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ing that line of conduct which the French Debate on Mr. Grey's Motion for an Adhad proposed by their decree of the 19th dress to restore Peace with France.] Feb. of November. In justifying, on a former 21. Mr. Grey rose and said, that in occasion, the riots of Birmingham, he had moving the address to his majesty, which adopted the reasoning of Robespierre, he should now have the honour to prowhen he vindicated the massacres of the pose to the House, he would not take 2nd of September - that the persons up their time by any previous speech. who had suffered, had indeed done no le could hardly entertain a hope, after mischief, but that had they not been what had passed, that his proposition crushed, they might have become ex. would be acceded to, though he wished tremely dangerous. It was not because most ardently that it were possible, as they considered a negociation as useless, it might still

, perhaps, be the means that certain gentlemen who supported the of averting the calamities of war: but minister had disapproved of treating at all whatever might be its fate, he was with France, but because they considered anxious to come forward with an expliFrance as not negociable. Ministers, in cit declaration and avowal of his sentiwhat they had said of a proposed confer- ments, and to court the distinction of beence between general Dumourier and ing recorded as one of those who had, lord Auckland, had stated that it was with every possible exertion, opposed perfectly consistent to treat with a gene- those impolitic measures, whereby we had ral in time of war. So then we were to been plunged into a war, which was likely go to war for the sole purpose of making to be so ruinous and calamitous to this an opening for negociation.

country. He then moved, Mr. W. Smith disapproved of a war, 6. That an humble address be prewhether the object was to oppose French sented to his majesty to assure his maarms or French principles. In both cases, jesty that his faithful Commons, anihe considered a war as tending to increase mated by a sincere and dutiful attachthe danger.

ment to his person and family, and to the The previous question being put, that excellent constitution of this kingdom, as that question be now put; the House di- well as by an ardent zeal for the interest vided :

and honour of the nation, will at all times TELLERS.

be ready to support his majesty in any YEAS S Mr. Adam

measures which a due observance of the Mr. Lambron

faith of treaties, the diguity of his crown, Mr. Powys

or the security of his dominions, may NOES

270 Mr. Jenkinson

compel him to undertake. So it passed in the negative.

“ That feeling the most earnest solici. List of the Minority.

tude to avert from our country the calaAntonie, W. Lee Plumer, W.

mities of war, by every means consistent Bouverie, hon. E. Powlett, W. Powlett

with honour and with safety, we expressed Burch, J. R.

Russell, lord John to his majesty, at the opening of the preBaker, William Russell, lord Wm. sent session, our sense of the temper Courtenay, J.

Sheridan, R. B. and prudence which had induced his Coke, T. W.

St. John, St. Andrew * majesty to observe a strict neutrality Coke, E. Smith, Wm.

with respect to the war on the contiChurch, J. B. Spencer, lord R.

* nent, and uniformly to abstain from any Colhoun, W.

Sturt, Charles Crespigny, J.C. Taylor, M. A.

. interference in the internal affairs of Erskine, T. Taylor, C.

• France ;' and our hope that the steps Fox, C. J. Thompson, T.

his majesty had taken would have the Fitzpatrick, R. Vaughan, B. happy tendency "to render a firm and Francis, P.

Wycombe, earl of • temperate conduct effectual for preservGrey, Charles Wyndhain, P. C. ing the blessings of peace.' Hare, James Whitbread, s.

« That, with the deepest concern, we Howard, Henry Wilbraham, R. now find ourselves obliged to relinquish Hussey, w.

Western, C. c. Harrison, J. Whitmore, T.

that hope, without any evidence having Howel, D. Wennington, sir E.

been produced to satisfy us that his maJekyll, Joseph

jesty's ministers have made such efforts Maitland, T. Adam, W.

as it was their duty, to make, and as, by Macleod, col. Lambton, W. H. his majesty's most gracious speech, we North, Dudley

were taught to expect, for the preserva


tion of peace: it is no less the resolution : satisfactory or not, they at least left the than the duty of his majesty's faithful question open to pacific negociation; in Commons to second his efforts in the war which the intrinsic value of the object, to thus fatally commenced, so long as it any of the parties concerned in it, might shall continue; but we deem it a duty have been coolly and impartially weighed equally incumbent upon us to solicit his against the consequences, to which all majesty's attention to those reasons or of them might be exposed, by attempt. pretexts, by which his servants have la- ing to maintain it by force of arms. boured to justify a conduct on their part " We have been called upon to resist which we cannot but consider as having views of conquest and aggrandizement contributed, in a great measure, to pro- entertained by the government of France, duce the present rupture.

• at all times dangerous to the general “ Various grounds of hostility against interests of Europe, but, asserted to be France have been stated, but none that peculiarly so, when connected with the appeared to us to have constituted such propagation of principles, which lead to an urgent and imperious case of neces- the violation of the most sacred duties, sity as left no room for accommodation, and are utterly subversive of the peace and made war unavoidable. The govern- and order of all civil society.' ment of France has been accused of hav- “ We admit, that it is the interest and ing violated the law of nations, and the duty of every member of the commonstipulations of existing treaties, by an at- wealth of Europe to support the estatempt to deprive the republic of the Uni- blished system and distribution of power ted Provinces of the exclusive navigation among the independent sovereignties, of the Scheldt. No evidence, however, which actually subsist, and to prevent has been offered to convince us that this the aggrandizement of any state, espeexclusive navigation was, either in itself cially the most powerful, at the expense or in the estimation of those who were of any other; and, for the honour of his alone interested in preserving it, of such majesty's councils, we do most earnestly importance as to justify a determination wish, that his ministers had manifested a in our government to break with France just sense of the importance of the princion that account. If, in fact, the States ple to which they now appeal, in the course genera! had shown a disposition to de- of late events, which seemed to us to tend their right by force of arms, it might threaten its entire destruction. have been an instance of the truest “ When Poland was beginning to recover friendship to have suggested to them, for from the long calamities of anarchy, comtheir serious consideration, how far the bined with oppression; after she had esassertion of this unprofitable claim might, tablished an hereditary and limited moin the present circumstances of Europe, narchy like our own, and was peaceably tend to bring into hazard the most es- employed in settling her internal governsential interests of the republic, But ment, his majesty's ministers, with apwhen, on the contrary, it has been ac- parent indifference and unconcern, have knowledged that no requisition on this seen her become the victim of the most subject was made to his majesty, on the unprovoked and unprincipled invasion; part of the States general, we are at a her territory overrun, her free constituIoss to comprehend on what grounds of tion subverted, her national independence right or propriety we take the lead in as- annihilated, and the general principles of serting a claim, in which we are not prin the security of nations wounded through cipals, and in which the principal party her side. With all these evils was France has not, as far as we know, thought it soon after threatened, and with the same prudent or necessary to call for our inter- appearance either of supine indifference, position.

or of secret approbation, his majesty's “ We must farther remark, that the ministers beheld the armies of other point in dispute seemed to us to have powers (in evident concert with the opbeen relieved from a material part of its pressor of Poland) advancing to the indifficulty, by the declaration of the mi. vasion and subjugation of France, and the nister of foreign affairs in France, that march of those armies distinguished from the French nation gave up all pretensions the ordinary hostilities of civilised nations to determine the question of the future by manifestoes, which, if their principles navigation of the Scheldt. Whether the and menaces had been carried into prac. terms of this declaration were perfectly tice, must have inevitably produced the · return of that ferocity and barbarism in points which were in dispute between his " war, which a beneficent religion, and ministers and the government of France ap

enlightened manners, and true military pear to us to have been incapable of being " honour, have for a long time banished adjusted by negociation, except that ag< from the Christian world.'

gravation of French ambition, which has “ No effort appears to have been made been stated to arise from the political to check the progress of these invading opinions of the French nation. These inarmies ; his majesty's ministers, under a deed, we conceive, formed neither any pretended respect for the rights and in- definable object of negociation, nor any dependence of other sovereigns, thought intelligible reason for hostility. They fit at that time to refuse even the inter- were equally incapable of being adjusted position of his majesty's councils and by treaty, or of being either refuted or good offices, to save so great and impor- confirmed by the events of war. tant a portion of Europe from falling un- “ We need not state to his majesty's der the dominion of a foreign power. wisdom, that force can never cure deluBut no sooner, by an ever-memorable re- sion ; and we know his majesty's goodness verse of fortune, had France repulsed her too well to suppose that he could ever eninvaders, and carried her arms into their tertain the idea of employing force to deterritory, than his majesty's ministers, lay- stroy opinions by the extirpation of those ing aside that collusive indifference which who hold them. had marked their conduct during the in. “ The grounds, upon which his majesvasion of France, began to express alarms ty's ministers have advised him to refuse for the general security of Europe, which the renewal of some avowed public interat it appears to us, they ought to have se- course with the existing government of riously felt, and might have expressed, France, appeared to us neither justified with great justice, on the previous suc- by the reason of the thing itself, nor by cesses of her powerful adversaries. the usage of nations, nor by any expe

“ We will not dissemble our opinion, diency arising from the present state of that the decree of the National Conven- circumstances. In all negociations or tion of France of the 19th of November, discussions whatsoever, of which peace is 1792, was in a great measure liable to the the real object, the appearance of an amicaobjections urged against it; but we can ble disposition, and of a readiness to offer not admit that a war, upon the single and to accept of pacific explanations on ground of such a decree, unaccompanied both sides, is as necessary and useful to by any overt acts, by which we or our al- ensure success as any arguments founded lies might be directly attacked, would be on strict right. Nor can it be denied justified as necessary and unavoidable. that claims or arguments of any kind, Certainly not, unless, upon a regular de urged in hostile or haughty language, mand made by his majesty's ministers of however equitable or valid in themselves, explanation and security in behalf of us are more likely to provoke than to conand our allies, the French had refused to ciliate the opposite party. Deploring, as give to his majesty such explanation and we have ever done, the melancholy event security. No such demand was made. which has lately happened in France, it Explanations, it is true, have been re- would yet have been some consolation to ceived and rejected. But it well deserves us to have heard that the powerful interto be remarked and remembered, that position of the British nation on this subthese explanations were voluntarily offered ject had at least been offered, although it on the part of France, not previously de- should unfortunately have been rejected. manded on ours, as undoubtedly they But, instead of receiving such consolation would have been, if it had suited the from the conduct of his majesty's minisviews of his majesty's ministers to have ters, we have seen them, with extreme acted frankly and honourably towards astonishment, employing, as an incentive France, and not to have reserved their to hostilities, an event, which they had complaints for a future period, when ex- made no effort to avert by negociation. planations, however reasonable, might | This inaction they could only excuse on come too late, and hostilities might be the principle, that the internal conduct unavoidable.

of nations (whatever may be our opinion “ After a review of all those conside- of its morality) was no proper ground for rations, we think it necessary to repre- | interposition and remonstrance from fosent to his majesty, that none of the reign states-a principle, from which it

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must still more clearly follow that such in- | decided negative to the motion of the
ternal conduct could never be an admis- hon. gentleman.
sible, justifying reason for war.

Mr. Drake said, that, to this voluminous,
“ We cannot refrain from observing, elaborate, circuitous, address, which had
that such frequent allusions as have been been brought forward by the hon. gentle.
made to an event (confessedly no ground man in the way of a protest, the best an-
of rupture) seemed to us to have arisen swer which he could give was his decided
from a sinister intention to derive, from no. To the proceedings of gentlemen on
the humanity of Englishmen, popularity the other side of the House he had no
for measures which their deliberate judg. doubt the people were nearly unanimous
ment would have reprobated, and to in. in uttering their no, while to the mea-
fluence the most virtuous sensibilities of sures of ministers they joined in empha-
his majesty's people into a blind and furi- tically pronouncing their aye.
ous zeal for a war of vengeance.

The motion was then negatived. “ His majesty's faithful Commons, therefore, though always determined to Debate in the Commons on bringing up support his majesty with vigour and cor- the Nottingham Petition for Reform.] Mr. diality in the exertions necessary for the R. Smith read a Petition signed by about defence of his kingdoms, yet feel that 2,500 inhabitants of Nottingham, stating, they are equally bound by their duty to among other things, that as the constituhis majesty, and to their fellow-subjects, ' tion now stands, with respect to repreto declare, in the most sulemn manner, sentation in parliament, the country is their disapprobation of the conduct of his amused with the name of a representamajesty's ministers throughout the whole tion of the people, when the reality is of these transactions-a conduct which, gone ; that the right of election had passin their opinion, could lead to no other ed away from the people almost altogetermination but that to which it seems to ther, and that thereby the confidence of have been studiously directed, of plung. the people with respect to parliament was ing their country into an unnecessary weakened, if not destroyed. The peti

The calamities of such a war must tion, therefore, prayed the House to conbe aggravated, in the estimation of every ' sider of the proper mode to effectuate rational mind, by reflecting on the pecu- a reform in parliament, and suggested, as liar advantages of that fortunate situation one part of a general plan of reform, that which we have so unwisely abandoned, the right of election should be in proporand which not only exempted us from tion to the number of adult males in the sharing in the distresses and afflictions of kingdom.-On the question being put for the other nations of Europe, but con- bringing up the petition, verted them into sources of benefit, im- Mr. Piti said, that it was certainly exprovement, and prosperity to this coun- tremely fair in the hon. gentleman who try.

presented the petition to read the precise “ We, therefore, humbly implore his words of it to the House. It was with majesty's paternal goodness to listen no 'the House, however, to consider whether, longer to the councils which have forced after having heard it read, they could us into this unhappy war, but to embrace possibiy allow it to be brought up, conthe earliest occasion, which his wisdom sistently with their own dignity. He by may discern, of restoring to his people the no means intended to say any thing as to blessings of peace."

the propriety of what was demanded in Major Maitland seconded the motion. the prayer of this petition : it was his de

Mr. Pitt said, it was obvious that the cided opinion that every class of the peosubstance of the address was nothing more ple had a fair right to petition for the rethan a repetition of those arguments dress of any supposed wrong, and that which had been already brought forward' such petition ought to be received, what in that House by gentlemen who opposed ever the House might think as to the prothe measures of government. It was priety of the demand made in it; but only, therefore, necessary for him to say, this demand ought surely to be made that he, as well as every gentleman who in a style of respect to the House, had concurred in the late proceedings of and of 'reverence for the constitution. that House, and in giving their support, There were some passages in this petition in the present crisis, to the executive go- which he thought he had heard read by vernment, must, of necessity, give their the hon. gentleman that appeared to him


highly objectionable, and, on comparing were legal, solid, and binding. The petiwhat he had heard with a printed copy of tion construed this way, did not speak a the petition, which he had got on coming disrespectful language; and therefore into the House, he found that he had not ought to be received. As to the prayer been mistaken. The first passage he al- of it, “ that all male adults may be admitluded to was that which stated, that the ted to exercise the right of voting," it country was amused with the name of a re- undoubtedly appeared to the full as ex. presentation of the people, when the rea- travagant in his eyes as it did in those of lity was gone: the second stated that the the right hon. gentleman ; but surely it right of the people had passed from them ought not to be deemed a crime in the ininto other hands, and, in fact, denied both ' habitants of Nottingham, that they enterthe right and power of that House as tained an opinion respecting the right of at present constituted : and the third de- ' voting, precisely similar to that which was clared, that the confidence of the people publicly professed by one of the most diswith respect to parliament was thereby tinguished of his majesty's ministers, he weakened, if not entirely destroyed. meant the duke of Richmond. He reThese were expressions so disrespectful membered, in his early political life, a deto the House, and so irreverent to the bate upon a remonstrance which the city constitution, that it appeared to him im- of London had presented to the king, and possible that the House, consistently with which the then House thought ought not dignity or propriety, could allow the peti- to pass uncensured, on account of opinions tion to be brought up in its present form, contained in that petition, respecting the though he would not certainly think it legality of the acts of the House, subseright to refuse receiving any petition, quent to its decision in the case of the whatever might be the object of its pray- Middlesex election. He remembered, er, if expressed in proper and respectful on that occasion, that some very distinterms.

guished members, particularly the late Mr. For thought that the House ought Mr. George Grenville, maintained that not to be over nice in examining petitions the right of the subject to petition any presented from its constituents ; it ought branch of the legislature was so sacred, not to be anxious to find out disrespect, that no expression, however extravagant where disrespect did not too glaringly ap- or disrespectful, contained in the petition, pear to have been intended. He was of could justify the person or body to whom opinion, that the right hon. gentleman it was presented, in refusing to receive it. had rather tortured the expressions of Mr. Fox observed, that he himself

consithe petition, and given them a meaning, dered this was giving an unwarrantable lawhich might not have been within the titude to petitioners, and he for one could contemplation of the petitioners. The by no means go so far; but he quoted passages alluded to, appeared to him to this case merely to show, that the House have a necessary connexion with the ought not to be so very nice, as to be prayer. When they said that the people anxious to find out a disrespectful meanwere not represented, they certainly did ing in a petition, unless it was so glaring not mean to say that we had no constitu- that no one could possibly overlook or tion, and that parliament did not possess mistake it. The present petition went legislative authority; they said that the no such lengths as that to which he had right of electing members had been taken just alluded. On these grounds it was, from a great portion of the people, and and not because he approved of the plan usurped by another; or in other words, of reform pointed to in it, that he was for that men, who had a right so to vote, had receiving the petition. excluded others who were as well entitled Mr. Lambton reminded the House of a to it, and monopolized it to themselves. case in which, though the disrespect was In this sense it would appear that they more glaring than in the present one, the admitted the House of Commons to be House had not thought it a sufficient elected by persons who had unquestiona- ground for refusing to receive the petibly a right to elect; and they complained tion. The case to which he alluded was only that they had excluded others, that of Mr. Horne Tooke, who, in his pewhose right was as good; but still it followed that the electors were legal elec- * For the Debates on the Remonstrance of tors, that the House was a legal House of the city of London to the Kins, see Vul. 16. Commons, and consequently that its acts p. 374.

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