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Charles Grey's achievements? Would any man say that the manner of the loss of Guadaloupe and St. Lucie did not make us lament their previous conquest? Again, therefore, he asserted, that the war had been disastrous, inasmuch as we had failed in every object. We had lost Holland, which was one object of the war; and we had settled and rivetted discontent on the minds of the people of England, not merely by the calamities arising from the war, but from the measures we had taken, and were now taking, to stifle that dis


Peace, however, was now said to be near. Perhaps he thought it was near, but he did not think so on account of the message from the throne. He thought so because ministers felt the sense of the country to be declared against the war; because, however they might affect to misrepresent the feeling of the country in their speeches, they felt in their hearts, that there was not one man in the kingdom, the race of money-jobbers, contractors, and interested persons only excepted, who was not sick of the war, as well as of the miserable pretexts for carrying it on. He thought, therefore, that to fix ministers to the point, they should adopt the amendment, which contained a much more clear and specific declaration than that contained in the address. He knew thst it was a vulgar opinion, and surely it was the most vulgar of all vulgar opinions, that the proposers of a negociation, always stood the worst chance in that negociation. He wished to know one instance in which this had ever been the case. In the present circumstances of Great Britain and France, he thought the advantage was evidently on the side of the proposers. For in both countries there was an evident desire for peace in the great body of the people; so that it would be impossible for the executive government of either country to reject any proposals which might be made, if they were not altogether unreasonable. If, therefore, at this moment, we were to make proposals to France, if they were not grossly dishonourable, their committee of directory and council of ancients, would not dare to refuse them, because, by refusing them, they know that they would lose the confidence and respect of the people.


brought down at this very remarkable conjuncture. The speech from the throne was made on the 29th of October, and then no such intimation was given; but the right hon. gentleman had said, that a declaration tantamount to the present was made in the king's speech, and that the people from that speech would have been justified in expecting the present message. They must judge of the impression by the effects. The speech from the throne had produced no sensation on the funds. What had the message produced? A rise in the funds that day of 5 or 6 per cent. He came therefore now to a material part of the present inquiry. Why had not the right hon. gentleman made known the substance of this message before, or at least why not stated his reasons in justification of doing it at this most suspicious moment? It had been the good practice till his time, of closing the loan only the day before it was opened to parliament. If the right hon. gentleman had made his loan in that way, he must acknowledge that with the words of this message in his pocket, he ought to have made terms materially different. If he had this message in his mind, and felt himself bound not to make an open loan, in what predicament did he stand? Messrs. Boyd and Co. very handsomely left it to him to propose the terms; then, with the knowledge of this intention, ought he not to have made a bargain upon the ground of the impression which this message was calculated to make? Were the circumstances of the country such, that he was bound to make the bargain a week before he opened it? Perhaps the suspicion was well founded, that his secret contract with the gentlemen, on account of bills coming due on the 10th of December, stipulated that the bargain should be made before that day. But he called upon every gentleman who heard him to say, if he could believe it possible, that any change could have happened so material as to justify the concealment of this intimation until after he had made his bargain, and then to bring it forth to swell the bonus to such a height; or, if any circumstances had arisen to justify the concealment then, and the intimation now, to say why the right hon. gentleman should not be called upon to state them. A loss had been suffered by the public of not less, on the meanest computation, than 150,000l. This had been put into the pockets of persons who talked loudly of their independence,

The right hon. gentleman had not thought it necessary to open his motion for the address, with any exposition of the reasons why the message had been

to fri


and of the disinterested support they gave | which had been proposed by his hon. to ministers. It was not his practice to impute any thing personally corrupt to the right hon. gentleman, and he did not impute to him any thing of the kind now; but he did think that, in decency and in duty, in regard to himself as well as to the country, he was called upon to explain this extraordinary transaction. It was a direct robbery upon the public of 5 or 6 per cent. upon the whole loan, if with the knowledge of his intention he made his bargain without a public declaration of the change that had taken place; and he must prove that he did not know of this change but a week before he declared it. The change however was now announced. He trusted the declaration would not have the fate of former declarations. He should rejoice in the day of peace, come when it would. When it did come, he should certainly be thankful; but he should by no means consider the restoration of peace as superseding the necessity of an inquiry into the origin, principle, and conduct of the war. For if this were neglected, it might establish a precedent upon which any minister might undertake a war without principle, conduct it with incapacity, and be acquitted of all his misdeeds immediately upon the patching up a peace. He trusted that with the return of peace, we should also have a return of the constitution. He should truly rejoice if, with the blessings of peace, we were also to have the next desirable blessing, that of freedom, of which we were about to be deprived. With regard to some persons in the cabinet, with whom he had been long in the habits of agreement and friendship, he knew not what effects peace was to produce upon them. They had differed upon the principles of the present war. If peace should put an end to the differences between them, and restore them to their former habits of thinking and acting he should undoubtedly see the day with peculiar sensibility. He owned, however, that he had very little expectation of such an event. However that might be, he should ill discharge his duty to his country, if he did not steadily resolve to do his utmost to bring ministers to a strict account for all the calamities that this war had engendered. He sat down, begging not to be understood as opposing the address, or disapproving of the sentiments is contained. He only wished that it had gone as far as the amendment

Mr. Secretary Dundas asked, whether any human being could give the gentlemen opposite credit for their professions of anxiety for a peace, when they proposed an amendment to the address, which they knew must be against the sense of the majority of the House? Was such an amendment calculated to accelerate the blessings of peace: or was it intended to serve the purposes of a party? If ministers were tied down by the authoritative injunction of parliament to make a peace, with what success could they treat? They must say to the enemy, we wish to negociate, and we hope you will grant us favourable terms, but whether you do or not, we must make some peace or other. What terms the enemy would grant, in a treaty commenced under such circumstances, he would leave the House to determine. All that he contended for was, that as ministers were responsible for the advice they gave his majesty, their judgment should be left unfettered. If this argument was just, did it not apply strongly against the present amendment, the necessary effect of which would be to bind up the hands of the executive power, and to throw the country at the mercy of France? There


one mode of debating, which gentlemen opposite uniformly made use of, and against which he desired most seriously to protest. In the course of a debate they brought forward some misrepresentation, either of the arguments or of the intentions of administration, and having once introduced the misrepresentation they never gave it up. It was of no use to deny their assertions-it was of no use to refute their arguments; for in every succeeding debate, the charge was renewed with as much boldness as if it had never been contradicted. One of these misre presentations was, that ministers had commenced and carried on the war, for the purpose of restoring the ancient despotism of France. In vain had ministers denied the charge; it was still pressed upon them and even now, when they thought the government of France was safely to be treated with, they were accused of having given up the grounds upon which they commenced the war, and of having totally changed their system. As far as related to himself, he declared it as his opinion, that it would be happier for France and for Europe, if we had now to

treat with a monarchy instead of the pre- | with which their successes inspired them. sent form of government. But did any Were the Austrians at that time as sucone expression ever fall from ministers cessful as they have since been in repelwhich conveyed an intention of continu-ling the enemy? Had Manheim surrening the war until the monarchy of France dered, with a garrison of 9,000 men? The was restored? Therefore, there was no object of Great Britain was not to effect change of opinion, no dereliction of sys- any particular form of government in tem, to be imputed to government.-Ano- France, but so to reduce their power, as ther charge was, that ministers in object- to give a fair probability that any peace ing to treat with France, had been go- we might make should be permanent. That verned in that determination merely by we had failed in some of our objects, the form of government which, at the he was ready to admit; but that the intime, prevailed in France, without taking dividuals employed, or that the nation had into consideration the general posture of suffered any thing like disgrace he utterly affairs. Of the injustice of this accusa- denied. He would venture to assert withtion he hoped to convince the House in out the hazard of contradiction, that taka few words. When the right hon. gen- ing into consideration the objects for tleman made his motion for peace last which we had contended, and the nature year, were not existing circumstances a of the enemy with whom we had to constronger reason against commencing a ne- tend, this had been upon the whole a gociation than the form of government most successful war. The three objects which now existed? The French were which any statesman at the commencethen successful on the Continent, and ment of a war would wish us to atthey became immediately possessed of all tain, viz. Martinique, Cape Nicola Mole, the coast. He begged to observe here, and the Cape of Good Hope were every that the instant the French became pos- one in our possession. Added to these, we sessed of Holland, the idea occurred to had succeeded in destroying the comhim of getting possession of the Cape of merce of our rival, and in ruining their Good Hope. Whether government would, marine.-But the right hon. gentleman under any circumstances, give up that had contended, that, from the distressed valuable acquisition, was a point upon state in which the French were last year, which he should not give an opinion, ex- they must have been anxious for peace. cept merely to say, that it would not be So far from that assertion being true, this given up without an ample compensation. was the very first moment, during the He appealed to the recollection of every whole course of the war, in which the gentleman, whether, at the time of which enemy had shown any symptoms of a dehe was speaking, the whole country was sire for peace. As a proof of this, he renot in a state of alarm; the circumstances ferred to the uniform language held by which were expected to result from the the Convention. He desired the House to French becoming possessed of Holland, remember the declarations of the governbeing serious indeed? They were not at ment of France, when they made peace that time debating as they were now, with Prussia. The principal motive they whether it would not be expedient to de- assigned for making peace with that mocrease the number of our forces? No, all narch was, that they might turn their was apprehension; the whole eastern whole force to the destruction of Engcoast of the kingdom was in a state of land. The House must remember their panic. He thanked God most solemnly, declaration that the new Carthage on the that there did exist such a panic, because banks of the Thames must be overturned. the result of it was, that increase of our This was not the language of the Convennavy, which had placed us above the tion alone; it was heard with transport reach of danger. But was there any kind by the whole nation! nay, so general was of comparison between our situation then the persuasion that that object would be and now? At that time, from the great accomplished, that their soldiers and sailsuccess of the French arms, their Repub- ors had filled their pockets, in imaginalic seemed not only to be indivisible, but tion, with the wealth of London.-Anoinvincible. Had we made peace then, ther argument advanced by the right hon. even if we had obtained tolerable terms, gentleman was, that the circumstance of at all events France would have retained France having declared war against us was her power; and, what was perhaps still no proof that they were the aggressors; worse, they would have retained the pride and that, on the contrary, we had provoked

Debate in the Lords on the King's Message respecting a Negociation for Peace with France.] Dec. 10. The order of the day being read,

Lord Grenville said, he had no doubt of the disposition of their lordships to give every assistance to his majesty, conformable to the sentiments contained in his most gracious message, for the purpose of procuring a peace on safe and honourable terms. As upon this subject there could not be any difference of opinion, he should not think it necessary to do more than move an Address in answer, without entering into any argument to show the propriety of such a measure. He accordingly moved an address, similar to that which was yesterday moved in the Commons by Mr. Pitt.


the war. He was ready to admit, that it might happen that the party who first declared war were not the aggressors, but was that true with respect to the present war? Had not the French for some months previous to the declaration of war, been guilty of the most unprovoked aggression, from the time of the retreat of the duke of Brunswick? They hardly attempted to conceal their hostile views against the constitution of England? was then said we might negociate. We did negociate. And what was the result? How did they explain this famous decree of the 19th November? They would not interfere in the internal concern of any any other country, unless the general sense of the people was against their go vernment, and they were invited by the majority, to give their assistance! But who were to be the judges of this general will? The French! This was all that could be obtained by negociation.-The gentlemen opposite appeared to him to talk of a peace with too much certainty. The message did not hold out an immediate promise of a peace; it only said, that we were ready to negociate, upon fair and honourable terms. He thought it necessary to say thus much, in order that he might not be accused of an attempt to delude the House and the country, if unfortunately they should not be able to attain the object they all wished. The right hon. gentleman said, that ministers represented the danger arising from seditious societies here, to be greater or less, just as it suited their argument. He had no objection to confess, that he thought the danger less now than at the latter end of 1792.-And why? Not because they had renounced their principles; not because they had decreased in numbers: but because the people had recovered from the infatuation under which they laboured, with respect to French doctrines; because the people were more upon their guard against the machinations of the disaffected; and because government had opposed bulwarks against any farther attempts they might make. He concluded with congratulating the House and the country, that we had, by courage and perseverance, arrived at that point in which we might look for a peace equally compatible with our security and our honour.

Mr. Sheridan's amendment was negatived without a division. The Address was then agreed to.

The Marquis of Lansdown declared, that the great measure of peace had been long uppermost in his mind. That he might not lie under the necessity of opposing a measure which was calculated to produce so desirable an object, he would not dwell on the conduct of the war, though he remained firm in his belief that it originated in aggression on our part. Since the days of cardinal Alberoni, a design of such frantic absurdity as the object of it embraced, had never been attempted. He would not dwell on the uniform misconduct of ministers, nor the disasters which, with a few exceptions, had attended us both by land and sea. There was a time when the energy of parliament would have been exerted in inquiring into the conduct of ministers; but that energy, since the Revolution, had been gradually declining, till at present, it was entirely extinguished. If their lordships had recourse to their Journals, they would find, that from the Revolution, down to the American war, such inquiries were never refused. For the restoration of this energy, a reform in parliament was the only application that would be effectual; but this he would not press till peace produced a period proper for its agitation. Peace was the object nearest his heart, as necessary to the happiness of the people, and the safety of the country. It was a jewel which he was, at all events, desirous to secure. If he was asked, how he would obtain it, he would explain by saying, if he had a servant who robbed him of a valuable diamond, his first care would be to recover it before he accused him of ingratitude, or punished him for his crime. Peace

was that diamond, and if ministers would restore it, he would receive it with thankfulness, though his opinion of them might be the same as of the servant. In the present instance, he was at a loss to know what confidence to give ministers, from the equivocal terms of the message, and the sentiments contained in the address. When he recollected the equivocal ⚫ language of lord North in 1778, to which the present case bore a close analogy, and considered the circumstances that followed, he was not sure but the message might be a temporary artifice to delude the nation. The supposition might seem uncandid, but similar tricks he had seen employed. So far he believed in the transmigration of souls, as to think that ministers were actuated by the views and principles of their predecessors. He would be inexcusable were he to place implicit confidence in the professions of any ministers, when he had seen so many proofs of their insincerity. They might wish to get quietly over a session, or to prepare for a general election. With respect to the late successes of the Austrians, on which they laid so much stress, it proved nothing, for he had early laid down as a proposition, that whenever the French crossed the Rhine on the one hand, or the Austrians crossed it on the other, not much good could be expected to arise from the future operations of the invading party; for as an army got remote from home, it became timid in the same proportion as it was irresistible and energetic in its own country. And hence it was that the bounty of Providence seemed to have marked out the boundaries of every nation, to protect it from the ambition of men. The alarming condition of the country, and the exhausted state of its finances, should induce ministers unequivocally to show a disposition for peace. If they asked what sort of a peace, he would say a good peace, without mentioning the word glorious. If they required indemnity and security, had they not indemnity in the Cape of Good Hope, Demerary, and Ceylon? But if even these were to be surrendered, if such a measure procured peace, so far from his embarrassing ministers, they should not want his support. For if Holland was restored by the French, he did not see that it would be repugnant to the interests or the honour of the nation to give up the Cape of Good Hope. The object of the country was tranquillity, and

when' that arrived he should not only deem it a happy but a good peace. As to indemnity, he had no hesitation in saying that a few years of industry would be far beyond all the indemnification we could derive from our acquisitions.

Lord Grenville said, he had heard that from the noble marquis, which, as often as he heard, he would rise to contradict, namely, that we were the aggressors in the war. He would ever maintain, that the conduct of our enemies was such as left not peace or war a matter of choice; but of necessity they were compelled to adopt the latter. The noble marquis had expressed his doubts of the sincerity of ministers. Why he should doubt their sincerity, he knew not: the best answer he could give him should be, in the very words of the address, that the first moment of pacification would be taken, when terms could be had, consistent with the safety, honour, and dignity of the nation.

The Earl of Lauderdale was happy that at length ministers had come to that point to which he and his friends had laboured to bring them. He was not sure that this concession was not made to evade the propositions which his friends had meant to press upon them. If the right hon. gentleman at the head of the finances had the smallest knowledge that the order of things mentioned in the message was arrived, or that such was the opinion of the cabinet, he deserved to be impeached.

Lord Mulgrave said, that in his mind there never had yet been a time which held out such a prospect of approaching peace, both from the situation of this country, and the embarrassments of the enemy, as the present. The war had always appeared to him a just, necessary, and purely defensive war. The conduct of it, or the terms upon which peace could be made, he would abstain from entering upon. He wished that other noble lords had so acted, and had not made allusions to points that could not tend to promote the unanimity so much desired. If he could judge from appearances, the noble lords in opposition seemed not to entertain the same avidity for peace, now that it seemed to be at hand, which they did, when the prospect of it was much more remote.

The Duke of Leeds said, it was agreed on all hands that peace was a most desirable object, and any thing that could impede its arrival, he conceived to be highly

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