Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

It was difficult in any negociation again, of courting her alliance. He to ascertain, where the negociators considered the putting an end to had been deficient, and how far the Dutch pretensions in regard to more might have been obtained. ir, as one of the most material He was however free to confess, points, that had been gained in the that he felt something of this sort. late treaty of peace. It was not There were articles in favour of for him to enter into the subject ; France, to which he could find no but he flattered himself, the more reciprocal conceffions in favour of the preliminaries were examined, England. This was the necessary the more it would appear, that this result of the nature of the French and other omillions were more imcommodities, which were the inde- portant than many

many itipulations fcafible produce of her climate and might have been. He fiould rafoil. It was ridiculous to talk of ther have expected, that France the superiority of our manufactures, and England might have joined to as sufficient to countervail thefe re. extinguish this novel 'doétrine, ciprocal articles. Nothing could brought forward in Europe by the be more precarious, than an efti- northern courts. It was lufficient. mate built upon that ground. Our ly notorious, that it was not the boasted cottons were the growth of interest of either countries, to sufa: day; we saw. manufactures rise fer new marines to start up and upalmost instantaneously. But the grow powerful. The marquis far. advantage in the produce of France ther objected, that nothing had was pofitive and eternal; as long been ftipulated upon the subject of as the earth endured, it would re- India, and allụded to a treaty which main to her. He was the more in. he had heard of, by which the clined to believe that we could privileges of the Eait India comhave gained something in exchange, pany were completely facrificed to as it was well known how impa- the French, and which had been tient France had been for the trea- unaccountably rejected. in Paris sy. What had occurred to his from the influence of intrigue and mind was to have gained fome ad. private intereit. He observed as Vantage in point of navigation, and to Cherbourg, that he thought reto have said something of this sort presentations ought to have been to France : in proportion as we made in regard to the works going give you land, you must give us on there; and that it might have fea.' 'And this led him to his fe. been done in safe, prudent and cond objection; which was, that politic language. In the course of we had concedeit the neutral code. his own experience, where he had He was perfectly astonished at fee. found one representation succeed ing such an article, and he knew on the ground of right, he had not how it could come into the found many fucceed on the ground imagination of persons, who had of good sense and common interest. the lealt acquaintance with the law He also remarked on the injudiciof nations, or the transactions of ous manner in which the articles the last five years. It had been had been drawn up; and declared, pofitively refused to Russia, even in that the seventh in particular was å moment when we were under the a mere chaos of words, without the neceflity of doing, what he hoped poflibility of drawing any meaning we should never be reduced to do from it; and, Icast of all, a meaning

taroure

If we

favourable to this country. Lord sure ; that France would flourishi, Lansdown concluded with recur- and we Mould suffer by the treaty: ing to the fituation of Ireland. It He would venture to prophesy, was inconceivable, that we thould that, if this country declined, preleave that people more connected judice might ascribe it to this cause, in freedom of trade and facility of but it would in reality originate in intercourse with France, than with something very different. Great Britain. It was idle to talk continued under a perpetual fluctu. of the Irish propofitions having ation of adıninistrations, and France been made and rejected, and that adhered to one system; if we went therefore nothing was to be done. on in the rottenness of corruption, If a minister for instance, were to and the exerted herself, as it was tell the public and the parliament reported the was about to do, in of Great Britain, that they did not rooting it up; it the adopted great know their own intereft, and muit measures, and we pursued little abide by the consequence, he must ones, there was no doubt which be looked upon as infatuated. The country must flourish, and which conduct of the English manufactu- would decline. But he was not rers in the case of the French treaty afraid to say, knowing the natural must crush all their former objec. liberality of English minds, that it tions to the fyftem of the Irish pro. was the duty of every man and positions. The present therefore every citizen to rejoice in the profwas the moment for ministers to re- perity even of a foreign country, vive the idca of a beneficial con. when it was produced by fair and nection. He did not mean the honourable means. If a man had vague, ill natured and inadequate the misiortune to find that he could fyltem that had been offered; but not govern his own family, he must a plain, simple, good hunioured be bale indeed, if he repined at scheme of reciprocal intercourse, seeing a neighbouring family virunmixed with any principle of po- tuous, well ordered and happy, litics, and particularly with that, Upon the whole the marquis felt to which the sense of Ireland was himself inclined to a warm support so totally averse, the obliging her of the treaty, persuaded that the of necessity to adopt all the future principle carried transcendent beneacts of trade of the British parlia. fit with it, whatever opinion hc ment.

might have as to some of its partiThe marquis laid no stress upon cular clauses. the objections that had been start- The debate upon the commered respecting the danger of our cial creaty was productive of an alfluctuating capital in the event of tercation between the marquis of a war, and upon the subject of the Lansdown and the duke of Richhovering acts. The French were mund, of a nature, which, as it not a nation of Algerines and fa. tends to illustrate character, we shall vages, and he hoped to see the day, ever consider as one of the most when our prefent anxious precau. interesting topics of political hilo. tions against smuggling would be ry. In the course of the debate annihilated by the growing free. The duke observed, in reply to one dom of our trade. It had been far- of lord Lansdown's animadverfions, ther said, that we Mould rue the that we had nothing to do with the consequences of the present mea. French crections at Cherbourg, and

that that with the fame propriety they the ordoanee, and among others might come and say to us, you upon the new system of fortiticashall not fortify your dockyards of tions. The other letter was a de Portsinouth and Plymouth. This claration by Mr. Pitt, who had argument was retorted by the mar- been present at the disputed conquis, who observed, that we .cer. versation, made at the request of fainly had not more, perhaps not the duke of Richmond; the fub. so much concern with the erections ject of which was, “ that his meat. Cherbourg, as they had with mory at the distance of four years our fortifications ; fince, if ours did not cnable him to say, that were carried into execution, the lord Lansdown did positively give French would, on the event of an a full and direct approbation of the invasion, take poffention of our for plans, but that the impresion made treffes as advantageous posts. The upon his mind at the time was, duke, who probably had been irri- and had continued fo on every retated by the part, which had been flection fince, that he did fignify taken by the friends of lord Lanf- his approbation.". down in the house of commons up. Upon these circumstances lord on the subject of the fortifications, Lansdown observed, that his situacaught at this infinuation. He ob- tion at the period in question, when ferved, that, if we might infer the he was settling the important meamarquis's fentiments from the voice fure of the preliminaries of peace, of certain persons in another place, had been attended with great diffihe had changed his opinion in re- culties. He perhaps had reason to gard to the fortifications, as much fear under all the circumstances of as it appeared he had done on the that time, that the duke of Richfubject of the Irish propofuions. mond might change his mind; and In the mean time the duke had no he must neceffarily have dreaded hesitation in declaring, that the the change of one out of the seven plan for the fortifying of Ports- members of the cabinet. Thus mouth and Plymouth had been lub critically fituated, when the duke mitted to lord Lansdown, when he opened his plan, there might perhad been at the head of the admi- haps be a degrec of address on his nistration of this country, and that part in what had passed on the fub. he had fignified his direct approba. ject. It..was natural; it might tion.

have been neceffary; but he 10 In the sequel of the altercation lemnly declared that he never diit appeared, that the marquis was rectly approved, and he challenged now ready to avow his express dif- the duke to produce a scrap of a approbation of the plan of fortifica- pen from him on the subject. He tions, and the question, whether admitted that the fuppreffion of or no he ever professed to approve doubts would be unpardonable, if them, remained to be decided from that suppretlion went fo far as to two letters, the one written by the delude a colleague to hazard his duke of Richmond confessedly sub- plan before parliament, where he fequent to the period in which the was to be abandoned and exposed. supposed approbation had been This declaration however the mar: given, and requesting the thoughts quis was afterwards obliged to quaof the marquis upon various sub. lify, as it appeared, that a fun of jects relating to the department of money for the fortifications had ac

tually

great blame.

tually been included in the orde predicaments; the one was to let the dance estimates of 1783. If it were ireaty pass, however repugnant its urged, that there was blame due principles might at the time appear. to him upon that score, as a minis- to their sentiments, or however inter, he was free to say there was jurious to the interests of their

But that was an- country; and the other to reject other question ; and he protested he it, and of consequence to subject could not teil why he had suffered themselves to the imputation of the plan to be proposed. With having made a precipitate and a respect to the charge of infincerity, faithlefs promise to the fovereign. which the duke had thought pro- The latter conduct would certainly per to advance against him, he be. be of the two the least injurious, lieved it was totally incapable of at the same time that it was fubje& support. Openness was his charac. to very great inconveniences, and teristic; and it was solely from the was a situation by all means to be conferation of he unguardedness avoided. It was derogatory to of his temper, that by the advice that facred faith, which ought alof his friends he had secluded him- ways to be preserved in promises self from the world.

that were made, or addresses that The speakers in favour of the were laid at the foot of the throne. treaty were lord Thurlow, lord Mr. Pitt treated the objections as Hawkefoury, lord Walfingham, cavilling and frivolous, and oblord Town Mend, lord Grey deserved, that, so far from retrenching Wilton, lord Hopetoun, and lord from the privileges of the house, he Forte scue. Those who distinguisho had in fact added two new and ad, ed themselves in opposition were ditional stages, the address and the the duke of Manchester, lord Car- report of the address, to those which lifle, lord Loughborough, lord Fitz- had been provided by the wisdom william, lord Sandwich, lord Scar- of our ancestors. The conduct of borough, and lord Portchester. administration was defended by Mr. The house divided upon the first Dundas, Mr. Arden and Mr. resolution, contents 81, not con- Bearcroft, and censured by Mr. tents 35; and upon the report, Sheridan, Mr. Bastard and fir Wil. contents 94, not contents 35. The liam Molesworth. By the latter address was presented on the eighth of these an allulion was made to of March,

the case of the ordnance efimates, The qnestion respecting the vio- in which the house had been told lation of the forins of parliament that they were pledged to a future was not given up by oppofition, measure by having consented to a and on the day, previous to that past transaction, and the surveyorof presenting the address, Mr. Fox general of the ordnance had inhitmoved in the house of commons ed, that, when the matter came the resolution, which had been out from the disquisition of the proposed by lord Stormunt in the board of officers, they were not at house of lords. Beside recapitulat- liberty to refuse the money. The ing and inforcing the arguments house divided upon Mr. Fox's rehe had already employed, he ob- folution, ayes 11 3, noes 188. served, that by the address which On the twenty fixth of March had been carried, they were reduced the house was moved in a comto a choice of two very unpleasant mittee to come to certain resolu.

tions, proposed by Mr. Pitt, and Portugal, Spanish and Madeira the object of which was to reduce, wines, to a proportion one third at least pro tempore, and during lower than the new duties 'upon the pendency of our negociations French wines. The resolutions were with Portugal, the duties upon adopted.

CHAPTER V.

Consolidation of Customs. Budget. Farming of the Post Horfe Tax. Lote

tery Bill. ' Mutiny Bill. Spanijh Convintion:

O

NE of the subjects, which consequences of retaining the old tention of parliament in the speech Itances of the country, had been in from the throne, and which had ex- several points of view highly decited confiderable expectation, was trimental to the interests of the nathe intended consolidation of the tion. Mr. Pitt entered into the customs. Mr. Piet opened this history of our revenues, and stated, business to the house of commons that the first institution of the subon the twenty fixth of February ; fitting duties of custom was made and we cannot better explain the by a statute in the twelfth year of nature of the measure, than by ex- king Charles the Second, under the tracting the language he employed names of tonnage and poundage ; upon this occasion.

the first an impofition upon wines It was not necessary for him to measured by the quantity importinfift upon the great importance of ed, and the second a dury ad vathe subjeét, or to expati te on the lorem upon all other articles. The advantages it was intended to pro. last was therefore liable to great duce. When he considered them, inaccuracies. It was not calculatit appeared inore difficult to ac- ed according to the real value of count for the long delay of this the commodities, but by an arbiproceeding, than to prove the pro- trary value, perhaps the market priety of now adopting it. The price of the article at the time of increasing commerce of this coun. imposing the duty. The consetry on the one hand, and its ac- quence of such a mode of taxation cumulated burthens on the other, frequently was, that in goods of had fo widely exceeded the expec. one general defcription the duty tation of our ancestors, and all the was the fame; so that it either grounds of calculation on which operated as a prohibition upon the they founded their system of ti- coarser manufactures, or was not rance, that the principles they a- at all felt by the more perfect. dopted, though sufficiently suited This principle, when once adoptto the narrow and confined scale of ed, was pursued in every fresh subour former exigencies and resources, fidy. In some instances it had opewere no longer applicable. The rated, by imposing additional du

ties,

1

« AnteriorContinua »