Page images
PDF
EPUB

pensation ; and a renunciation of their designs. The step which they any mortgage which this country took after this last assurance was, to might possess for the loan to the renew in a more offensive form the emperor. The French plenipo. demand which had been rejected tentiaries were immediately in form- by lord Malmesbury two months ed that this country had no such before ; in which rejection they had mortgage; that there could be no acquiesced, and we in the interval concession where there was no had been waiting for the proposals clair; and that the point was not which were to come from them. til tulking about.

This demand was, that lord the next wer called upon to Malmesbury should show to them xulosi be, as a preliminary, that we his powers, his instructions, and the itere prepared to give up every use he was to make of them : as an thing we had acquired during the inducement to comply with this war. Such a preliminary could not modest requisition, they assured be admitted by any man who was him, that though this demand was not disposed to adore the idol of made, it would never be urged to the French power in prostrate base- curry it into effect, Mr. Pitt said, ness. His majes'y did not hesitate there appeared little reason for cen, in refusing to comply with such in, suring ministers for not trusting solent demands.

such assurances from such an ene The directory, however, did not my. He would leave others to then adhere to the extravagance of imagine what was likely to have them; a long delay to amuse their been the end of a negotiation in people took place : they pleaded it which it was a preliminary to resign as a proof of the sincerity of their every thing-in which it was de. pacific intentions, and pretended manded to reveal every thing rethat they were under the necessity quired; that our ambassador should of sending to their allies an account make known, not only his powers of what passed, that they were en- but his instructions, before even deavouring to prevail upon them they had explained a word of to put an end to the calamities of a theirs; and whilst they informed us, war into which they had brought that we were not to expect to hear those allies, and who have ever what their powers were until we since been in a state of abject sub- professed ourselves ready to accede jection to them, whatever import- to any thing which the directory ance they affected to give them in might please lo dictate. Lord this negotiation. They then die Malmesbury returned for answer, rected their plenipotentiaries to in- that his powers were ample : they form Lord Malmesbury that they had then went no further than to say, obtained an answer, but it was not if he could not show his instructions, satisfactory; and they were obliged he should send to England for the to send another messenger.

power; to which he replied, that It was thus they concealed their he should not have it, if he sent, insineerity till the dreadful cata. In this they seemingly acquiesced, strophe of the 4th of September; and and am used us for two months; at even some days after that violence the end of which time the plenibroke out in Paris, they promised potentiaries say, not what they said to produce their projet, still pacific before--send to England for powers in their professions, and inimical in to accede to proposals which you have already rejected, but go to power or domestic happiness, we England yourself for powers to ob. shall resist these demands with intain peace. Such was the manner dignation. There was not a man in which the prospect of peace was (he said), let his enjoyments be ever to be opened and broken off; for so considerable, who ought not to the gross attempt to deceive all sacrifice any portion of it to Europe by the affectation of mo- oppose the violence of the enemy; deration, in ordering the French nor one whose stock was so small ministers to remain at Lisle for ten that he should not be ready to sadas, was unworthy a comment: crifice his life in the same cause, they said they expected an embas- We owed it in gratitude to Provisador to return; they knew it was dence, whose goodness had placed impossible he should, after their sta- us so high in the scale of nations, ting as a sine qua non, that we should and caused us to be the admiration throw ourselves at their feet for of Europe, with most of the gomercy before we knew what terms vernments of which ours was a they should be in the humour to happy contrast. The means of our dctate to us. But it is essential safety were still in our hands; our that we should know (continued blessings were many; and the preMr. Pitt) the real aim of the enemy: servation of them was our highest it is not our commerce, it is not duty. He trusted that we never or wealth, it is not our colonies in should abandon it, to whatever exthe west, or our territories in the tremity we might be driven ; but east, nor is it our maritime great cheerfully enter into a pledge for ness, or the extent of our empire: the sincere performance of it, deNo! the object is our liberty! the claring our determination to stand basis of our independence, the cita- or fall by the laws, liberties, and del of our bappiness our constitu- religion of our country. tion! They themselves have declar- Mr. Pollen, after complimenting ed it-openly avowed that our go- the minister on his eloquent and vernment and theirs cannot subsist able speech, professed his belief in together, and their endeavour is to the sincerity on our part during the destroy it. Should they come late negotiation; he imputed its amongst us, they would bring with failure solely to the French governtheir invading army the great pes- ment, whose power the sudden retilence to man, the genius of French turn of peace must inevitably have liberty, which contains in it every overthrown. Of many of the past curse to society. In the place of measures of the ministry he had our glorious principles and equal disapproved, but he now felt the Laws, will be a hideous monster necessity of throwing a veil over whom nothing can content but the the past : when we looked forward, annihilation of the British empire. the prospect was too serious to perAnd are we under circumstances to mit us to waste time in vain regrets: be afraid or ashamed to declare in a we now were called to a situation firm and manly tone, that we will which required all our intrepidity defend ourselves are we to shun and all our firmness. There was the truth, and forget the energy no longer a question of consuming which belongs to Englishmen? If our strength in an unavailing strugtherefore we value property, li- gle to maintain the balance of power berty, law; if we value national and the former system of European

politics,

[graphic]
[graphic]

politics. A more urgent care ed a piece of information of 100 pressed home on our feelings, and private a nature to be mentioned in should engage our whole attention. the house; but he brought it as a The danger was imminent, and symptom of the zeal and, alacrity cvery thing valuable was to be de- which animated that part of Engfended--our laws, our liberties, and land. our constitution, which it was the Mr. Lloyd rose to express, he fixed object of the enemy to over- said, his detestation of the perfiturn; and above all, we had to de- dious conduct of the directory: and precate and prevent what would although the county of Flint, as a cover us with inextinguishable mineral county, suffered in a par. · shame—the permitting the French ticular manner from the continu. to invade our kingdom, violate our ance of the war (it having almost females, and enslave our children, entirly put an end to the lead The address had his most cordial trade), yet there would not be found support.

in the kingdom a set of men more Mr. Martin much applauded the ready to oppose the tyrannic rulers speech of Mr. Pitt; it was more of France, or more willing to repel convincing, he said, than any he their attacks, than those men whom had heard upon the subject: in- he had the honour to represent. deed, if the French would have Lord Carysford cordially cona acceded to any reasonable terms, it curred in the sentiments of the adwas his opinion that they should dress: the French system was set up not be rejected; but when he saw for the annoyance of Europe, and they were determined to dictate the Europe could bear witness to the conditions, we onght not to permit moderation and justice of our cause. ourselves to be trampled on, but Our resistance was pointed against evince the spirit which became a the exorbitant pretensions of the great nation. He thought the pre- enemy; and it was in unison with the sent amendment unnecessary, and principles upon which we had acted that the original address was more from the beginning, as we had uniconsonant to the nature of our formly declared, that whatever form present circumstances.

their government might assume we Mr. N. Edwards rose to say, that would not decline entering into in his county, Rutlandshire, the best any negotiation consistent with the possible disposition prevailed an honour and security of this kingmongst the inhabitants, and that dom. To this pledge we strictly the lord lieutenant of it was distin- had adhered: and the system of guished for the institution of the moderation upon which we had yeomanry corps. In many of the proceeded should unite all men of villages he knew, from personal ob- every description in a cordial and servation, and from repeated assu. vigorous defence of our laws, rights, rance, that the people were ready to and constitution. Such an unanimake every sacrifice for the defence mous co-operation would have the of the country. There were a double good effect of silencing the body of villagers, to the number of calumnies which were circulated more than a thousand, prepared abroad by the enemy, and of reto come forward whenever danger viving our spirits at home, if indeed threatened, and to defend our fron. they were permitted to droop, tiers: this, perhaps, might be deem. There was nothing in our situation

to

to excite despair; and whence could fatal to all regular establishments ? it arise from the empty threats did they not uniformly act upon held out against us by the French ? them i were they not as ready as We had tried their strength in many ever to pour forth their hordes, to conflicts, and the trials were crown- propagate them with the bayonet ed with complete success. France through every other nation. 'Had had aspired to universal dominion, the negotiation succeeded should we but their attempts had always been not now have been left upon the repressed by the valour of this good faith of a power which never country. One circumstance, it had regarded any compact, any obwas true, seemed to justify our ligation, any public law of Europe? alarms for the continuance of the No peace with men of such opie kar-it was an unproductive con- nions could be secure till they knew test : we had much to lose, and now that we had the ability to resist and thing to gain ; nor could we expect avenge every infringement of it; to make any successful impression nor was that ability to be displayed on the enemy's territories; but we by a passive system of defence, but had already conquered all their by pursuing the war with spirit and foreign possessions, though any at- resolution. tempt on France herself was not It had been said that we had betlikely to succeed: and any on their ter give up for ever the right of part respecting an invasion of Eng- searching neutral vessels, and make land would prove equally impo- that concession the ground of a new tent and ineffectual. He was sorry. defensive league, than wait to have to see that Ireland was in a diffe- it extracted from us. But the day tent situation; but notwithstanding in which any such treaty should be its present disturbances, and the at- signed would be fatal to England. tacks of the French, he was satis- It was to our naval power that we fied they would meet with the same owed the rank which we held as a reception as on a former occasion, nation-our maritime superiority if they endeavoured to land there, which had hitherto enabled us to He expressed his wishes that the maintain the balance of European house would carry to the throne fower, not to alarm and subjugate full and forcible assurances of their other kingdoms, but for the preunited determination to exert the servation and general benefit of all, vigour, and call forth the resources If once we gave up the clear unof a country, not to be equalled by doubted right, which even America any other nation in Europe. in her present dispute with France

Dr. Lawrence, in a long and ela- had recognised, of stopping and borate speech, blamed the mini- searching the vessels of countries in ster for having offered so much to peace with us, our naval force the French as the price of peace. If would have little against which it the directory had accepted the terms could operate in any future war. which were offered, in what a situa- An enemy unable to meet us in tion (he said) should we now have arms on the ocean, by surrendering been! Had our project of a defini- his navigation, might secure his tive treaty been then signed, how whole commerce in neutral ships should we now have stood ? Did from our victorious force; and it they not still profess the same prin- was chiefly by distressing his comciples which we so often pronounced merce that a naval power could so

act act as to compel a peace. It was been spent in gaining the princes thus by the treaty of Aix la Chapelle, and states of the Netherland to our Louis the XV. was contented to re- side than in the present war; yet store all his conquests that he might no reliance could be placed on the be released from the pressure of our allies whom we had so gained. No maritime power on the trade of his effectual aid was derived from their kingdom. Dr. Lawrence said, he co-operation, and, in fact, they soon thought it his duty to call the atten- after deserted us. Commerce we tion of the house and the nation to had none; our revenue was not to the danger which larked under the be mentioned; then, as now, we specious language of " the freedom were obliged to resort to an issue of · of the seas, which we had been re- foreign coin, to supply our circulacommended to acknowledge, as if tion. We had scarcely any specie the right which we had invariably of our own. We had acquired exercised was an act of usurpation nothing from the enemy; we had and injustice. There was one point lost our natural dominion of the more which he thought it proper to sea, our coasts were insulted and notice; the chancellor of the ex- plundered. Harwich bad been set chequer had called his majesty's on fire, the Isle of Thanet, Folktitle of king of France a harm- stone, and Dover, had suffered more less feather. In his own opinion, lightly, Hastings more severely. no ancient dignity, which for so Southampton had been burnt to the many centuries had shed lustre on ground: a great part of Plymouth, the English crown, ought to be con- with all the great ships in that hare sidered as a mere light unsubstantial bour, shared the same fate; and the ornament. If we suffered that Isle of Jersey had been conquered feather to be plucked, he feared (as the records of the house conthat three other feathers, which were fessed), to the great slander of the nearly connected with the crown, land. Within our own island, the would soon follow. A great na- Scots, not as now united to us, but tion could never safely submit to the fast allies of our enemies, were be disgraced. He wished the house threatening our borders, whilst in to recollect the time when that title many of our counties and cities was first used; in the reign of existed a desperate knot of cônspiEdward Ill. then it was that we rators, bound together by oath, upon had the first full regular record the first intelligence of those disasof the proceedings in parliament. ters which they wished to their Whether it was from the peculiar country, to rise in a general insurfavour of Providence that we might reciion to rob and massacre their have always before us an example peaceable neighbours. What then to fix our wavering courage in mo- was the conduct of parliament ! inents of terror; but so the fact was, the commons resolved that the gothat the first conferences of the two vernment had sufficient power to houses, which appear upon the rolis, protect the internal peace of the are of that epoch, and exhibit a land; they proposed methods of situation of the country far less external defence; they agreed in the favourable than the present in every necessity of a large supply, and thing but the spirit of Englishmen. they declared their own good wil Allowing for the relative value of to grant what the exigencies of the money, much larger sums had then stale demanded. But to give greater

[graphic]

effect

« PreviousContinue »