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The Noble Marquis who spoke last alluded to the opiion of the people on the subject of the late negociation for peace between this country and France; and he fated how effential it was that the opinion of the people should be with his Majelty's Ministers, and that they thould think thein fincere. Whether the negociation was well conducted or not on our part, I will not pretend (faid his Lordship) to determine, because I do not feel that I am competent io such a determination, but forming an opinion as well as I am able, I met say, because I feel, that it was well conducted. I am sure it had the effect of convincing the people of England that his Majelly's Ministers were fincere.
We hear much faid of the misfortunes of the present war, and there are some who continually call it “ this unfortunate war." It is unfortunate, certainly, my Lords, on account of the expence with which it is attended; but taking that out of the consideration, which I think we ought to do, for it is unavoidable, then I would say that this country never carried on any war that was more successful than the present.
As to the observations that are made upon speeches from the Throne, and how little reliance is to be placed on promises that may be there held forth, and the inconveniences that may arise from your Lordships remaining still until treaties are concluded. I can only say that such is the course of things under the very nature of our Government. Your Lordihips can have nothing but fymptoms of alliances hinted in speeches from the Throne until treaties are actually concluded; for until then, no regular information comes before this House, and therefore, you can have nothing but the information which is conveyed to you by the specch from the Throne, which speech your Lordships have a right to make observations upon, because it is always considered as the speech of the Minister.
The noble Marquis alks, what there is in the condition of Turkey to make that power the subject of our hope? What there is that may be said to have been successful with regard to them ?-I can only say, that they have lately been very successful, for they have seen their errors with regard to their conduct towards France, they now see they ought long ago to have opposed the French with the utmost vigour. They have now opened their eyes, and they are determined to act with vigour. They have seen that this country is true to its engagements, and they now wila to form new alliances. The Emperor Paul is also takcn notice of in the speech from the Throne ; his character, I believe, deserves praisehe is indeed different from his predecessor Catharine ; his system of internal policy is moderation ; he does not with people to be kept in dungeons. I have no doubt
' but that a prince so remarkable for virtue will be faithful to his engagements, and therefore, I confess, I am glad of the alliance between him and this country.
I have heard a rumour, that Denmark and Sweden are arming, and that the other Powers are making great preparations; I hope the rumour is true. If Europe had made a common cause against the French, they would long ago have been successful, and the Great Nation must have given way to them ; but it is not yet too late, and I cannot help thinking that the contest in which we are engaged, is now more favourable than ever it was before this time.
With regard to our finances, I see nothing to alarm us; nor are those who are supposed to see these points pretty clearly, at all in a state of despondency, for the funds are higher than they have been for a considerable time. We possess great advantages at this moment; the leading one is, that we are now an united and a vigorous people, and I hope we Mall at last arrive at a safe and an honourable peace. The noble Marquis has said, that we ought to abandon the further pursuit of conquest ; that we could not keep them when made ; that we had given up Corsica, and St. Domingo. True, we have given up Domingo; but have we given up St. Lucie or Martinique, the Cape of Good Hope, or the Spice Islands ? I do not know that we have yet thought of giving any of these up, but I will not pretend to judge of the policy of giving some places up and of retaining others; some we may give up, because they are found to be untenable. I do not pretend to know the consequence of these that have been given up; these are points which I leave to the wisdom of his Majeity's Ministers; they, in my opinion, ought to decide these points for us, because they have the best means for forming correct judgments. I do not feel myself competent to decide upon ihem, but I give my hearty assent to the Address.
Lord Holland said, in some respects he must differ from his Noble Friend near him, who had so well described the impradicability of any junction between Prussia and Austria, although he recommended another combination upon more honest principles. So far was he from recommending any further Continental connections, that he thought our infiuence hitherto operating upon the German Courts had been
the great cause of all the mischief that had taken place, and of the mortifying situation in which the Continental States in alliance with the French Republic found themselves at this moment. Promises have been from time to time held forth to us, and which have been from time to time almost uniformly broken, that I own, however gratitying it might be to my feelings if I could, I cannot agree in all the fentiments which were conveyed to your Lordthips in the speech from the Throne to-night, and which are repeated in the Address which is now before you. I am under the necessity of taking notice of some parts of the sentiments of the noble Lords who moved and seconded the Address; I will allow to those noble Lords all they can desire in the argument, I will consider all the victories we have gained, as additions to the national credit and honour ; for no inan can be more willing than'myself to dwell with pleasure on the victories of our country; I will allow that whenever our naval force has met that, of the enemy, we have, without a single exception, been successful; yet, with all these advantages, I confefs it appeared to me, that the noble Lords who moved and feconded the Address, failed to prove that, which it was their great object to establish, namely, that the next combination of the powers of Europe will procure for this country an advantageous peace. I have already said, that no man can rejoice more Tincerely than myself at our late victory ; but then, my Lords, let us look what use is likely to be made of it. If the only advantage which we are to gain by it, be merely to revive the horrors of war. If Ministers intend only to avail themselves of this opportunity, to spread the devastations of war over the surface of the globe, more generally than has hitherto been done ; I own, I do not see any reason for exultation, I confess it has appeared to me for some time, that this is the disposition of his Majesty's Ministers, instead of making it the means of obtaining that which alone is the first object of all war; namely, peace. Would to God, my Lords, that such were the views of Ministers! but it is impoffible to suppofe that such is their serious intention The very language of the speech holds o’t a contrary sentiment. We hear indeed of the powerful effect of a new confederacy; it is held out to you now in the speech from the throne ; but this is not the first time you have heard from the throne, of the probable effect of a powerful confederacy against France; Vol. I. 1798. D
and I wish to know what there is now in your situation,
But my observations are not confined merely to the weakness of any confederacy, and the improbability there is of its even continuing for a fufficient time, or in sufficient force, to be effectual ; or of the probability there is that they will deceive us again if we trust to them ; but my observation extends to an object of another nature-I mean that the late glorious victory we obtained over the French ought to induce us to thew a disposition for peace; for that is the truly wise use that should be made of the advantage you have gained. Indeed if you do not shew that disposition when you are successful, I do not know when, with any advantage, you can thew it; for if you thew it after an adverse fortune, either your sincerity or your courage will be doubted. Then I ask, what period is to be fixed for the termination of this contest? We have been told that the French never few any disposition for peace when they are successful; but if that be fo, it is a defect in them, and we ought not to imitate it. I think the tone of the French is lowered, in some particulars at least-I may be told that is because they feel they are weak; to which I answer, if it be so, we thould now try what may be done towards pacification ; for they may gain strength again, and then they will be less easy to deal with than they are at present. If any Noble Lord should think any part of what I say worthy of observation, and should observe, that what I am urging tends to recommend humiliation to this country, I should answer, that there is not a man in this country who would scorn to do so more than the person who has now the honour of addressing your Lordfhips; but I must declare, what some may think foolish, but I shall declare it, because it appears to ine founded in sound sense : That to sew a disposition for peace in the hour of prosperity, is not a humiliation, but a inagnanimity. And I do not think that the people of this country would think it humiliating if a peaceable disposition was now manifested in their name by his Majesty's Ministers; and yet I am well assured that they would not now (I hope they never will) hear of any peace that was not consistent with their honour and their interest. I am so far from thinking that the people would have any wishes that are inconsistent with the future glory, as well as the present comfort, of this country, if they had the means of deciding the present contest, that I wish, with all my heart, they had their due weight and power in the Government. D 2