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draw his motion, and added, that some of not a right to say, “ You give every thing the opinions lately maintained by Mr. to the imaginary fears of others, and noFox were highly dangerous, although the thing to our real sufferings."- Mr. Fox right hon. gentleman might not understand paid a handsome compliment to the worth them to be so, and said, that if ealled upon and character of Mr. Walker, who, he to do so, he would point them out. said, entertained opinions respecting the
Mr. For said, it would ill become him constitution of which he did not approve; to interrupt a business before the House, but that was no reason for withdrawing by calling for a debate on his own opi- his good opinion, while his life and connions; but if the hon. gentleman or the duct were irreproachable. It was their House chose to appoint a time for ex- duty to take into their minds, not toleraamining his opinions, he was ready to tion, but that on which toleration was meet the discussion, and to thank them for founded, sympathy for human infirmity it, confident that it would only afford him and human error, and to recollect that an opportunity of removing misconcep; those who differed from us might be right, tion. There were certain forms and although we could not see it. He exphrases which, at present, every gentle- pressed his doubts of the legality of the man who rose to speak was required to associations and subscriptions for crimirepeat ; all these, whether “Church and nal prosecutions ; not of those for aiding State,” or “God save the King," or any the civil magistrate in suppressing riot or thing else, he begged to be understood as insurrection. Of one of this sort he should having said or sung. As those who had be ready to become a member, and to read Italian operas might recollect to have assist the magistrate in person if neces. seen prefixed an advertisement by the sary, for it was the duty of every man to author, that when he introduced the do so. Such associations might do good names of the heathen gods and goddesses if there was danger, and could only excité he meant nothing against the holy catho- a little unnecessary alarm if there was lic religion; so he must advertise the none. But these associations were at House, that when he made use of the present made an instrument of tyranny words liberty, equality, impartiality, he over men's minds, almost as bad as the used them only in the true sense of the clubs in France, that went about, as often British constitution, and not as under- as they thought fit, requiring men to restood, or supposed to be understood, in new their civic oath on pain of proscripany other country. This was the more tion for incivism. Papers were handed necessary, as the first thing he had to do about for signatures, and the names of was to implore them to be equal and im- those who signed, and of those who did partial; for it was not for the dignity of not, were taken down with the mark of the government or of the House, to pro- incivism fixed on the latter. To such secute seditious publications on one side, persons in the lower ranks of life as had and pass by those on the other. He had consulted him, he had said, “ I shall sign always advised never to connect riots and none of these papers, those who offer them insurrections with seditious writings, and will probably do me no harm; but you to repress and punish the criminal acts. they will deprive of your customers or His advice was not followed ; libels on your employers, and therefore whether one side were connected with acts and you think them useful associations, or prosecuted; if the same course was not idle, I advise you to sign them.” He re. pursued with respect to libels on the other marked on various inflammatory handside, surely there was neither impartiality bills, circulated under pretext of calling nor equality. For how stood the facts? meetings, and mentioned one for a meetLibels against the constitution had been ing at Staines, concluding with—“ Depublished, but no riot had followed these struction to Fox and all his Jacobin libels, no mob had taken the Rights of crew.” Now, it so happened, that his Man for their watch-word; yet these libels house was within three or four miles of had been prosecuted. Libels against the Staines, and perhaps it might have been dissenters had been published, riots had the purpose of the author of the handensued, directed solely against the dis. bill to serve his house as it had been atsenters, of wbich church and king was tempted to serve Mr. Walker's. Of this, the signal, and none of these libels were however, he was not much afraid: for alprosecuted. Were the dissenters, in this though misrepresentation had often made respect equally protected ? Had they him unpopular where he was not knowi,
he had the good fortune never to have to be united, it became him pertinaciousbeen unpopular in his own neighbourhood. ly to resist this motion, which cast a He exhorted the House, by adopting the marked reflection on government, by atmotion, or by some resolution declaring tributing to it a partiality for certain detheir equal disapprobation of riots on all scriptions of people, simply on account of pretexts, to save the country from the their religious persuasion. The church of possible disgrace of driving a body pos- England was, and he trusted would long sessing such talents, such industry, such continue, a great majority, when compared invariable loyalty to the house of Bruns- with the various persuasions of dissenters; wick, as the dissenters, to emigration. and the provocations given by the latter
Mr. Windham said, that the House had to the members of the established church, directed no prosecutions on either side, by a variety of publications calculated to and therefore could not be charged with occasion much ill blood and animosity, partiality. The law was equally open in obliged the churchmen, however unwil. all cases. The indignation excited against lingly, to show that that they were the Mr. Walker was much more fairly impu- majority. With respect to the parochial table to his political opinions, than to his as well as other associations, at the prebeing a dissenter. It was natural and sent critical juncture, he considered them even justifiable for men to feel indigna- as promising to be attended by numerous tion against those who promulgated doc. advantages, and was astonished that an trines, threatening all that was valuable objection should be stated to them. and dear in society; and if there were not Mr. Dundas defended the associations means of redress by law, even violence for prosecuting seditious writings as legal, would be justifiable. But we had laws, and instanced the societies for prosetherefore violence ought to be punished; cuting swindlers and house-breakers. and on this ground he defended the as- He recommended it to Mr. Fox to consociations, as tending to prevent' violence sider the advice he had given about signby giving vigour to the law.
ing papers; for according to that doctrine, Mr. Serjeant Watson thought the dis- a magistrate might think himself sure of senters entitled to every indulgence and the support of a great number of perprotection compatible with the laws of sons, who, when occasion called, would good government. However the mode refuse to aid him. Men who signed paand forin of their religion might differ pers of which they disapproved, might from those of the established church, soon learn to swear what they did not benone of his majesty's subjects could pos- lieve; and the signatures of traitors might sibly be more loyal. With respect to the appear among those of good citizens. various associations which had been lately No sufficient ground had been laid for reformed, for the preservation of peace and ceiving the paper, and therefore he should good order, he considered them com
oppose the motion. mendable in the highest degree, since
Mr. Fox said, he kept no such company their purpose was to assist the civil ma- as the right hon. secretary talked of. He gistrates in the execution of the laws. conversed with no men who would refuse
Mr. Hawkins Brown was of opinion, to aid the civil magistrate ; and he had no that the paper in question ought not to be advice to give to traitors, except to beprosecuted by that House. He thought come good subjects. All that he had said the assuciations highly necessary at the was, that when papers and declarations present inoment, and that
beneficial were offered to men in the way of test, effects had already been found to result containing nothing of which they posifrom them; they had even gone so far as tively disapproved, but only what they to influence favourably the public funds. thought unnecessary or useless; and when
Mr. Mitford declared himself as friend their refusing to sign such papers would ly as any man could be to universal tolera- bring upon them a sort of proscription to tion ; but in his opinion it would be im the great injury of their property, if not possible to make a proposition more ini- danger to their persons, his advice was mical to the peace and good government to sign them; and a stronger necessity of this country, than the present one, would even justify them in signing that since it was impossible at this time to se- of which they did disapprove. parate religious froin political opinions. Mr. D. Scott was of opinion, that it He therefore thought, that until these re- would be most prudent to treat the paper ligious and political opinions should cease with indifference and neglect. He had seen hundreds of such papers, addressed | abuse thrown out against every human to the lower orders of the people, con- creature bearing the name of Frenchman, taining the most seditious advice ; they that there existed in that country a sindied away without notice or noise, through cere disposition to listen to and respect their own insignificancy. If noticed or the opinion of the British nation. He al. punished, they might have derived an im- luded to the situation of the king now on portance that did not naturally belong to his trial, and of his family. He was conthem.
fident that the French nation was ill-inThe motion was negatived.
formed of the temper and feelings of the
free, but generous and humane, people of Debate in the Commons on the Situation Great Britain, and that if they could be of the Royal Family of France.) Dec. 20. in any authentic manner apprized of what The report of the Navy Estimates was he in his soul and conscience believed to brought up, and on the Resolution, " That be the genuine impression of the public 25,000 seamen be employed for the year mind on this subject, namely, that there 1793, including 5,000 marines,” being was not one man of any description or read,
party who did not deprecate, and who Mr. Sheridan observed, that as the would not deplore, the fate of those perHouse was called on to vote 9,000 sea- secuted and unfortunate victims, should men above the number voted in the last the apprehended catastrophe take place, session, some explanation might have he was confident that such a conviction been deemed necessary; but after what might produce a considerable influence, he had said on former nights, and feeling he wished he could venture to say a sucas he then did, the motion had his most cessful effect, on the public mind in Paris, hearty concurrence; and had the number and throughout France. Mr. Sheridan moved for been 40,000, he should with pressed shortly his reasons for thinking equal readiness have concurred. In the thus, and said, that among those whose present situation of Europe, he admitted hearts would be most disgusted by the the necessity of an armament; and if, un- unjust and inhuman act of cruelty he al. fortunately, we should be compelled to luded to, he believed would be found enter into a war, he hoped and trusted all those who had been foremost in rethat it might be entered into with the ex. joicing at the destruction of the old desertion of every nerve of the empire, and potism of France, and who had eagerly conducted with an energy that might con- hoped and expected that to whatever exvince all Europe, that when compelled to tremes, as to principles of government, a endure that calamity, we were determined momentary enthusiasm might lead a peoto pursue it not in a lingering and pro- ple new to the light of liberty; that however tracted, but in a decisive manner. He wild their theories might be,yet there would had however still to congratulate the have appeared in the quiet, deliberate people, that the prospect of peace was acts of their conduct, those inseparable not so completely closed, as the argu- characteristics of real liberty, and of true ments of several gentlemen on former valour, justice, magnanimity, and mercy. nights went to establish; on the contrary, He would not take upon him to give any the motion now before the House, held opinion as to the manner in which the out the same hope as had been held in public sentiment of England might be exhis majesty's speech, that there still ex- pressed on this subject, but he was more isted a chance of a war being avoided, and more convinced, from the latest inand that our preparations might operate telligence from France, that the opporto continue to us the blessings of peace. tunity ought not to be neglected. The opinion that he had held on former Mr. Burke was not one who looked up nights he still held, that we ought to to the leaders of the Revolution in France negociate with the governing power of for justice, magnanimity, or mercyany country, whatever that governing he was not willing to apply to them in power might be: and had that policy any way, for the exercise of those virtues. been adopted, it might have led to the The hon. gentleman, in the course of his prevention of that catastrophe which speech, had insinuated that he had in forevery man in the kingdom not only feared mer debates argued as if peace was out but would deprecate as wicked, unjust of the question, and had shown that he and abominable. He was convinced, not had neither stood forward as one in the withstanding the gross and indiscriminate secrets of ministers, nor in the interests of
his country: that he was not in the secrets Mr. Fox said, he did not rise to misreof ministers he admitted, but that was present any gentleman, or to throw out not matter of reproach, and his not stand- unwarrantable insinuations; he had no ing forward for the interests of his coun- knowledge of the intentions of the leaders try was an assertion unfounded, indecent, in another country, but as that event bad and impertinent. The hon. gentleman, in been introduced which every man of huholding up those who governed in France manity must equally dread and deprecate, as possessors of magnanimity, justice, and he declared it to be his sincere opinion, mercy, might as well have sung Ca Ira, that it would, if it should unfortunately as it would have been equally to the ques- take place, revolt the feelings of the whole tion. From what he had seen of those nation, and of Europe, as an act the remen, he saw nothing to admire, unless mur- verse of mercy, justice, and magnanimity; der and treason were deeds to be praised. for it would be an act of the grossest and He had given his vote on a former most foul injustice, cruelty, and pusillaninight, from a conviction that war was in- mity. He agreed fully with what had evitable, and that opinion he had founded fallen from his hon. friend, that not only upon the domestic dangers he had seen, those who held the government in France, and the situation of foreign affairs, and but that the whole people would, if they not from any knowledge of the secrets of could obtain it, pay great respect to, and his majesty's ministers. It was true, be influenced by what he was confident therefore, that in respect to those secrets, was the unanimous sense and feeling of he spoke in the dark. But the hon. gen- every man in this empire. Could no tleman had spoken pretty boldly of the means be suggested to communicate that intentions of those on the other side of unanimous sentiment ? Could not some the water, and equally in the dark with mode be proposed for obtaining an unhimself, unless he was in the secrets of animous vote of both Houses, conveying the French ministers. His opinion was, the unanimous opinion of the country. that the disposition of the French people If any could, he, for one, should be happy was dangerous to Europe. He knew no. to give it his hearty support, and should thing of the gentlemen of the phalanx, he be glad, and obliged to any gentleman, should leave them to themselves. But he to give him such an opportunity of domust repeat, that he could not rely on ing away one of the cruelly unjust misthe justice, the magnanimity, or the representations which had been made of mercy of the French, particularly when his conduct. In speaking immediately to they charged their king as a criminal for the question before the House, it had his offences for which that House would not hearty support, and with equal alacrity call the meanest individual in the country he would have voted for 40,000 seato their bar to answer.
The truth was, men; he would not, however, move an the king was in the custody of assassins, increase of the number, as it was to be who were both his accusers and his judges, presumed that ministers knew what was and his destruction was inevitable. necessary for the present exigencies, and
Mr. Sheridan said, that a grosser mis- as the House, by the present vote, were representation, and a more unjustifiable by no means precluded from an additional insinuation had never before been made vote whenever that addition should unin parliament than had been made by the fortunately be necessary.- That he might right hon. gentleman who had just sat not again be subjected to misrepresentadown. He then recapitulated the prin- tion, he begged to declare, in terms the cipal points of his former speech, assert most explicit and sincere, that he was as ing that he had not held up the French eager as any man could possibly be for an ministers as examples of 'magnanimity, armament. He deemed it indispensably justice, and mercy, but had merely stated necessary from the situation of Europe. it to be his opinion, that were the French He was equally ready to declare, that he nation to be made acquainted with the was not one who with an indifferent eye unanimous sentiments of the British em- saw the progress of the French arms; he pire, they would not shock those who felt it to be alarming to Europe, and was looked up to the zealous promoters of li- under considerable concern for the effects berty, for the possession of magnanimity, it might have on his country. Upon justice, and virtue, by a proceeding that every ground an armament was wise and would render them detestable to all necessary. He wished that by negocia. Europe.
tion a war might be averted, but he was
not willing that we should even negociate | and vigorous support of the House. The unarmed. If a neutrality was persevered doubt of the present vote being too small in, he would still vote for an armament: must be done away upon the consideraand if war was necessary, the armament tion, that it did not preclude an inerease : could not be too extensive and vigorous ; should war be necessary, the present was but in either case, whether by negociation not in any degree to be considered the we should endeavour to preclude the ne- ultimate extent of our preparation. On cessity of a war, whether a neutrality was the question whether peace would or adopted, or whether ultimately and un- would not be preserved, he would not give fortunately a war should fall on us, the an opinion ; but if it could be preserved, motion was expedient, and it had his sin consistently with national honour, concere support.
sistently with good faith, consistently Mr. Pitt declared, that the sentiments with our own internal security, and conhe had that night heard, had afforded to sistently with the safety and interest of all him the most heartfelt and cordial sa - Europe, it would not be broken-but upon tisfaction. It was usual, he said, to give any other terms peace would be but the an explanation for calling on parliament nominal maintenance of its blessings, at for increased forces, when sufficient ex- the moment that they would in reality be planation had not been before given ; but sacrificed. On the part of his majesty's explanations for the present vote had been ministers, nothing would be omitted that given. His majesty, in his speech from had an honourable tendency to avert war; the throne, had stated the necessity of an but much more had been already, and on increase of his naval and military forces, that day done, to preclude the necessity for the security of the peace of Europe, of a war, than ministers by themselves interrupted by schemes of aggrandisement could have done. The declarations from and conquest, for the protection of the all sides of the House, according with the rights of neutral nations, for the mainte- unanimous sentiments of the people, must dance of our constitution and national safe- make every nation in Europe feel that this ty, and for the general peace of mankind. was not a safe or prudent ‘moment to Knowing, though not at that time a mem-force the British empire into war. He ber of parliament, that such reasons had had heard with infinite satisfaction sentibeen advanced, he had not been shaken ments from the right hon. gentleman wbich in his opinion of the general unanimity of went to the full approval of the declaration that House, and of the country, in the made by his majesty, and left at Paris by measure adopted by his majesty : nor had his minister, as his parting voice—that he been shaken by those propositions voice had been confirmed by the indiviwhich he had understood had been made, dual sentiments of every gentleman who and which, had he been present, he should had spoken-it was the voice of that have exerted the utmost of his abilities in House, and of the country at large. Eudeprecating, as advancing principles, im- rope and the world would see it with sapolitic, dangerous, and disgraceful to the tisfaction, and humanity would feel gratenation. He should have contended ful to them. It had been asked in what against the proposition for sending an am- way should we intimate the unanimous senbassador to France, as a proposition timent of the people of England ?-in any which, if adopted, would have entailed way consistently with the honour of the eternal disgrace upon the British empire, nation but by an ambassador was unneby giving countenance to that horrid cessary; the king, as the representative deed which had been now deprecated as of his people, having already by his amabominably wicked, unjust, cruel, and bassador made that declaration; those pusillanimous. In his expectation of the who most admired the French revolution unanimity of the House, he had in no de- had made the same declaration, and their gree whatever been shaken by the opi. sentiments, no doubt, would be communions of the most zealous admirers of the nicated in the usual channels; and of the French revolution ; for he could not have sentiments of the other part of the nation, been led to the supposition that even it was impossible for a doubt to be enterthose gentlemen would have opposed the tained; but if some formal mode . was point of a vigorous preparation. In his wished to be adopted, that it might be expectations he was happily not deceived, entered on the Journals of that House, for and from that moment he had a right to the purpose of handing down to posterity look to the unanimous, to the determined, a solemo protest by this country against