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at so critical a conjuncture, indeed the most critical and the most important that has occurred during the present century, that on the only great and substantial, question, on which the address proposes to express any opinion, there should be no

“ You will feel this peculiarly necessary at a moment when the enemy has openly manifested the intention of attempting a descent on these kingdoms. — It cannot be doubted what would be the issue of such an enterprise, but it befits your wisdom to neglect no precautions that may either preclude the attempt or secure the speediest means of turning it to the confusion and ruin of the enemy.

" In reviewing the events of the year, you will have observed that, by the skill and exertions of my navy, our extensive and increasing commerce has been protected to a degree almost beyond example, and the fleets of the enemy hrave, for the greatest part of the year, been blocked up in their own ports.

“The operations in the East and West Indies have been highly honourable to the British arms, and productive of great national advantage; and the valour and good conduct of my forces, both by sea and land, have been eminently conspicuous.

“ The fortune of war on the Continent has been more various, and the progress

of the French armies threatened, at one period, the utmost danger to all Europe; but from the honourable and dignified perseverance of my ally the Emperor, and from the intrepidity, discipline, and invincible spirit of the Austrian forces, under the auspicious conduct of the Archduke Charles, such a turn has lately been given to the course of the war, as may inspire a well-grounded confidence that the final result of the campaign will prove more disastrous to the enemy than its commencement and progress for a time were favourable to their bopes.

" The apparently hostile dispositions and conduct of the court of Madrid have led to discussions, of which I am not yet enabled to acquaint you with the final result; but I am confident that whatever may be their issue, I shall have given to Europe a further proof of my moderation and forbearance; and I can have no doubt of your determination to defend, against every aggression, the dignity, rights, and interests of the British empire.

Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

I rely on your zeal and public spirit for such supplies as you may think necessary for the service of the year. It is a great satisfaction to me to observe that, notwithstanding the temporary embarrassments which have been experienced, the state of the commerce, manufactures,

difference of sentiment in this House, and that even the right honourable gentleman * should have expressed his cordial concurrence. There are indeed many topics on which he touched in the course of his speech, in which I now differ with him as much as ever I differed at any former period; but, with respect to the great and substantial object of the address, the propriety of the conduct employed to bring about a solid and durable peace, such a peace as may be consistent with the permanent security and the just pretensions of the country, there does not sabsist even the slightest shade of difference. That object is found to command the most full and most unequivocal support. Such a circumstance I must indeed consider as matter of just pride and of honest satisfaction. It exhibits the most decided and undeniable proof that the steps which His Majesty has taken towards negotiation, that the clear and explicit declaration that he has made, are in themselves so unexceptionable, and so well calcu

and revenue of the country, proves the real extent and solidity of our resources, and furnishes you such means as must be equal to any exertions which the present crisis may require.

“ My Lords and Gentlemen, * The distresses which were in the last year experienced from the scarcity of corn are now, by the blessing of God, happily removed, and an abundant harvest affords the pleasing prospect of relief in that important article to the labouring classes of the community. – Our internal tranquillity has also continued undisturbed :— the general attachment of my people to the British constitution has appeared on every occasion, and the endeavours of those who wished to introduce anarchy and confusion into this country, have been repressed by the energy and wisdom of the laws.

“ To defeat all the designs of our enemies, to restore to my people the blessings of a secure and honourable peace, to maintain inviolate their religion, laws, and liberty, and to deliver down unimpaired to the latest posterity, the glory and happiness of these kingdoms, is the constant wish of my heart, and the uniform end of all my actions. In every measure that can conduce to these objects, I am confident of receiving the firm, zealous, and affectionate support of my parliament."

* Mr. Fox.


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lated for the end in view, that they must command assent from any man who retains the smallest care for the interest and honour of his country. Impressed with this feeling of satisfaction, I can have but little inclination to detain the House on points of slighter difference. I look with still higher satisfaction to the concurrence now expressed in the object of the address, as the pledge of general unanimity, and the omen of great exertions, if, unfortunately, that object should not be obtained.

The honourable gentleman justly states, that what hitherto has been done, only amounts to an overture for peace. It is impossible to state what may be the result. We cannot pronounce what will be the disposition of the enemy, or what circumstances may occur to influence the fate of negotiation. We ought to look fairly to our situation. It holds out to us a chance of peace, if the enemy are disposed to accede to it on just and reasonable terms; but, on the other hand, if they are still actuated by ambitious projects, we shall gain another object by the course we have pursued : we shall unmask them in the eyes of Europe; we shall expose the injustice of their policy and their insatiable thirst of aggrandisement; and, if no other advantage be gained, we at least shall be able to put to the proof the sincerity of that pledge which this day has been given, that if the enemy are not disposed to accede to peace on just and reasonable terms, the war will be supported by the unanimous voice and the collected force of the nation. I trust and hope that it may not be necessary to have recourse to such a test of sincerity; but, while we indulge with satisfaction in the hope of a more favourable issue, we must at the same time look to the other alternative ; we must be prepared with all the force of the country to support the prosecution of the contest, if its continuance should be found necessary. If the unanimity of this day be accompanied with such views, if it is not an unanimity founded merely upon the pleasing sound of peace, the captivating charm of renewed tranquillity, and the prospect of the termination of those scenes of horror and calamity with which


war is always attended (such an unanimity would indeed be fatal to the country), but if it is an unanimity the result of rational and manly reflection, founded upon a careful consideration of the situation of the country, and prepared to meet every conjuncture, it cannot then be too highly prized. We must not put out of view those means of exertion which we still possess; we must fairly compare the situation of this country with that of the enemy, and the amount of our own acquisitions with the losses of our allies; we must estimate the extent of the sacrifices which, under all these circumstances, it he fitting for us to make, in order to effect the restoration of p ace, It is with a view to these principles, that unanimity becomes 90 peculiarly desirable in the present moment. The clear and unequivocal explanation which His Majesty has given of his conduct, with respect to peace, has commanded a general concurrence. If it be that sentiment which, on the one hand, is prepared to support the just pretensions and reasonable hopes of the country, and on the other to resist the unjustifiable demands and arrogant claims of the enemy, I shall then consider the unanimity of this day as the happiest era in the history of the country. On this head I shall say no more, and agreeing thus tar with the right honourable gentleman, I would wish to say as little as possible on the other points on which he touched in the course of his speech, and with respect to which we widely differ. They have been too often and too warmly discussed to be now forgotten by gentlemen who sat in the former parliament; and in the concluding part of his speech, the right honourable gentleman gave us an assurance that we should hear of them again.

The right honourable gentleman has intimated as his opinion, that we must change the whole system of our interior policy, which he considers as inconsistent with the constitution of the country. I am happy, however, to find that he is so far satisfied with the constitution, as to ascribe to its protection that internal order and undisturbed tranquillity which he admitted that the country had for some time past enjoyed. He at the same time reprobated in the severest terms laws which were passing during the last parliament, and which he represented as pregnant with the most mischievous consequences, and declared that he could not subscribe to any construction of that part of His Majesty's speech which included those among the laws, the energy and wisdom of which had contributed to secure the tranquillity of the country. Having made this declaration, it would be unfair and uncandid on my part not to be equally explicit. I desire no gentleman to vote for the address upon any such qualification with respect to those laws. I am firmly of opinion, that, exclusive of their influence, the peace of the country could not have been so successfully maintained, nor can I suffer the smallest reproach to fall upon the character of the last parliament, who displayed their wisdom and their energy in providing a remedy so suitable to the alarming nature of the crisis. If there is any ambiguity in the address, with respect to those laws, it is because they are so consistent with the spirit of the constitution which they were framed to protect, and so blended with the system of our jurisprudence, so congenial to the practice of former times, and so conformable even to the letter of former acts, that it was impossible to make any discrimination. It is to be recollected, that they were passed in a moment of alarm and turbulence ; they had been found most admirably calculated to meet the emergency of the time. The address does not apportion with minute exactness what degree of tranquillity we have derived from the operation of those laws, when blended with the constitution, and what we might have enjoyed from the influence of laws previously subsisting; how much we were indebted for protection to the ancient strength of the edifice, or to those butiresses that were raised to support it in the moment of hurricane.

There were some other points on which the right honourable gentleman touched. He seemed to consider, from the language of the address, that endeavours have only been made of late to procure peace. He ought to recollect that His Majesty's speech particularly refers to what has taken place since he last com

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