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Revolution? Was it not to the influence of this principle that we owed all the glorious and memorable things that had been achieved during the war before last? What can be the reason for relinquishing a principle, which, ever since its prevalence, has been marked with the most singular and striking advantages? Now, however, was, it seemed, the æra fixed on for governing this country by other principles, without a House of Commons, and independent of the people. But are the provisions so well established by the wisdom and experience of our forefathers to be set aside, and dismissed from the abstractions and theories of innovators, on a system which stood the wonder and admiration of ages? He trusted the firmness, the magnanimity of that virtuous and respectable majority, who had gone so far and done so much, would not desert them on so critical and trying an occasion. He trusted they would face the difficulties they had to surmount with resolution and dignity. They were in circumstances in which no House of Commons had been for many years; and as every thing about them must consequently bear a new aspect, their present duty was deliberation and attention. There was evidently danger in every step; and it became them to think once and again before they acted. Now was the time to make a pause; and it certainly would be a solemn and decisive one. The subject which demanded their consideration was • unquestionably one of the most serious and important that ever did, or -ever could demand their consideration. It was neither less nor more than what it became them to do under a circumstance so novel and unprecedented in the history of a free Parliament, as to destroy their consequence for ever, unless some method was devised by which .their honour and independence could he saved. No man could say this was not an object of great moment; or if any man could boldly come forward' and assert that the House of Commons was not in a situation altogether peculiar to the present moment, he would only say, in return, that such a declaration would not be less extraordinary than the fact which it denied. He trusted gentlemen, on a topic so near to every Englishman's feelings, would excuse his repetitions, as he thought, in his conscience, too much could not be said to rivet the novelty of the circumstance on the mind. It was at least unparallelled in the annals of the country, which related to our most prosperous condition, and has not the lhadow of a precedent, but in those melancholy times, which are still the opprobrium of our history,
and and involved a series of the most awful and asfecting calamities that ever degraded and disgraced a great and brave people. If ever, therefore, any period was more big with calamity than another, if ever a design to annihilate the Constitution was entertained, it seemed now to be that period, and that design. And when should the House pause on its situation, its duty, its importance, its interests, its connections, and the consequences of being reduced and suppressed, but when a proscription stared them in the face? For these, and a variety of reasons, he thought the present subject ought to be delayed. Men's minds, at least, whoever viewed the matter as he did, could not be in a state or temperature sufficiently cool and collected to view the matter maturely and dispassionately. They ought to be permitted leiiure, that they might think on every word they said, and every measure they adopted, lest hurry or precipitation might derange them, so as to produce the greatest 'public difficulty and inconvenience. He had, from a variety of such considerations as these, rose to suggest to the House the necessity and propriety of waving the question; of supplies for a very short date, that gentlemen might come on a future day, perfectly awake to the situation in which they wre now placed by his Majesty's answer to the resolutions, which, by an order of the House, had been laid before he Throne. He did not conceive that any very satisfactory argument could be urged against a proposition so much justisied by the present condition of the country at large and the House of Commons in particular. He called on gentlemen to consider under what a description they would henceforth sit in the House, on the supposition this contest ended in favour of the present Ministry. Did it not completely overthrow their power in the Constitution, and degrade them beneath theruielves? Did it not reduce them to a state of the most perfect non-entity and insignisicance'? Did it not make them as little as ever their ancestors had made them great? l'id it not strip them of all the powers and privileges with which time, the Constitution, and the people of England, had vested them, and bring them back to that original insignisicance in which some of our historians affect to place them? And was it not in such a progress of degradation as this, that the House was interested in making a stand, and exertii g with ail ns remaining vigour its last efforts in its own preservation? He therefore urged gentlemen, by their regard for the excellence of a
GovernGovernment which had no parallel on the face of the earth, for the salvation of whatever they most valued as men and Englishmen, for all those rights, which, having derived unimpaired from their ancestors, it was their duty, their honour, and their pride, to transmit unsullied to posterity; to deliberate on where they were, how they were situated, aDd to what object these very uncommon circumstances tended. He asked how they could answer to their constituents and their own consciences, for having acted in such a predicament as the present, without caution, principle, or mature attention. These had marked, and he trusted would continue to mark, their conduct. He had a better opinion of their prudence than to imagine they were to be disconcerted or deranged by any thing they could now hear from a quarter so evidently hostile to their wishes, and which had managed to act so long independent of their confidence. He had often stated his conceptions of the prerogatives of the Throne. The present question involved them very ma-, terially. That His Majesty had a legal right to appoint whom he pleased, and even to continue those whom he had appointed, to be his Ministers, in opposition to the sentiments of this House, he pretended not to dispute. But he was certain, on the other hand, the public money was trusted with the House of Commons, whose right to distribute that money was at least not less legal. When, therefore, either the one or the other of these rights were asserted in the extreme, he could consider it in no other light than as a challenge; and the party thus defied was bound in duty to its own honour, calmly and deliberately to consider with itself whether it should take up the challenge or not. He did not know that any defiance more explicit and direct could be given to that House than the one which had just come from the right honourable gentleman. He hoped the House was not by any means prepared to accept of it without farther and more sedate consideration. Whatever their feelings and resentments might be, they would not, on an event so awful and portentous, he imagined, act with temerity,or indiscretion. They were driven to extremes, and the consequences undoubtedly would be with those who imposed on them a line of conduct, which it was their wish, their united desire to avoid. How long it might be proper for them to maintain such a system of moderation and delicacy he did oiot know, but he was anxious they would «iopart from it inthe present stage of the business as little a.
possible. He bad been singled out as constantly enjoining a' doctrine respecting moderation and temper in the House, of which his own example was no very striking specimen; for such a turn to what he conceived to be his duty, he gave the author of it full credit. He was aware at the fame time that the sarcasm did not, or at least but slightly, affect him; for he had always observed a material distinction between that vehemence which originated in debate and characterised the mode of individuals, and that violence or inconsideration which often affected conduct. The heat pro* duced by argument, and the circumstances of a popular assembly, was very different from that precipitancy or temerity in action which was always the mark of weakness or design. He was ready to plead guilty to no very common degree of warmth where the subject struck him as interesting and important 5 but he appealed to the House, to the world at large, and to every particular in his political life, Szc. whether any part of his public conduct had ever been distinguished by want of temper. He was happy to think that this at least was not his greatest weakness, and that the imputation so repeatedly and sarcastically aimed at him would, on the whole, be found more perfectly applicable elsewhere (looking at Mr. Pitt) than with him. But if ever any want os temper could for a single moment be indulged in that IJouse; if warmth was ever justifiable on any subject, or at any time; if any emergency rendered it necessary for individuals to take an open and decided part in dispute, this, he presumed, above all the very singular contingencies which distinguished our history, demanded an immediate surrender os every disguise. The point at issue admitted of no parley whatever. It was decided by one party. The other had. no alternative but to render their decision as wide, as respectable, and as effective as possible; and he had the most perfect confidence in the prudence and spirit of the House. It was on such occasions as the present that great and conspicuous talents were called into existence,- were roused into action, were often exerted for the welfare of society, and the interests of mankind; and he did not doubt but the ability of the present House of Commons, in spite of whatever artifices were practised against them, would bear them honourably through the conflict. They would find resources in the cause of the constitution and the people, which no other cause could produce, and which had always, in the face of every opposition and danger, proved ultimately triumphant. umphant. The measures already adopted he had thought were separately and respectively adopted on the most solid and substantial grounds. These had partly been justified by the event. But it was now obvious they had not produced the whole effect for which they were proposed. Others were consequently still necessary. What these should be it did not become him to say, it did not become the House immediately to determine. But, in his opinion, something farther was necessary. The Variance stated by the Minister to subsist between the Crown and the House could not but give something like a new turn to men's feelings and ideas. He confessed it to have impressed him with the most awful apprehensions; and was this a state of mind favourable to the discussion of a questian which involved the peculiar distinction of that House? Could gentlemen deliberate maturely on a subject, which, whatever way it might be decided, would materially affect the interest and tranquillity of the country by its decision? He considered the message which they had heard from the Minister as a greater calamity than any this country had yet endured for a century past} and the feelings and apprehensions of mankind could not help being alarmed for the probable consequences of a measure that put every thing sacred and valuable to the issue of who should ultimately prove strongest. He was not ignorant by what reasoning the adjournment for which he had moved would be opposed, though his conception could not furnish him with a single argument against it, which would
, not originate in misrepresentation. Gentlemen on the other side would put a construction on every word he adopted
1 most perfectly foreign to his meaning. To stop the supplies, he knew as well as any man, was an expedient which could only be justified by the last extremity. He begged, however, to declare, that he, for one, was not yet ripe to adopt such a strong measure. His faculties were in a state of suspension by what he had heard, which allowed him not to say what was most proper. The hesitation of eight and forty hours could not much affect the business of the country one way or other; and this was a respite which every aspect which could be taken of public affairs abundantly justified. But he very solemnly and earnestly entered his protestation against imputing to this conduct, which originated in delicacy for the honour of the House, any thing like a desire to put off the1 supplies. He knew the necessity of these, aud no man could be more averse than he was