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and extraordinary machine had wound up the whole of that extensive empire, by all the men who were put in a state of requisition, and by all the meretricious treasure that was amassed; if so many causes operating so long, the effects were not to cease as immediately as the causes. The effects in their operation survive the causes: but have the French acquired fresh vigour? Whoever has taken any pains to look at the number and efforts of their armies, and state of the provisions and magazines, and attends to the manner in which requisitions have been carried on; whoever reads the accounts the members of the Convention give of themselves; whoever reads their speeches; whoever trusts to their own account of themselves;
these all prove that the vigour and exertion of that country have been evidently diminishing. In the next place, look at the state of their assignats, which for a long time has been the subject of a great deal of anxious attention to the Convention. They have been employed almost in a perpetual contest about two things,to make a constitution, and to raise their credit, by preventing an unlimited number of assignats entering into circulation. They therefore passed a decree to withdraw a certain number of them to raise their credit. The nominal value of assignats was only 251. per cent. At present they are somewhat less than 5l. per cent. Their expenditure is incredible; last month it amounted to twenty-seven millions sterling, which is more than is wanted by Great Britain in the course of a year. This expense amounts to three hundred and twenty-four millions sterling per annum, which exceeds the whole national debt of Great Britain. The commerce of that country is totally extinguished, and a portion of bankruptcy mixes itself with every transaction. The next article is the price of provisions, respecting which I have received a great deal of authentic information within these few days, indeed I may say within these few hours; and the price of provisions is so very high, and scarcity prevails to such a degree, as must stop all great and extensive operations. In the next place, I doubt very much whether the provisions for the French army and navy will in future be so regularly supplied as they formerly have been. I have accounts of provisions being
The question is, whether the state of France is not so weak; whether the distractions and disturbances of the country, and the discontents of the people, are not so great, as to be likely to lead to some change or new order of things, more favourable than any that has hitherto appeared? First, as to the weakness of France. We have been told by the right hon. gentleman, that there was no appearance in France of the relaxation of its efforts; that the reign of terror ended with the month of July last; and subsequent
to that period they have been as success-re-landed from on board some of the ships ful as ever. But surely it is not very at Brest; and the city of Paris has been wonderful if the operations of that great supplied by pittances from the army on [VOL. XXXII.]
has been made acquainted with the situation of the inhabitants of La Vendée and the Chouans, as well as from the Paris newspapers. They will do well to consider, whether the French government can have any degree of confidence, that they can reap the least advantage from that union. The advantages of the peace in that quarter have been entirely in favour of La Vendée and Britanny, and not of the republic; the inhabitants have gained by the treaty, and lost nothing. The republic has no right to any accession of strength from this district of the kingdom. Were they subject to requisitions? or did they furnish recruits for the army? or did they increase the treasure of the country? By the articles of their submission to the laws of the republic, if they are reported truly, they are in fact an independent government, from which what are called patriots are excluded. The state of La Vendée was directly the reverse of that of Holland; and if that country was not an accession of strength to the republic, is it not a confession of the weakness of the government, that they found themselves under the necessity, notwithstanding all their splendid success, to enter into such a treaty as a sovereign would never have entered into but from necessity?
There is another circumstance which has been relied upon, and which I must not pass over in silence. Among other events of the day, we see that Holland and France have entered into an alliance; and that Holland is to furnish France with twelve ships of the line, and eighteen frigates. The present state of Holland makes that circumstance more favourable for this country than we had reason to expect it would have been when Holland was over-run by the French.
now so weakened and exhausted, as to make peace with that government, though not secure, yet; in consequence of that weakness, attended with a considerable degree of security. That something more of this security exists at the present moment, I not only admit, but contend that the prospect is improving every day, and that this becomes more and more ascertained; as I shall state before I sit down. But is this a reason why we should negociate at this moment? I think not. facts that are notorious, from things known to the world, there is now a gene ral feeling that there is, comparatively speaking, a sense of security in the country, when compared with the alarming uneasiness which some time ago prevailed. The enemy have not been able to avail themselves of their success and acquisitions, nor have they acquired solid and substantial strength. The natural anxiety of the people of this country has led them to remark the progress of the decay, decline, and ruin of the enemy, as being more rapid than they could have foreseen. When this business was formerly discussed, it was used as a very considerable argument against negociation, that from our situation then, we could not hope to treat with France on terms of equality: that our affairs since the commencement of the war were in so unfavourable a state, that we could not reasonably hope to obtain terms of equality, or any thing fair and honourable. Is not this argument very considerably strengthened at this moment, when you compare the state of this country and France? Exhausted and wearied with the addition of your own weakness, will you give up the contest in despair? We should then, like Holland, have to consider what indemnity France would expect of us. I state this as a practical objection, and wholly independent of any question on the security of negociation. Those who argue for peace, consider our situation as rendered more fit for negociation in this way :-that we have lost our allies, by which we are reduced to such a state of weakness, that we must listen to peace; and now that our allies have deserted us, it is unnecessary to obtain their consent. We formerly refused to treat with France, beeause we were satisfied she was unable to maintain that peace and amity that ought to prevail among neutral nations. Gentlemen have chosen to forget all the arguments used with regard to acknowledging
the republic of France. We refus treat with M. Chauvelin after the tunate murder of Louis 16th. We r to acknowledge a government the been reeking with the blood of thei vereign. Was not that an objection to acknowledge them at that period? murder of the king preceded but a few days the declaration of war ag this country.
The next argument is, whether would dishonour yourself by acknow ing a republic that might endanger own independence, and which m public profession of principles whic to destroy the independence of ever tion of Europe? I say, I will not a ledge such a republic. The q here is but simply whether you knowledge so as to treat with it not, nor has it been, since the cor ment of the war, the interest of 1 not from any one circumstance, taking all circumstances togethe stitute a negociation with t powers now existing in France.
As to the declaration of the to the diet, if it is authentic. should be happy to enter into tion for peace, I beg leave to declaration must be supposed t Emperor in no other capacit head of the empire; and I am cannot, and will not state tha cludes him, as duke of Austi of Bohemia, from performing ment he may choose to ente own separate account, in the As the head of the empir from the present situation o think it wise and expedien the line he may chalk out sovereign prince and king, mia and archduke of Austr circumstances to induce of the empire, to wish t tion with France, rat risk of a separate nes the medium of the kin trary to the constitut body. One of the upon, and imputed was the circumstan Vendée and with t an end. I do not stance can attach ment. It has be bitants of La V the French rep' versed with ger
has been made acquainted with the star-
resent as to the expediency of securing ourselves in the way proposed by this ention, the co-operation of so great a itary power as the Emperor. The use had already decided on that point. ey had, however, reserved to themselves en the conditions should be laid before , to judge both as to the security offor the assistance, to the extent to oh it had been stipulated, and for the yment of the sums advanced. When message was originally brought down was doubtful whether, with a view larger sum, still more extensive coration might not have been required.
advances that had been already le went to the exceedings above the r millions; they amounted to about 0,000l. Every precaution had been en that could tend to render the transion safe. The security for repayment s, first, a general engagement to pay; xt, a mortgage on the Emperor's here. tary revenues, to be recovered accordg to the laws of that country, and a deosit of actions on the bank of Vienna. n case of non-payment, the sum to be nade good by this country. But the committee would carry along with them that we were guarantees for only a half yearly dividend on the accidental failure of payment. A considerable delay had taken place, which had been full of anxiety to those concerned in the speculation, as they were obliged to have their money in readiness. Gentlemen on the other side had formerly stated, that the transaction did not present a very advantageous prospect to the subscribers. Fortunately the reverse was the case. He concluded with y moving," That it is the opinion of this committee, that provision be made for guaranteeing the payment of the dividends on a loan of 4,600,000l., on account of the Emperor of Germany conformably to of the said convention."
Mr. For said, that when this business was before the House on a former day, they were told that four millions were to be granted to the Emperor, on condition. an to of his providing 200,000 men for the The common cause, as it was termed, but com- that if he should provide a larger army, h the there should be no objection on our part ad the to granting him the sum of six millions; and it was added, that the Emperor had ecur to received some of this money in part of the thing at whole loan; and at that time it was not known how the proposals would be accepted at Vienna. The fact now was, that he
the Rhine. Expressions of discontent | have trespassed too long on the patience of the House. I conclude by observing again, that I have to hope for a more favourable order of things, and I have no reason to be satisfied with any attempt at negociation at this moment; but by a vigorous prosecution of the war for a short time longer, we have every reasonable prospect that we shall be able to procure for ourselves a solid, permanent, and honourable peace.
are not confined to individuals, but are general, and such as come home to the door of every individual in France. What will be the effect of this complicated pressure, how long it may be continued, or what order of things may ultimately rise out of it, I shall not pretend to say. But I think it may produce, and probably at no great distance of time, some new order of things, more friendly to a general pacification, and to a regular intercourse with the other established powers of Europe. Such is the genuine prospect for all the countries of Europe, for an order of things more satisfactory than we have seen at any former period. It is owing to your perseverance in forcing them, and to which they are unequal, that they would willingly accept of peace. But because you have such a prospect at this moment, you are by no means certain that a safe and honourable peace could be obtained. That is, at this moment, premature; a continuance of your perseverance some time longer, will in all probability produce that happy effect.
Compare the situation and resources of this country, feeling for the burthens of the country, which must be felt by the poor and industrious to a certain extent, and deploring their necessity, as they must obstruct the increasing wealth of the country. Look also at the manufac tures and trade and revenue, and compare it with the expense of the war. Compare the annual expenditure of twenty or twenty-five millions sterling, to the enormous sum of twenty-seven millions sterling per month, or three hundred and twenty-four millions per annum, the sum yearly expended by France. After you have made these comparisons, tell me whether you will lay aside your exertions, under the peculiar circumstances in which you are now placed. You have laid on taxes unprecedented in their amount, but at the same time having the satisfaction to know that they are borne by the inhabitants of this country without any material severe pressure. You are provided therefore with the most ample and liberal supplies for the present campaign. But is that the case with France? No. Every month, every week, is an additional strain of the new machine, and they are not provided with any of that enormous expense which I have mentioned, but must raise it all by forced means, by requisitions, by robbery, and plunder. I
Mr. Wilberforce, in reply, combated the
minate it. He did not make his present
The question being put, "That the other orders of the day be now read;" the House divided:
Protest against the passing of the Bill for augmenting the Royal Artillery out of the Militia.] May 28. The following Protest against the passing of this Bill was entere on the Journals:
1. "Because the honourable footing upon which the militia was established, and has hitherto subsisted, is, as far as relates to the augmenting the Royal Artillery, undermined by this bill, inasmuch as it makes the militia a fund for the supply, and a drill for the accommodation of another corps, inasmuch as it reduces this constitutional force below the numbers covenanted by the country to be always kept complete; and inasmuch as it supplies the deficiencies it creates, not in the regular and creditable manner by which the militia is constitutionally to be supplied, and supplied to a certainty, but by +
2. "Because upon the allegation of the present conjuncture, it establishes this measure without any express period to its duration, and without any clause against the precedent.
the means, uncertain in their operation | present as to the expediency of securing by which it is constitutionally provided in to ourselves in the way proposed by this express terms that it shall not be sup- convention, the co-operation of so great, a plied. military power as the Emperor. The House had already decided on that point. They had, however, reserved to themselves when the conditions should be laid before them, to judge both as to the security offered for the assistance, to the extent to 3. "Because at a moment when the which it had been stipulated, and for the temper of the times, and our personal repayment of the sums advanced. When knowledge of late events in some corps, the message was originally brought down seem particularly to recommend a vigi- it was doubtful whether, with a view lance in the preservation of discipline and to a larger sum, still more extensive cosubordination, this bill, in a most extra-operation might not have been required. ordinary and unprecedented manner, re- The advances that had been already laxes the authority of the commanding made went to the exceedings above the officers over the objects of it, by suggest-four millions; they amounted to about ing to the latter a method which at any 550,000l. Every precaution had been time, &c. on any motive' entitles them to taken that could tend to render the trans'their discharge.' action safe. The security for repayment was, first, a general engagement to pay; next, a mortgage on the Emperor's here. ditary revenues, to be recovered according to the laws of that country, and a deposit of actions on the bank of Vienna.
4. "Because the several circumstances of disappointment as to the strength of their regiments, and of degradation by the involuntary removal of their selected and most instructed men, by the replacing of them in a less certain and less credi- In case of non-payment, the sum to be table manner, and by converting the regi-made good by this country. But the ments into a recruiting fund for another committee would carry along with them corps, form an impolitic and undeserved that we were guarantees for only a half return to such militia officers (and it has yearly dividend on the accidental failure been admitted in the debates on this bill of payment. A considerable delay had that there are many such) as have merit taken place, which had been full of anxiety with the public.-And to those concerned in the speculation, as they were obliged to have their money in readiness. Gentlemen on the other side had formerly stated, that the transaction did not present a very advantageous prospect to the subscribers. Fortunately the reverse was the case. He concluded with moving," That it is the opinion of this committee, that provision be made for guaranteeing the payment of the dividends on a loan of 4,600,000l., on account of the Emperor of Germany conformably to the said convention."
"I conceive it the more necessary to mark my disapprobation, and express my apprehension of the consequences of this innovation, as I know the militia contains a fund for recruiting not only the artillery but every other corps in his majesty's service, much too good not to be ardently coveted, and (however the intention be disclaimed at present) I fear resorted to (as I am sure it may be upon the same reasoning), when parliament shall have once notified the principle of making the militia subservient to the efficiency of other corps.
Debate in the Commons on the Loan to the Emperor of Germany.] May 28. The House having resolved itself into a committee of the whole House, to which the Convention between his Majesty and the Emperor* was refered,
Mr. For said, that when this business was before the House on a former day, they were told that four millions were to be granted to the Emperor, on condition of his providing 200,000 men for the common cause, as it was termed, but that if he should provide a larger army, there should be no objection on our part to granting him the sum of six millions; and it was added, that the Emperor had received some of this money in part of the whole loan; and at that time it was not known how the proposals would be accepted at Vienna. The fact now was, that he
Mr. Pitt said, that it did not occur to him to be necessary to say any thing
* See Vol. 31, p. 1558.