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was scarcely worth noticing, nor should had the air of cant and profession on the he have adverted to it, but just to show one hand, or of indifference on the other, how well entitled the right hon. gentle found it awkward to meddle with. Estaman was to the credit he claimed for the blishments, tests, and matters of that accuracy of his facts and information. nature, were proper objects of political
This ancedote wanted only one little in discussion in that House; but not genegredient to produce possibly some effect, ral charges of deism or atheism, as pressnamely, fact. The truth was, that nei-ed to their consideration by the right hon. ther his nor Mr. Fox's health were drank gentleman; thus farhe would say, and it was at that meeting; and it was a little un an opinion he had never changed or conlucky that the right hon. gentleman, who cealed, that although no man can command ransacked every corner of every French his conviction, he had ever considered a paper for any thing that would make for deliberate disposition to make proselytes his purpose, should have overlooked a in infidelity as an unaccountable depraformal contradiction of such toasts having' vity of heart. Whoever attempted to been given, inserted by authority in the pluck the belief or the prejudice on this Patriote François ; and it was the more subject, style it which he would, from the unlucky, as the purpose of bringing for- bosom of one man, woman, or child, ward this important anecdote, was evi- committed a brutal outrage, the motive dently to insinuate that they were in for which he had never been able to trace Paris at least considered as republicans ; or conceive. But on what ground was while the actual reason given for not all this infidelity and atheism to be laid drinking their liealths was, that, though I to the account of the revolution ? The friends to the reform of abuses, they philosophers had corrupted and perverted were considered as expressly against all the minds of the people; but when did idea of revolution in England, and known the precepts or perversions of philosophy to be attached to the form of the existing ever begin their effect on the root of the constitution.
tree, and afterwards rise to the towering The next specimen of the right hon. ' branches? Were the common and ignomember's extreme nicety with respect to rant people ever the first disciples of phifacts, was the manner in which he proved losophy, and did they make proselytes of the enormous ambition of France, by the the higher and more enlightened orders? Convention's having adopted a proposi- He contended that the general atheism of tion of the minister of justice (Danton), France was, in the first place, no honour that the future boundaries should be the to the exertions of the higher orders of Rhine, the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the the clergy against the philosophers-and, Ocean; and great stress was laid upon in the next place, that it was notorious this proposal having been made by a per. that all the inen and women of rank and son of such rank in the state. Now for fashion in France, including possibly all the fact. Danton was not the minister of the present emigrant nobility, whose piety justice, and the proposition was not the right hon. gentleman seemed to conadopted by the Convention. The right trast with republican infidelity, were the hon. gentleman might have recollected, genuine and zealous followers of Voltaire that if Danton had been minister of jus- and Rousseau: and if the lower orders tice, he could not have been a member of the had been afterwards perverted, it was by Convention: and he ought also to have their precept and example. The atheism, known, that the proposition, so far from therefore, of the new system, as opposed having been adopted, was scarcely at- , to the piety of the old, was one of the tended to. But the ambition of France, weakest arguments he had yet heard in and her aggressions against this country, favour of this mad political and religious were not, according to the right hon. crusade. member, the only causes of war. Reli- Mr. Sheridan now adverted to Mr. gion demanded that we should avenge Burke's regret that we had not already her cause. Atheism was avowed and formed an alliance with the Emperor, professed in France. As an argument to and to Mr. Dundas's declaration, that he the feelings and passions of men, Mr. hoped that we should ally with every Sheridan said, that the right hon. mem- power in Europe against the French ; this ber had great advantages in dwelling on appeared to him to contradict Mr. Pitt's this topic; because it was a subject upon declaration, and it was the most unpleawhich those who disliked every thing that sant intelligence that he had heard that day. If we made such alliances, our renders its subjects, on the first recovery principles and our purposes would soon of their rights, unfit for the exercise of become the same; we took the field them. But was the inference to be, that against the excesses and licentiousness of those who had been long slaves ought liberty; they against liberty itself. The therefore to remain so for ever, because, effect of a real co-operation would be a in the first wildness and strangeness of more fatal revolution than even preju- liberty, they would probably dash their dice could paint that of France-a re- broken chains almost to the present injury volution in the political morals of Eng of themselves, and of all those who were land, and, in consequence, the downfall near them? No. The lesson ought to of that freedom which was the true foun- be a tenfold horror of the despotism, dation of the power, the prosperity, and which had so profaned and changed the the glory of the British nation. Sooner nature of social men, and a more jealous than entwine ourselves in such alliances, apprehension of withholding rights and and pledge the treasure and blood of the liberty from our fellow creatures, becountry to such purposes, he had almost cause, in so doing, we risked and became said he had rather see England fight responsible for the bitter consequences: France single-handed. He feared the for, after all, no precautions of fraud or enemy
less than our allies. He disliked of craft, can suppress or alter this eternal the cause of war, but abhorred the com- truth, that liberty is the birthright of pany we were to fight in still more. He man, and whatever opposes his possession had a claim to call on the right hon. gen- is a sacrilegious usurpation. Mr. Shetleman to join him in these principles. ridan concluded with adverting to the Who were these allies, and what had evident intention of the minister, to renbeen their conduct ? Had he (Mr. Burke) der unanimity impossible, but said he forgot his character of the Polish revo- should never retract his former declaralution? “ That glorious event had bet- tion; that the war once entered into, he tered the condition of every man there, should look to nothing but the defence from the prince to the peasant; it had of the country and its interests, and thererescued millions, not from political sla- fore give it a sincere and steady support. very, but from actual chains and even Mr. Ryder begged to remind the personal bondage.” Who had marred House, that they were now actually at this lovely prospect, and massacred the war; that it did not lie with them to ar. fairest offspring of virtue, truth, and va- gue about it, for they were forced into it. lour? Who had hypocritically first ap- The question was simply, whether they proved the revolution and its purposes, should support his majesty in his honourand had now marched troops to stifle the able intention of maintaining the dignity groans of those who dared even to mur- of his crown and the interests of the emmur at its destruction ? These allies, these pire. The declared purpose of the chosen associates and bosom counsellors amendment was to procure unanimity. in the future efforts of this deluded na- Certainly unanimity was a desirable thing; tion. Could the right hon. gentleman but he did not covet much the sort of palliate these things ? No. But had he unanimity which the amendment was calever arraigned them? Why had he never culated to produce. He wanted an uncome to brandish in that House a Rus- animous expression of firmness in oppossian dagger, red in the heart's blood of ing the French, not a tame unanimity the free constitution of Poland ? No, not which promised no essential support. a word, not a sigh, not an ejaculation The nation was unanimous: more perfect for the destruction of all he had held up assent was never given to any war: the to the world as a model for reverence atrocious event in France had awakened and imitation! In his heart is a record of the feelings and united the hearts of all brass for every error and excess of liberty, the English people: that event, however but on his tongue is a sponge to blot out it was to be deplored, might be said to the foulest crimes and blackest treache- have been so far beneficial, as it had thus ries of despotism.-It was a mean and aroused the genuine feelings of Englishnarrow way of viewing the subject to men, and had opened their eyes to the ascribe the various outrages in France to enormity of French principles. any other cause than this unalterable Mr. T. Grenville said, that the address truth, that a despotic government de- should not only promise his majesty supgrades and depraves human nature, and port, but to reprobate the unprovoked aggression of France; for no reasonable showed that peace was not the object man could read the papers before the of France ; for she must have known that House, and presume to tell the country England would never bend to threats, that proper satisfaction had been given and that therefore to hold them out was for that aggression. The decree of the the most effectual way not to conciliate or 19th of November was justly called a de- maintain a good understanding, but to cree of universal hostility; so far from provoke a war. His majesty, in the explanation or satisfaction being given in whole course of the negociation, had deit, there was a subsequent decree to exe- monstrated, that the continuance of peace cute it, with a disgusting menace, giving was the object nearest his heart, and only fifteen days to adopt the plan laid that nothing but dire necessity would out for them by the French, under penalty make him resort to war. It was this paof being treated as enemies. As to the cific disposition which had induced the Scheldt, they had taken upon them to king to authorize his ministers to treat settle it upon the rights of nature, con- with M. Chauvelin even in an unofficial trary to the rights of treaties, and inso- way, that no means of preserving peace lently put off the question on it until the might be lost. In obedience to his majesconsolidation of French liberty in Belgium, ty's commands, a negociation was opened a period entirely dependent on their own in which his ministers desired to wave for pleasure.
a time the question of recognising the new The amendment was negatived, and the French government or its ministers: they address agreed to without a division. wanted not to make this a preliminary to
negociation, but a measure to which a Debate in the Lords on the King's Mes- friendly intercourse might ultimately lead, sa ge respecting the Declaration of War if France should manifest, in the course with France.] Feb. 12. The order of the of unofficial communications, a pacific day being read for taking his Majesty's disposition. Had France been really Message into consideration,
disposed to peace, she would have adoptLord Grenville rose. He began by ob- ed this mode of treating, or at least she serving, that when he last addressed the would have declared, that it would not House on the subject of the misunder- become her dignity to treat in such a standing between this country and France manner; but instead of concurring with the motion which he made on that occa- his majesty in the measure which he had sion was honoured, not indeed with the recommended for the sake of peace, or unanimous support of their lordships, but of stating any objection on the score of with a concurrence so very nearly ap. dignity, she pressed forward the question proaching to unanimity, that it could not of recognition, and desired that her mipossibly be the result of any thing but a nister might be immediately received as thorough conviction of the necessity of ambassador from the republic. Such a farther armaments, and of actual war. proceeding could not have been dictated The conduct of their lordships on that by the spirit of peace, and might well be occasion he must consider as an auspici- considered as a preliminary to war; the ous omen of the support which he might object of it could be mistaken only by a expect that night; for he was fully per- shallow statesman ; there was little doubt suaded that every noble lord who voted but that it was to sound the disposition of for the last address was thoroughly con- England towards her allies, to try whevinced, that war was at that moment un- ther she was firmly determined to supavoidable, and at no distant period. The port them, and whether the people of this event had sufficiently proved that the con- country were ready to stand by his maviction was but too well founded. Their jesty in a war against France. If such lordships would recollect the state in was her object, it was evident she had which the negociation with M. Chauvelin been out in her calculations ; for she had was when it broke off : he had delivered a discovered that the people of England paper, purporting to contain explanations were not to be separated from their king, calculated to remove the jealousies of this and that they were at all times ready to country and avert a war; but it concluded arm, when summoned by the sacred obwith a declaration, that in case these ex- ligation of treaties, and a regard to the planations should not prove satisfactory, honour and character of their country. France would then prepare for war. When his majesty's ministers refused to This was a menace which sufficiently make the recognition of the French re
public a preliminary to negociation, the every thing that had been advanced by Executive Council of France adopted a
the National Convention as ground of the measure which, of itself, might be consi- war ; and he trusted he should make it dered as a complete rupture of all nego- appear, that the pretences which they ciation, and tantamount to a declaration brought forward were in some instances of war; for an order was immediately is- false, in others either frivolous or absurd. sued, contrary to the law of nations and That he might speak with greater accuto the faith of treaties, for stopping all racy, he would read those different the British ships in the ports of France. grounds from the account published by Here his majesty might have considered the Convention. This account consisted his dignity so far attacked as to justify a of three parts : first, the report made by determination on his part not to listen to M. Brissot ; second, the speech made by any offer of negociation, short of another member, which the Convention apology and reparation, for so outrageous ordered to be printed; third, the decree, an act; but his love for peace still pre. containing the enumeration of the acis by vailed, and would not suffer him to re. which England was said to have provoked nounce any chance for the continuance the war, and the declaration of hostilities. of it. To this end it was that lord Auck- He said, he had too much respect for land, the English ambassador at the Ha their lordships to read the infamous libel gue, having dispatched advice home that which Brissot's speech contained upon general Dumourier, commander in chief the king of Great Britain, a sovereign who of the French armies in the Netherlands, was so beloved by his people, and who inhad sent to him to propose a personal variably considered his own happiness as conference with him at a certain time and inseparable from that of his subjects. place, for the purpose of resuming the The enumeration of the grounds on negociation, and trying to avert the ca- which the decree for the declaration of lamity of a war, his majesty resolved to war was founded, contained some, which give his ambassador leave to attend the in point of date, were long anterior to the conference. From this step on the part negociation with M. Chauvelin, and of of France, and the king's readiness to co which that minister had never once comoperate in the happy work of restoring plained. This he would make appear in peace to Europe, it might well have been the course of his observations upon the expected that the period of a general pa- decree, which began as follows: “ The cification was at no great distance. But National Convention, after having heard how would their lordships be astonished the report of their committee of general when they should hear, that, on the very defence, on the conduct of the English day fixed for the conference between lord government: considering that the king Auckland and general Dumourier, the of England has persisted, especially since National Convention actually declared the revolution of the 10th of August 1792, war against England and Holland ? This to give proofs of his being evil-disposed step was a clear manifestation of the hos- towards the French nation, and of his attile disposition of France, and of her de- tachment to the coalition of crowned termination at all events to break with heads:"-It was very remarkable, that us, and to attack the Dutch. This step this was the first time that it was stated by could not possibly leave a doubt in any France, that England had in the smallest man's mind which of the two, England or degree departed, before the date of the France, was the aggressor.
present armaments, from the strict line of Were he to rest the motion which he neutrality, which the king had resolved intended to make, on what he had already to pursue with respect to the affairs of advanced, he was convinced that their France; with what a bad grace the Conlordships would agree with him in declar- vention brought such a charge, would aping, that the war was unprovoked on our pear from this striking circumstance, that part; that it was on groundless pretences the very first paper which M. Chauvelin that France was entering into it ; and delivered to his majesty's minister on his that those pretences were urged for the arrival in this country contained the purpose of concealing from Europe, as grateful acknowledgments of the French far as she was able, the system of aggran-government for the strict neutrality which dizement which she was endeavouring to the king had observed in the war between establish. But in a case of such magni- France and the other powers then at var tude as the present he was willing to meet with her. If any departure had taken place
from that neutrality, why had not she mean to say that, because a country had complained of it?' But no complaint changed its government, other nations had was made ; and therefore it might be a right to interfere in its concerns; but fairly concluded, that she had none to this he meant to maintain, that every surmake. Her making it at present served rounding nation had a right to expect the only to expose her to the reproach of hav- establishment of such a government, as ing advanced what could not be supported, would give security to the people at home, because it was not true.
and tranquillity to neighbouring states: The next charge was, “ That at the and that until such government was estaperiod aforesaid, he ordered his ambassa- blished, they were not bound to enter dor at Paris to withdraw, because he upon the question of recognition, but had would not acknowledge the Provisional a right to wait to see the effects of any inExecutive Council, created by the legis- stitution, which might be set up for the lative assembly:" In answer to this, moment, by those who for the time poslord Grenville said, he must touch upon sessed the power of the country. Our points which could not but revive the re- ambassador could not have been suffered membrance of transactions, which it to remain in Paris after the event of the would be for the honour of humanity 10th of August, without recognizing the to bury, if possible, in eternal ob- new government, a measure which would livion. Their lordships would recollect on many accounts have been highly indethat on the 10th of August a scene of cent, and which on one ground would have massacre had taken place, which had filled been extremely impolitic, as it could not the mind of almost every man in Europe have taken place without a hasty and prewith horror : this massacre had been re- mature decision on the question of recog. gularly planned, and executed with cir- nition. It would, he was sure, be con. cumstances the most shocking. It was ceded to him, that as a faction might for true, that this massacre was followed by a time procure power, so a foreign nation another on the 2nd of September, which was not bound to recognize the governleft the horrors of the former so far be- ment set up by such faction, until it hind, that when compared with each other should appear to have had the sanction one appeared completely lost in the enor of the people at large. This principle mity of the other. But before the 2nd of applied to the situation of France at and September, the revolution of the 10th of before the 10th of August would decide August must be, and was, considered as the question, and show that our ambasone of the most horrid transactions that sador ought not to have been authorized had ever disgraced the annals of mankind immediately to recognize the new goThe murders and butchery of that day vernment. It was well known that the threw into the hands of the perpetrators Constituent Assembly had, with the almost the power of France. They boasted in unanimous concurrence of the nation, the face of the world, of the share which established a limited monarchy in France. they had had in the dreadful tragedy, A republican party was known to exist in and stated it as the ground of their the kingdom ; but it was comparatively claim to public favour. Was it with small, and served only to show by their such men, that his majesty's ambas- feeble opposition at the outset, that the sador was to treat? Would it have be- great bulk of the nation was for a limited come the character of Great Britain, to monarchy. This party, however, gaining give her sanction to a measure, which ground in the second assembly, began to could not fail to excite the general exe. entertain hopes of overturning, the mocration of all Europe? Would it have narchy, and establishing a republic on its become her to make her minister treat one ruins. For this purpose, the persons who day with the king of France, and the composed it began to form plans for devery next day with those who had de- throning the king ; but no sooner had throned him, and by means of acts which their designs got wind, than addresses must fill the mind of every man with hor- were sent up from all the departments ror?. On such an occasion, he was or- declaring their determination to maintain dered to do what was best suited to the constitution with a limited monarch the dignified and humane character of at its head, and oppose at the hazard of England, he was ordered to quit France their lives and fortunes, the establishment and return home. His lordship did not of a republic. The Legislative Assembly, of their constituents, devoted to execra- following the impulse of the general sense [VOL. XXX.)