Imatges de pÓgina
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been made, a vigorous struggle for many years ; a struggle which this nation would feel for many and many a day. And now, he presumed, the voice of the nation was not for war, but for peace; peace at least with America, if we should have war with the whole world. He could not, for these reasons, subscribe to an address which re-echoed a speech, which professed an intention of prosecuting the American war with vigoar. But if other gentlemen should think that measure a wife one, accidents might happen in the course of the year, which might"render its impolicy obvious to all; and why tie yourselves down by any implied promises of support, to continue the war at all adventures ? Mr. Grenville, therefore, studious of unanimity in our present situation, would propose an amendment that would form an address, which without tying them down to any system of conduct, would express their zeal and affection for his Majesty's person and government, and their resolution to stand by the rights and interests of their country.

The amendment he proposed was this; That all that part of the address which followed the congratulation on the delivery of the Queen and the birth of a Prince, should be left out; and that, instead of the subsequent paragraphs, the following should be inserted ; " In this arduous conjuncture we are determined to unite our efforts for the defence of this our country, and we beg leave to affure your Majesty, that we will decline no difficulty or hazard in preserving the effential interests of this kingdom.”

Hon. Mr. Fitzpatrick rose to second the amendment, and Mr. Fitzafter a few introductory words, apologizing for his troubling

patrick the House, and reminding the speaker that he very feldom took that liberty, arraigned the public measures which had been for some time pursued, and were now pursuing, as ruinous to the country and the constitution, on which the dearest interests of the country depended. Imprefled with this idea, he could not he said, give a filent vote for the amendment just proposed by his honourable friend, but would take that opportunity of saying a few words to express

а his sense of our present calamitous fituation, and he would do it the rather now, because he verily believed that this would be the last parliament in which so much of the remains of liberty would appear, that he or any other members who thought as he did, that the measures of his Majesty's ministers were injurious to the true interests of Great Britain, would enjoy the privilege of calling those measures in question, and freely speaking their sentiments upon them. He


was sensible at the same time that any talents he poffefsed could not make a change in minds that had resisted the impressions of truth, enforced with the greatest abilities that men poffefied, and illustrated and delivered with the greatest eloquence. The eyes of Europe, he said, were naturally attracted to the first deliberations and resolutions of that afsembly; it therefore behoved them to be extremely cautious what language they held in their address to the throne. It was now as consistent with order, as it was with truth, to fay, that the last Parliament was notoriously corrupt, and prostituted to the will of the minister. This night would determine

, whether this was to proceed in the steps of the former Parliament; which they would do if they should countenance the continuance of a war, flowing not from the voice or the interests of the nation, but founded merely in the will of the ministry. In order to consider the subject of the address properly, it would be right, he said, and in such cases it had always been customary, to turn their eyes to the speech of the minister, though commonly called the King's speech, and examine its contents. From the beginning of that speech, it was evident that minifters had deluded and deceived his Majesty, an art which they had long practised with fatal success, to the destruction of the empire, and to the ruin of his Majesty's interests and those of his people. His Majesty be

his speech with saying, that " the elections would afford him an opportunity of receiving the most certain information of the disposition and the wishes of his people, to which he was always inclined to pay the utmost attention !” That his Majesty was at all times inclined to pay the utmost attention to the wishes of his people, he was firmly persuaded, but did ministers really think that the late elections, confidered collectively, would afford his Majesty an opportunityof knowing what those wishes were ? If those elections, where only there remained any thing like a free choice, were adverted to, he verily believed they would shew his Majesty the sense of the people, because, with a very few exceptions, those elections had fallen upon gentlemen distinguished for their love of liberty, and for their having uniformly opposed and reprobateď those measures which the ministry had for a series of years adopted and pursued. But possibly the ministry had aflured his Majesty, that the present House of Commons was a proof of their popularity. Popular indeed they were, he was sorry to own, in many parts of the country, and particularly in the West of England, where the ministry and their dependents were many of them chosen to represent boroughs,




which they had never before visited, and chosen by electors who till an hour previous to the election, had never seen the faces of their representatives, nay, so popular were they in Cornwall, that many of them were elected in three or four different boroughs, though perfect strangers to the people who had chosen them their representatives.

After a good deal of strong irony on this point, Mr. Fitzpatrick represented the impolicy of the present war with America, and recommended the withdrawing our troops from thence, and concentring our force and directing it against the House of Bourbon : he adverted to the enormous increase of the national debt, the decay of manufactures and trade, the oppreffion of the people by taxes, &c. &c. and after apologizing for having obtruded himself so long onthe patience of the House, concluded with declaring that he concurred most cordially in the congratulatory part of the address, buc thought the amendment just proposed the most wise and fit termination of it, fince under the present circumstances the House ought not to pledge itself to any particular line of conduct during the war.

Mr. Pulteney began with saying, that even if that House Mr. Pula thought the American war ought not to be pursued, it would teney. neither be wise nor prudent to make a public declaration of that opinion to all the world. He complained of the custom gentlemen had adopted of calling the war unjust, and said, however the freedom of debate might warrant their giving it that epithet within those walls, he wilhed that it might not be so termed without doors. Indeed he thought that such as without scruple, in print and conversation, called the war unjuft, and thus persumed to brand and stigmatize a measure fanctified by the British Parliament, were guilty of an offencé which ought to be followed by punishment; and if the laws, as they now stood, were not equal to the correction of this evil, and that people had a right to indulge themselves in such a licentious use of their pens, other laws should be pafsed and that right taken away. He had at the beginning of the war with America thought it unjust, and he had always argued in that House in that manner, but thinking, as he then did, that the war was unjust, he had never conceived he should be warranted in terming it so without doors, after Parliament had chosen to pronounce the war just, and to pursue it under that idea. But a change of circumstances had made a change in his sentiments concerning it. We had now given up the taxation of America, which would have been injustice, as they had no representatives in Parliament, and the justice



Sir Horace Mann.

of the American war had been recognized, and confirmed repeatedly by Parliament. Gentlemen had talked of the prefent war in language that he could not approve; they had faid the war was carried on to conquer America. He saw it in a different light. He considered the war as a war carried on to protect our American friends from the tyranny and oppression of Congress, and those friends he believed were very numerous. This was a purpose which, in gratitude and humanity, this

country was bound to pursue, nor did he see reason for defpondency. Our affairs in America were furely in a better situation at present than they had been in since the unfortunate convention at Saratoga? The just and liberal offers made by Great Britain to America had produced very confiderable effects on the minds of the in nabitants of that country; and he doubted not, that more than half the Americans, when the oppressions under which they laboured should be removed, would appear to have been friends to the British


Mr. Pulteney concluded, with declaring he should vote for the address as originally moved, because he thought it unexceptionable, and because it did not appear to him to pledge the House tò any particular line of conduct.

Sir Horace Mann thought that declamations tending to give the world an idea that our resources were exhausted, and that we ourselves were in a state of despondency, ill became Englifhmen at any time, but least of all, in a moment of real difficulty and danger, in a moment when the most powerful confederacy that ever was formed, threatened us with destruction. It had been the character of this country to look danger in the face, to hold despair in contempt, and in proportion to the pressure of affairs, to exert its efforts, to act with spirit, and by the energy of its operations, to surmount all difficulty, and all resistance. This had been the practice of our ancestors, this ought to be the practice of Great Britain under her present circumstances. The American war was not ascribable to administration, the seeds of it were deposited at a remoter period, but it was idle and absurd to be now losing time in accusation, and in fruitless attempts to charge any particular set of men, as authors of the present difficulties. America had hoftilely allied herself to France, the actual foe of Great Britain, and Spain had joined the confederacy. Each of the three powers who formed the league, were to be regarded with equal jealousy, and to be opposed with equal exertion; America as well as France and Spain, France and Spain, as well as America. The inte




rests of France and America were inseparably united, flacken your operations against the latter, and you give vigour to the operations of the former. The whole matter to be provided for was, how the operations of the war could be best carried on by us, to answer the great end of breaking the union of the three powers, and rendering their attempts, their utmost attempts to destroy our naval force, and ruin our commerce, unavailing. That however was not the consideration of this day, and therefore it was needless for him to go into it. Powerful as the confederacy confeffedly was, he could not think it so tremendous and so alarming as the honourable gentle, man who moved the amendment, and his honourable friend who feconded it, had seemed to imagine. All confederacies carried in them principles of disunion. The present confederacy was formed by powers, the most unlikely to coalesce for any continuance with cordiality, that could possibly join together. America, a protestant people, declaring that she fought for her liberty, allied to France, a Roman Catholic power, in whose dictionary the word liberty had no place ! could


man in his senses for a moment believe that France had engaged in this expensive war for the purpose of defende ing the liberties of America ? The idea was too monstrous and too ridiculous to be entertained for a moment. Was it likely that Spain, however drawn into the war by the intrigues of France, could be fincere in wishing to give America independency? Was it probable that she should have lo little regard for her own interest, as to fhew herself a supporter of rebellion, and thus by her own example encourage all her South-American colonists to shake off their dependance on the Spanish crown? Again, were Spain and France cordial friends ? If the Spaniards in general were inspired with the same sentiments as those of the province of Catalonia, the only province of Spain in which he had been, he would venture to say they were not. In Catalonia every man breath ed the most rooted antipathy to France, to its manners, to its customs, and most of all to its people. Looking at the confederacy in its proper light, seeing it in its true colours, was there not more cause to expect that so motley, so incongruan ous, so heterogeneous a mixture, so unnatural a league would not hold long together ? France had already pretty plainly shewed what were her views respecting America. America was already jealous of her, and every day that the war continued, she would have more cause to lament, that she had ever called upon France to allist her. The Spaniqrds, naturally as gallant a nation as ariy in Europe, though from that VOL. XVIII.



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