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of Mr. Boyd for a preference, because there was no express agreement, no specific terms of engagement for that purpose. Gentlemen seem to think that unless government were bound down by specific terms, an engagement of this sort entered into by them should not be abided by; might there not, however, be some common understanding, some implied condition, some strong and clear construction, equally binding on the minister of the country to the observance of the claim in point of honour and justice ? No personal inconvenience shall ever induce me to depart from the terms of what I consider an honourable dealing, when a claim is made up founded on an understood and implied condition, on the nature of things, and a practice recognised by a constant usage.

Had there been an express agreement, it would have unquestionably been presented to my recollection, but this was no reason why an explanation properly understood, and clearly made out, should not receive its due degree of attention. In transacting all loans, there must be preliminary points of conversation; a good deal of discussion naturally takes place, some particulars of which are committed to memorandums, and others suffered to pass more loosely.

In the loan of 1795, it was proposed by the contractors that there should be no payment on any new loan till February of the succeeding year, to which I readily assented, not conceiving that the exigences of the public service would require any money to be advanced before that period. Of this promise I was reminded by the governor of the Bank of England, and I was the more confirmed in its propriety, as I found that no new loan had taken place in such circumstances, even where no assurance direct, or by implication, had been given.

Mr. Pitt then noticed the connection in which contractors stood with government, distinct from the scrip-holders, and which gave to them particular claims. Contractors had, in the first instance, to treat with ministers, and were immediately responsible for the fulfilment of the term. Government neither could ascertain, nor had any thing to do with, the scrip-holders; they had no claim - were under po engagement; the contractors that peace only depended on the disposition of the enemy, combined to give that sudden and extraordinary rise to the funds, which singly they would have failed to produce. After all, the extent of the benefit to the contractors, and of the loss to the public, had been greatly over-rated. An exaggerated statement of figures had been brought forward, in order to be echoed through the country. It had been stated, that the profit upon the loan amounted to 12 per cent. It amounted to this sum only for four days, during which stocks were exceedingly fluctuating : so that altogether it did not bear this price for above a few hours. So that, in order to make out this profit, all the shares must have been disposed of within these few hours, a circumstance which would have brought such a quantity into the market, as must have occasioned a depression, that would greatly bave overbalanced the temporary rise. All the profit is stated to centre in the individual contractors, and all the concurring and unforeseen causes, which operated to give so favourable a turn to the terms of the loan, to have been the result of my premeditation. Under these circumstances, I am said to have given away a sum of two millions one hundred and fifty thousand pounds, by the mode of negotiating the present loan. this assertion concludes the charge against me ; and with desiring the House to attend to the extravagance of this assertion, I con. clude my defence. On a division, the amendment was carried,

Ayes.......... 171

Noes......... 23 and Mr. Smith’s remaining resolutions were severally put and negatived.

May 10. 1796.

Mr. Fox, in pursuance of the notice he had previously given, this day submitted to the House a motion for an entire change in the system hitherto pursued by ministers in regard to external politics; concluding his speech with moving,

“ That an address be presented to His Majesty, most humbly, to offer to his royal consideration, that judgment which his faithful Commons haye formed, and now deem it their duty to declare, concerning the conduct of his ministers in the commencement, and during the progress, of the present unfortunate war. As long as it was possible for us to doubt from what source the national distresses had arisen, we have, in times of difficulty and peril, thought ourselves bound to strengthen His Majesty's government for the protection of his subjects, by our confidence and support. But our duties, as His Majesty's counsellors, and as the representatives of his people, will no longer permit us to dissemble our deliberate and determined opinion that the distress, difficulty, and peril, to which this country is now subjected, have arisen from the misconduct of the King's ministers, and are likely to subsist and increase as long as. the same principles which have hitherto guided these ministers shall continue to prevail in the councils of Great Britain.

“ It is painful for us to remind His Majesty of the situation of his dominions at the beginning of the war, and of the high degree of prosperity to which the skill and industry of his subjects had, under the safeguard of a free constitution, raised the British empire, since it can only fill his nind with the melancholy recollection of prosperity abused, and of opportunities of securing permanent advantages wantonly rejected. Nor shall we presume to wound His Majesty's benevolence, by dwelling on the fortunate circumstances that might have arisen from the mediation of Great Britain between the powers then at war, which might have insured the permanence of our prosperity, while it preserved all Europe from the calamities which it has since endured;- a mediation which this kingdom was so well fitted to carry on with vigour and dignity, by its power, its character, and the nature of its governinent, happily removed at an equal distance from the contending extremes of licentiousness and tyranny,

“ From this neutral and impartial system of policy, His Majesty's ministers were induced to depart by certain measures of the French government, of which they complained as injurious and hostile to this country. With what justice those complaints were made, we are not now called upon to determine, since it cannot be pretended that the measures of France were of such a nature as to preclude the possibility of adjustment VOL. II.


by negotiation; and it is impossible to deny, that the power which shuts up the channel of accommodation must be the real aggressor in war. To reject negotiation is to determine on hostilities; and, whatever may have been the nature of the points in question between us and France, we cannot but pronounce the refusal of such an authorised communica. tion with that country, as might have amicably terminated the dispute, to be the true and immediate cause of the rupture which followed.

“ Nor can we forbear to remark, that the pretences under which His Majesty's ministers then haughtily refused such authorised communication have been sufficiently exposed by their own conduct, in since submitting to a similar intercourse with the same government.

“ The misguided policy which thus rendered the war inevitable, appears to have actuated ministers in their deterinination to continue it at all hazards. At the same time we cannot but observe, that the obstinacy with which they have adhered to their desperate system is not more remarkable than their versatility in the pretexts upon which they have justified it. At one period the strength, at another the weakness of the enemy has been urged as motives for continuing the war; the successes, as well as the defeats of the allies, have contributed only to prolong the contest; and hope and despair have equally served to involve us still deeper in the horrors of war, and to entail upon us an endless train of calamities. After the original professed objects had been obtained by the expulsion of the French armies from the territories of Holland and the Austrian Netherlands, we find His Majesty's ministers, influenced either by arrogance, or infatuated by ambition and vain hope of conquests, which, if realised, could never compensate to the nation for the blood and treasure by which they must be obtained, rejecting, unheard, the overtures made by the executive council of France, at a period when the circumstances were so eminently favourable to His Majesty and his allies, that there is every reason to suppose that a negotiation, commenced at such a juncture, must have terminated in an honourable and advantageous peace: to the prospects arising from such an opportunity they preferred a blind and obstinate perseverance in a war which could scarce have any remaining object but the unjustifiable purpose of imposing upon France a government disapproved of by the inhabitants of that country. And such was the infatuation of these ministers, that, far from being able to frame a wise and comprehensive system of policy, they even rejected the few advantages that belonged to their own unfortunate scheme. The general existence of a design to interpose in the internal government of Franice was too manifest not to rouse into active hostility the national zeal of that people: but their particular projects were too equivocal to attract the confidence, or procure the co-operation of those Frenchimen who were disaffected to the government of their country. The nature of these plans was too clear not to provoke formidable enemies, but their extent was too ambiguous to conciliate useful friends.

“ We beg leave further to represent to Your Majesty, that at sübsèquent periods your ministers have suffered the most favorable opportunities to escape of obtaining an honourable and advantageous pacification. They did not avail themselves, as it was their duty to have done, of the unbroken strength of the general confederacy which had been formed against France, for the purpose of giving effect to overtures for negotiation. They saw the secession of several powerful states from that confederacy; they suffered it to dissolve without an effort for the attainment of general pacification. They loaded their country with the odium of having engaged it in a combination charged with the most questionable and unjustifiable views, without availing themselves of that combination for procuring favourable conditions of peace. That from this fatal neglect, the progress of hostilities has only served to establish the evils which certainly might have been avoided by negotiation, but which are now confirmed by the events of the war. We have felt that the unjustifiable and impracticable efforts to establish royalty in France, by force, have only proved fatal to its unfortunate supporters. We have seen with regret the subjugation of Holland, and the aggrandisement of the French republic, and we have to lament the alteration in the state of Europe, not only from the successes of the French, but from the formidable acquisitions of some of the allied powers on the side of Poland, acquisitions alarming from their magnitude, but still more 30 from the manner in which they have been made; thus fatally learning that the war has tended alone to establish the very evils for the prevention of which it was arowedly undertaken.

“ That we now therefore approach His Majesty to assure him, that his faithful Commons heard, with the sincerest satisfaction, His Majesty's most gracious message, of the 8th of December, wherein His Majesty acquaints them, that the crisis which was depending, at the commencement of the present session, had led to such an order of things, as would induce His Majesty to meet any disposition to negotiation on the part of the enemy, with an earnest desire to give it the fullest and speediest effect, and to conclude a general treaty of peace, whenever it could be effected on just and equitable terms, for himself and his allies

“ That from this gracious communication they were led to hope for a speedy termination to this most disastrous contest, but that with surprise and sorrow they have now reason to apprehend that three months we e suffered to elapse before any steps were taken towards a negotiation, or any overtures made by His Majesty's servants.

“ With equal surprise and concern they have observed, when a fair and open conduct was so peculiarly incumbent on His Majesty's ministers,

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