, and all their
measures had been directed to keep alive an incessant cmn-
motion, so as to suspend every operation of the public intel-
lect. For this reason a subscription had been set on foot ;
he said " for this reason," because ministers had been open
enough to acknowledge that it was not for money. It was,• e,
they had . declared, to excite the zeal of the people. Zeal was
one of those fervent emotions which would be favourable to
their. views, and which, while it lasted, would keep them from
examining the objects of it. But the subscription, he sup

-posed, had not succeeded to the hoped-for extent; that zeal


which they had aroused was not equal, apparently, to the oc-
casion, and they now strove to awaken a more powerful emo-
tion, that of terror. In short, it was a government of passion,
a government.in which ministers strove to lull asleep all the'
sober operations of the mind, and to awaken only the fears
and terrors of the heart. Reason they dreaded, for reason
was their enemy. It was well said by a philosopher of great
character, that all men dreaded reason who acted against rea-
son ; and certainly it was natural, and in the order of things,
that animals, which, by their practice, counteracted the na-
tural course and dictates of reason, should shrink, and dread
as their enemy those who seemed to be guided by its wisdom.

It had been said that the secret committee had been spoken
of in terms not the most respectful. He, for one, certainly
could not speak of some members of that committee without
expressing his high respect and regard for them. He was
not among those who gave up their personal friendships on
account of differences in political opinion. A noble lord near
him (Lord George Cavendish) had, in very affecting terms,
deplored the circumstance, that in the present moment, he
differed from men so near and dear to his heart, as to make
him feel it like differing from himself; so, he might say, that
for some of those persons, though he had not tics of consan-
guinity, he felt so sincere a regard, and so poignant a regret
at differing from them, as to make it like a parting from him-
self. His early habits of respect, his warm affections, all led
him to this feeling ; but the present was not a time to com-
pliment men, or to shrink from the severe duties which con-
science imposed, from recollections .of tenderness and esteem.
He must say, then, however highIST he regarded some indivi-
duals of that committee, that it was made up of two charac-
ters; men who were dupes themselves, or men who were will-
ing to dupe others. Their whole report was triflinoSand in-.
consequential ; it told nothing which every man did not know
before; for the last assertion about arming, the right honour-
able gentleman had said, was merely supplemental, and was
not to be taken as a component part of the report. • Then,
what did the report consist of? Of a collection of papers,
which had all been seen by the public, and which, if they did
contain any danger, was not a danger of that day. It was known
by every one, and steps might have been taken on the subject
months ago. Their avowed intention was to procure a system
of universal suffrage ; and this the right honourable gentleman
said was what had destroyed France. However freely he might
be disposed to agree with him, as to the wildness and im-
practicability of universal suffrage, lie must doubt of the fact
of its having been the cause of the destruction of France. Oa


the contrary, universal suffrage was to be considered rather
as the effect than the cause; for the book of the right ho-
nourable gentleman (Mr. Burke) which had produced such
enormous and fatal effects in England, bad charged upon the
French, that they had not acted upon their own principles,
but had narrowed the suffrage in a way totally inconsistent
with their own doctrine. But were we to argue theoretically
or practically from the example of France, which the right
honourable gentleman so incessantly presented to them ? Was
every man who had liberty in his mouth to be considered as
a traitor, merely because liberty had been abused in France,
and had been carried to the most shocking licentiousness ? He
would venture to say, that if this was to be the consequence,-
fatal, indeed, would it be for England ! If the love of liberty
was not to be maintained in England; if' the warm admiration
of it was not to be cherished in the hearts of the people: if
the maintenance of liberty was not to be inculcated as a duty;
if it was not to be reverenced as our chief good, as our boast
and pride and richest inheritance; -- what else had we worthy
of our care? Liberty was the essence of the British constitu-
tion. King, lords, commons, and courts of judicature, were
but the forms; the basis of the constitution was liberty, that
grand and beautiful fabric, the first principle of which was
government by law, and which this day they were going to

He called upon the right honourable gentleman
.to say,

whether there was any true parallel between the constitution
of this country and the old government of France, that we
should dread the same effects from jacobinical doctrines,
which that despotic government had suffered ? France had no
habeas corpus act: France had no system of respect for the
liberties of the people; it had not been because France had held
out a mild and equal government by law, that France had
been overcome by the doctrines of jacobinism. On the con-
trary, it was a fair conjecture, that if France had had a habeas
corpus act, and had not suspended it, if France had upon
every occasion respected the rights and the liberties of the
people, the doctrines of jacobinism would not have pre-
vailed over the established power. He stated this as not an
improbable conjecture; he did not presume to lay much stress
upon such conjecture, but it was material to the right ho-
nourable gentleman in supporting his argument, to prove that
the old government of France had been overthrown, because
there was a want of power; for his argument was, that we
must go on from measure to measure, until we should arm
ministers with sufficient power to resist and overcome all in-
novation, and until they had rooted out all appearance of


jacobinical principles. The despotism of Louis XVI. had
not been sufficient to save France from jacobin doctrines.
Were we to go beyond that despotism to give ourselves
greater security than France possessed ? The doctrines of the
right honourable gentleman went to the utter extinction of
every vestige of the constitution ; and such was the effect of
his principle, that it was impossible to limit the progress of
his remedies; they were all to be hot medicines ; he did not
admit the possibility of doing any good by the contrary prac-
tice. If one hot medicine failed, a hotter only was to be
tried; and thus he, was to proceed, through all the race of
the most powerful stimulants, instead of trying what the op-
posite course of cooling mixtures and gentle anodynes might
produce. What the nature of his provocatives was he had
not condescended to state. He had alluded to his former
opinion, that if the laws of this country were not sufficient for
the suppression of seditious practices, the laws of Scotland,
not as they really existed, but has they were stated to exist,
should be introduced; and so he supposed one of his plans
was, that juries should decide by a majority instead of decid-
ing with unanimity ; and that men should be punished with
sentences more rigorous than immediate death ; that was, should
be sent to die far away from all -the civilized world, merely
on account of apolitical opinion. And these severities were to
be introduced—for what? Because any great body of people
were disaffected to the state? No, no such thing ! It was the
boast of ministers, and their adherents, that every part of the
country was most strictly united in love and attachment to the
constitution. But all this was to be introduced, because some
low persons, without property and without consideration in
the country, were found to entertain opinions about a parlia-
mentary reform that were thought to be dangerous. How
long would it take to eradicate these opinions from the minds
of these men ? Did they mean to keep them all in confine-
ment under this bill ? They would be forward, he tipposcd,
to disclaim any such intention. What did they mean, then,
to do ? To suspend one of the grandest principles of the con-
stitution of England, until there should be found no men
within the kingdom tincturedwith discontent, or who cherished
the design of reform. If they meant to suspend the habeas
corpus act until such time, there was an end of it in this coun-
try. And what (lid they declare by this to all, mankind ?
That there was no period when it would be possible to restore
to the country that grand and inestimable right ; that the
constitution of England was fit only for an Utopian society,
where all men lived in perfect concord, without one jarring
sentiment, without one discontented feeling ; but that it was


[May 7;.

utterly unfit for a world of mortal and mixed men, unfit for
any state of society that ever did exist upon the face of the
earth, or that was ever likely to exist. Never, never then,
upon this doctrine, was it probable that we should again re-
cover this most essential part of the British constitution; for
it was not the will of Providence that society should be formed
so perfect and unmixed, so free from all passions, as to meet
the ideas upon which it was contended that the constitution
of England could be with safety conferred upon them.

It was said, that the example of France threatened not only
this, but all the countries of the world. Whatever the right
honourable gentleman might feel upon this subject, there
were several countries who thought differently, or which at
least did not seek their protection by similar measures. They
found their safer course was in being neutral •as to the war,
and in preserving to their people the blessings of peace and
industry. " But America even felt alarmed." If it was
true that America felt alarmed, it would be wise for that
House to observe what had been her conduct in that alarm.
Had she involved herself in a belluez internecinum to exter-
minate French principles? Had she suspended her habeas
corpus act ? Had she passed an alien bill? A treasonable
correspondence act ? Had she shocked every feeling, every
humane and every considerate mind, by the scandalous
rigour of her legal punishments ? Had she plunged herself
into a war, and loaded her people with new and excessive
burdens? No : she had maintained a strict and perfect neu-
trality., as to the belligerent powers; and she had protected
herself at home, by exhibiting to her people all the beauties
of their own system, by securing to them all their privileges
in their full enjoyment, by enlarging rather than abridging
their liberties, and by spewing that, so far from dreading
comparison, she placed her confidence in leaving to the free
judgment of the people the most ample discussion of political

With regard to the persons who composed these societies,
le certainly knew little of them; it could not be supposed
hat he entertained any peculiar partiality towards them, at
.east if men were to judge from the opinion they had always
lelivered of him ; they had never failed to speak of opposi-
ion, and of himself personally, with exactly the same ex-
)ressions as they had used towards administration. The
age distrust of their conduct, the same avowed hostility ape.
seared in their writings towards both. They had certainly paid

!fin personally a compliment, in mentioning him at the same
ime with the right honourable gentleman the chancellor of
he-exchequer, as far as regarded the splendid talents of that


right honourable gentleman; but it was not equally flattering
to him to be put on a comparison with that right honourable
gentleman, in regard to their right to the confidence of the
public. It was .not likely, therefore, that he was actuated
by any partial regard to these societies; but he considered it
as an unwise and illiberal course to take advantage of any
odium that there might be against persons, in order to stig-
matize measures which might otherwise be good. Though.
there were among these societies men of low and desperate
fortunes, who might be very ready to embrace any enterprise,
however hazardous, and though there might be others, whom
he believed, from their characters, to possess wicked inten-
tions, yet still that was no argument with him for casting a ge-
neral obloquy on measures which were in themselves harmless.
To deny to the people the right of discussion, because upon.
some occasions, that right had been exercised by indiscreet
or bad men, was what he could not subscribe to. The right
of popular discussion was a salutary and an essential privilege
of the subject. He would not answer long for the conduct
of parliament, if it were not subject to the jealousy of the
people. They all entertained becoming respect for the exe-
cutive government, that was, for the chief magistrate of the
kingdom, but their respect for the king did not supersede
the vigilance of parliament. In his opinion, the best security
for the due maintenance of the constitution, was in the strict
and incessant vigilance of the people over parliament itself:
Meetings of the people, therefore, for the discussion of public
objects, were not merely legal, but laudable; and, unless it
was to be contended that there was some magic in the word
convention, which brought with it disorder, anarchy, and
ruin, he could perceive no just ground for demolishing the
constitution of England, merely because it wo intended to
hold a meeting for the purpose of obtaining a parliamentary
reform. With respect to their plan, that of universal suf
frage, he never had but one opinion on the subject. He
had constantly and uniformly considered universal suffrage
as a wild and ridiculous idea. When his noble relation,
the Duke of Richmond, had one day taken pains to explain
his ideas on this subject, a learned and ingenious friend of
his said to him, with as much truth as wit, " My lord, I
think the best part of your grace's plan is its utter impractica-
bility." He had always thought that it was impracticable;
and though he could not agree with the opinion, that rather
than continue the present state of representation, ne would
incur all the hazards of universal suaage, yet he was ready
to say, that the measures o last year, the horrid and detest-
able prosecutions, the scandalous sentences that had been

VOL. v.


passed, and the scandalous way in which they had been
executed, did not tend to make him wish less than heretofore
for some reform, that should protect the country against these
violations of good sense, propriety, and justice. If the ha-
beas corpus act was to be suspended upon such an argument
as had been advanced that night, and we were to go on step
by step, as we were threatened, with the introduction of the
Scots criminal code, with the extinction, perhaps, of the trial
by jury, and he should then be asked what was his opinion,
he did not know but he should be ready to prefer any change
to such a horrid situation as the country would then be re-
duced to. He made no scruple to own, that the events which
had lately passed in France, had made a most powerful im-
pression on his mind. He should not do justice to himself,
if he did not frankly confess, that they had served to correct
several opinions which he previously held; they had served
also to confirm many former opinions. They had con-
vinced his mind of the truth of an observation of Cicero,
one of the most common, which was early taught in their
grammars, but from which, when a boy, his heart revolted.
It was this:

" Iniquissimam pacem justissimo bello antefero."
He had, in the ardour natural to youth, thought this a most
horrid and degrading sentiment. What ! give up a just and
glorious cause, merely on account of the clangers and, per-
haps, the miseries of war ! When he came to maturer years,
he thought the sentiment at least doubtful, but he was now
ready to confess, that the events of the French revolution had
made the wisdom of the sentiment clear and manifest to his
mind. He was ready to say, that he could hardly frame to
himself the condition of a people in which he would not
rather covet to continue, than to advise them to fly to arms,
and strive to seek redress through the unknown miseries of
a revolution. Our own glorious revolution in 1688, had
happily been clear of all these horrors; that of 1641 had
shewn a great deal of this kind of calamity; but the French
revolution had exhibited the scene in its most shocking
aspect. The more, however, his heart was weaned from such.
experiments, the more he detested and abhorred all acts on
the part of any government, which tended to exasperate the
people, to engender discontent, to alienate their hearts, and
to spirit them up to resistance and to the desire of change.
The more he deprecated resistance, the more he felt bound
to oppose all foolish and presumptuous acts on the part of
government, by which they expressed a disdain for the
kelings of the people, or by which, they strove to keep down


all complaint by inhuman severities. He was convinced that
wise men, deliberately weighing the relative duties of govern-
ment and people, and judging of human nature as it was,
would see the wisdom of mutual concessions, would recom-
mend incessant conciliation, and would deplore all measures
which could exasperate and inflame the minds of the people,
and induce them to wish for the horrors of_ a change. No-
thing was so clear from all the history of England, as that
we had never been so fortunate as when the government had
conciliated the people ; never so miserable as when a wretched
system of persecution had been unhappily and unwisely
adopted by ministers. Persecution had never been success-fill
in extirpating opposition to any system either religious or
civil. It was not merely the divinity of christianity that had
made it triumph; for other religions, certainly not divine,
but which were founded in imposture, as well as a number
of the wildest sects, had thriven and flourished under per-
secution, on account, as he believed, of that very persecution.
The human mind was roused by oppression; and so far from
yielding to persecution, exerted all its energies in consequence
of the attacks it had to encounter. Was it believed, that,
if there was a party in this country, who cherished in their
hearts the desire of reform, the sentiment could be extirpated
by exercising over the individuals legal severities? Impotent
were the men who thought that opinions could be so encoun-
tered ! There were some things that were most successfully
vanquished by neglect. America held out to us the true
course and the wise plan to be pursued. Let us, like her,
demonstrate to every man the blessings of our system. Let
us show that we not only are convinced that it is good, but
that it will bear to be examined and compared with any other
system. Let us make the people proud to court c&nparison,
and strive rather to add new blessings to those they enjoy,
than to abridge those which they already possess. Let us
think for a moment what must be the joy which the present
measure, if adopted, will produce in France. How will it
be received in the convention ? Barrere will, no doubt,
triumphantly hold it forth as a proof that all the stories which
he has tried to propagate in France, of there being a party
in this country favourable to them, are true. At least, he
would say, it had broken out to such a height, that ministers
could no longer think the g-overnment safe, and the constitu-
tion was to be suspended in order to protect the state against
the French party. If any accounts of the true state of this
kingdom had reached France, which told them that we were
united almost as one man against all doctrines which led to
anarchy, Barrere would hold up the present measure in eon-

1.7 2


[May 17

tradiction to that fitithful report, and say, that it was obvious
there must be a formidable party in England in favour of
French doctrines, when one of the most beautiful branches of
our boasted -constitution was to be lopped from the tree.
Nay, though he for one had always treated with scorn the
idea of an invasion, he asked those who held out that fear
to the country, if any thing could be more likely to induce
the French to undertake such an enterprise, than by thus
giving to them the impression that we were threatened with
an insurrection at home? Some words had passed, as if he.
had the night before said, that he would withdraw his atten-
dance from the House. He thought it incumbent upon him
to say, that he should act in this respect as upon reflection
he felt it to be his duty to his constituents. But he certainly
has not said that he should withdraw from the House. Mr.
Fox concluded with a strong admonition to the House on the
present alarming measure. He said, he saw it was to pass;
that further effort was vain ; that the precipitation with which
it had been hurried on, made it idle for him to hope that
argument would induce them to hesitate; and all that re-
mained for him was to pronounce his solemn protest against
a measure pregnant with consequences so fatal to the esta-
blished order and strength and freedom of the country.

Mr. Pitt followed Mr. Fox, after which,

Mr. Fox, in explanation, declared, that with regard to
what he had said on the subject of the christian religion, the
Tight honourable gentleman had entirely misunderstood and
mis-stated him ; which he did not conceive possible, as he
had taken particular pains to make his meaning clear and
obvious. What he had said was, that the Christian religion
owed much of its success to persecution; not insinuating from.
that, that it was deficient in point of divinity; it was a re-
ligion of which he always had been accustomed to speak with
reverence, and which lie had ever professed; and further, to
elucidate that point, he had observed, that not only the
christian religion, but other sects, which had no just claim
to divine institution, had flourished under persecution. He
repeated what he had said respecting a proper vigilance in
the people, over the proceedings of parliament, and their
right to associate for legal purposes. He declared, if such
a bill as had been alluded to by his right honourable friend,
(Mr. Windham,) to assimilate the law of this country to tha;
of Scotland, was ever to be introduced into that House, he
should think it his duty to associate with persons from the
different C01111tiO4 and. towns in England,, to resist it by


every legal and constitutional means. With regard to dis-
-affected persons, no country was without them, but the bill
was holding out to our enemies that they were so numerous
as to require the strongest efforts of the executive government
to resist them.

Mr. Pitt expressed his satisfaction at the explanation given by
Mr. Fox, and assured him that what he had said arose from mis-
conception. The House divided on the motion, That the House
do now adjourn :

Tellers. Tellers.

iMjr Maitland'? 3 NoEs Sir J. Saunderson}1 Mra. Jekyll S 3 • Mr. Adams 183.

The bill was then read a third time and passed, and at three
o'clock on Sunday morning the House adjourned.


May 3o.

N pursuance of the notice he had given on the 26th instant,

Mr. Fox rose and said, that thinking as he did of the pre-
sent lamentable and disastrous war, he should not do his
duty, if he did not once more, before the close of the session,
give theHouse an opportunity of consideringthe situation
in ,which the country stood with respect to that war, and of
reviewing the events which had led to that situation. On
the war itself little now remained to be said: his present
object was to call the attention of the House to particular
facts that admitted of no dispute, and the inferences which
every unprejudiced and dispassionate man must draw from
those facts. First, then, as to the origin of the war : he had
always considered as one of the greastest advantages of a
free constitution, the publicity of all the acts of government;
and thence he had hoped, that it was impossible for us to be
plunged into a war upon false pretences, for one thing to be
held up to the people as the cause, and another to be pur-
sued by ministers as the end. Here, however, his hopes
had deceived him. At the commencement of the last session
of parliament, the language of ministers, and the language
of the House, breathed nothing but the strictest neutrality.


[May 3e.

it was not merely in the beginning of the French revolu-
tion that this language was held, but after the king had
been dethroned, and many of those atrocities had been
committed, at the view of which every feeling mind shrunk
with horror. Ministers professed then to think that we were
not to look to the conduct of another country in its inter-
nal affairs, as the criterion of peace or war ; and, although
many acts had been done in France of which it was difficult
to say whether they were more calculated to move pity or ex-
cite indignation, still they pretended to court peace and neu-
trality. They said fairly, that if the French should make an
unprovoked attack on any of our allies, or pursue plans of
aggrandizement, which, if accomplished, would render it dif-•be
ficult to oppose any attack they might afterwards make, we
must take part in the war. Great paws were taken to per-
suade the House, that their attempt to open the navigation of
the Scheldt was an aggression upon our allies the Dutch ;
and however ludicrously or contemptuously that had been
since treated as the cause of the war, he appealed to the re-
collection of the House whether it was not at first the point
principally insisted upon. To settle the dispute upon this
point, he had recommended negociation to the House, and
the House refused to adopt it. But although the House de-
cided against it, the ministers thought it convenient to follow
his recommendation. They had recourse, not to an open
and manly, but to an underhand and equivocal mode of nego-
ciation, which, even if meant honestly, could hardly fail of
defeating its own purpose. In every dispute, the first step
towards an accommodation was, to show the other party that
we did not mean to treat them with contempt. But ministers,
in their negociation, by their inimical conduct, by refusing
to acknowledge that those with whom they were treating had
any power to treat, took the sure course of rendering it in-
effectual. Their object was to pretend a negociation, and to
pursue such means as must make it fail. It failed accordingly.
Even after that, nothing was said of interfering in the internal
government of Prance. On the contrary, it was asserted by
those who were in the confidence of his majesty's ministers,
and by ministers themselves, that the form of the French go-
vernment at that time, or whatever future form it might as-
sume, was not a fundamental objection to peace. During
the recess, severe declarations were published in his

majesty s

name, very inconsistent with our former professions of having
crone to war only to repel an unjust aggression on our allies,
and an unprovoked injury offered to ourselves. When
Dumourier declared against the convention, and proposed •
marching to Paris, to restore the monarchy, the Prince of


Saxe Cobourg, in the name of the emperor, issued a pro-
clamation, by which he acceded to the constitution of 1789,
and declared, that whatever strong places should be given up
to him, he would hold in trust for Louis XVII. till that con-
stitution should be restored. True it was, that proclamation
was almost instantly retracted, to the disgrace of all those
who were parties to it. Whatever might be the fate of his
present motion—whatever might be the issue of the war, the
time he hoped would come, when we should clear ourselves
in the face of Europe from the infamy of having been acces-
saries in that transaction. The emperor, as dead to all shame,
as unfeeling with respect to every principle of justice, re-
tracted his proclamation before it could be known what effect
it might have produced on the people of France, and within
five days after it had been issued. -What could be found to
match this, even in the conduct of those who governed France?
It appeared to be done as if the emperor had feared, that the
King of Prussia's perfidy to Poland might stand unparalleled,
and he himself could not be considered as a fit member of the
confederacy, till he had clone something to keep his ally in
countenance. In a cause, which we were so often told was
the cause of morality, virtue, and religion, he trusted that his
majesty, for his own and the national honour, would disclaim
all participation in or approbation of such acts. The surren-
der of Toulon was considered as a fit occasion for declaring
the intentions of ministers. Lord. Hood took possession of
it on the express condition of maintaining the constitution of
1789, and pledged himself to protect all Frenchmen who
should repair to that standard. A declaration in the name of
his majesty, afterwards came out, different, indeed, from this;
verbose, obscure, and equivocal, like the production of men
who were afraid of saying any thing distinctly, who wished
not their meaning to be clearly understoo4 3; that, stript of all
the elegant rubbish with which it was loaded, declared only
this—that the restoration of monarchy, without specifying
of what kind, was the only condition upon which we could
treat with France. Thus did our avowed objects progressively
change. It would be said, that we might fairly enter into a
war with one view, and afterwards, as the alteration of cir-
cumstances made it necessary or convenient, change that view
for another. Be it so, for the sake of argument ; but it be-
came not us to say that we were fighting in defence of mo-
rality, religion, and the rights of civilized society, who had.
entered into the war about the navigation of the Scheldt.
We had confessed that this was the object for which we began
the war, and we were not now to boast of higher motives.
But for this aggression on our ally, the cause of morality and



[May 3o.
religion would have been left to other defenders. If the
change of object was a question of policy, let it be so con-
sidered. What had appeared to make it more politic now
than at the commencement of the war? Had our experience
at Toulon, the success of the Earl of Moira's expedition, or
the internal state of France, convinced us that we had a better
prospect of terminating the war by the aid of Frenchmen
than before? We had disclaimed peace with the present
rulers, and we had disclaimed interfering in the internal. go-
vernment of France. But how had we disclaimed interfering?
We were actually interfering, and our interference was of the
most objectionable kind. We said that our object was not to
build up a government for France, but to destroy the system
which now domineered in it. Suppose this point gained,
were we to leave the French, thus deprived of every thing
like a government, to settle one for themselves? Were we to
say to them, " You, of whose.

wisdom, moderation, and hu-
manity we have had such proofs, and entertain so high an
opinion, assemble again by your delegates, as you did in 1739,
and build up a government to your own liking, a monarchy,
a republic, no matter what, so it be not jacobinism ?" Thus
we should propose to let loose the French again to that state
from which we wanted to recal them, and to renew all those
horrors which we had so often deplored. This mode of in-
terference, was only politic inasmuch as it was faithless. It
might be hoped to unite in our favour, all those who hated
the present system ; but of these how many must be deceived!
One man might join us because he wished for the restoration
of the old despotism, another because he wished for a limited
monarchy, a third for a republic on better principles—and
each confiding that our views were the same with his own.
Two of these at least must be disappointed, perhaps all the
three. Was this, he asked, mere theory ? Had not a noble
lord (Mulgrave) told the House that such was the state of the
people at Toulon, almost equally divided between abhorrence
of the old government and abhorrence of the new? and when
there was neither foreign force, nor the cruel rigour of the
present system to controul their passions, would they not
break out into acts of open contest and violence ? But what
he thought most to be complained of, was, that we had been
drawn into the war upon professions of neutrality, if neutrality
could be preserved, and were now called upon to persist in it,
on declarations directly opposite; that the people had been

deluded by fidse pretences, to spend their money and their
l?lood fbr purposes to which, if fairly stated to them in the
first instance, they would not have consented ; and being once
engaged in the war, were told that they could not get Out of


it, He had often been puzzled to divine what were the
motives upon which ministers themselves were acting. Dur-
ing part of the last campaign, he thought they meant to
adhere to their professed intentions. While a civil war was
raging in La Vendee, we took Valenciennes and Mentz.
The garrisons of those places we bound not to serve against
Any of the allies for a stipulated time, but we did not prohibit
them from bearing arms against the royalists in La Vendee.
In fact, we did as much as if we had sent them against the
royalists, for we dismissed them without the possibility of
being employed but only there. This was, perhaps, meant to
shiny that they disclaimed interfering in the internal govern-
ment of France; and to refute as calumnies, the allegations
that to interfere was their express, although not their avowed
object. In the subsequent part of the campaign, the effect of
this conduct was completely effaced in one point of view, but
not in another, for the reproach of it still remained. It was
effaced by the declarations at Toulon, by the king's manifes-
toes, and by preparing an army for the avowed purpose of co-
operating with those very royalists.

He had thus shown the inconsistencies of ministers and their
supporters with respect to the professed object of the war, but
these were not all. They had formerly contended, that if we
suffered France to aggrandize herself at the expellee of the
emperor and the King of Sardinia, we might have to contend
against her increased power, when our present allies, offended
at our neutrality, would not assist us. He bad never been
able to see the force of this argument. He had always ima-
gined that what we should be principally called upon to fur-
nish in any war with France, would be money; and that our
continental allies would not refuse to accept of subsidies from
us at any time. What was now the fact? Did we fear that
the emperor would make peace with France too soon, if we
did not interpose? Fortunate for Europe would it la.ve been
if he bad done so; mid the barrier of the Netherland's, which
the mistaken policy of a former reign had demolished, might
have been restored. Would the King of Prussia have with-
drawn himself sooner, or might he not have been prevailed
upon by a subsidy to lend his troops as he had done now—
as the emperor might soon do also? Besides our engage-
ments with the King of Prussia and the emperor, we had en-
tered into various conventions with other powers. One of
these, the treaty with the King of Sardinia, had been the sub-
ject of discussion before, and it was unnecessary to enlarge
upon it again. But in this had we any equivalent for what
we engaged to perform? On all the occasions referred to as
precedents in the former debate, we had to fear that the King

of Sardinia might join our enemy, and to bring him over to our
side was a. material advantage—Was there any danger of his
joining France in the present war, if we had left him to his
own councils? His neutrality would have been much more
advantageous to the allies than his assistance. But it was said
he might make a powerful diversion in our favour, and by
drawing off a considerable part of the French force 'to the
South, facilitate our operations in Flanders. At present, the
diversion he made was, by an incursion of the French into
his own territory. 'Would he, with his British subsidy, be
able to defend his own dominions, and protect Italy? Clearly
not, and the safety of Italy must now depend on a great Aus-
trian force. From such inlbrmation as was accessible to every
man, he heard of nothing but the success of the French on
the side of Italy, and, what was still worse, the disposition of
the people in their favour, who hated nothing more than they
did both the Austrian and Sardinian government. The French
had entered Piedmont at two points, were threatening Turin,
and could only be repelled by an Austrian army. In whose
favour, then, was the diversion by subsidizing the King of
Sardinia?—of the French who employed a force in that
quarter which they could not, perhaps, have transported to
the North ; and against the emperor, whose exertions in Flan-
ders must be weakened by the exertions he was thus obliged to
make in Italy.

All the conventions entered into by us contained a clause
by which the contracting parties bound themselves not to lay
down their arms, while any part of the territory of either of
them remained in possession of the enemy, and this was to
extend to all powers who should accede to the confederacy.
Ministers were formerly asked, whether the emperor and the
King of Prussia had acceded to this guarantee? It was unne-
cessary to ask them that question now; the King of Prussia
had laid down his arms, till he was bought by our money to
take them up again ; and the emperor had refused to agree to
the clause. Thus, we alone were bound to continue a war,
now declared to be a war ad internainem and consequently
of incalculable duration. We entered into a treaty with the
King of Prussia, by which neither party was to have laid
down arms, but by consent of the other. From this engage-
ment he escaped by a loop-hole; for as none of his dominions
were within reach of the enemy, he had only to withdraw his
troops from the scene of action, and tell us that he had made
peace with France. But he was bound to continue war in
other parts, till the objects of it were obtained. But did he
not get rid of this by another loop-hole, under the words
" as 'long as circumstances will permit?" such was his en-


vagement in July, 1793. 'What change of circumstances had
happened in February, 17 94 ? Had he sustained losses?Had he suffered defeats? No. The campaign, ministers as-
sured us, had been most successful: but he had discovered.
that war had a tendency to exhaust his finances ! he had found
out a circumstance which it was impossible to foresee, that
his victories would cost him something ! This was the un-
looked-for circumstance that would not permit the King of
Prussia to continue the war. Had the public been told in
July, 17 93, that the treaty was binding upon him only for
the rest of the campaign, they would have seen it in a very
different point of view. The war was called the common
cause of the civilized world, and all Europe, we had been
assured, would join us in it. A great confederacy, indeed,
had been formed ; but many of the powers of Europe had
not joined us, and it was reasonable to conclude that they had
not the same apprehensions of danger. If the general in-
terest were to be admitted, the emperor had still a more par-
ticular interest than we had. He contributed large armies,
but no part of the subsidy to Prussia. It was even said, that
ministers asked him to pay his share, but that he refused :
hence it ':cas clear, that all the money must be supplied by us
and the Dutch. The emperor possessed various and rich do-
minions remote from the seat of war. From these he could
not draw supplies in money. Even the part of his territories
the most exposed to the enemy, more abounding in wealth
than almost any country-, this excepted refused to assist him ;
so that he was obliged to come here for great and heavy
loan. The propriety of allowing a foreign power to draw
money out of this country by loan, lie would not now discuss.
His opinion was, that it was best to leave individuals to their
own judgment. But the loan showed that the emperor had
no resource but here. If the loan should fail, where was he
to go? Or if he wanted another next year, and could not ob-
tain it, must he come, like the King of Prussia, fw a subsidy ?
How could we refuse him, if it was true that the existence of
jacobinism iu France was incompatible with our safety as a
nation ? Must not we give subsidy after subsidy, while the
war was going on with various success, and the end of it, on
the only terms on which we said it could be ended, was too
remote for speculation?

The consequence which he drew from all this was, that we
ought to think of some rational mode of obtaining peace.
That could only be effected in one of three ways — by treating,
by compelling the enemy to submit to our own terms, or by
treating with sufficient force in our hands to induce compli-
ance with reasonable demands. The House had never sane-

tioned the dangerous speculation, that to secure England, we
must destroy jacobinism m France. The experience of ages
had proved it to be the will of Providence, that monarchies,
oligarchies, aristocracies, republics, might exist in all their
several varieties in different parts of the world, without impo-
sing the necessity of endless wars on the rest. The argument
for peace had this advantage, that if peace should fail, we
might then resort to war ; but from war to peace, if that ex-
periment should fail, the transition was not so easy. The
French government had existed for two years. A powerful
confederacy had been formed, numerous armies and great ge-
nerals employed against it, and yet internally it appeared to be
stronger than ever. In the first campaign, the Duke of
Brunswick, at the head of a veteran army, had been compel-
led to retreat, and the Austrian Netherlands were over-run.
In the second campaign, armies still more formidable had been
brought into the field, and it had been, as ministers boasted,
not merely successful, but brilliant. Yet the French govern-
ment internally remained untouched by our disasters or our
successes. If this was the dreadful situation in which we were
placed, -- if we were at war with a nation that rose in num-
bers and enthusiasm as much on our victories as our defeats,
we must adopt the principle,

Nil actuin reputans, si quid superesset agendum.
We had done nothing while any thing remained to do.

We might take islands in the West Indies; we might even
circumscribe the European territories of France ; but while
the nation remained, we were no .nearer peace. This was a
situation, melancholy and deplorable at any time, but much
more so when we adverted to the inability of our allies to go
on, but as we could afford to pay them. But if we chose to
revert to the old maxim of state policy, that the internal an-
archy of France, or of any other country, was no concern of
ours, then, indeed, our successes in the East and West Indies
would tell in our favour. Far was he from undervaluing those
successes, or the merit of the gallant officers by whose valour
and skill they had been atchieved; but he wished them to
prove not merely a source of glory to the officers, but of solid
advantage to the country. The settlements and islands we
had taken in the East and West Indies, were excellent mate-
rials for negotiation, but nothing for overturning the present
government of France. If we aimed only at a safe and equit-
able peace for ourselves and our allies, they might be restored
for restitution of what had been conquered from any of those
allies,kr kept as indemnity for the past and security for the



future, as the relative circumstances of the war and our en-
gagements, might point out.

He therefore wished the House and the country to con-
sider, whether we had not now the means of making peace; for,
on the terms on which ministers said it could alone be made,
he despaired of ever obtaining it. They said formerly, that
France was not in a negotiable state; that there was no man
in it who could answer for the conduct of another. Was
this the present state of France? He was little inclined to pay
any compliment to tyranny, but it was surely in the power of
tyranny, while it lasted, to coerce its own subjects. If the
present rulers of France thought proper to declare war
against any neutral nation, even against America, did any
man doubt that they would be obeyed ? Why, then, doubt
their being obeyed if they made peace with any nation with
whom they were at war? If by force, as some pretended,
they sent their people to the field of battle, very little force
would be sufficient to restrain them from it. They had been
guilty of no infringement of the rights of neutral states ; they
had respected the Swiss territory under very difficult circum-
stances, and had passed through part of the Genoese territory
in arms, without giving occasion for a single complaint. He
wished that we might be able to maintain a good under-
standing with neutral states, in every instance, as well. He.
was ready to allow, that it was one thing to propose
peace, and another to obtain it. With a nation in a state so
anomalous as that of France, all events must be doubtful; but
if we were to propose peace and fail, what should we lose?
Would the King of Prussia take no more of our money?
Would the emperor refuse a subsidy when he had occasion,
for it? This we should gain, that the convention would be no
longer able to delude the people of France into the persuasion
that we were making war upon them, not for the usual objects
of war, but for the destruction of their liberties; and we should
convince the people of this country, that the' ar was not car-
ried on upon principles hostile to freedom, from which Great
Britain had more to fear than any other nation.

Some sanguine men were of opinion, that certain principles
established in one country must necessarily disturb the peace
of another. He had doubted the doctrine when he first heard
it; and the more he had examined, the more he disliked it.
If it was maintained, that opinions held in France must con-
taminate the minds of Englishmen, this would lead to a revi-
val of every species of intolerance, and to a more rigorous
/scrutiny of opinions than could be safe for states or mdivi-
duals,.more especially for this country. Had it not often been
said that the. Freuch lievolatian. owed iu axi aaA t9 the .A.mexi-



[May 30.
can war; that opinions borrowed from America gave it birth?
This was so plausible that he knew not how to doubt it. Not
that the French took the American opinions as they really
were ; they adopted them crudely in theory and perverted
them in practice. Whence did the Americans receive their
opinions? not from the wandering Indians, not from Mexico
and Peru — they carried them with them from England. He
must, therefore, deprecate questioning opinions on the pos-
sible consequences to which they might lead, for then would
both America and England be found guilty. Whence were
derived the Rights of Man, so much abused by misappli-
cation, so fundamentally true ? Not from the ancients, not

Asia or Africa, but from Great Britain; from that phi-
losophy, if it was still safe to use the word, which Locke and
Sydney taught and illustrated. If we were once to argue,
that the principles of any one people were dangerous to others,
then we must be odious to all other nations, whose forms of
government and modes of thinking had less of liberty than
our own. To despotic governments we must be detestable,
64 Although France," they might say, 64 has been the theatre
on which the abominations that flow from those principles
have been exhibited, yet England is the author;" and the
example of England they would feel to be more dangerous,
as truth was a more powerful instrument than error. 'When
the courts of Berlin and Vienna exhibited such instances of
perfidy and injustice, might they not well think that British
justice and good faith afforded an example to their people
and a reproach to themselves, not to be tolerated ?

He would now assume, that the House was to differ from
him in all he had said, and to persist in the plan of over-
turning jacobinism in France as the only road to peace. In
that case they were bound to say so in explicit terms, and to
declare moreover, that in conjunction with a certain description
of Frenchmen, they meant to obtain some definite form of
government for France. Then every Frenchman would
know what he had to expect of us. If we declared for what
some chose to call the old. monarchy, but which he should
ever call the old despotism, many would repair to the standard.
If we declared for the constitution of 178 9, those who ap-
proved of that constitution would join us. And if we declared,
for any form of a republic, a word which a remembrance of
the grievances and oppressions under the monarchy had ren-
dered popular, we should have the adherents of that system:
Then men would join us whom we meant not to deceive.
By professing only to demolish jacobinism without specifying
what we/meant to erect in its stead, we might have more
hands but fewer hearts; for all who joined us would con-



stantly suspect that they were assisted but to be betrayed. If
therefore, the House should not adopt the better resolution,
he should move another resolution to this effect.

He had carefully avoided touching on the military conduct
or the present state of the campaign. He had early in the
session examined the attention paid to protecting our trade,
he feared with but little of the effect which he hoped to pro-
duce, as the premiums for insurance, then triumphantly held
up as an argument against him, too fully proved by their
rapid increase. He looked to Flanders with pain and
anxiety; we had destroyed many of the enemy, since the
opening of the campaign, but alas ! the slaughter had not
been all on one side. He had felt some curiosity to calculate
the loss of the allies of all descriptions in the last campaign
in all the points of action, from such documents as were
public, and also to estimate the loss of the French, which
could scarcely be less than 200,000 ! What, then, were we
to think of conquering a people who could bear such a loss
as this, and still present superior numbers in every point of
attack? We had reduced Landrecies, and while we were
doing that, the enemy had pushed into West Flanders, from
which, with the well-earned laurels our troops had ob-
tained, we had not yet been able to dislodge them. Without
professing to be a critic in matters of war, when he looked
at the frontier, he could not kelp thinking the conquest of
France a more desperate crusade than ever. What said our
allies of the French ? The emperor had published that the
attack of the 17th was admirably planned ; that in the exe-
cution, generals, officers, and men, all merited equal praise ;
and vet it had totally tailed ! Hence he must conclude that
we had to cope with a very formidable enemy. Was it
owing to the elements that the plan had miscarried ? No, it
was because West Flanders was intersected by hedges and
ditches. • But was this a thing unknown before to the em-
peror's officers in his own territories ? Dtfi they plan an attack
only to discover that they were fighting in an inclosed
country ? It was like the 'King of Prussia's discovery that
war cost money. Since then we had obtained a victory, on
which no man could be supposed to dwell with more peculiar
pleasure than he himself, but the only effect of that victory
was, not to dislodge the French from their position in
Flanders, but to avert a great danger from the allied army.
When such was the state of the campaign in Flanders; when
the Spaniards and Piedmontese were repulsed, and instead
of making a diversion required assistance, surely he might
infer that there was as little prospect of destroying the jacobin
government of France now as when the war began, and we

professed no such object. Why not, then, recur to old
maxims, when our victories and the islands we had taken
might give them such effect ? It was impossible to dissemble
that we had a serious dispute with America; and although
we might be confident that the wisest and best man of his
age, who presided in the government of that country would
do every thing that became him to avert a war, it was
impossible to foresee the issue. America had no fleet,
no army; but in case of war she would find various means
to harass and annoy us. Against her we 'could not strike a
blow that would not be as severely felt in London as in
America, so identified were the two countries by commercial
intercourse. To a contest with such an adversary he looked
as the greatest possible misfortune. If we commenced an-
other crusade against her, we might destroy her trade, and

'check the progress of her agriculture, but we must also
equally injure ourselves. Desperate therefore, indeed, must
be that war in which each wound inflicted on our enemy
would at the same time inflict one upon ourselves. He hoped
to God that such an event as a war with America would not
happen : but whether it did or did not, he contended that
every day afforded additional reasons for putting an end to
our crusade against France.

Mr. Fox concluded with reading the following resolutions :

" That it appears to this House, that during the several
changes which took place in the constitution and government of
France, before the commencement of hostilities, and more parti-
cularly after the events of the moth of August 1792, when his ma-
jesty was advised by his ministers to suspend all official commu-
nications with France, it was, and continued to be, the pro-
fessed principle and policy of his majesty's government, care-
fully to observe a strict neutrality, and uniformly to abstain from
any interference with respect to the internal affairs of France :
that, when his majesty was advised to make a farther augmen-
tation of his forces by sea and land, at the beginning of the last
year, it was for the declared purpose of opposing views of aggran-
disement and ambition on the part of France, and that, when his
majesty acquainted parliament, that acts of hostility had been di-
rected by the government of France against his majesty's subjects,
and after war had been declared against his majesty and the United
Provinces, the then avowed object of prosecuting the war, on our
part, was to oppose the further views of aggrandisement imputed
to France, and that the prosecution of the war on this ground,
and for the attainment of this object, was approved of by both
Houses of parliament.

z. " That it appears to this House, that, at or before the end
of April 1793, the armies of France were obliged to evacuate Hol-
land and Flanders, and to retire within their own territory ; anti


that the Prince of Cobourg, commander in chief of the Emperor's
forces in Flanders, did, on the 5 th of April, engage and declare that
he would join and co-operate with General Dumourier, to give
to France her constitutional king, and the constitution which
she had formed for herself; and that the Prince of Cobourg did
also then declare, on his word of honour, that if any strong
places should be delivered over to his troops, he should con-
sider them no otherwise than as sacred deposits ; and that, on

,month9th all the preceding declarations ofthe of the sa e
the Prince of Cobourg were revoked.

3. " That it appears to this House, that, by the i5th article
of the treaty concluded with the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel on the
Toth of April 1 793 , his majesty's ministers were of opinion, that
the situation of affairs had then entirely changed its aspect, in
consequence of which his majesty might not have occasion for the
Hessian troops, and might be at liberty to relinquish their service,
on certain conditions of compensation to be made to the Land -

4. " That it appears to this House, that, on the 14th of July
1793, a convention was concluded between his majesty and the
King of Prussia, in which their majesties reciprocally promised to
continue to employ their respective forces, as far as their circum-
stances would permit, in carrying on a war equally just and

5. " That it appears to this House, that, on the 2 3 d of August
7 93, Lord Hood declared to the people of Toulon, that he had

no other view but that of restoring peace to a great nation, upon
the most just, liberal, and honourable terms ; that the inhabitants
of Toulon did in return declare, that it was their unanimous wish
to adopt a monarchical government, such as it was originally
formed by the constituent assembly of 178 9 ; and that Lord hood,
by his proclamation of the 28th of August, accepted of that de-
claration, and did then repeat, what he bad already declared to
the people of the south of France, that he took posesssion of Tou-
lon, and held it in trust only for Louis the XVIlth.

6. " That it appears to this House, at the constitution to
which the declaration and acceptance stared in the preceding re-
solution are applied, was the same which his majesty's ambassador
at the Hague did, in a memorial presented to the States General
on the 25th of January, 17 93, describe in the following terms,
viz. ' It is not quite four years since certain miscreants, assuming

the name of philosophers, have presumed to think themselves
capable of establishing a new system of civil society ; in order

' to realize this dream, the offspring of vanity, it became ne-
' cessary for them to overturn and destroy all established notions
' of subordination, of morals, and of religion ;' and that this
description was applied by the said ambassador to a government
with which his majesty continued to treat and negociate from its
institution in 178 9 to its dissolution in August 17 9 2, and that his
majesty's ambassador was not recalled front Paris until that go-
vernment was dissolved.-

7. " That it appears to this House by the declaration made by
voL. v.



[ May 3o.

his majesty's ministers, and dated on the 2 9t11 of October, 1793,
That his majesty demands only of France that some legitimate
and stable government should be established, founded on the ac-
knowledged principles of universal justice, and capable of main-

' taming with other powers the accustomed relations of union and
peace ;' and that his majesty, in treating for the re-establishment
of general tranquillity with such a government, would propose

none other than equitable and moderate conditions, not such as
the expences, the risks, and the sacrifices of the war might jus-

tify ;' and that his majesty hoped to find in the other powers
engaged with him in the common cause, sentiments and views
perfectly conformable to his own.

8. " That it appears to this House that, at the commencement
of the war, the prosecution of it was considered by his majesty as
a cause of general concern, in which his majesty had every reason
to hope for the cordial co-operation of those powers who were
united with his majesty by the ties of alliance, and who felt an
interest in the same cause.

9. ".That it does not appear to this House, that in the prose-
cution of a war considered by his majesty as a cause of general
concern, and as a common cause, his majesty has received that
cordial co-operation which we were led to expect, from those
powers who were united with him by the ties of alliance, and who
were supposed to feel an interest in the same cause.

to. " That, on a review of the conduct of the several powers
of Europe, from whom, if the cause was common, and if the
concern was general, such cordial co-operation might have been
expected, it appears to this House, that many of those powers
have not co-operated with his majesty ; that the Empress of
Russia has not contributed in any shape to the support of this
common cause ; that the crowns of Sweden and Denmark have
united to support their neutrality, and to defend themselves against
any attempt to force them to take part in this common cause ;
that Poland is neither able nor inclined to take part in it; that
Switzerland and Venice are neutral ; that the King of Sardinia
has required and obtained a subsidy from Great Britain to enable
him to act even on the defensive ; that the King of the Two
Sicilies, professing to make common cause with his majesty in the
war against France, is bound to it by nothing but his own judg-
ment in the course of events which may occur, and that he is at
liberty to abandon the common cause whenever he shall judge that
he cannot any longer with justice and dignity continue the war ;
that the efforts of Spain and Portugal have been completely

" That, with respect to the powers who were principals in
the present war, (viz. the States General, the King of Prussia,
and the Emperor,) it appears to this House, that the States Ge-
neral, having refused to contract for the payment of their portion
of the subsidies to be paid to the King of Prussia, beyond the
term of the present year, have thereby reserved to themselves a
right to withdraw from the support of the war at that period, and
to throw the whole–burden of it upon Great Britain ; that the


King of Prussia being bound by the convention of July 1793, to
act in the most perfect concert and the most intimate confidence
with his majesty, upon all the objects relative to the present war,
and having then promised to continue to employ his forces as far
as circumstances would permit in carrying on the war, and his
majesty having since been obliged by the treaty of the 19th
April 1794, to grant to the King of Prussia an enormous subsidy,
in order to engage him to continue to co-operate in the prose-
cution of the war, it follows that the King of Prussia is no longer
a principal party, nor even an auxiliary in the said war, but that
he basely lends out his troops to this country in return for a most
profitable pecuniary compensation at our expence, and that Great
Britain is, in fact, loaded with his proper share of the burden of
a war, which is said to be the common cause of every civilised
state ; finally, that if it were expedient or necessary to purchase
the King of Prussia's co-operation on such terms, the emperor,
whose interests are more directly at stake, was full as much bound
in reason and justice, as his majesty or the States General could
be, to contribute equally to that expense; and that if, at any
future period of the war, the emperor's finances should be so
exhausted as to make it impossible for him to maintain it on his
part at his own charge, his imperial majesty will be invited and
encouraged, if not justified, by the example and success of the
King of Prussia, to call upon this country to defray the whole
expence of whatever army he may continue to employ against the
French ; nor does it appear to this House by what distinction in
policy or in argument the terms granted to the King of Prussia
can be refused to the emperor, whose efforts and expences in the
course of the war have infinitely exceeded those of Prussia, or
how this country can in prudence or with safety, decline a com-
pliance with such demands, if it be true, as has been declared,
that the destruction of the present French government is essential
to the security of every thing which is most dear and valuable to
us as a nation.

12. " That it appears to this House, that in consequence of the
events of the war on the Continent and elswwhere, all views of
aggrandizement and ambition on the part of France, supposing
the French to entertain such views, are evidently unattainable,
and must be relinquished by France; and that therefore, the ob-
ject of the war as it was originally professed on our part, viz. the
restoration of peace on terms of permanent security, is now
attainable, and may be secured, provided that on one side the
French shall be content with the possession and safety of their
own country, and that we, on the other, shall adhere to the prin-
ciples of justice and policy, so often declared by his majesty and
avowed by his ministers, of uniformly abstaining from any inter-
ference with respect to the internal affairs of France.

13. " That it is the duty of his majesty's ministers to avail them-
selves of the present circumstances of the war, and to promote a
pacification by every means in their power, by proposing . to France
equitable and moderate conditions, and above all things, by
abstaining from any interference in the internal affairs of France;

X 2

[May 30.,

14. " That it is the opinion of this House, that in every pos-
sible case, it is equally desirable that his majesty should make an
explicit declaration of his views, If it is the intention not to
terfere in the internal government of France, nothing can con-
tribute so much to advance a negotiation with those who now
exercise the power of government in that country, as such a de-
claration solemnly and explicitly made. If on the other hand it is
intended to interfere, it is highly essential to make the degree of
interference precisely known, to induce such parts of the French
nation as are dissatisfied with the present government, to unite
and exert themselves with satisfaction and security."

Upon the first resolution being put, Mr. Jenkinson rose and
moved the previous question thereon ; in which he was supported
by Mr. Pitt. The resolution was warmly defended by Mr. Sheridan.
In reply to what fell from Mr„ Pitt, who bad cast some reflections
on the conduct of Mr. Sheridan,

Mr. Fox said, that when he considered the secret com-
mittee that had been alluded to, there were some men among
them whose talents and integrity he held in the highest
esteem ; but if in point of abilities, if in point of integrity
and honour, if in point of every quality that could adorn the
character of man, they were compared with his honourable
friend, (Mr. Sheridan,) they were compared with their equal,
and the comparison would do them no dishonour. With
regard to the question before the House, the right honour-
able gentleman had blended two things essentially distinct;
the medium by which we were to carry on this war, and the
object for which it was carried on. And here he must say,
that it was not originally expressed to be the object of our
executive government; it had never been expressed to be the
object of that House ; it never ought to be the object of this
country, to carry on the war for the purpose of forming a
government for France. Surely, if there was any distinction
to be marked by words, means were one thing, the object
another. The right honourable the chancellor of the ex-
chequer insisted that he had confounded the idea of the
alteration of the government of France with the conquest of
France, and that in reality the majority of the people of
France were against the present government. For his part,
he would not insult the good sense of the House by seeming
to agree to that position. For how stood the facts as opposed
to the bare assertion of the right honourable gentleman? Let
the House look at the expedition of the Earl of Moira, an
expedition not planned in secret, and overturned by stratagem,
but an expedition publicly announced, and for six months
endeavoured to be carried into execution, by affording to the
majority of the Frencl\ an opportunity of joining us, for the'


purpose of destroying a form of government of which they
were said to be so tired. If he were, after this, to say that the
great majority of the people of France were desirous of join-
ing us to destroy their present government, he should after-
wards be ashamed to show his face any where in Europe.
The French were not now desirous of destroying their re-
public. Had they ever been so? What was the case at the
desertion of Dumourier ? He abandoned the cause of the
French republic. How many followed him ? A few officers
and domestics. We took Valenciennes. How many repaired
to our standard in consequence ? We took possession of
Toulon by the agreement of some of the inhabitants. We
erected there a standard of royalty. How many Frenchmen
came to it? A declaration was made in favour of royalty,
the French were called upon to shake off their sanguinary
tyrants, and were told that we would protect them. How
many Frenchmen flocked to us for that protection ? Were we
not compelled to fly, and abandon the town and its inha-
bitants to the fury of their enemies? To all these facts the
right honourable gentleman was to oppose a speculation of
his own, to prove that the majority of the Trench were hostile
to the present government. If there were a majority of the
people in that country who favoured the designs of the allied
powers ; but, after all the opportunities which had been given,
found it impossible to act, they might as well not be in exist-
ence, for " de non apparentibus et non existentibus eadem est
atio." If the peasants all along the frontier of France, who

had Prussian, Austrian, or British troops to fly to for pro-
tection, did not do it, but continued to oppose them, what
hopes could we form that they would yet do it ? No, no,
whatever the French might think of their government, they
would never join the allies to alter it; they had too clear a
specimen of Prussian and Russian and British vild Austrian
integrity, to remain doubtful of its nature; they saw by the
partition of Poland, that when the allies professed to protect,
their object was to plunder, and that in order to show their
hatred of innovation, they themselves introduced innovations
of the most shameful and oppressive kind. It was said to
be extraordinary, that gentlemen should . both oppose and
support the war. He was one of those who did so ; let the
ridicule attach to him if there would be any. He Would do
all in his power to persuade the people of this country to de-
mand peace ; but if a headstrong, rash, ignorant, or haughty
minister should plunge us into a war, then we must do the
best we could to get out of it; and to keep up our respect-
ability to the rest of the world, supplies must be granted.
He would not consent to ruin his country, because a minister

X 3

[May 302

had been either weak or wicked enough to involve us in a
great difficulty. This was called supporting and opposing
the war ; but it was not new to him either in practice or
in accusation. He did the same thing in the American
war after the French had joined in it. He could not consent
to receive laws from the French ; and he believed they would
be as unwilling to receive laws from us; this was a distinction
which every man could understand, who gave himself the
trouble to .comprehend what he heard.

With respect to his assertion, that the emigrant corps bill
was the first open avowal of the intention of this country to
interfere in the internal concerns of France, what he meant
was, that it was the first efficient act to prove such an avowal;
for before, it consisted merely in declarations, and he knew the
right honourable gentleman could, in a very happy manner,
explain away those declarations if he found it convenient, or
if it was necessary to the preservation of his place, even to
condescend to apology or humiliation ; for there was no pill
however bitter, that he would not swallow, however high and
vaunting his expressions might be in that House, rather than
surrender power, that God of his idolatry. In support of this
assertion Mr. Fox adverted to the right honourable gentle-
man's conduct, after all his great words concerning Oczakow,
when he submitted to the most degrading apology to the
Empress of Russia. If lie found it answer his purpose to
explain away his declaration with regard to France, he could
prevail on Mr. Fawkener, or some other person, to go to
Paris on that business; but overt acts were not so easily done
away. Another objection he had to the emigrant corps bill,
-was, that though this country might break its faith with re-
gard to nations, it should be cautious of preserving it with
individuals, and of not holding out to those unhappy people
a protection which we were either unable, or had no intention
to afford them.

As to the gen eral argument, that the House had already divided
on many points which were now brought forward, it was an
answer that might be made to cover any error however enor-
mous : it was an answer which he had continually received
during the American war, and which he had as continually
despised: it was a mode of answering, however which had
cost the country above one hundred millions of money, and
many, ninny thousands of men ; it was by this sort of obsti-
nacy in ministers, and implicit confidence in the House, that
this country might be ruined. These topics were resorted to,
and this system adopted, by many of the same men in this
and in the former war; the conclusion of this might,, perhaps,
be more calamitous to this country than the conclusion of that


war had been. The right honourable gentleman had said a
great deal on what was due to our dignity, and that we could
not negociate with the present rulers of France without dis-
aracino• ourselves. Had the right honourable gentleman for-(rotten that he himself had negotiated with M. Chanvelin,
the then minister of these very Jacobins ? and that Lord Auck-
land had negotiated with Dumourier, the then agent of these
very persons ? The right honourable gentleman, on all occa-
sions, dwelt much upon danger at home. The House, he
}cared, would be often called upon to attend to that subject.

When the militia was called out contrary to law, insurrec-
tions were alleged as the pretext; but the right honourable
gentleman was unable to produce a single instance of any set
of individuals having gone any length that was alarming to
the constitution. It had happened, however, that as the
war had proceeded, jacobins had increased in number in
Germany and in Italy. War, therefore, had not hitherto
tended to their extermination. He did not intend to have
said any thing upon the alarm that had gone forth In this
country, nor on the means made use of to increase and spread
it; whenever the day came, he should be ready also upon
that point. He could not now dismiss the subject, however,
without observing, that an alarm had been spread over this
country, and a false one, for political and unfair purposes ;
the charge of conspiracy had been most !bully exhibited
against innocent persons. He knew how Mr. Walker was
indicted for a conspiracy: that charge was most infamously
false ; it was supported by nothing but the most gross and
disgusting perjury ; and the jury, against whom no complaint
of attachment to jacobinism was or could be exhibited, had
unanimously given a verdict of not guilty. This prosecution
was forwarded—by whom ? He had seen hand-bills upon
that and similar subjects; he would not say they were propa-
gated by ministers, but he knew it to be by men not tikcon-
nected with ministers. With respect to himself, no man who
thought of him with common candour and fairness, would
think that he had wishes hostile to the constitution of this
country ; honest men would think well of him, and from men
of another description, he knew he should meet with misre-
presentation and slander. It was a misfortune which he had
already frequently incurred, and which he must submit to in
the present instance. He, therefore, in spite of popular cla-
mour, would declare it to be his opinion, because it was his
opinion, that there was that day great cause for alarm in
this country, but that the danger was not to be apprehended
from low and inconsiderable persons, who had read Mr.
Paine's book, and who, perhaps, might not understand it,



but from those who make the weak, instruments in the hands
of the wicked, for the purpose of destroying the fairest, the
most beautiful, the most ornamental, and at the same time
the .

soundest and the best part of the constitution of England,
by suspending the laws for,

the protection of the subject.
That there was in this country, at this day, a party who
thought the present a good opportunity to try to effect their
purpose, and to defeat all the principles of government that
were popular at the accession of the house of Brunswick, who
wished to establish in this country the despotism of some of
the worst governments of the continent, by which all the free-
dom of the constitution of this country, and the blessings we
had enjoyed under it, were to be done away for ever =he was
firmly persuaded : they were active, and not without hopes
of success ; but it was his duty to tell this to the public, that
they might see their danger, know whence it came, and pre-
vent it before it was too late. They were a party who had
always existed in this country, and who, at different times,
under the appellation of high churchmen, Jacobites, and tories,
had endeavoured to destroy the civil liberties of the country.
However odious they might endeavour to make him, he
should not cease to oppose their views, so long as he remained
in this House, and to warn the people of their danger ; and
though, in the execution of this duty, he might have to en-
counter clamour and misrepresentation, be should at least be
secure of the approbation of the wise and good, and also of
his own conscience.

The House then divided :
Tellers. Tellers.

YEAS j Mr. Grey
— NOES I Mr. Jenkinson

Mr. Lambton } 55 *
Mr. John Smyth 208.

So it passed in the negative.


June 6.

fi R. Secretary Dundas having moved, " That the thanks of
this House be given . to Admiral Earl Howe, for his able and

and gallant conduct in the most brilliant and decisive victory ob-
tained over the French fleet, on the first day of this instant June,
by the fleet under his command."


Mr. Fox rose to give his most hearty assent to the motion
now before the House. He declared, he had no doubt of the
spirit, activity, skill, talents, or patriotism of the noble earl :
however in political questions lie might have the misfortune
to differ from him, there was not a man in that House, or in
the country, who had given higher satisfaction in all his profes-
sional life than the noble earl had ; he therefore never heard
a motion which had more decidedly his approbation than the
present. He had uniformly believed, that if the noble earl
should not engage the French fleet, it was only because he
had no opportunity of doing so. The noble earl had, to his
knowledge, been engaged in the service of his country at a
time when faction was extremely high, and, under all the dif-
ficulties that naturally arose under such circumstances, he
maintained his character for spirit, skill, and talents, so as to
make it impossible for any rational man to suppose that he
would not attack an equal force of the enemy at any time.
Having said this in mere justice to the character of the noble-
man who was the deserved object of admiration, he must add,
that he could have wished that the right honourable gentle-
man who brought the business forward, had not introduced
extraneous matters, under the convoy of this victorious fleet,
and that he had not blended mints on which opinions were
divided with those on which there was, as ought to be, perfect
unanimity. Such conduct, on the part of' his majesty's mini-
sters, would, on any other occasion, call for his animadversion ;
but on this he should not say any thing that might, by the
most perverse construction, be supposed to diminish the unani-
mity of the day. With regard to the brilliancy of the victory,
he subscribed to every word that had been said in praise of
it; nor were the observations that were made on the humanity
displayed on the occasion at all misplaced. This added to
the numerous proofs we found in the history of battles, that
true valour and humanity were nearly allied ; and he hoped
to God they would for ever remain inseparable companiong,
Of this victory he should say nothing more, than that he
rejoiced in it as much as any man in England could rejoice in
it; and that, considering it in a defensive point of view, it was4 extremely important to this country, as well as glorious. He
could not, however, help saying, that if at an early period of
the war, any man had said that this was a matter then so doubt-
ful, that on its happening it would be considered as a matter
of' great triumph, and- to be rejoiced at as an event not
to be expected, such a person would have been considered
as making use of a very desponding observation. He re-
joiced in this victory, not on account of its being beyond
his hopes in the beginning, but on. account of the coin-


fortable reflection arising out of it ; for it had saved us from
the possibility, and removed our apprehensions of an invasion
from the French ; and if it was made proper use of by


majesty's ministers, for the wise and salutary purposes of pro-
curing peace, it would then be indeed a blessing to this country.
If turned to the purposes of peace, then we should have reason
to rejoice, then it would be as solidly useful as it was un-
questionably brilliant; more

• so, perhaps, than this country
ever knew at any period of its history. If, on the contrary,
it was made use of for the impracticable object of destroying
the government of France, though its brilliancy remained,

jits utility would cease. He should say no more upon this sub-ect ; he should not touch on the points which lie could have
wished the right honourable gentleman had passed over, be-
cause he was extremely desirous there should not only be an
unanimity in the vote, but in the language also of that House
on this occasion. He should, therefore, only say, that he
never gave a vote in his life with more complete and heartfelt
satisfilction than the present ; first, as to the noble earl under
whose command the victory was gained ; and next, as to all
the officers and men who acted under him, for be presumed it
was to be extended to them all : a vote, he believed, never
passed that House, that was followed with more general and
cordial concurrence throughout the country.


June Y 6.

THIS day the Lords agreed upon the following address of
thanks to the king, which they sent down to the Commons

for their concurrence :
" Most Gracious Sovereign,

" We, your majesty's most dutiful annd loyal subjects, the
Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in parliament as-
sembled, having taken into our most serious consideration the
communications, which your Majesty has been pleased to make
to us, respecting designs against the public peace and safety car-
ried on within this realm, think it our bounden duty, at this period,
humbly to lay before your majesty those sentiments to which we
are led by the result of that examination.

" We have seen, with the utmost concern and indignation, that
there has existed within this realm a seditious and traitorous con-



:piracy, directed to the subversion of the authority of your majesty
and your parliament, and to the utter destruction of the esta-
blished constitution and government of these your majesty's king-
doms ; and that, for the execution of those wicked and detestable
designs, means of open violence were preparing, and acts medi-
tated, leading to all the horrors of insurrection, anarchy and

with the fullest conviction of these designs, thus deli-
berately entertained, openly avowed, and on the very point of
being attempted to be executed, we feel ourselves bound to express
to your majesty our gratitude for the paternal care which your
majesty has shown for the dearest interests of your people, in hav-
ing taken such measures as might best tend to defeat all such
purposes, and to bring the authors and abettors of them to public

" We have, on our part, proceeded without delay, after the
example of our ancestors, and under the just impression of the
exigency of such a situation, to vest in your maj esty, by law,
such additional powers as seem best calculated to provide for the
public peace and tranquillity : and we rely with confidence on
your majesty's employing all legal and constitutional means for the
punishment of such crimes ; for the suppression of the first appear-
ance of any tumult or disorder connected with them ; and, gene-
rally, for the giving, as the circumstances manifestly require, full
energy and vigour to the execution of the laws by which all your
majesty's subjects are equally protected, and from which alone
they can derive the secure enjoyment of property, of liberty, and
of life itself.

" And we beg leave to assure your majesty, that, as we are de-
termined to defend with resolution and vigour, against our foreign
enemies, the rights of your majesty's crown: the safety and wel-
fare of our country, and the existence of good order and civil
society, so we will, on every occasion, afford to your majesty the
fullest support and assistance in maintaining inviolate the free
constitution of these realms, in preserving internal peace and tran-
quillity, and in resisting the desperate purposes of those who
would introduce among us the miseries which now prevail in
France ; such being the conduct which we feel to be due from us,
as faithful and affectionate subjects, and as men deeply impressed
with the value of the blessings which we enjoy."

Mr. Pitt having moved, " That this House doth agree with the
Lords in the said address,"

Mr. Fox said he should have been happy, if lie could, con-
sistently with his duty, have given his vote in favour of this
address. Various associations had certainly been formed ;
some of them for laudable purposes, and others for purposes
perhaps not so laudable. He should have considered the ad-
dress with more satisfaction, if he had been persuaded that the
effects of it on the persons who were its declared objects,
would be such as gentlemen who supported. it seemed to ex.


pect. 'With regard to those persons, who had formed them-
selves into associations, with views more or less laudable, as
far as their views were to be judged of from their original pro-
fessions, it could not be suspected that he had any partiality to
influence his opinion. Partiality could be derived only from
general concurrence of sentiment, favour shewii, or support
received. Those persons, however, among many other im-
portant instances of signalizing themselves, had always been
signalized as his personal and political enemies: they were
also, the greater part of them, the very persons who had sup-
ported that system of power against which he had always con-
tended ; they were the persons who had at all times, till very
lately, supported the present minister : who had lent their
utmost aid to bring him into power; and who, by their pre-
sent conduct in opposition to him, contributed more to pro-
mote his measures than by their former support. In the
discussion of public questions, much as he regretted when it
was his misfortune to differ from those with whom he had
long lived in habits of intimacy, or generally agreed on con-
stitutional principles, he was not to be governed by personal
feelings or political kindness. He was not now to debate,
whether or not there were some persons who entertained prin-
ciples and favoured designs hostile to the established govern-
ment of the country. At all times there had been such
persons, and ever would be under any possible system. Was
it not notorious, that during the reigns of the two first princes
of the house of Brunswick, there existed, not a few inconsi-
derable persons, but a party of,great weight and influence,
from numbers, rank, property and character, not merely
entertaining, but actively prosecuting designs hostile to the
protestant succession as established in that house ? But, had
the best bulwarks of the constitution, and the most valuable
defences of our rights been suspended on that account ? No;
the good sense of the people at large, and their attachment to
a system, the practical effect of which they felt to be the pro-
motion of their happiness, rendered fruitless the systematic
hostility of that party. On the decline of that party, by
whatever name it might be called, other disaffected persons,
with the same or perhaps other views, naturally arose. How
this new party acted in 1784, it was unnecessary for him to
mention. Gentlemen could not but know that the system of
vilifying parliament, so successfully pursued at that period,.
must have produced a very great effect, and perhaps been the
immediate cause of all those proceedings which they were now
called upon to repress by such extraordinary measures. The
question to be debated was not the existence of disaffected per-.
sons, but whether what they did was sufficient to call for or


warrant a departure from the ordinary course of administering
the government ? Were not the laws against -seditious or
treasonable practices in full force ? and was not the general
disposition of the peopk loyal and zealous to support the con-
stitution ? What more was necessary?

As the French by their abuse of liberty had brought liberty
itself into disrepute, he warned the House against the fatal
error, of bringing the constitution into contempt with the
people, by teaching them, that it was inadequate to any emer-
gency, that it possessed not vigour to oppose the least attack,
that it held forth the semblance and not the substance of pro-
tection. In discussing questions of war or alliances, they
were told, that it was the prerogative of the crown to declare
war and conclude treaties, and- that parliament was not to
interfere with the exercise of that prerogative, but to punish
ministers in case they abused it. Was it not equally the
prerogative and the duty of the crown to punish all attempts
against the constitution by the regular course of law, and the
province of parliament to animadvert on ministers if they
neglected or betrayed that duty ? No reason could be alleged
for deviating from the ordinary mode in the one case any-
more than in the other. Why, then, were they called upon
to take the lead and give a previous sanction to measures,
which it was their duty only to superintend ? 'What, after
all, was expected from their address ? Professions of loyalty.
Surely, surely, the House of Commons had better means of
manifesting their loyalty than by professions ! Professions
they had already given in abundance, and they were now to

()lye no material advice ; they were only called upon to witness
acts, to affirm their belief of the existence of a conspiracy,

which were already in issue on the trials of the persons com-
mitted as accomplices in that conspiracy. The papers in the
report on which the address was founded, were many of them
the composition of ministers : of the authenticity of such
papers, neither the House nor the secret committee had any
knowledge of their own ; and they might all be as false as the
charges upon which Mr. Walker of Manchester was brought
to trial. The effect of the address could only be to publist„
the opinion of the House that the constitution was in danger.

He had flattered himself, that the day on which they had
voted thanks for a great and glorious victory, atchieved by
the united zeal and valour of every officer and seaman in our
fleet, would not have been chosen as the day to sound alarm.
That victory, he trusted, would have banished every idea of
invasion from the enemy, the only circumstance that could
give colour to danger from disaffected persons at home; and
he had hoped that Lord Howe had not only conquered the

French fleet, but reconquered the habeas corpus act. But
although the cause of alarm was gone, the effect still remained.
What were the numbers of those persons from whom so much
was dreaded, and what their quantity of arms even as stated
in the report? Too insignificant surely to act by open three !
But they talked of a convention. What was the magical in-
fluence of this word, that if' any set of people were to meet
and call themselves a convention the whole nation must be
undone? Were they to form their convention, and attempt
to exercise any authority contrary to law, the nearest justice
of peace, he was fully convinced, might easily disperse them.
Their conversations about arms, too, it appeared were all pri-
vate. They were not held in their public meetings, but by a
few persons after the other members were gone. They did
not venture to trust the secret of providing arms even with
those whom they expected to use them.

Between the former state of France and the state of this
country there was as little resemblance as between what had
happened there and what was apprehended here. There was
not in this country that wide separation of rich and poor,
without any intermediate class, which too generally prevailed
in France. The revolution in France was not begun by the
lower and inconsiderable orders of the people. It was an as-
sembly, uniting in it much of the rank and property, and,
perhaps, the greater part of the talents of the kingdom, that
commenced the French revolution and overturned the ancient
government. Such men as composed some of the dreaded
societies in this country, had risen to power in the progress of
that revolution, but they were utterly:ancapable of beginning
it. He was glad to find that more stress was laid in the re-
port on what had been discovered in Scotland than on the
discoveries made in England; both on account of the natural
predilection which every man felt for the part of' the country
in which he happened to be born, and because it was a com-
plete answer to the desperate proposition with which the
House had been threatened, of introducing the Scotch law
into England. Under the mild system of English law, so
effectual had experience proved it to be, sedition was hardly
to be found ; under the rigorous system of Scotch law, still
existing in full force, sedition had grown up to rebellion.
Such was the fair inference from the report ; and the con-
verse of the argument might be also true. The rigour of the
Scotch law might have tended to raise sedition. Might not
there be many men in Scotland who, like himself, would feel
but little interested in preserving a system of government un-
der which they should be exposed to such treatment as ap-
peared in the cases of Muir and Palmer? In such discussions


;:i s were necessarily occasioned by the late proceedings in par-
liament there might be much mischief. in attachment to the
constitution, he would not yield to any man ; but he was
attached to the substance and vital spirit, not merely to the
form. The substance and vital spirit was political freedom.
A convention, and resistance to the form in favour of the
spirit of the constitution, had rescued our ancestors from im-
pending slavery, and seated the House of Brunswick on the
throne. It was the right of the people to meet ; it was their
right to discuss either their private or political affairs. Those
rights were sacred and essential to freedom. If they were in-
vaded and suppressed, the constitution might be reduced,
without a struggle, to a level with those of other countries,
which, perhaps, once resembled our own, and of which the
forms had not long survived the substance. He was, there-
fore, sorry when he saw the people called from that attention
which they ought always to pay to the administration of
the government, to alarms for the existence of their go-
vernment itself; and he now believed the old faction he had
mentioned in a former debate, which, by whatever name, had
uniformly pursued the same plan of throwing all power into
the hands of the crown, to be spreading a false alarm of dan-
ger from one quarter to cover a real danger from another.

A case might be supposed in which it would be the duty of
the people, assembled by their delegates in convention, to call
upon parliament to do what parliament would not do of itself.
Was it not, then, the height of madness to blunt the weapons
and discredit the means to which we must resort in such an
emergency? He would not quote the resistance made to
King .James as an example to prove that the prince on the
throne might at any time be resisted. How then, it would be
asked, was the obedience of the disaffected -to be secured ?
The law had provided for the punishment of the disaffected,
whenever disaffection appeared in their acts. This was the
proper means of prevention ; and the true answer to all that
had been said about suffering the mischief to grow to a head.
To put the law in force, was it necessary for the House to
declare that they believed in the existence of a conspiracy
against the government on evidence which they should have
been ashamed to listen to ? At the Lancaster assizes, Mr.
Walker and other persons were charged with a conspiracy,
which if true, would have amounted to treason. The. evidence,
it was feared, would not be sufficient to make out the charge
of treason ; but, on the principle adopted under some of the
Stuarts, it wa-sthought that it might be sufficient for a charge
of a less heinous nature, and they were indicted for sedition.
The only witness, when he came to be examined, was such D.

3 20 AnnitESs OT THANKS TO HIS MAJESTY [June 16.
witness that the counsel for the prosecution themselves were
ashamed of him, and the defendants were honourably- ac-
quitted. But had parliament before that trial declared their
belief in the conspiracy with which those gentlemen were
charged, a jury, prejudiced and misled by such a declaration,
might have found a verdict of guilty, on the testimony of a
witness, who, in the common course of law, was held to be
unworthy of any credit. Much horror and remorse, lie con-
ceived, must those who advised the prosecution have felt in
such a case; and although they might have obtained a re-
mission of the sentence, they could not have repaired the in-
jury done to the defendants. For these reasons he objected
to that part of the address which declared the belief of the
House in the conspiracy, and should move to leave it out.
He objected, also, to the declarations of loyalty as unnecessary,
but should not vote against them.

An argument had been urged to which he should not at-
tempt an answer, namely, that the second report from the secret
committee being stronger than the first, the second, by the
rule of three, would justify a stronger measure ; and the sus-
pension of the habeas corpus having; been voted on the first,
there could be no objection to voting an address, something
less strong, upon the second. This mode of reasoning,
though -very disputable in logic, was conclusive in numbers, and
therefore he should not divide the House on his amendment.
The party who now governed France had usurped their power
and still maintained it, by the alarm of numerous royalists
existing in the country,—an alarm as false as the alarm of
numerous republicans being.

in England. The principle in
both cases was the same. By propagatino

the alarm of re-


publicans here, ministers obtained powers that would not have
been granted, and drew around them the support of persons
who would not have voted for their measures under any other
circumstances. He saw things in both countries with vulgar
optics ; in England a general and steady spirit of royalty,
from a sense of the blessings derived from a limited monarchy ;
and in France, a general and desperate spirit of republi-
canism, from a recollection of the oppression suffered under
despotism. Ministers, to gain supporters in carrying on the
war, wished to reverse the picture, and make the House be-
lieve that France was full of royalists, and England of re-
publicans. If this alarm were not kept up, the people would
attend to the policy and the conduct of the war; they might
even think that the war ought not to be persisted in ; or, if
we could not get out of it, that it ought to be directed by
abler hands. From all these considerations, it was the in-,
terest of -our ministers to divert them as long as possible..

were there among the persons from whom danger was



1 .nded any considerable number of men of rank or pro-

, 5 t

? Was it pretended in the report that they had since
the war any correspondence with the French ? -Were they
connected with any faction in the state? If they were to
burst into the House of Commons, it would be indifferent to
them, whether they turned to the right or to the left, whether
ministers or opposition were their first victims. Such men
might possibly rise in a revolution, but could never create

In the advice he now gave, he must be admitted to be
disinterested ; for it would hardly be imagined that he should
wish to go to the guillotine, merely for the sake of being
accompanied by the gentlemen over against him. The pro-
secutions ought to proceed, because they had commenced;
but it was not therefore necessary that parliament, as had
been suggested, should be kept sitting, to echo back the
information received from the privy council. Rash, and
even seditious conversation, he supposed would be proved;
but he trusted no man would be found so far to have forgotten
his duty to his country as to have embarked in treason. At
all events, the trials would be conducted, and the punish-
meats awarded, with the dignity and humanity of British
justice; and the examples, in his opinion, strike With greater
force without any previous declaration by parliament. In
countries where the taking off a few individuals might over-
turn the government, a -few individuals, however obscure,
might effect a revolution; but in such a country as this,
where the revolution must be popular to have the most dis-
tant chance of success, nothing could be more irrational than
the attempt. Suppose such persons mad enough to attempt
it, the danger would be contemptible to all but themselves,
and they might be pronounced fitter for Bedlam than for•
Newgate. This argument, however, applied only to the
present time: for if ministers were to persist in this ruinous
war; if the exploded maxims of divine right were to be
revived; if the dearest parts of the constitution were to give
way, one after another, to the convenience or caprice of the
government of the day, the situation of the people would
become so desperate, that the most despicable faction might
provoke a revolution. What, then, did he recommend ?
To study the peace and prosperity of the people; to hold
out to them, not the unsubstantial theory, but the practical
benefits of the constitution; to shew that the first wish of the
government was the real happiness of the people; to put an
enidtrugtoiL3.1, by

and to inspire them with a love for the eon-

exhibiting it in its native purity. Tgshew them


that liberty was as consistent with order, as order with liberty;
and that the constitution, with all its restrictions on the
executive power, the most valuable part of it, in his opinion, •
was sufficient for all the purposes of just subordination. This
he might be told would be a degradation, and a compromise
with a set of low and desperate men. In his opinion, it would
not be a compromise, but a defeat. With disaffected persons
be proposed no compromise. He was not so wild a spee
culatist, as to believe that any government could satisfy every
one of those who lived under it: his advice was only to retie
der the number of the discontented as small as possible, by
removing as many as possible of the causes of discontent.
Let all civil distinctions on account of religious opinions be.
abolished. Let dissenters find equal protection and equal
encouragement. Let the rights of neutral nations also be
respected, more especially the rights of America, so intimately-
connected with us by common language and common interest.
If at ameris, amabilis esto was a sound maxim in philosophy,
though used by the poet on a slight occasion—if the great
body of men, who were supposed to be adverse to the con-
stitution, should be made to experience an equal protection
from the laws, and an equal interest in the welfare of the
country; then the small body of men, who might wish for
a revolution in this realm, would stand at once insulated
and disavowed. They might be confined if their efforts were
thought dangerous; if not, they would be scouted from .society.
Such were, in his opinion, the means, and the only means,
to secure liberty and happiness to this country.

Mr. Fox concluded with moving, as an amendment, to
leave out from the words " by the result of that examination,"
at the end of the first paragraph, to the words " and we. beg
leave to assure your majesty," at the beginning of the last

.The amendment was negatived, without a, division, and the
original address agreed to.


June 20.
It,. Secretary Dundas having moved, " That the thanks 'of
this House be given to Admiral Lord Flood, for the im-

portant service which he has rendered to this country, by his able



and gallant conduct in the expedition to Corsica," Mr. Sheridan
moved the previous question.

Mr. Fox said he felt himself under the necessity of second-
ing the motion of his honourable friend. He said his situ-
ation was peculiarly delicate in opposing the thanks of the
House to the noble lord, as he had been engaged in political,
contests with him, and those of a nature the most likely to
produce acrimony and ill-blood for the time; but every per-
son who knew him, would do him the justice to say, that his
conduct on the present occasion could not be influenced by
any other motive than a zealous wish to discharge what he
conceived to be his duty to the public. He had had the
honour, upon a former occasion, to vete the thanks of that
House to the noble lord, when he had acted in conjunction,
with Lord Rodney in the West Indies. His duty, however,
called upon him at this time to vote for the previous question.
He thought ministers ought to have stated precisely what it
was they were about to thank the noble lord for : if it was the
conquest of Corsica, certainly the taking of Bastia did not
complete that; and while any part of that enterprise re,-
mained uncompleted, it would have been as well to refrain
from voting the thanks of that House, which had always
been considered the highest mark of honour which could be
conferred upon any person to whom they were given. The
thanks which had been voted a few nights before, he was
sure, proceeded from the most unanimous and general sense,
both of that House and the country at large ; so much so,
that every body would have been astonished had it been
omitted to bring the motion forward upon the very first
opportunity. The thanks moved this day, if they were any
ways merited, he thought, ought to have been moved for
long before, because all that had been done by the noble lord
was known and published long before the glorious victory of
Earl Howe took place He observed, that when Martinique,
in the West Indies, was taken, no mention was made of
thanks to the officers who commanded; and, when other
places of as much consequence as Bastia had been taken,
Valenciennes and Conde, the illustrious general was not
thanked; and therefore he considered there must be some-
thing personal in the business. It could not be said that the
Duke of York was not thanked, from any consideration of
his rank, because many of the royal family had been thanked
by that House for public services, and felt themselves exalted
by the honour. He was inclined to think that, in the whole
of the business that day, there was something rather of a
political than military natue. He adverted to the trans-


[Dec% 3 0.

actions at Toulon, which he deemed as disgraceful as um.
fortunate. With regard to the importance of Bastia, as con-
nected with Corsica, to which the question at present entirely
related, it did not to him appear to justify the present mea.
Sure. He adverted to the capitulation, which did not tend
to add any laurels to his success. With respect to the noble
lord in question, he knew him to be posessed of great cou-
rage and skill, and capable of conducting the most difficult
enterprises with honour to himself and advantage to his
country; and he entertained that opinion of the gallant offi-
cer, that he was sure he would feel much dissatisfaction at
being thanked for a service so comparatively small. Having
thus given his reasons, Mr. Fox said, he wished that the
previous question might be carried.

The amendment was negatived without a division, after which
the vote of thanks was put and carried.


December 3 o.

711E king opened the session with the following speech to
11 both Houses :

" My lords, and gentlemen ; after the uniform experience which
I have had of your zealous regard for the interests of my people,
it is a great satisfaction to me to recur to your advice and assis-
tance, at a period which calls for the full exertion of your energy
and wisdom. — Notwithstanding the disappointments and reverses
which we have experienced in the course of the last campaign,
I retain a firm conviction of the necessity of persisting in the
vigorous prosecution of the just and necessary war in which we
are engaged. — You will, I am confident, agree with me, that it
i$ only from firmness and perseverance that we can hope for the
restoration of peace on safe and honourable grounds, and for the
preservation and permanent security of our dearest interests.

considering the situation of our enemies, you will not fail to
observe, that the efforts which have led to their successes, and
the unexampled means by which alone those efforts could have
been supported, have produced, amongst themselves, the pernicious
effects which were to be expected; and that every thing which
has passed in the interior of the country has shewn the progressive
and rapid decay of their resources, and the instability of every
part of that violent and unnatural system, which is equally ruinous


to France, and incompatible with the tranquillity of other nations.
The States General of the United Provinces have nevertheless

been led, by a sense of present difficulties, to enter into negoci-
ations for peace with the party now prevailing in that unhappy
country. No established government, or independent state, can,
under the present circumstances, derive real security from such
negotiations : on our part, they could not be attempted without
sacrificing both our honour and safety to an enemy whose chief
animosity is avowedly directed against these kingdoms. — I have
therefore continued to use the most effectual means for the further
augmentation of my forces; and I shall omit no opportunity of
concerting the operations of the next campaign with such of the
powers of Europe as are impressed with the same sense of the
necessity of vigour and exertion. I place the fullest reliance on
the valour of my forces, and on the affection and public spirit of
my people, in whose behalf I am contending, and whose safety and
happiness are the objects of my constant solicitude. — The local
importance of Corsica, and the spirited efforts of its inhabitants to
deliver themselves from the yoke of France, determined me not
to withhold the protection which they' sought for ; and I have since
accepted of the crown and sovereignty of that country, according
to an instrument, a copy of which I have directed to be laid before
you. — I am happy to inform you, that I have concluded a treaty
of amity, commerce, and navigation, with the United States of
America, in which it has been my object to remove, as far as
possible, all grounds of jealousy and misundersanding, and to
improve an intercourse beneficial to both countries. As soon as
the ratifications shall have been exchanged, I will direct a copy
of this treaty to be laid before you, in order that you may consider
of the propriety of' making such provisions as may appear necessary
for carrying it into effect. — I have the greatest satisfaction in
announcing to you the happy event of the conclusion of a treaty
for the marriage of my son the Prince of Wales with the Princess
Caroline, daughter of the Duke of Brunswick : the constant proofs
of your affection for my person and family persuade me, that you
will participate in the sentiments I feel on an occasion so interest-
ing to my domestic happiness, and that you will enable me to make.
provision for such an establishment, as you may think suitable
to the rank and dignity of the heir apparent to the crown of these

Gentlemen of the House of Commons ; the considerations
which prove the necessity of a vigorous prosecution of the war
will, I doubt not, induce you to make a timely and ample provision
for the several branches of the public service, the estimates for
which I have directed to be laid before you. While I regret the
necessity of large additional burdens on my subjects, it is a just
consolation and satisfaction to me to observe the state of our credit,
commerce, and resources, which is the natural result of the con-
tinued exertions of industry under the protection of a free and
well regulated government_

" My lords, and gentlemen ; a just sense of the blessings now
Y 3



[Dec. 30.
so long enjoyed by this country will, I am persuaded, encourage
you to make every effort, which can enable you to transmit those
blessings unimpaired to your posterity.—I entertain a confident
hope that, under the protection of Providence, and with constancy-
and perseverance on our part, the principles of social order, mo-
rality, and religion, will ultimately he successful; and that my
faithful people will find their present exertions and sacrifices
rewarded by the secure and permanent enjoyment of tranquillity
at home, and by the deliverance of Europe from the greatest
danger with 'which it has been threatened since the establishment
of civilized society."

An address of thanks, in answer to the above speech, having
been moved by Sir Edward Knatchbull, and seconded by Mr.
Canning, it ,was objected to by Mr. Wilberforce, as pledging the
House to carry on the war till a counter-revolution was effected in
France : he therefore moved the following amendment : " To
assure his majesty, that we are determined to grant the most liberal
supplies, for the purpose of enabling his majesty to act with vigour
and effect in supporting the dignity of his crown, the internal se-
curity of his dominions, and the good faith towards his majesty's
allies, for which this country has been so eminently distinguished:
and that, notwithstanding the disappointments and reverses of the
last campaign, we are firmly convinced that from the unremitting
exertions of his majesty, and the spirit and zeal which have been
so generally manifested throughout the kingdom, by a people sen-
sible of the advantages they enjoy under his majesty's government,
we may promise ourselves (by the blessing of Divine Providence)
complete security from the attempts of foreign or domestic enemies :
that at the same time we beg leave most humbly to represent to
his majesty, that, upon fill consideration of all the events and cir-
cumstances of the present war, and of some transactions which
have lately passed in France, and also of the ne gotiation entered
into by the States General, we think it advisable and expedient
to endeavour to restore the blessings of peace to his majesty's
subjects, and to his allies, upon just and reasonable terms : but
that if, contrary to the ardent wishes of his filithful Commons, such
endeavours on the part of his majesty should be rendered ineffec-
tual by the violence or ambition of the enemy, we are persuaded
that the burdens and evils of a just and necessary war will be borne
with cheerfulness by a loyal, affectionate, and united people." —
The amendment of Mr. Wilberforce was seconded by Mr. bun-
combe and Mr. Burdon, but opposed by Mr. Windham. The ill
success of the war he solely imputed to the misconduct of some
of the allies. Comparing the events of the present with those of
former wars, he asserted that all that could be said on this subject
was, that hitherto it had only been negatively successful. The
most alarming circumstance attending it was, he said, that we were
not true to ourselves. The political societies in England had
propagated principles inimical to it. The acquittal of those mem-
bers belonging to them, by a jury at the late trials, he represented
in the most odious light, styling them " acquitted felons." Being


called to order, he explained himself by saying, that though proofsbad not been adduced of their legal guilt, it did not follow that
they were free from moral guilt. — The desire of terminating a
ruinous war was strongly approved by Mr. Bankes, as equally just
and indispensable; after the fruitless trial to reduce the enemy
to our own terms. If no peace were admissible, while France was
a republic, the war might be endless.— These explicit avowals of
a disapprobation of farther hostilities, on the part of members who
had hitherto coincided with the ministerial system of war, seemed
to strike Mr. Pitt with great surprize. He denied the tendency
of the king's speech to inculcate the continuance of the war till
France re-assumed a monarchical form ; though he acknowledged
his persuasion, that no peace could be depended on, till a kingly
government was re-established ; the only safe one, in his opinion,
for all the European nations.

Mr. Fox said, that exhausted as he felt himself, and dis-
gusted as the House must be at hearing a repetition of the
same arguments upon which we bad been first involved in a
situation disastrous beyond example, if he did not endeavour
to state to the House the necessity of adopting the amend-
ment, or an amendment of some such nature, he should be
-wanting in his duty. On the conduct of the war, not a word
had been said. The honourable baronet who moved the
address, had declined all discussion on that head, expressing
his belief, that those who were entrusted with the direction
of it would give the necessary explanations at a future period.
The time certainly would come for those explanations, or,
a least, for calling for them. At present, lie wished gen-
tlemen to consider the horrible picture which two of his
majesty's ministers had given of our situation : that we were
engaged, and must persevere in a contest, the issue of which
involved, not territory or commerce, not victory or defeat,
in the common acceptation of the words, but our constitution,
our country, our existence as a nation. Viewing this picture,.
he was glad that truth and reason had at length found their
way to the minds of some men. He should have thought it
strange indeed, if, while so many had separated themselves
from him on differences of political opinion, there had
been none to adopt the opinions which +he still retained.
Those who moved and supported the amendment now said,
that the House of Commons ought not, by their address to
the crown, to pledge themselves never to agree to a peace
with France, while the present republican government ex-
isted. Was this a new doctrine? Certainly not: but it was
new to call upon the House for such a pledge. It was the
first time of asking parliament to assure his majesty that they

Y 4


3 28

[Dec. 3o,
would never think it advisable to treat with the French
republic on the present system, unless in a case of such im-
perious necessity on the part of this country as must preclude
all reasoning; and he gave ministers credit for their candour
in asking it thus fairly, and without equivocation. [Mr. Pitt
intimated across the table that expressions in a former ad-
dress pledged the House to this.] Mr. Fox said, he wished
to give the right honourable gentleman some credit for
candour, but the right honourable gentleman so detested the
thing, that he could not endure even the name. He knew
there were expressions in former addresses that might admit
of such a construction ; and, aware that they would be so
construed, when ministers found it convenient, he had warned,
but in vain, the House against adopting them. If, in the
misfortunes of his country it were possible not to sympathize,
he should feel some consolation in observing the effect of
double dealing; of using words in one sense, with the inten-
tion of their being understood in another ; of courting the
support of some men upon one interpretation, and of others
upon an interpretation directly opposite. If the minister had
said candidly and plainly, in the first instance, " 'This war
is undertaken for the express purpose of destroying the French
government, and, come what will, we can never make peace
while that government endures," he might not, perhaps, have
had so many supporters, but lie would have been saved the
unpleasant feeling of this day's difference with his friends.
His eagerness to obtain the support of all, led him to make use
of equivocal words: and now his own friends told him, that they
did not interpret those words as he did; that they thought
the destruction of the French government a desirable object
if it could be accomplished on reasonable terms; but that if
they had imagined that peace must never be thought of till
that government was destroyed, they would not have voted