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consideration of such measures as may tend to alleviate the present distress, and to prevent, as far as PDible, the renewal of similar embarrassments in future. Nothing has been omitted on my part that appeared likely to contribute to this end; and you may be assured of my hearty concurrence in whatever regulations the wisdom of Parliament may adipt, on a subject so peculiarly interesting to my people, ul:afe welfare will ever be the ohjeet nearest my heart.
The Speech being read, the Earl of DALKEITH (fon of the Duke of Buccleugh) rose to move the address, and said, he was persuaded the House would agree with him, that though fome events had taken place, which, in themselves, appeared unfavourable to the juft caufe in which we were engaged ; and though they could not but feel for the misfortunes which, in the prosecution of the war, had attended our allics, there was ample cause for fatisfaction in the fituation of our own affairs, taken in the general view they afforded of implesment tince the last year; for though no conquests had been made on the Cuntirenli, the farther progrefs of the French arms had been prevented in Italy, and on the Rline, In the Eafi lidies, thoie ponteftions belonging to the enemy, that could contribute to the wealth and commercial interests of this country, had hen all taken from them; and in the Wcit, if not all, at least pofleflions abundantly great, had fallen before our fleets and armics. While the uncxampled vigorous operations, going forward under one of the ableft commanders of the country, gave foundation to suppose that the whole of those islands would fall into our hands, and that by beconiing mafiers of the Weł Indies, we fould fecure the means of carrying on the war as long as it might be found r.cccffary. . He was aware, that to counterbalance these weighty advantages, the feceffion of so many of our allics from the common cause, would be enlarged upon by gentlemen on the other side of the House; but paradoxical as it might fecm, he was persuaded, that by the loss of those allies we had acquired additional strength, fince it enabled us to prosecute with increased energy the war by fea, and to exert cur whole means and efforts in maintaining and iniproving our naval fuperiority. He was awarc, too, that observations of a similar tendency would be made on the losses our trade had sustained by capruies at sea; Fut when the House recollected the unbounded extent of our commerce, and the difficulty, or rather iinpoflibility, of covering the whole sea with our ships, in order effectually to prevent their cruizers from coming out, together with the circumstance of their having na commerce to protect, the House, could not be surprised at the oce
casional partial loffes sustained by our trade. Upon reading His Majesty's Speech, he would affert, that better measures could not be proposed, more wise and suitable to the policy of the country. When the nature of the enemy, with whom we had to contend, was duly considered, it would be found, that in order to secure a lafting and honourable peace, we must fnew them their inability to contend, and convince them, at the same time, of our strength. They did nothing from found policy, but acted entiiely upon the impulse of the immediate neceility of that party who happened to rule. It was Jerefore obvicus, that, in order to secure the defirzable object, peace, we thould thew ourselves prepared for cither alternative of peace or war ; besides, he was sure, that a disgraceful peace would be much more odious in the eyes of Britons, than any inconveniencies which could arise from the farther prosecution of the war. As to the present constitution of France, it was not, he conccived, an object of our confideration whether it was detrimental to themselves. If it was not detrimental and dangerous to the tranquillity of other nations, it could be no reafonable impediment to the accomplishment of a peace. But confidering that that constitution was upheld by the army against the ccnsent of the people, who, so far from being satisfied with, had riíqued a bloody struggle to overturn it, it must be very doubtful at what period a secure, lasting, and honourable peace could be concluded. The distraction and anarchy in which France had been involved, remained. The man who, since the overthrow of Roterípierre, had been thought to regulate their affairs, had been denounced, and the iflue was yet uncertain; in hort, nothing seemed to indicate a return of a stable and permanent government. With what propriety could any proposition of terms come from this country, while the terrors of denunciation are fufpended over the heads of those with whom we would be taught to negociate? Was it at the period of establishing their conititution by the army infiuence, we were to look to for peace, or when the bloody and violent struggle was concluded? He said, he feared he had trespassed too long on the patience of the House, and concluded by moving the address, which was as usual, an echo of the Speech.
The Hon. ROB. STEWART, (son of Lord Londonderry) on seconding the address, faid, he should not recur to any of the questions which the House had disposed of in the progress of the war; he should only look to the present situation of the contest, and the probable issue of a perseverance in the war. In comparing the prospects of the present moment with those of the last year, notwithstanding some reverses, our situation was evidently improved ;
in looking to France, it clearly appeared, amidst the confusion that reigned there, that the two great features of their system, which made them so formidable to us and all the other powers opposed to them, were falling to decay ; viz. their paper currency, and that government of terror, which had enabled them to make such unexampled military efforts, which had been able for a considerable time to turn the whole wealth and population of the country to war. To prove that the assignats had nearly lost their powers, it was sufficient to state, that they were discredited in the proportion of 70 tu I ; that the state, for every one and a half per cent. which it might have occafion to expend, muft iffue 1ool. in nuwminal currency; and another campaign, fuppofing their actual expencc 20 millions sterling, would require an issue of affignats to the amount of 1400 millions sterling, fupposing the depreciation not to be increased, which could not but happen ; a quantity of paper which, if added to 720 millions now in circulation, would leave them without any value whatsoever. If any farther argument was required, we had the admission of the Convention, that the asignats could not be farther relied or, and that specie must be resorted to. But where was it to be found? They had it not; and if they had, having neither industry nor commerce, it would not long remain in the country. They felt the necessity of an entire change of fyftem ; nothing but peace could bring them any relief; and the neceflity of peace would force them to abandon the destructive system they had been acting upon. The
government of terror was held in such abhorrence, that the re-establiihment of it was impoßibie ; all parties felt it fo; it was a myter of contest which should disclain it moit. After the Sections had been reduced, the first act of the victorious party was to banishi Barrere, and to bring to trial the former terroriits ; and fo completely odious was terror and revolutionary law, that they had recourse to military tribunals for the trial of the revolters.
Such was the state of France; and although the last campaign had not been fruitful in victories, the preliure of the war had caused the distress and weakness which reduced the enemy even with more certainty than military fuccess. Although he was willing to admit, that the weakness of the enemy made negociation much less hazardous than when they were in strength, yet he did not believe that any man would recommend negociation just at the present moment; the total change which a few days must make one way or the other in the affairs of that country, made it a matter of common sense to wait for the event, before any decision was taken,
He said, notwithstanding such favourable prospects, it could not but be lamented that there was a necessity of still farther adding to our debt ; the country had, however, the confolation to obferve
, that the sources of wealth had not been impaired by the war ; that commerce and manufactures were never more fiourinhing; that public credit was high ; that the pressure of the late taxes was little felt; and that the principle of liquidation had fo accompanied the new debt, as to inake it lefs to be regretted. Such a picture of resources, compared with the annihilated commerce, manufactures, credit, taxes, currency, of the enemy, every thing which constitutes wealth or strength, gave the House the frongest assurance that perseverance must ensure success.
As the arguments in favour of immediate negociation were not to be maintained, he was prepared to hear the other side of the House indulge in lamenting the disasters of the campaign on the Continent; the reverses we had experienced in that quarter, and the separation of several powers from the alliance, certainly afforded just grounds for regret; 'yet notwithstanding its disasters, the war on the Continent had been the great means of reducing the enemy, by necessitating an expence which no country could long support. It was the pressure in that quarter which took the fting from Jacobinism, and made it comparatively harmless; it was not till after France was materially exhausted, and incapable of acting on her original principles, that Prussia made peace; and from that time the war, like all former wars, had been rather a ftruggle for territory, than a crusade for the propagation of the rights of man. The separate peace made by the finaller states of Germany, particularly Hanover, he expected to hear observed upon; but however the conduct of the Elector of Hanover might furnish a topic for declamation, it never could be gravely adduced as a reason that other powers, not similarly exposed, should follow an example which neceflity, not choice, might have dictated. Upon the whole, the war on the Continent had exhausted the enemy, and enabled us to employ our navy more offensively in the different quarters of the globe, much more than we could have done had the French army been unemployed, and stationed along the opposite coast. In fact, the money we had expended on the Continent contributed as efficiently to our naval success as any money laid out upon the fleet itself. The loss of Holland was a severe blow, but a misfortune caused rather by the season, than the arms of the enemy; and notwithstanding France was in poffeffion of that country, fo low were the Dutch in their imitation of French polities, it was clear that the new principles were uncongenial, and that Holland, when the French troops were withdrawn, would return to their old habits.
Such had been the reverses of the war; it had not, however, been without its triumphs; and as far as it depended upon Great Britain as a nation, it had been particularly glorious. Never, in any former war, had our naval superiority been so decisive ; and never had the maritime power of France been so completely crushed. Our superiority on all the principal stations had been uninterrupted, and our commerce, considering its extent, had suffered but little. The French had been expelled from the East Indies, and our poffeßions in the West Indies been extended ; an armament was now prepared to act in that part of the world, which promised such extensive advantages, as would enable us to teach the enemy, that if they were not prepared to be entirely excluded from the Colonial advantages of the West Indies, they must return within their former limits in Europe.
Having the strongest conviction of the original justice of the war, and feeing, as he did, notwithstanding fome disasters which no war was exempt from, the best prospects of a favourable issue from a steady and vigorous perseverance in the contest, he felt an entire confidence that His Majesty's Ministers would seize the first practicable occasion of concluding a peace.
Had the Minister been led, by the suggestions of those who differed from him, to insist upon the establishment of any particular form of government in France, or had he espoused the cause of any particular class of emigrants, a doubt might arise whether it was our own or their cause which was now at issue ; but the right honourable gentleman (Mr. Pitt) having distinctly avowed at all times that it was security for Great Britain, and not a government for France which he contended for, he felt assured that no practicable occasion of treating would be negiected ; and that is, the Minister was himfelf, (if a personal feeling could be fupposed to operate) in his mind, the individual in the nation most interested in not going to war, so he was the person most powerfully called upon by every feeling to make peace, wlien it could be done with security and honour.
He trusted, no pictures which might be drawn of military difasters would shake the national energy, convinced, as he was, that a short time longer would secure every object we had contended for, and that Great Britain would have the honour of settling, as it already had the glory of saving, Europe, by its firmness in refifting the arms and principles of France; he concluded by seconding the address.