Page images

all the cattle being bought up for go- | was ; at the same time, there were parts vernment and driven to Portsmouth, of the address that he could not agree to. there to be either slaughtered or shipped He knew not where to find our naval sufor the use of the army and navy. The periority since the glorious instance of restoration of peace was, in short, the the 1st of June last year, and as to our only effectual remedy for all these successes in the West Indies, he really did grievances. Peace alone would restore not know what they were. that old English good humour, which the Lord Gienville said, that when the prepressure of misery and want had for the sent constitution of France should be ac. present suspended. Upon these grounds tually accepted by the people, his mathe amendment should have his support. jesty's ministers would have no objection

The Earl of Mansfield said, he differed to conclude a peace, on safe and honour. entirely from those noble lords who ar- able terms. gued, that the scarcity of grain was pro- The Duke of Grafton said, that he apduced by the war, unless they meant to proved highly of the amendment. It was assert, that the more people there were wrong to call it stipultaing for negociation, out of the country, consuming the grain when it was notorious that peace was abof foreign powers, the greater the defi- solutely necessary. This country, from a ciency must be at home. He disap- continuance of a ruinous war, conducted proved of the amendment. The moment by the most distracted councils, was so the House adopted it, they would lay shaken that nothing but peace could rethe axe to the root of negociation, and store it. In this assertion he was fairly take away every possibility of peace. warranted by the accumulation of the naEven sir William Temple, if he were taken tional debt ; for when the interest of that out of his grave, could not negociate debt became equal to the rents, the counpeace under such an amendment. He try must be in an alarming situation innever before heard that the not having deed. The burthen of taxes, if no more money to pay large armies with, was the were laid on, was immense. Many, he way to keep them faithful and steady. | allowed, were judiciously chosen, but yet The noble marquis had asked, What there were some that fell very heavy said Livy? They had all read what Livy upon the poor : there were two, for insaid on that subject; and he would ask stance, generally supposed to affect the noble lords whether they thought they rich only, but if examined, they would could find a successful army without be found to bear upon the middle class, pay. He argued on the uncertainty of and those of very slender incomes ; among the actual situation of France, and de- others, the tax on wine, which had been clined giving any opinion as to the per- carried, in his opinion, far too high. A А manency of the new constitution. He country curate with 401. a year, allowing conjured them not to proceed too far in only a gill of port wine a day, would this dark and starless night, but to wait have to pay 31. of taxes; and from the the dawn of returning day. If the tax on malt, a labouring peasant must amendment was entertained by the House, pay the same sum of 31. per annum, for it ought to be followed up by a motion his allowance of three pints of ale per day. for the removal of ministers.

In this situation, what had we to look at The Earl of Darnley said, he had in on the other side of the picture? Nothing the former periods of the war, given his but a prosperous and well protected comsupport and confidence to ministers, be- merce could enable this country to wade cause he thought it a necessary war, and through the difficulties into which she was dreaded the introduction of French prin- plunged. If it was said that our comciples; from those alarms he was now merce had met with much protection durrelieved, and did not wish to see obsti- | ing the present war, two recent captures nacy in any part of the House against would be a sufficient answer to the asserconcluding a peace. He had long dis- tion. An immediate peace, every Engapproved of the expedition against lishman must wish to see carried into efFrance, and particularly the last business fect. He dreaded nothing more than the of Quiberon, and was determined to take daily infringements upon the laws and conthe first opportunity of stating that opi- stitution of the country, by the frequent nion in public. He was not perfectly introduction of military force, and he resatisfied with the amendment, because it minded the House of the noble exertions painted our situation much worse than it of chief justice Holt, who always recommended, and succeeded himself in quell- | lies that had given satisfaction to his maing riots without calling in military force. jesty? Was the conduct of the elector Miserable indeed would be the state of of Hanover satisfactory to the king of that country in which the execution of the Great Britain, or was it in the situation of laws depended on the military! He ad-Corsica that he considered an improvevised ministers not to think too lightly of ment of our situation? It had been conthe opinion of the people. The Ameri- fidently asserted that our gaols for prican war ought to be a sufficient warning soners of war had been opened in order to on that head. What must the people recruit men for the late expedition to think of the enormous increase of sinecure France : he would ask them where they places, pensions, and lucrative appoint- had recruited M. de Puisaye, the comments? What must they think, when manding officer of that operation? They they see both men and money expended said they were not responsible for the hor

manner unprecedented ? Spain, rid catastrophe of that expedition ; on Prussia, and Hanover having concluded what principles they founded that asserpeace, where was the interest that Eng. tion he knew not, for surely to select a land had in continuing the war? He was man as a commander, who had never in any therefore decidedly for the amendment. military service reached a higher rank than

The Earl of Lauderdale said, that they that of a captain, snd to place him over a had been witnesses that night to most ex- number of the most distinguished veterans, traordinary vindications on the part of the and to do this in opposition to all the reministry. The noble secretary of state monstrances that were made by men of had forgotten all the pledges which he had the first character, was an act for which last year given-all the promises he had ministers ought to be responsible. He made, and all the prospects he had held had no confidence in the equivocal sort out. He forgot what mighty things the of promise which the present speech gave Emperor was to accomplish for us, in re- to the country. With the eternal theme turn for our loan-he forgot what Spain of assignats he would not ennbarrass himwas to do what Sardinia --what the Ger- self. The inferences drawn from their deman powers. He forgot all this, but he preciation were, he believed, founded in remembered exactly how many evils had false reasoning. If assignats were extinct, been predicted, and because they had not the French would not be beaten. The been all fulfilled, our situation was im- wealth of a nation consisted in three matproved ; and this was the ground for the ters-their stock, their labour, and their extraordinary satisfaction which his ma- soil. Say, that the first of these was exjesty had expressed. It was in vain that tinguished, the two others would remain, he endeavoured to discover the sources of and they had all seen what a people could this satisfaction. It could not be in our accomplish with these two left, when the triumphs, for we had met only with disas first was gone. America had given a meter and defeat ; nor could it be in the in- morable instance of it, and France had ternal condition of this country, since the shown, in the last campaign, that the delamentable scarcity of provisions was most preciation of her paper took nothing from properly recommended by his majesty to her vigour, nor from her exertions. With the serious consideration of the House. regard to what the ministers now called a Our naval superiority was made a subject favourable crisis in France, it was a crisis of boast; and the noble secretary had as productive of blood as any of the pesaid, that never in our history had this su- riods of the revolution that went before periority been so decided. Did he forget it; and this led him to distrust their dethe history of the year when his present clarations. If all our hopes of peace demajesty came to the throne, when in his pended on the success of the new constiSpeech he said, that the small remnant of tution, he saw no prospect of a speedy the French navy had been blocked up in termination to our calamities. The scartheir ports during the whole of the sum- city of corn every man must deeply lamer? It could not be said that this was ment, because every man must feel for the case now; very recent experience had the pinching distresses of the poor, but shown the contrary, and the little protec- he greatly feared the evil could not be retion given to our trade did not prove medied by legislative means, and it was that our superiority had been directed mischievous and dangerous to hold out with so much skill and vigour as to make any remedy for an evil without the cerit useful. Was-it the conduct of our al- tainty of its effect. It was only, in his mind, by a peace, that a speedy and suretion to the coast of France ; but he as. remedy would be found for it. The im- sured them, that if the ships employed becility of administration had been mani- in that expedition had not been sent there, fested in every department; it was there they would have been sent elsewhere, for fore incumbent on their lordships to in they could not have been engaged upon quire into the mismanagement of our af- the Mediterrannean station. The noble fairs. Even the conduct of the navy, earl had laid

great stress on the selection with our boasted superiority, was not ex- of M. de Puisaye for that expedition. empt from this uniform incapacity, a fact He requested the noble earl to recollect established past contradiction, by the that M. de Puisaye had been at the head mortifying event of our trade having suf- of a considerable party in France, whose fered in two of our most opulent convoys. object was the restoration of monarchy. But ministers were actuated by such he- Being the chief of that party, all commuterogeneous passions, that it was impossi- nication with it from this country was ble to expect from them attention to the through him. Without him there was a conduct of our national affairs. Some of much less prospect of a junction with his them came into power, avowedly to watch party. It was true, that many persons the friends of Brissot in that House, and had perished in that expedition; but it of course they had not time for other du- was a melancholy event which could not ties, He believed if an appeal were made be avoided in war, and was attributable to their own hearts, they could not one to another unfortunate cause.—He agreed of them conscientiously declare that he with the noble earl, that it was both danhad discharged his duty to his country. gerous and mischievous to hold out any

Earl Spencer said, he did not deny that remedy for an evil without the certainty many unfavourable circumstances had of its effect. He left noble lords to judge happened in the course of the last cam- of the prudence of a positive assertion, paign; yet he thought, upon the whole, that to accede to the amendment, was our situation was not so bad as might the only way to reduce the price of have been expected. He had always corn. Such a declaration certainly had been an advocate for a vigorous prosecu- a mischievous tendency. tion of the war; and if there was now a The Lord Chancellor rose to say a few nearer prospect of attaining the chief ob. words on the subject of the high price of ject of it, a permanent and honourable corn. He could not but be sorry that peace, he should be blameable at such an the noble marquis whose great weight in important crisis to relax. Whatever is the country gave considerable authority the prospect, it is the duty of ministers to every thing he said, had mentioned the to maintain the character and dignity of raising the wages of labouring men to the the country, which would be sacrificed average price of a bushel of wheat per by the conditions suggested by the noble week, as a means of relief which met with duke. What did the noble duke propose? his sanction. He next noticed what had That no other indemnity should be stipu- fallen from the duke of Grafton respectlated for than the tranquillity of the na- ing the hard situation of a country curate tion, or in other words, peace. Ministers, who could not afford himself a gill of on the contrary, had always required an wine, or a pint of ale a day, without being indemnity for the expenses of the war, at the expense of 3l. per annum. The and the people would consequently ex- new duty on wine had certainly been pect it from them. How, then, could created by the war, and it was one of the they continue to insist upon indemnifica- burthens which curates, if they chose to tion, when, if the amendment be adopted, drink wine, must bear as well as the rest of they must accept peace singly and sepa- his majesty's subjects; but it was to be rerately from all other considerations, for collected that wine was a luxury. With rethe House would have declared they gard to the pint of ale, the argument was wished for no other ?-With regard to not applicable to the war, as no new tax the loss of two of our convoys, if, in the had been imposed on malt or beer since course of a war like the present, it should the war commenced. With regard to happen that traders are intercepted, no the noble duke's expression, that the man could wonder at it; indeed it would laws of the country were obliged to be be wonderful, if they were not. Some executed by the military, there was no noble lords had said, that the loss of wish in government to call in the aid of these traders, were owing to the expedi- the military, where the civil power had


authority enough to preserve the peace, tion to know that he was speaking at that and put an end to outrage and disorder. moment in a British House of Lords, an The noble duke had certainly been mis- assembly which it had, by a certain des. taken in supposing that chief justice Holt cription of persons, been long since ashad been the magistrate who quitted the serted, would not at that time be in bench to suppress the riot, when the existence. If the principles that the meeting-houses were pulled down. In French had made it their boast to propathe first place, it was impossible, be- gate throughout Europe, had not been cause Mr. Justice Holt had been in his early and effectually resisted, the privigrave some years. 2dly, because the leges of every one of their lordships might riot oocasioned by the mobs proceed- ere this have been at an end, and Great ing to pull down the meeting-houses was Britain might have been made a scene of the not quelled without the interference of same desolation and ruin that France had the military; and lastly, because several for some time presented. The fatal efof the rioters were tried and convicted fects of building up government upon wild for their conduct on that occasion. He and idle theories had, by the example of was very far from meaning to impute a the French been sufficiently shown; and similarity of sentiment between the noble he hoped it would serve as a useful lesson marquis, the noble duke, and certain per- to posterity. In France we had seen what sons without doors, but he had read an was termed the system of terror prevail in account of the proceedings of a meeting all its horrors. Faction had succeeded held in a field near Copenhagen house, faction, and men, the most violent enewhere many inflammatory harangues mies to each other, by the convulsion of were addressed to the passions of the parties had on the sudden found themlower order of the people, and seditious selves destined to death together, and papers and hand-bills circulated, which met upon the same scaffold to expiate had obviously produced that degree of their perhaps cqual, but differently diimpression on ignorant and uninformed rected crimes. Thus tyranny succeeded minds, to which the scandalous outrages tyranny, and one despot and his partizans in Westminster, yesterday, were to be at hastily followed another to their fute. tributed. In that account, it was not a These were the blessed effects of systems little singular, that the three matters of government founded on what was called stated by the noble duke, and the noble equality and the rights of man. The marquis, in the course of the debate, had noble duke's amendment seemed to him been discussed and much insisted upon. to be highly objectionable, on account of He was sure the noble duke and noble the embarrassment it would create in the marquis did not mean to lend the weight way of negociation for peace. of their rank and character to sanction The Duke of Norfolk supported the the arguments of such a meeting; it was, amendment, because it distinctly said, therefore, much to be lamented, tisat it that if the French would not agree to fair should have happened, that the doctrines terms of peace, they would support the of the political demagogues to whom he crown in carrying on the war. He owned alluded, should have received, even ac- the declaration of ministers that day, did cidentally, the countenance of so august not make the amendment so necessary as and dignified an assembly as the House. it would otherwise have been. He reThe bad consequences of such meetings minded the learned lord, that the French as that held lately in the fields near Is- Revolution had originated not with the Jington, were so obvious, that it would be people, but with the government, in conunnecessary for him to dwell upon them; sequence of their extravagance and waste it was enough to mention the absurdity a thing which ought to be a warning of men haranguing about the decay of to all governments. the national wealth in a situation in which The Duke of Bedford said, that after they could not turn their heads round the indulgence he had received, he would without seeing a rising village on every not animadvert on the various topics of side of them, and dealing out phillippics the debate. The declaration of his majesty on the subject of the general distress of the was not sufficiently precise; but that of kingdom, under the very smoke of the brick the secretary of state that night, if he had kilns that were burning in order to furnish taken down his words correctly, would materials for the erection of new villages. satisfy him, and he should withdraw his His lordship said, he had the satisfac- amendment, if he understood the noble lord agreed to them. His words were-them and their respective monarchies, hare “ That in case the constitution now of thought that nothing would more effectually fered to the people of France, and per- contribute to this salutary end than the conhaps now adopted. should be found likely clusion of a treaty of defensive alliance, conto establish itself in such a form as should forthwith, and which should have for basis the

which they should occupy themselves secure a government likely to preserve the stipulations of similar treaties which have alrelations of peace and amity, his objec. ready been heretofore concluded, and have tions to treat with them would be entirely made the objects of the most intimate union removed."

between the two empires. For this purpose Lord Grenville said, he never would their said majesties have named for their plehold ambiguous language or deny what nipotentiaries, that is to say, his Britannic he had said in that House, he would majesty, the Sieur Charles Whitworth, hís therefore repeat his assertion, (which bis envoy extraordinary and minister plenipoten

tiary to her imperial majesty of all the Ruslordship did); but to attempt to make the sias, knight of the order of the Bath; and words of an individual peer in the debate, her imperial majesty of all the Russias, the not taken down at the time, a ground of Sieur John Count Österman, her vice chaneither making or withdrawing any motion, cellor, actual privy councillor, senator and was so unparliamentary, that he would knight of the orders of St. Andrew, of St. not consent to be placed in such a situa- Alexander Newsky, Great Cross of that of St. tion.

Vladimir of the first class of St. Anne; the The Amendment was then withdrawn,

Sieur Alexander count of Bezborodko, her and the Address agreed to.

great master of the court, actual privy coun. cillor, director general of the posts, and knight

of the orders of St. Andrew, of St. Alexander The King's Answer to the Lords Ad- Newsky, and Great Cross of that of St. Vladidress.] To the Address of the Lords mir of the first class; and the Sicur Arcadi his majesty returned this answer,

de Morcoff, privy councillor, member of the “ My Lords ;-I receive with the college of foreign affairs, knight of the greatest pleasure this very loyal and du- order of St. Alexander Newsky, and Great tiful address. The sense which you en.

Cross of that of St. Vladimir of the first class : tertain of the present situation and pros full powers, found to be in good and due form,

Who after having mutually exchanged their pect of affairs, and the assurances you have agreed upon the following articles: give me of your support in that line of ART 1. There shall be a sincere and conconduct which I have judged it necessary stant friendship between his Britannic mato pursue, must produce the best effects jesty and her niajesty the empress of all the with a view to either of the alternatives Russias, their heirs and successors, and, in to which the present crisis may lead. My consequence of this intimate union, the high exertions shall be unremittingly employed contracting parties shall have nothing more to maintain the honour and essential in strongly at heart than to promote by all pos

sible means their mutual interests, to avert terest of my kingdoms, and promote the from each other whatever might cause them welfare and prosperity of my people." any injury, damage or prejudice, and to main

tain themselves reciprocally in the undisturbed Copies of the Treaties with Russia ; the possession of their dominions, rights, comEmperor of Germany; and America.] merce and prerogatives whatsoever, by, guaNov. 3. Mr. secretary Dundas presented ranteeing reciprocally for this purpose all their Copies of the Treaties of Defensive Al countries, dominions, and possessions, as well liance with Russia, and the Emperor of such as they actually possess, as those which Germany, and the Treaty of Commerce

they may require by treaty. and Navigation with the United States of they shall employ by common consent in ora

ART. 2. If notwithstanding the efforts which America: of which the following are der to obtain this end, it should nevertheless translations :

happen that one of them should be attacked Treaty of Defensive Alliance between His by sea or land, the other shall furnish him, Britannic Majesty and the Empress of the succours stipulated by the following ar

immediately on the requisition being made, Russia. Signed at St. Petersburgh, the

ticles of this treaty. 18th of February, 1793.

ART. 3. His Britannic majesty and her imIn the name of the Most Holy Trinity ;- perial inajesty of all the Russias, declare, howe His Britannic Majesty, and Her Majesty the ever, that in contracting the present alliance, Empress of all the Russias, animated with a their intention is by no means to give offence desire equally sincere to strengthen more and thereby, or to injure any one, but that their more the ties of friendship and good under- sole intention is to provide by these engage standing which so happily subsist between ments for their reciprocal advantage and se.

« PreviousContinue »