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because we have been beyond example successful in repelling an unjust attack? To urge this point, would indeed be wasting the time of the House.
The only question that remains, is, at what period, and from what situation of affairs, we are to obtain that reparation and security which we desire. How long are we to wait for these objects? Are we to place them upon circumstances which may never happen, and thus pursue them without any possibility of attaining our end, which may be the case if we look to the establishment of any particular government in France ? The answer to these questions, like the degree of security and reparation to be obtained, depends upon circumstances of comparison. I declare, that on the part of this government there was no intention, if the country had not been attacked, to interfere in the internal affairs of France. This was clearly proved by the system of neutrality, on our part, so strictly observed. But having been attacked, I affirm, that there is nothing, either in the addresses to His Majesty, or the declarations of his servants, which pledges us not to take advantage of any interference in the internal affairs of France that may be necessary. I, for my o
own part, repeat, that I have given no such pledge. I do not say that if, without any interference, sufficient security and reparation could be had for this country, I would not, in that case, be of opinion that we ought to abstain from all interference, and allow their government to remain even upon its present footing. But I consider the question of obtaining these, while the same principle that now prevails continues to actuate their government, to be extremely difficult, if not impossible. I should certainly think, that the best security we could obtain, would be in the end of that wild ungoverned system, from which have resulted those injuries against which it is necessary to guard. There are, however, degrees and proportions of security which may be obtained, and with which we ought to rest satisfied; these must depend upon the circumstances that shall afterwards arise, and cannot be ascertained by any previous definition. But when you have seen yourselves and all Europe attacked -- when you have seen
a system established, violating all treaties, disregarding all obligations, and, under the name of the rights of man, uniting the principles of ufurpation abroad, tyranny and confusion at home - you will judge, whether you ought to sit down without some security against the consequences of such a system being again brought into action. And this security, it appears to me, can only be obtained in one of three modes : 1st, That these principles shall no longer predominate; or, 2dly, That those, who are now engaged in them, shall be taught that they are impracticable, and convinced of their own want of power to carry them into execution ; or, 3dly, That the issue of the present war shall be such as, by weakening their power of attack, shall strengthen your power of resistance. Without these, you may indeed have an armed truce, a temporary suspension of hostilities ; but no permanent peacc; no solid security to guard you against the repetition of injury and the renewal of attack. If on these points we have made up our minds, if we are determined to prosecute the war till we shall obtain proper satisfaction, and at least be able to provide some security for the continuance of peace, the present motion can only tend to feiter the operations of war, to delude our subjects, to gratify the factious, to inflame the discontented, to discourage our allies, to strengthen our enemies.
What could be the effect of any negotiation for peace in the present moment? It is not merely to the character of Marat, with whom we would have to treat, that I object; it is not to the horror of those crimes which have stained their legislators, crimes in every stage rising above another in point of enormity; but I object to the consequences of that character, to the effect of those crimes. They are such as render negotiation useless, and must entirely deprive of stability any peace which could be concluded in such circumstances. Where is our security for the performance of a treaty, where we have neither the good faith of a nation, nor the responsibility of a monarch? The moment that the mob of Paris becomes under the influence of a new leader, mature deliberations are reversed, the most solemn engagements are retracted, our free will is altogether controlled by force. In every one of the stages of their repeated revolutions we have said, “ Now we have seen the worst, the measure of iniquity is complete, we shall no longer be shocked or astonished by the contemplation of added crimes and increasing enormities. The next mail gave us reason to reproach ourselves with our credulity, and, by presenting us with fresh crimes and enormities still more dreadful, excited impressions of new astonishment and accumulated horror. All the crimes which disgrace history have occurred in one country, in a space so short, and with circumstances so highly aggravated, as outrun thought, and exceed imagination. Should we treat with Marat, before we had finished the negotiation he might again bave descended to the dregs of the people from whom he sprung, and have given place to a still more desperate villain. A band of leaders had swayed the mob in constant succession, all resembling in guilt, but each striving to improve upon the crime of his predecessor, and swell the black catalogue with new modes and higher gradations of wickedness
Etas parentum pejor avis tulit
No treaty can exist on their good faith independent of the terms of peace. Could they be bound by engagements more solemn than those to which thay had pledged themselves in return for our neutrality? What new engagements can be more binding, or from what part of the character of the leaders, or what change in the principles of action, can we expect greater good faith, or stricter attention to engagements, than were exhibited by their predecessors ? To make a treaty with them would be only to. afford them an opportunity of breaking it off before it was finished, or violating it in its very commencement.
But if the motion can answer no good purpose, can it answer no bad one? Might it not serve to encourage the French ?
What the honourable gentlemen reserved as the last part of his argument, seemed particularly to have this tendency, the conclusion which he drew of the necessity of a peace from the situation of the country. If we are really come to that period of distress and embarrassment, that peace upon such terms is necessary, we must indeed submit to the decrees of Providence with the resignation with which we would submit to the sacrifice of our independence. If the period of our ruin is come, we must prepare to meet the fate which we cannot avert; we cannot meet it in any shape more dreadful than that which is proposed by the motion of the honourable gentleman. But our situation is not yet so desperate. With respect to the embarrassment of credit, and the consequent interruption of commerce, I may safely say, that none have watched it more carefully than myself, none can have felt it more anxiously. The honourable gentleman states the means of relief, which have been adopted by the legislature, as, in his opinion, a proof of the extent of the calamity. For my part, I have formed a very different conclusion. The effect of the relief held out by the legislature, even before it was experienced, was completely to restore confidence and vigour to commerce- - a proof that the embarrassed state of credit was only temporary, and, in a great measure, accidental. It clearly was not the effect of the war in which this country was engaged, but was influenced by the state of the Continent, where the war had previously subsisted, and where it had taken away the market for our commodities. This embarrassment then could only be ascribed to that cause which had produced so many other calamities- that destroying spirit on the Continent, which devours not only the fruits, but the seeds of industry - which overturns the very altar of society, and lets loose upon the world all the horrors of anarchy and desolation.
The question then is, whether we shall persevere in those ex. ertions, by which we may at least remove this inconvenience, while, in co-operation with our allies, we strive to remove its cause--a cause which, if not checked, might have led to distress and ruin? The present motion, by magnifying the inconvenience
which we have sustained into a calamity, is calculated to give a false impression, and give to what at most could only be the object of apprehension at home, all the mischievous consequences of a real distress abroad. It is calculated to discourage our allies, and inspire our enemies with confidence.
Having thus given my opinion as a member of parliament, there are some allusions which have been made to myself, as a member of the cabinet, which I am called upon to notice. I. have only to say, that if ever that honourable gentleman should be a member of the cabinet, I trust that he will be better informed of the proceedings of the councils of other nations, than at present he seems to be with what every man would desire to have some acquaintance with — those of his own. He stated, that he brought forward his motion with a view of giving support to certain opinions, which he understood to be entertained in the cabinet respecting the war. If he brought forward his motion from any motive of personal kindness to me, I have only to request that he will withdraw it. Not having lately been much in the habit of reading newspapers, I could not easily conceive to whom the honourable gentleman alluded. Indeed, there is no proposition which I could deem so impolitic to be brought forward by any of His Majesty's servants as the present motion. If there is any difference in opinion between me and the other members of the cabinet, I can only assure him, that I am the most determined to oppose the grounds and principles upon which that motion is founded. The question is, whether, in conjunction with our allies, with whom our own prosperity is so intimately connected, and with those prospects of success which our situation affords, we shall persevere vigorously to oppose those destructive principles with which, even though baffled at present, we may expect to contend to the latest hours of our lives? And on this issue I allow it to rest. I have spoken at much greater length than at first I intended; but on this subject, whenever it occurs, I find it impossible to keep those bounds which I had prescribed to myself, prompted as I am to enlarge by the dearest feelings and principles of my heart, affection and