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the Convention? Little hope would be entertained of the permanency of that government, which had not efficient means of protection and defence against such violence and outrage; and as to the supposition of these accounts being bare reports, the hon. gentleman had forgotten, that while he treated them as such, he had himself brought forward uncertain reports of a treaty of peace between the French Republic and Spain, as well as other princes of Germany.
The hon. gentleman had also considered the events that had happened since the propriety of a negociation was last discussed. Whether the conduct of the enemy was different now to what it was then, could not be easily decided: he had stated, however, that there was an increase of power on their part, and a proportionate decrease on ours, or what was nearly tantamount, that as our alliances were weakened, theirs grew stronger. One prominent object, the defection of our allies, was particularly expatiated on by the hon. gentleman. To such a declaration Mr. Windham opposed one broad leading consideration-the state of distress and state of opinions now prevalent in France. Nothing but such motions as that now brought forward, could prevent a speedy termination of the contest in which we were engaged. Here, he confessed, there was nothing but assertion against assertion, appeal against appeal. He then adverted to the reasoning employed by the hon. gentleman in order to induce the country to snatch at the first opportunity for peace. He had affirmed, that its extent of territory was too great to be protected; that its burthens were too severe to be borne; he had insinuated, that the country was come to that pitch of prosperity which it was well if it could keep, but in which every risk might be attended with fatal consequences. Such language was never heard before in that House; nor would the country have ever risen to such a pitch of honour, glory, and universal reputation as it had done, if such had been the language of our predecessors. The hon. gentleman should have recollected, too, that this reasoning was not confined to the present war, but extended to wars in future. He had openly proclaimed, that our burthens had increased to their utmost; that we had no means of defence; that our people were rebellious, and our armies ready to assist them. We had reached the climax of our grandeur, and might
supinely repose ourselves, nor even attempt to support it, for it must necessarily decline. In former times, our arms protected our commerce, but now we were come to the full enjoyment of our industry, and we called upon our enemy not to disturb us; leave us as we are, leave us well; for if you do not, we are not possessed of means to defend ourselves. This was one of the arguments which the hon. gentleman had pretended to touch on lightly. He would not speak out, he said, and there was no necessity, for he was perfectly intelligible. But he could not help noticing the inconsistency which commonly prevailed in this mode of reasoning, where the arguments were shifted as occasion prompted, to suit the purpose of the speaker. Sometimes they declaimed on the loyalty of his majesty's subjects, and sometimes they proclaimed them to be nearly infected with the contagion of the French Republicans. To what could such proceedings tend, but to lay the country prostrate at the feet of the enemy? Read the various declarations of France against this country, and then judge of their inclination to induce us to make peace. In a discourse lately delivered to the convention they state," that they will make no concessions to Great Britain, nor will they offer any terms of accommodation. They are not afraid of war, and are therefore determined to continue it until they have reduced the pride and power of this haughty country." Were we to sit down contented with such indignities, such insults, and such aggravation? And here was another odd inconsistency in the arguments on the other side. When they vindicate this conduct, they assert, that the war produces these atrocities; but when they argue for peace, then they say, "Leave them to themselves, and they will destroy one other." What then will be the situa tion of France when peace is made? There will be an internal dissention in their government, which must ultimately produce a popular commotion; the armies, too, will return, and assist to keep up the internal warfare. If we have sagacity enough to discover that such must be the consequences of their making peace, may they not have sufficient sagacity to perceive the same, and will they not instantly seek new wars to keep their armies employed, and prevent such calamities. The fact is too notorious for comment. How could the hon. gentleman delude himself so? Does he not know that with such a govern
ment, so feeble, so precarious, so insecure, we can have no stability? And does he not know that if the war should be renewed, after an interval of peace of the shortest duration, that it requires a greater impulse, a greater energy throughout the nation, and is attended also with a greater expense? For it is in moral as in mechanical powers, a strong force is necessary to put the machine in motion, which continues its velocity with little aid -The hon. gentleman had reminded him of La Vendée and the Chouans. Now let the gentlemen opposite recollect the language they have used compared with the event. Let them remember that they tenaciously insisted that France had but one sentiment. The hon. gentleman will call to mind, too, what he formerly said; "Do you count on Brittany and Normandy?" Yes, the executive government did count on them, and proposed to adopt such measures as would better facilitate that event which was so universally desired. When dissentions were said to exist in the internal state of France, it was asked where? At Lyons, Marseilles, Toulon, and La Vendée; and well would it have been for this country if she had immediately taken the proper advantage of those dissentions, and converted them to her purposes. They were lost, however; though it might be said they could not have been lost if they were not possest. -He then reverted to the hon. gentleman's statement of the condition of Marseilles, and observed that it was not because that under such a tyranny as that of France dissentions do not show themselves, that we are to conclude they do not exist. We might have had reasons to know their existence if we had acted with becoming caution, and instead of one La Vendée. we might have known that the whole of France was becoming one entire Vendée He then referred to the subjugation of the Vendeans and the Chouans. At one time, it had been asked, have you any friends in France? Has the new system any enemies? Are not all the people of that country united in the same sentiment? The boast which was now made of the triumph over the insurgents proved the reality of the danger which had once existed. But, though these people had submitted to hard necessity, it was not to be supposed that they had all at once changed their sentiments and it proved also, that there still existed a body of good sentiments in France. The first argument of the hon.
gentleman was, that peace would establish the power of those, who now preside in France. And what sort of an argument was this? Would it establish the power? Was the hon. gentleman prepared to say, that the change of government had so far changed the evil, as solely to have produced the alteration in his sentiments? If it could, why could it not have done before in the administration of the bloody Ro bespierre? According to their mode of reasoning, war could be reduced at any time to a scale of profit and calculation. Stating generally his opinions on the subject, he saw the motives for continuing the war the same-the prospects better.Another objection against the motion was, that if it passed, the House would thereby take the management out of the hands of the executive government. This the House had certainly at times a right to do; but then it was usual when they assumed that right, to apply to his majesty to displace the persons in whom the trust of the executive government was lodged. Fortunately, the motion was not yet adopted. But, nevertheless the charge of inconsistency and rashness, if not something worse, was attached to it; for the hon. mover was the friend of the minister, and had pronounced many elogiums upon him. He relied, he said, on his talents, his integrity, and his judgment; he praised his general capacity, and he esteemed him as the properest person to be at the head of affairs, but here comes the difficulty.However great his general capacity, his judgment, his integrity, and his talents, and however fit for administration, he was not fit to conduct the business of the state and therefore the hon. gentleman proposed to conduct it for him. He would not offer to displace his friend, but he would undertake to manage measures for him. Did he think the minister would authorize him to perform his functions? The hon. gentleman would allow for these interrogations by the part he had taken himself in the debate of that evening. He must know, that in all public affairs they were bound to follow their duty in preference to their friendships; and for his own part, Mr. Windham said, he had sacrificed friendships that were dear to him, to his public duty, and he did it because he loved to follow right, thought it be sometimes difficult to find where it lies. The hon. gentleman had done so too, though Mr. Windham disapproved of the mode in which he had done it. A Christian
conscience was understood to be connected by the people that a peace would speeed with humility, but the hon. gentleman dily be made by the administration of the had been opposing those of whose inte- country. If such a peace were made, grity and abilities he entertained no doubt they ought all to rejoice, but not otherand with whom he was bound in the close wise, for it would then be obtained as it ties of friendship. Now he wished to im- ought to be. On the other hand, what press on the hon. gentleman's mind, that did the hon. gentleman propose? A peace he was playing a deep game; for if he by himself in opposition to administration. was not the preserver, he was the undoer The best argument in answer to such a of his country; and if he did not obtain proposition was a review of history. The the posthumous fame he so virtuously de- hon. gentleman had taken occasion in the sired, he would be transmitted to pos- course of his speech to extol the blessings terity with eternal execration. He wished of peace, and to deprecate continental him to consider too, how far he conformed connexions. With respect to the blesshimself to the sentiments of those whose ings of peace, abstractly considered, there mode of thinking he had been accustomed could be but one sentiment: as to the to oppose; or how far he adopted new utility of continental connexions, he reopinions of his own. There were two ferred him to the testimony of the history things to confirm a man's judgment, the of the country for many centuries past. concurrence of his friends, and the dissent Were we to be supposed to be arrived at of his enemies. Now, the hon. gentleman that period in which we were to lose all had been played at great odds, for he had regard for military character, and seek not only the dissent of his friends, but the only to retain our former acquisitions. approbation of his opponents. He had Were we to renounce all views of general the odds against him also in another policy, and attend only to the claims of way. In every exclusive public con- petty gain, and mercantile advantage? cern, but more particularly in a war, Were we to forfeit our reputation for naand still more in a war like the present, tional honour, and a generous concern for there was a knowledge in the executive the welfare of Europe? It might be hogovernment which could not be possessed nourable, in the opinions of some gentleby others. Of this he had just given an men, to steal out of a war as others had instance, though opposition would neither done; but it would be degrading to the give the executive government credit for British character justly celebrated for its their good intentions nor their judgment. honour and integrity. Great Britain had It was not grateful to him to examine opi- no wish to imitate the republic of Holland nions, though he did it to fulfil his public or the duchy of Tuscany, but left them duty. If the hon. gentleman thought his the virtue. How different was the conduct measures fatal, he thought the hon. gen- the hon. gentleman had recommended to tleman's no less so. Such opinions he con- that pursued by king William, who judged ceived, if listened to, were highly dan- the interests of this country to be so gerous, and if not listened to, they were closely connected with all Europe, that he so in a smaller degree. Admitting that the encouraged every alliance whereby she hon. gentleman's were the best opinion he rose in the scale of empire; and of this asked him whether he expected them to Mr. Addison was sensible when he wrote be followed? What then it might be urg- his fine eulogium: ed upon the other hand, are you never to bring forward any motion because there is a probability it will not be followed? What then becomes of the freedom of debate? Not so: an attempt in itself to do good may be made, though others think it will not do so. But did the hon. gentle man think, that when persons like those in the executive government had formed their opinions coolly, and with due deliberation, that his arguments could change them. Perhaps he hoped for something intermediate? He had heard the hon. gentleman talk of a general objection to the war, and of a general sentiment entertain[VOL. XXXII.]
"His toils, for no ignoble ends design'd,
He then entered into a variety of arguments, on the fatal consequences of the motion, as tending to influence the opinions of persons at home, and to strengthen and encourage the hands of the enemy. He said, that the cry of peace proceeded from the Jacobin party in the country; and that though every one who wished for peace was not a Jacobin, yet every Jacobin wished for peace. He concluded with moving, "That the other orders of the day be now read."
Mr. For began by observing, that the right hon. gentleman had introduced so much personality into his speech that it was not easy to answer him. He did not think that he had behaved perfectly ingenuous towards him; and he was of opinion, that the remark that had been made, that the motion being supported by him, and those with whom he acted, was a prima facie argument against it, did not appear to him to be quite candid. He should have thought that it would have been more fair to have left the subject to the common course of debate, and he owned that there did appear some degree of cunning in reducing himself and his friends to the necessity of speaking, when it had been asserted, that their support could not be beneficial to the motion. Extraordinary as the treatment had been that he had experienced of late years, he confessed that he had never been so surprised as at that part of the right hon. gentleman's speech which was more immediately personal. He had said to the hon. mover of the present question, "What, will you differ with him with whom you have always agreed?" Had the right hon. gentleman, in putting this question, forgotten some recent transactions? Nay, he had gone farther, and had said, "Will you be so bold as to agree with the persons opposite to you when you look round on the persons near Now, there was something so singular in this, that he could not avoid being extremely astonished at it. He observed, however, that in putting these questions the right hon. gentleman had looked straight forward, as if he had been afraid to look towards his colleagues. Of the majority that the right hon. gentleman expected would support his motion, how many members were there, he would ask, with whom that right hon. gentleman had formerly agreed on great political topics? Why was he so destitute of fair reciprocity as to be unwilling to allow the same
liberty to one side of the House as to the other? The right hon. gentleman had then gone on to ask, for what purpose the present motion had been made? And whether the hon. mover expected to carry the House with him? With respect to the latter question, he believed that the hon. mover entertained no such expectation; but the purpose of the motion was, to discuss that, which ought frequently to be discussed during a period of war; and to show the people of this country that there were persons in parliament ready to defend the rights of the people, and to avert the calamities with which the nation was threatened by an obstinate perseverance in a disastrous and hopeless system. Ministers, it was now urged, had possessed a better knowledge of La Vendée, than he did, and a most useless piece of knowledge, he must confess it had been to them. Was it expected, it had been asked, to convince those ministers? To attempt to convince those whom nothing seemed to convince, was a task, in his opinion, which no man would be hardy enough to undertake. No one who knew their temper, would suspect that they would become suicides of their places from any principle of conviction
For Plato's fancies, what care I? I hope you do not think I die For Plato's fancies in the play, Or any thing that he can say. The House was again called upon to repose confidence in ministers, in the third year the war, when ministers had completely failed in their promised protection of Holland, of the West Indies, of the friends of royalty in France-in every profession or promise upon which they had demanded confidence. They talked of the glory of our arms under their direction. He wondered they had not read our history, and taken the trouble of comparing any period of it with the losses, disasters, and retreats of the last campaign--retreats not imputable to our of ficers or soldiers, but to a miserable system which rendered their skill unavailing, and their valour of no effect. Ministers still talked of discontents in France, and ap pealed to what had happened in La Vendée, Marseilles, Lyons, and Toulon. As far as appeared, the discontents in the three last-mentioned places were the consequence of one party in the convention being overpowered by another; but if they were not, what advantage had minis
ters derived from them? They got pos-