« AnteriorContinuar »
action with you. Fill up the measure of again be such as to incur the censure of our laudable principles, and then we will the House. Whereupon Mr. Speaker treat with you. Shocking to think ! Per- submitted to the House, that he trusted haps even now the barbarians were em- they would, at all times, be extremely bruing their hands in the blood of the un- careful to pay the strictest attention to happy prisoners! Let us look around, and the observance of their orders, so necesobserve their judges. Among others who sary for conducting the business of the reflected honour on human nature, were public with regularity and effect, and so citizen Frost and citizen Paine-men of essential to the maintenance of their own the most unblemished characters! Being honour and dignity: That he would rea general lover of new constitutions, and mind the House of their orders, whenenthusiastically fond of projectors, he was ever he saw occasion, and enforce them not surprised, that Mr. Erskine had un- to the utmost of his power, as the duty dertaken to plead Paine's cause. of his station required ; in doing which
he had no doubt of receiving the support [The Debate interrupted by the Miscon- and approbation of the House: That duct of a Member. ]-Mr. Burke being in- however, in the present case, he submitterrupted in a very disorderly manner, in ted to the House whether they would not this and in several other parts of his be pleased to take into their consideration speech, by Mr. Whitmore, member for the information which had been given by Bridgenorih, the member who yesterday the hon. member who spoke last. (Upon disturbed the proceedings of the House, the information before mentioned, and the
Sir James Gordon called to order, and apology which Mr. Whitmore had authoinsisted on the standing order being en- rized the member to make, and in conseforced against a disorderly member. quence of what Mr. Speaker had now
The Speaker immediately rose, and in a said, the House consented that the momanly, firm, but gentleman like manner, tion made for calling in and reprimanding stated to the House how much he was Mr. Whitmore should be withdrawn.) concerned to find himself under the ne. And the said motion was accordingly, cessity of putting into execution the with leave of the House, withdrawn. standing order of the House, which he And notice was given to the member who had yesterday directed to be read; but was withdrawn that he might return to that he was now compelled to name the his place in the House.] member that had given this interruption. Mr. Burke resumed his speech. Have He accordingly called upon Mr. Whit. ing now decided a point of order in this more by his name; upon which Mr. Whit. House, we return to the transactions of more was directed to withdraw.
another assembly, not so famous for orAnd he withdrew accordingly. Then der. But by whom was the unfortunate a motion being made, and the question king accused ? By citizen Paine on the being proposed, “That Mr. Whitmore be one hand, and citizen Frost on the other. called in, and be for his said offence re- Were these Frenchmen? No. They were primanded by Mr. Speaker in his place," not Frenchmen by birth, but Frenchmen
Mr. Burke apologized for him, and im- by merit. Thus, France adopted citizens puted his disorder to a warmth of consti- from all nations, and such a group of abantution he could not conquer: he was doned and unprincipled citizens as no other confident it arose not from any malevo- nation on the face of the earth would relent motive, or from any intention to ceive. Instead of navigating the Scheldt, break the privilege of the House, and these wretches navigated the Styx only; solicited earnestly for the slightest pro- and announced slaughter and destruction ceeding the House could adopt.
to all mankind. Were these the men to After some debate, Mr. Adam ac- whom we purposed to send an ambassaquainted the House that, having had an dor? Were we to petition them for peace? opportunity of speaking with the member Were we to humble ourselves before who was withdrawn, the said member had Judge Paine? It might perhaps be sarexpressed great regret for having trans- castically asked, how citizen Franklin, with gressed the orders of the House, and had whom citizen Paine was formerly intimate, authorized him to acquaint the House, came to be acknowledged as an ambassathat he is extremely sorry for his of- dor, and why he (Mr. Burke) connived fenee, and to assure the House, that at such a degradation ? The answer was upon no occasion his behaviour should obvious : citizen Franklin had never advis [VOL. XXX.]
sed the extirpation of all kings. When the third and fourth generation. Seizing the independence of America was acknow with avidity the prominent features of ledged, all Franklin's crimes were absol- certain detestable characters, he bestowed ved. The difference between these two condemnation upon the whole, because was great in other respects. Franklin was some individuals had committed acts of a native of America : Paine was born in outrage, and deserved condign punishEngland, and lived under the protection ment. The right hon. gentleman put up of our laws; but instigated by his evil ge- the members of the national convention nius, he conspired against the very coun- like ninepins, and bowled them down as try which gave him birth ; by attempting his inexhaustible fancy directed. With to introduce the new and pernicious doc- regard to the impolicy of sending an amtrines of republicanism. During the bassador to Paris, he widely differed from American war, we heard of no acts of bar- the right hon. gentleman. Had not Swebarity, no deliberate murders, no de- den an ambassador there ? Had not Naples thronement and decapitation of kings. an ambassador there? Were not the royal There had appeared more atrocious guilt family of Naples nearly related to that in France in one day than in America and of France, whose fate he, as well as every England in seven years. How could we good man, sincerely deplored ? How, possibly avoid war, when France had de- then, could our ambassador be degraded ? nounced destruction against all the kings But the right hon. gentleman allowed of Europe.
We were forced, on princi- himself to be hurried away by his implaples of self-defence, into a confederacy cable hatred to the French, whom he had with all the sovereigns of Europe. I say, ingeniously described conquering every we are now engaged in actual war. The where, with the sword in one hand, and question consequently is—Will you tame- the Rights of Man in the other. He comly surrender yourselves to citizen Frost, mended the honourable testimony which and Paine ? Forbid it, heaven! forbid it, Mr. Burke had given in favour of the justice! forbid it, humanity! Yield to English soldiers in America, who were traitors to their king? To a nation of now very generously presented with absomurderers ? Stain the illustrious pages of lution. A recantation of past errors was our history with such profanation and im- an act of magnanimity. Could he, howpiety? May God, in his infinite mercy, ever, forget his conduct during the Ameadd vigour to our arm, and enable us to rican war? Could he forget his prayers check the encroachments of those mon- for the success of the American arms ? sters of society !-Mr. Burke concluded Could he forget his enthusiasm in favour a very eloquent but desultory speech with of republicanism? Was his memory so reading, from a slip of paper, a declara- frail and fleeting, that he could not retion, which he wished to be avowed as the member how he wept over the fate of grounds of the conduct of the executive the rebel Montgomery-how he exulted power, in order that the people of Eng- at the victories of the rebel Washington ? land might know, that, if there must be a Was it so treacherous, that he could not war, it had arisen from the proceedings of remember his complaint against the imthose among themselves, who, by their se prisonment in the tower of Mr. Laurens, ditious practices, had provoked it; and the chief magistrate of the greatest repubthat a war with France was necessary for lic in the world? But success changed the the security of the liberties of England, opinions of men. Dr. Franklin's crimes, the interests of Europe, and the happiness as we had now been told by the right hon. of mankind.
gentlemen, were pardoned by the recogniMr. Courtenay said, that he had learnt, tion of American independence: and perfrom the speech of the right hon. gentle haps he, or some other orator, equally man who spoke last, three points of mate- ingenious would boldly affirm, that the rial importance, which he should otherwise murderers of Paris were pardoned by the never have conceived : 1st, that we were recognition of the French republic ! Mr. at war with France; 2dly, that to send an Courtenay confessed that he had not been ambassador to that country would be sueing in France “ in the days of chivalry." for peace; and 3dly, that we ought to make He had not seen seventeen years ago war, in order to exterminate the French “ delightful visions” in that country. But metaphysicians. The right hon. gentle- he had been there a short time since, man, however, had proceeded to a greater when he saw sights that would have “ extent, having damned all Frenchmen to ated a soul under the ribs of death." He
had seen fathers devoting their sons, wives might travel the remainder of his journey their husbands, mothers their children, to with alacrity. Talk of a republican gothe service of their country. If there vernment, suddenly his magic lantern apwere men to whom this sight would not be pears, and he produces Paine, Frost, grateful, those men were not objects of Marat, Robespierre, &c. dancing in merħis envy. Indeed he felt sorrowful in the ry confusion. He sports till he himself is extreme, when he read the audacious, the sickened; and till the most jocose become unprincipled, the shocking manifestoes of serious. Thus (said Mr. Courtenay) the duke of Brunswick; but that sorrow have I delivered my sentiments on the was changed to rapture when, a short present state of affairs. They exactly time subsequent to the publication of the correspond with those of my right hon. late manifesto, the duke and his disci- friend (Mr. Fox.) While I live and plined ruffians were driven disgracefully breathe 'I will maintain these opinions. out of France. He rejoiced at the sub- I know the public and private virtues of sequent successes of the French. Their my right hon. friend; and whenever I glorious expedition in Brabant-their libe- separate from him, I shall consider that ration of Flanders. He had lived to see day the most degraded of my life. the genius of liberty inspire the French Sir James Murray opposed the motion. with a portion of noble ardour which the He agreed that nothing could justify a slaves of despots found irresistible-to see war but the most urgent necessity; but if the duke of Brunswick's disciplined ruf- such necessity should be found to exist, fians fly before republican energy, to hear he was decidedly of opinion we had of the battle of Jemappe, when the fight- every thing to hope for. To prove this ing machines of aristocracy retired with position he took a view of the powers of disgrace, and left the field to freemen, Europe, as they stood affected towards emulous of true glory. These were the France, and contended that we must remen whom the right hon. gentleman had ceive their assistance in any struggles we reviled; these were the men against whom, might unhappily be drawn into. He deto increase the blessings of our constitu- fended the duke of Brunswick, and astion, he urged us to wage war. Were we sured the House, from his own personal become so senseless, so petrified, so dea- knowledge, that no acts of cruelty were dened to justice and humanity, as to listen exercised by the Austrians, in their irrupfor a moment to such pernicious sophistry? tion into France, and that the manifesto The proclamation, which, no doubt, was that had given so much offence was very well intended, has been productive of merely intended to terrify the inhabitants two mobs only—those of Birmingham and into a submission, and at most could only Manchester—who both bellowed the favo- be called bullying. rite cry of “ Church and King !" minis- Mr. Sheridan said, that never since he ters had certainly acted in a bungling had sat in parliament had he heard a manner. Before this time, there ought to question so perversely argued, or the have been church and king mobs all over mover of it so unjustly treated. This the kingdom. Where were the insurrec- compelled him to trespass on the indultions said to be against the constitution ? gence of the House, late as the hour was, When the tree of liberty was expected, and he must be excused for paying no according to the ministerial report, to be respect whatever to the observation of a
Kennington-common, the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Burke), that it troops were almost starved, waiting for was improper to bring forward these disthe insurrection. This reminded him of cussions in the absense of his majesty's a story of lord Craven, in the time of first minister. This was a tender respect Charles the 2nd. His lordship was always to the dignity of office in that right hon. present at fires. A house being burnt in gentleman ; but he must be permitted to the city, the king asked if lord Craven say, that the representation of the counwas there, “ Oh yes,” exclaimed a cour- try was indeed placed in a degraded light, tier, “ he was there waiting for the fire if it was to be maintained that the great three hours before it broke out.” Mr. council of the nation was not in this moBurke, he said, was the dupe of his imagi- mentous crisis a court competent to disnation. If France was only hinted at, the cuss the dearest interests of the people, right hon. gentleman immediately yielded unless the presence of a certain minister to his favourite passion. Off he dashed, of the crown sanctioned their deliberations. with some whipping and spurring, that he But on what ground did they regret the
absence of the treasury leader? Had | which a learned member (Mr. Grant) had there appeared any want of numbers or supported his argument. The most sucability on the bench opposite * to com- cessful passage in his able speech turned pensate for this loss? What exertion that upon a passionate appeal to the pride and he could have furnished had been unsup- dignity of the English nation. He thought plied? Had there been any want of splen- proper to assume, that any thing like nedid and sonorous declamation to cover a gociation at present, would be a petition meagreness of argument? Any want of for mercy and forbearance from the French virulence of invective to supply the place nation ; and then he triumphantly ex. of proof in accusation? Any want of in- claimed, “ Draw your petition, and where flammatory appeals to the passions where is the man, with a British heart within reason and judgment were unsafe to be his bosom, who will sign it?” What unresorted to ? Unquestionably in all these fairness was this? Was there no mode respects, the chancellor of the exche- between nations of demanding explanation quer
had not been missed. In one res. for an injury given or meditated, but by pect, indeed, they might be justified in petition? Did we petition the court of regretting his absence. They had been Spain in the affair of Nootka Sound ? pressed to prove the facts asserted in the Did we petition France in the dispute res. king's speech, and in the proclamation. pecting this very Holland in 1787 ? Or Not an atom of information could any did the learned gentleman believe that, present member of the government fur- notwithstanding these instances, there was
doubtless, therefore, the insurrection something so peculiarly meek, pliant, and was a secret deposited in the breast of bending in the character of the first ministhe chancellor of the exchequer, and he ter, that it was quite impossible for him had taken in his pocket all the proofs of to assume a lofty tone or a haughty air the plot to assist him in his re-election at for any purpose?
The case of Russia, Cambridge. His right hon. friend had however, Mr. Sheridan ridiculed and exrecommended, that before we plunged into cepted. To judge by that alone he ad. a war, and drew upon the treasure and mitted that the learned gentleman might blood of the people of Great Britain, we be justified in apprehending that every should try, if possible, to settle the matter menace of this government was to end in in dispute by negociation, and show to an act of meanness; that, whenever he the people that we had so tried. This his saw the minister in the attitude of threatright hon. friend had recommended as a ening, he might expect to see him in the duty, which we owed to our constituents, act of conceding; and that, if he armed be the character and principles of the it was in order to petition for mercy. power with whom we are disputing what Without this inference from the past they may. Was it credible that a propo- conduct of administration, the general sition of this nature should have been re- argument was idle, and all the proud acceived with such heat ? Reason and duty clamations it had produced were wholly at any other time must have supported it. thrown away.-Mr. Sheridan next adBut the fact was, that the moment was verted to the declaration of Mr. Windham unfortunate; the time was full of heat that as he was of opinion that moral proand irritation ; natural and artifical go- priety prohibited our treating, or having vernment had thought it their interest to any intercourse with France, he had rainflame this disposition. Intelligence was ther, if it ever took place, that it should expected of a catastrophe in France, which be matter of necessity and not of choice. all human hearts deprecated, and would This he treated as a sentiment not consistequally deplore; in this temper, therefore, ent with the usual precision of underthe public mind was worked up to a blind standing which characterized that hon. and furious hostility against France, and the gentleman. It was admitted that some dearest interests of our own country were
time or other we must treat with the to be risked at the call of a momentary French, for eternal war or the extirpation enthusiasm, which, if not bottomed in of the nation was not yet avowed by any sound policy and sound sense, was sure not one. Necessity, then, was to be looked to to be lasting. Could there be a stronger to give us a moral excuse ; and whence proof of this temper, than the manner in was that necessity to arrive ? from defeat,
from discomfiture, from shame and dise * Mr. Burke, for the first time, took his seat grace. Happy prospect to look to, which this evening on the Treasury Bench. would excuse us as it did the duke of Saxe Teschen in his glorious retreat from overthrow of the French republic, and the the contamination of treating with this extermination of all who had supported it. nation of robbers and murderers, as they was the House, was the country, ready are styled. Happy, dignified opportunity to vote a war for such an object, and on to treat, when we should be completely such principles ?-We were told that we at their mercy. Unquestionably we should must not differ with the allied powers, with then be justified, and certainly we should whom we were in future to co-operate. be undone. But the hon. gentleman ar- Were we, then, to make a common cause gued as if this case of necessity, through in the principles, and for the purposes for defeat, could alone justify us in nego- which these despots associated? Were ciating with such a foe. What! did he the free and generous people of England not perceive that an equal necessity might ready to subscribe to the duke of Brunsarise from our success? We went to war wick's manifesto? That hateful outfor a specific object-the minister avowed rage on the rights and feelings of human and explained that object. Admit that nature, that wretched issue of impotent we are victorious and obtain it-is not pride, folly and inhumanity, that proclathe war to cease when the object of it is mation which had steeled the beart and obtained ? And if to cease, how but by maddened the brain of all France, which some intercourse or agreement of some had provoked those it had devoted to sort or other? Here there would be a si practise all the cruelties it had impotently tuation in which negociation must arise, threatened to inflict, which had sharpened not from necessity and defeat, but from the daggers of the assassins of the end of victory and justice; all nicety and strained September, which had whetted the axe morality, and meek dignity, therefore now suspended over the unfortunate mo about the thing itself was trifling; and as narch-was the nation ready to subscribe to waiting that time might operate, he to this absurd and detestable rhapsody? did not conceive that if that time was to One case alone had been sufficient to debe spent in war and blows, much advance cide him as to the true spirit of the league would be made in the spirit of concilia
--the brutal rigour with which La Fayette tion.-In stating the question this way, had been treated ; whatever else he was,he he argued, on the declared grounds which was a brave man, and he was in their power, his majesty's speech and the ministers The use they had made of that power gave for the war'; for if he were to argue sufficiently showed how they would have on the ground on which the war was urged treated others, whom they might well with such impassioned and popular elo, consider as entitled to ten-fold enmity.quence by other gentlemen, in that case Mr. Sheridan proceeded to reprobate the he must despair of ever seeing peace re. idea of Great Britain engaging in the war turn to the earth. With them was the on the principles of the allies. The ques. motive to keep faith with our allies ? | tion was not merely whether we should Was the object to preserve Holland ? Or go to war or not, but on what principles, to resent the incendiary decree of the to what end, and pledged to what confenational convention ? Nothing like it deracy we should go to war. For his through all their speeches ! They scarcely part, he had declared, that, if war must deigned to mention such little and limited be, the defence of the country and its purposes. No: their declared object was constitution would be the single consideto avenge all the outrages which have ration in his mind; and for that purpose been committed in France; to reinstate, he would support the executive governif possible, all that has been overthrown; ment, in whatever hands his majesty to exterminate the principles and the placed it. But in this declaration he re. people who preach the principles which ferred to a war undertaken on the necesthey reprobate. As Philip demanded the sity, and directed to the objects stated orators of Athens to be delivered up to by his majesty and his ministers. He did him as his most formidable enemies, these not refer to the crusade of chastisement gentlemen must have all the democratic and vengeance, which the zeal of some metaphysicians of France extirpated, or gentlemen recommended, and the clamour they cannot sleep in their beds. In short, of the House seemed so ready to adopt. the whole bearing of the arguments and He would never consent that one Eng. instigations they used to rouse the House lish guinea should be spent, or one drop to hostility, went to advise a war which of British blood be shed, to restore the never was to cease, but with the total antient despotism of France, that bitter