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view. Let us first look at the best way to procure the greatest quantity of cash ; and, if the subject is fairly viewed, I do not despair of convincing the House that the remittance of a sum to the Emperor, instead of obstructing and impeding the influx of cash into the kingdom, will accelerate and increase it. I will grant that, if collateral circumstances did not vary, the balance in our favour would be diminished precisely in proportion to the sum sent abroad. But will it be contended, that abandoning an ally would have no effect upon the markets of Europe, and that such a step, were it taken by this country, would not influence any of the avenues of her commerce ? Such a position is so absurd and untenable, that it would be an insult on the good sense of the House to spend their time in combating it. But a profitable trade depends not only on the state of the purchaser to receive, but of the seller to send. And need I ask what effect it would have upon the zeal, the spirit, the industry, and, consequebtly, the trade and manufactures of the country, were our coasts to be incessantly threatened by the whole concentred force of France, which would be the case were the Emperor obliged, in consequence of our refusing to aid him with money, to conclude a separate peace with our common enemy? When the subject, therefore, is viewed in this light, who is so short-sighted as not to see, that the inconvenience which may arise from present exertion would be inuch more than counterbalanced by the pressure of subsequent events? If the argument be admitted in one case, there is no possible case to which it may not be applied. In short, it may be argued upon the same grounds, that, as soon as you experience the difficulties arising from a drain of cash, you must give up all your foreign connections, and, upon this principle, you ought to withdraw your protection from all your possessions in the East and West Indies. Of these possessions, for instance, it might be said, “ True, they have been accounted extremely valuable, they have yielded great profits, the produce of them has formed a great article of commerce, and been the cause of a vast influx of wealth into the country, but in time of war they put us to an expense; we will save
therefore in future the expense of protection.” But how? By sacrificing all the present and future advantages which might flow from the possession of them. Precisely the same argument will apply to an ally.
But if the reasoning is just in the view of procuring an influx of cash from abroad, how much stronger is it in the view of promoting circulation at home, which is fully as necessary for the restoration of the credit of the bank as the other! If our foreign commerce would be affected by the abandonment of an ally, how' much more would our internal situation be affected by the pressure which would naturally result from an enemy increasing in strength in a direct ratio to our inability to resist his efforts ? Would not the natural consequence be a new alarm, accompanied with a disposition to hoard? And thus the immediate cause of the mischief would be renewed. I trust that, though there might be some cause for the late alarm, it is now almost gone by; and I am convinced, that the more the state of the country is enquired into, the less ground there is for despondency, or the apprehension of any danger which Englishmen may not boldly meet with the fortitude which belongs to the national character. While our object is however to remove alarm, and to restore the pablic credit, is it wise or prudent to court a greater alarm? Can it be expected that the effects of the greater would be less serious than of the slighter alarm, or that even the same effects would not do much more harm? Those, then, who look to the restoration of public credit in the bank of England as their favourite object, should be the last persons to counteract a measure which has an obvious tendency to produce that event to which their wishes and their endeavours tend: and how the honourable gentleman can claim the benefit of the argument drawn from his subject, I have yet to learn, nor can I even guess.
There is still another topic left, upon which I feel myself impelled to say a few words, namely, the additional security that would be given to credit by the restoration of peace. Whether the best mode of obtaining peace is to run the risk of losing the aid of the Emperor, is a question upon which there exists but little doubt. We have seen long ago that the uniform object of the enemy's policy has been to disunite us from our ally. This design has manifested itself in the course of several negotiations and discussions, and we have seen a similar policy too successfully practised with other powers who were formerly leagued with us against France, and who have been seduced, some into a neutrality, others into open hostility against us. She has publicly and repeatedly declared her wish to make a separate peace with Austria, that she might be enabled to dictate terms to us, or to carry on the war against this country with greater effect. It is but very lately that we have heard that France has, a short time ago, made distinct overtures of peace to the Emperor to the exclusion of this country, and that he, with his accustomed honour and good faith, instead of accepting of them, communicated them to the court of St. James's, and renewed his declaration to the enemy, that he would not conclude a peace except in conjunction with Great Britain, justly persuaded that no peace can be concluded on a permanent foundation, but one founded upon a due regard to the individual claims, and the common interests of the different powers of Europe.
Putting apart, therefore, the obligations of gratitude and honour, it must be obvious to every one whose views are not confined within the narrowest and most contracted limits, that the best mode of attaining the desirable object of peace is, to persevere in making a common cause with the Emperor, and aiding him with those means which his own dominions do not furnish, but with which the resources of this country enable us to supply him. It is for this House to determine whether they will give success to the intrigues of the enemy, which have hitherto been frustrated by the fidelity and magnanimity of our ally, or whether they will persevere in those measures, which are most likely to bring the contest to a safe and honourable issue. To their judgment and their spirit I leave the decision, convinced that they will act in a manner becoming the representatives of a great and powerful nation. On these grounds I think there is no use in
countenancing the present measure, and as it does not commit the House to give any opinion upon the subject, I shall give it my negative.
The resolution was negatived,
May 26. 1797.
Mr. Grey, in pursuance of the notice he had previously given, this day brought forward his proposition for a Reform in Parliament, concluding his speech with moving, for leave to bring in a bill to amend the representation of the people in the House of Commons.
After the motion had been seconded by Mr. Erskine, Mr. Pitt rose:
Feeling, Sir, as I do, the danger with which the present proposition is attended, upon the grounds upon which it has been supported, and in the circumstances in which it has been brought forward, I am very desirous, as early as possible in the debate, to state the reasons by which I am determined to give it my most decided opposition. The honourable gentleman who introduced the motion, began with disclaiming very distinctly, and, as far as he went, very satisfactorily, all those abstract principles of imprescriptible right, all those doctrines of the rights of man, on which those without doors, who are most eager in their professions of attachment to the cause which he now supports, rest the propriety of their demand, and upon which alone they would be contented with any species of parliamentary reform. The honourable gentleman denies the truth of that principle which prescribes any particular form of government, as that which is essential to freedom; or that universal suffrage is necessary to civil liberty; or that it even must depend upon that light which the revolution of France has let in upon the world, but from which, however, he derives hopes of so much advantage to the general happiness of mankind. But, in disclaiming these views of the question, and in placing it upon the footing of the practical benefit it was calculated to produce, the bonourable gentleman did not state all the considerations by which the conduct of a wise statesman was to be regulated, and the judgment of an upright senator to be guided. The question is not merely, whether some alteration might or might not be attended with advantage; but it is the degree of advantage which that alteration is likely to effect in the shape in which it is introduced ; the mischief which may be occasioned from not adopting the measure, and the chance, on the other hand, of producing by the alteration an effect upon those to whom you give way, very different from that which had induced you to hazard the experiment. These are the considerations which the subject ought to embrace, and the views upon which impartial men must decide.
Before we adopt the conclusions of the right honourable gentleman, we have a right, it is even imposed upon us as a duty, to take into our view as a leading object, what probability there is by encouraging the particular mode of attaining that union, or of effecting that separation of the friends of moderate reform, and the determined enemies to the constitution, which they conceive it calculated to produce; we must consider the danger of introducing an evil of a much greater magnitude than that we are now desirous to repair ; and how far it is prudent to give an opening for those principles which aim at nothing less than the total annihilation of the constitution. The learned gentleman who seconded the motion said, that those who formerly supported parliamentary reform had sown the seeds of that eagerness for parliamentary reform, which was now displayed, and of the principles on which it was now pressed; he thinks that those, who have ever supported the cause of parliamentary reform upon grounds of practical advantage, must not oppose those who have nothing in common with them, but the name of reform, making that the cover for objects widely different, in order to support that pretence which they assume upon principles diametrically opposite to those upon which the true friends to the