Imatges de pÓgina

forget what he had faid on a former however oppofite to the former! But occafion : Bonaparte had declared the two governments of Great Britain and France could not exift together, and deputed Berthier and Monge to make known this fentiment to the directory after the treaty at Campo Formio. And had not Mr. Pitt declared the fame thing in that house? If we were to bring up all the idle fpeeches of the French, and they were to repeat ours, there would be no end to thefe reciprocations of animofity; and were we to proceed for ever in hedding blood about words? Our own history was replete with inftances of the ill confequences of defpifing proffered occafions to make peace. At Ryfwick we accepted the terms we had refused five years before; and the fame peace which was concluded at Utrecht might have been obtained at Gertruydenburg. The peace of 1763 was not accompanied with fecurities, and it was no fooner made than the French began as ufual with their intrigues. What fecurity did the honourable gentleman himself exact in 1783? He well knew, that foon after it they formed a plan, in conjunction with the Dutch, to attack our India poffeffions, exciting the natives against us, and driving us out, as they were defirous of doing now; only with this difference, that the cabinet of France entered into the project in a moment of profound peace, and when they imagined us to be lulled in perfect fecurity. After making this peace, Mr. Pitt went out, and he came into office. Suppofe (continued Mr. Fox) we had taken up the jealoufy which the right honourable gentleman evinces now, and objected to ratify the treaty he had made, because we could fee no fecurity-pleading that France only withed for a reípite to attack us again in fome important part of our domi

potuit quæ plurima Effe fuit, toto certatum eft corpore



He would then find it neceffary to repeat his words with a very different application; to acknowledge that our efforts had been vain, our ftrength exhaufted, our defigns impracticable, therefore we fued for peace!

The house were called upon that night to support the minifters in refufing a frank, candid, and refpectful offer of negotiation, and to countenance them in continuing the war. Now fuppofe, instead of this question, they had been pleased to address his majefty with thanks for accepting the overture, and opening a negotiation; would not the gentlemen on the oppofite fide have voted as cordially for fuch an addrefs? If the minifters had breathed a fpirit of peace, the benches would have refounded with rejoicings, and with praifes of the wifdom of those meafures likely to restore tranquillity. He appealed to their confciences, whether they would not have upheld an address directly the reverfe. One exception he would make, the earl of Fitzwilliam, whofe integrity he refpected, though he lamented his opinion; and who, he verily believed, would feel himself bound, by the previous votes he had given, to object against all treaty. Alas! how was the character of that houfe of commons degraded, which, after fupporting the minifter in his negotiation of 1796 and 1797, and in his folid fyjiem of finance, would again vote with him, notwithstanding their inward conviction that he was wrong, in the fame measures, or bring themfelves to join him in any measures,

nions would he have fupported us in our refufals on fuch pretences? Upon his prefent reafonings he ought; the tone he now affumed would have led us to fuppofe it; yet here was little doubt but at that time he would have juftly remarked, It was the intereft of France to make peace; if it continued her intereft, the would keep it; and if not, break it again. Such was the ftate of nations, and the only fecurity on our part was vigilance.

Much had been faid of the fhortlived nature of military defpotifm; yet, fuch was the government erected by Auguftus Cæfar, which endured for 600 or 700 years. Indeed, it was too likely, wherever it was established, to be durable; nor was it true that it depended on the life of the first ufurper. Half of the Roman emperors were murdered, yet the tyranny continued; and this, it was to be feared, would be the cafe in France. What difference would it make in the quality of their military establishment, or in our relation to that country, if Bonaparte were removed? That this houfe fhould exprefs fach abhorrence of this frame of government was fomewhat fingular, when it had fo recently affirmed it to be the fyftem peculiarly fuited to the exercife of free opinion, and which had been fo happily eftablished over Ireland. The perfons and the property of that people were left in many districts to the entire will of military commanders; and this was held out as advantageous to the Irish, at a time when they were to difcufs, with unbiaffed judgments, the most interesting question of a legislative union. Notwithstanding the exiftence of martial law, fo far from thinking Ireland enflaved by it, we had pronounced it the best period, and most favourable circum

ftance, under which he could declare her opinion! And those who fpoke thus of military defpotifm in Ireland, had little reafon to rail at it in France. The minifter thought that the change of property in France would not form an infurmountable barrier to the return of the ancient proprietors; property being fo much depreciated that the purchasers would easily be brought to restore the eftates. But furely this was impracticable: it was the character of every fuch convulfion as that which had ravaged France, that an indefcribable load of mifery was inflicted on private families, and the heart fickened at the recital of their forrows. Revolutions did not imply, though they might occafion, a total alteration of property; but the re-establishment of the Bourbons did imply it--and this was the great difference. Ifthe noble families had forefeen the duration and extent of the evils which were to fall upon their heads, there is no doubt but they would have taken a very different line of conduct. But unfortunately they fled their country; the king and his advifers fought foreign aid; a confederacy was formed to restore them by military force; and, as a means of relifting this combination, the eftates of the fugitives were confifcated and fold. However compaflion might deplore the cafe, it was not a thing unprecedented; the people had always reforted to fuch means of defence. Now the point was, how was this property to be got out of their hands? The purchasers of national and forfeited eftates were faid to amount to 15,000,000 perfons; what poffible hope could there be of compelling fo large a number to deliver up their property? Nor did he know that it would be justice; or whether it would be a means of


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reftoring tranquillity to a country,
to diveft a body of one million and
a half of inhabitants of their poffef-
fions, in order to reinftate a much
fmaller number.

throne; but this was not the firft campaign which had been fuccefsful, yet our endeavours were unaccomplished. The fituation of the allies, with all they had obtained, was not comparable at this time to what it was when we had taken Valenciennes, Quefnoy, and Condé; the minifter could not fay the profpect was brighter now than it had been then; we had only recovered a part of what we had loft. One campaign was fuccessful to us, another to the French; and thus, animated by the paffions of revenge, hatred, and rancour, we might proceed from year to year, prolonging human mifery; and all this upon fpeculation! We must keep Bonaparte for fome time longer at war, as a state of probation. We muft paufe till the bowels of Great Britain be torn out, her beft blood fpilt, her treasures wasted, till we had fully made the experiment! Oh that minifters would place themfelves in the field of battle, and there learn to judge of the horrors which they prolonged! Was this the fyftem calculated to establish order, to restore humanity, to endear religion? May the Supreme Being deliver us from it! and enlighten our understandings, that we may no longer confider war as the natural fate of man, and peace as a dangerous extremity!

Louis the XVIIIth published a manifefto at Mittau, affuring his friends that he was about to come back with all the powers which formerly belonged to his family. He did not promife the people a conftitution which might conciliate their minds; but stated his intention of introducing the ancient regime, to which they naturally attach a Baftile, lettres de cachet, gabelle, &c. The nobleffe, for whom this proclamation was made, would naturally expect, if the monarch was to be restored to his privileges, that they alfo were to be reinftated in their eftates, without any compenfation to thofe they confidered as ufurpers. And was this likely to induce the people to wish for the restoration of monarchy? There might be a number of Chouans in France, and others difperfed in certain provinces, who retained an attachment to royalty; but if Bonaparte should attempt fome fimilar arrangement to that of Henry IV. when he quelled the infurrections of the Hugonots, and conciliated that party by granting them important privileges, and elevating them to high posts in the government fhould Bonaparte purfue this conduct, who dare pretend to fay, he would not fucceed? The French would not be likely to forget the revocation of that edit; one of the memorable acts of the house of Bourbon-an act never furpaffed in impolicy, injuftice, and atrocity, by any thing which had disgraced jacobinifm.

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A fuccessful campaign led us to cherish the hope of now placing this mot worthy family upon the

Mr. Fox ended this fpeech, of confiderable length, with obferving, that if we had been defirous that the negotiation fhould have included the allics, we fhould have told Bonaparte fo; but the fact appeared to be, that we were apprehenfive of his agreeing to the propofal: the people of England were friends to peace, although, by the laws lately made to reftrain the expreffion of their with, public opinion

opinion could not be heard as heretofore. It was afflicting to see the ftrides of arbitrary power, whereby liberty of every kind, both of speech and writing, was abridged, and to obferve in Ireland the rapid approaches to that military defpotifm which we now made an argument against peace with France. Could

the public opinion be now collected, it would fue for negotiation as much as in 1797; and it was only by public opinion, not by a fenfe of duty, or the inclination of their minds, that minifters would ever be brought to give us peace. -Ayes for the addrefs, 260— Noes, 64.


Union with Ireland. Meafures fuppofed to be adopted by the Miniftry to promote that Meafure. Its Introduction to the Irish Parliament. Oppofed frenuously by Mr. Grattan and others. Duel between Mr. Grattan and the Frife Chancellor of the Exchequer. Oppofition unfuccefsful. The Articles of Union finally carried in both Houses of the Irish Parliament. Submitted to Difcuffion in that of Great Britain. Debates on that Subject-In the House of Lords-In the House of Commons.


HE proceedings of the British parliament relative to an union with Ireland were rendered abortive by the fpirit, or the precipitancy, of the Irish legiflature. They oppofed with violence, and they difmilled with contempt, a propofi. tion which was a sentence of death upon themfelves; and the British miniftry found too late, that they had been deficient in addrefs, or perhaps too parfimonious in their arrangements, to fecure a measure which embraced a variety of conflicting interefts. With his ufual tenacity, however, the British minifter determined to persevere. Though rejected by the Irish parliament, a feries of refolutions were adopted in that of Great Britain, as a basis of the propofed union; and the lord lieutenant of Ireland clofed the feffion with a hope that the measure would be reconfidered, and adopted in fuch a manner as might be moft conducive to the happinefs and profperity of both nations.

Of the means which were employed in the courfe of the recess to facilitate the intended arrangement, it is fcarcely the time as yet to fpeak with either certainty or fafety. The conciliatory fpirit, and the popular character of the lord-lieutenant, in the courfe of a political tour, might make fome profelytes; and fome feats in the Irish parliament were vacated by perfons who had pledged themfelves to oppofe the union, and filled by others lefs hoftile to that favourite measure. At the meeting of the Irifh parliament confiderable activity was difplayed by the partifans on each fide for the purpose of procuring fignatures; and at a very early period, the table of the houfe of commons was loaded with petitions. The bufinefs was formally introduced, on the 5th of February 1800, by a meffage from the lordlieutenant, in which his excellency ftated, that he had it in command from his majesty to lay before both houfes

houfes of legiflature the refolutions of the British parliament, and to exprefs his majesty's with that they would take the fame into their most ferious confideration, &c. After a long and fpirited debate the miwiftry prevailed, by a majority of 43, for taking his majefty's meffage into confideration on the Wednefday following. The great abilities of Mr. Grattan, which had been voluntarily caft into obfcurity, were once more brought before the public on this interefting occafion. In a debate which took place on the 17th of February, on propofing the first article of the union, he oppofed the measure with fuch a degree of vehemence, that the chancellor of the exchequer accufed him of affociating with traitors, and of difaffection to the government. The reply of Mr. Grattan was fo pointed and fevere, that the chancellor conceived himself under a neceffity of resenting it by a challenge. Five fhots were exchanged, and the chancellor (Mr. Corry) was wounded in the arm. The queftion however was carried by a majority of 161 against 115, and as the difcuffion proceeded, the numbers of oppofition appeared to diminifl. The last struggle, as it may be deemed, was made on the 13th of March, when fir John Parnell moved to petition his majefty to call a new parliament, in order that the fenfe of their conftituents might be more fully afcertained; but this motion was overruled by a majority of 46. In the mean time the bufinefs proceeded with little oppofition in the houfe of lords, and on the 24th of March that houfe adopted the whole of the articles of union with few alterations. On the Friday following both houfes waited on his excel lency with a joint addrefs to that

effect, which was afterwards transmitted to Great Britain, and no time was loft by the ministers in fubmitting the measure anew to the British parliament. As the principal arguments which were advanced in the Irish legislature were repeated in that of Great Britain, we have confined ourselves to this fhort fummary of the proceedings in the former, as we can with more conformity to our general plan report them more at large as they were stated in our own parliament.

On the 2d of April the duke of Portland delivered the following meffage from his majefty to the houfe of lords. "George R. It is with the most fincere fatisfaction that his majefty finds himself enabled to communicate to this houfe the joint addrefs of his lords and commons of Ireland, laying before his majefty certain refolutions which contain the terms propofed by them for an entire union between the two kingdoms. His majesty, therefore, earnestly recommends to this houfe, to take all fuch further steps as may beft tend to the fpeedy and complete execution of a work fo happily begun, and fo interefting to the fecurity of his majesty's fubjects, and to the general ftrength and profperity of the British empire."

The meffage being read,

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