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the war: yet as circumstances had had been dispatched to Paris, at the 133 occurred which had compelled Hol- instance of a minister of a neutral land to become our enemy, he muft power, to get a passport, it was deconsider her in the relation to which nied; the request of the D:nith miThe stood respecting France; not nister was not enough ; nothing that he forgot the formerly had would satisfy them but a British been an ally whose friendship was minifter; a British minister was fent; attended with reciprocal advantages at the commencement of the negoto herself and to this country; and tiation, he had occasion frequently if it were possible to replace Holland to send dispatches to his court, bein the situation in which the former- cause it is well known that there are ly had stood, and to restore her le a great number of difficulties atgitimate government permanently, tending the opening of every negosuch a restitution would redound to tiation, and because lord Malmel. our advantage.
bury had been sent to Paris before But with respect to the principle the preliminaries were arranged. of compensation to Holland, nothing Whilst they were settling, lord better could have been adopted than Malmesbury's presence was barely not to give Holland a part of the endured, but no rooner were they foreign pofseflions we had taken settled, and the minifter delivered from her, which she had no right in a projet, no sooner was the period to alk for herself, nor France to de- for discussion arrived, when the premand for her. There pofseflions sence of an ambassador was particuwere to be retained, that they might larly necessary, and when the king's not become acquisitions to the ministers announced that he was French government, nor afford them prepared to enter into the discussion, means of carrying into effect the than he was ordered to leave Paris, plan they had conceived of unders and the negotiation to be carried on mining our Indian empire, and de- by the means of couriers. stroying our Indian commerce, by Such was the precise form in wresting out of our hands the bul- which a studied insult was offered wark of the wealth of this country to his Britannic majesty! and the security of the eaftern na The plain ground on which the tions. At the same time our offers question rested was this; after an ulwere liberal when we contented to timatum had been demanded; after give up all that we had taken, re the minister had been ordered to serving one subject only for contider- leave the territories of France; after ation which depended on a treaty, a retraction by the directory of the and we asked no more than we were original basis of negotiation, and bound by justice and honour to de- the substitution of a new one in its mand. All that he wished parlia- place, they demanded, not as an ulment to pronounce, was, that they timatum, but as a preliminary, to would add their testimony to the retain all those territories of which fincerity with which bis majelty had the chance of war had given them endeavoured to restore peace to Eu a temporary pofsefsion, and respectrope, and their approbation of the ing which, they thought proper, steps employed for its attainment. (contrary to the laws of nations) to
Mr. Pitt then reverted to the stu- pals a conftitutional law, declaring died perverteness of the French go. that there should not be alienated vernment. When a courier (he faid) from the republic. After expatiat
ing mach upon what he called “a the poffeffions which they had loft perverse and monstrous claim,” he in the war in the West Indies they remarked, that the annexation of ter- had made dependent parts of the reritory to any state by the govern- public. Tobago, which was still ment of that state during the conti- retained by British arms, and had nuance of the war in wbich it had also been lost in the course of the been acquired, coak! never convey war, was made a part of indivisible a cim, fuperseding the treaties of France; nor should he be lurprizother powers, and the known and ed to hear, that Ireland, in contepublic obligations of the different quence of their intention to invade nations of Europe. It was impor- it, was constitutionally annexed to fible that the separate act of a lepa- the republic! rate gorernment could diffolve the He acknowledged there was a dities subfitting between other govern- ftinction between the Netherlands ments, or extend to the abrogation and the Welt-India islands ; but it of treaties previoully concluded; happened that this principle of law yet this had been the pretension to was least applicable to those pofterwhich the French government lai] fions upon which it was held out as claim, and the acknowledgment of operating upon the government, and which they had held out as a preli- that the Auftrian Netherlands, even minary of negotiation to the king by the letter of their own conftituof Great Britain and his allies. tion, ought to be exempted. He
There was no principle of the law recommended it to gentlemen to read of nations clearer than this; that the report upon which the decree when, in the course of war, any was founded, in which they would nation acquired new poffeffions, that find it had been patled for the such nation had only temporary avowed purpose of obtaining for right to them, and that they do not France an indisputable ascendency become property till the end of the in Europe, and of fupprefling the Wat; for, supposing the conqueror trade and commerce of rival aato infift upon retaining them be- tions. cause he had paffed a law that they Overlooking, however, the prinshould not be alienated, might not ciple of the decree, if it were found the neighbouring powers, or even inapplicable to the pofleffions of the the hoftile power, aik who gave him French in the Indies, it was cer. the right to pass it? or what autho- tainly much more so to the Netherrity had he, as a feparate ftate, by lands; and in holding out the prinany annexation of territory, to can- ciple as operating upon the latter, cel existing treaties, and destroy the and not the former, it was applied equilibrium eftablished amongit na to that part of their territory to tions? Were this pretension tole- which it was least applicable. 'Alrated, it would be a source of eter- lowing, however, that it was a prinnal hoftility, and a perpetual bar to ciple of their constitution, was it an negotiation between the contending evil without remedy? No. M. Departies, because the pretensions of lacroix confessed it might be remethe one would be totally irreconcile- died; but not without the inconveable with those of the other: this, nience of calling the primary asseinin the instance of France, had been blies. as inconsistent in its operations, as And were we then, after all our it had been unfounded in its origin: exertions to obtain peace, after be:
ing baffled in all our efforts by tlie energy worthy of the British name, pride and obftinacy of the French or, by sending couriers to Paris, to government, our propositions slighi- proftrate ourfelves at the feet of a ed, and our ambailador infulted, stubborn and fupercilious governwere we now to content to sacrifice ment, to do what they require, and our engagements, and to violate to submit to what they impofe ? our treaties, because forsooth, it
" there was not a band would be some inconvenience to call in his majesty's councils who would their affemblies, in order to cancel a fign the proporals, a beart in that jaw incompatible with the principle houte which would sanction the meaof fair negotiation? Shall we (faid sure, or an individual in the British Mr. Pitt) so far forget our honour, dominions who would act as the our dignity, and our duty, as to ac- courier.” Nir. Pitt concluded with quiefcc in such conditions ? But moving an address to his majetty, this is not all the degradation to which was, as usual, an echo of the which they would have us submit: meliage. we must engage, and as a prelimi The Hon. Thomas Erikine said, nary too, to make no propositions that when the right, honourable contrary to their constitution, and gentleman rose to move the address, the treaties which bind the re- he had hoped it would have been public.
different from what he found it Tliis reftriâion is more unreason- was; and instead of binding the able than the other : the republic houie to prosecute the war, it would may have made secret treaties, which have borne a resemblance to the we know nothing about; and yet righthonourable gentleman's speech, that government expeâs that we are in an early stage of it, wherein he not to permit our propositions to in- affirmed, “ that he did not wish to terfere with these treaties. How can pledge the house to any period to we know wlmt the Dutch may have which the war ought to be proceded to France, or whether France tracted, or to any terms which ought may not have an oath never to give to be insisted on by the allies.” It up the territories ceded to her by now appeared, by this address, that Holland; what secret article may he would precisely draw the house be contained in her treaty with into that very fituation, to which Spain, guaranteeing the reftitution he had faid he would not with to of Gibraltar, or fome important poi- pledge then. There were two prosession belonging to his Majesty ? pofitions in the speech which he And after accepting terms of which particularly wished to controvert: we are entirely ignorant, in what the first was, that “ France was situation do we fand? Weat laft ar- the aggressor in this bloody and exrive at a discussion of the govern- penfive war." The right honourment which France nay chufe to able genticman had gone farther, give to'Italy, and of the fate which and declared also, that the obstacles the may be pleased to aflign to Ger- which had been thrown in the way many; in fact, the point is not how of the late negotiations were enmuch you will give for peace, but tirely to be attributed to the arrohow much you will luffer of dif- gant demands of the present governgrace?
ment of France. How did the In these circumstances, then, are matter stand at the commencement we to perleyere in the war with an of the war. Ministers then advised
hiš majefty, that it was incompatible given separate and satisfaqory anwith the interests of this country, Iwers to all the complaints of our that Belgium should be permitted court. He entreated that the king to be united with France. This would bring to condign punituunt was immediately communicated to those who ditleminated fedition in the French, and they unequivocally his dominions; announced the dedisavowed every thing which mi. termination of France to keep within nifters pretended to fix
upon them. her own limits, and to retput the In all disputes between indivi- rights of other nations. Notwithduals, between neighbours, (faid ftanding this plain and specific Mr. Erkine) it has always been arowal of all the grounds of licitifound necessary hy those who were lity, war was declared up.n France. to adjuft their differences, to enquire He asked, therefore, if France conid into the particular circumstances be considered as the aggreilor, who which were the original causes of oftered peace to this country on those differences. Where negotia- terms which the right hon. gentletions were to be entered into between man (Mr. Pitt) would be wortwo contending powers, it must be shipped, if he could now procure. more neceflary to look back to ascer- [Here Mr. Erikine stopped, and fat tain precisely what had been the down under trident lymptons of fimation of the parties at the com- indifpofition.] mencement of their quarrel, what Mr. Fox rose, and said he was was the aggredioa, what was the extremely forry, on account of his extent of it, and by whom made? learned friend, as well as for the Let us then (he continued) look lonle, whose information was thuis back; let us refer to the period al- unpleasantly imerrupt 1, furry for luded to, and Tee how matters ac the cause of peace and of Great-Britually were circumstanced. On the tuin, which iinifters, by their rafh 21it of December, 1792, his ma and infatuate policy seemed deterjesty met the parliament: at that mined to precipitate to the verge of time, M. Chauvelin, the ambaslador ruin, that he was obliged to address of the French 70ernment, was in the houte on the preient occalion. England : bis mait tiy, in his speech Heft it hore, ricmulint lipon to both houses of parliament, com him to come forward, knowing ihat plained of three thirgs: first, that his opinion entirely coincided with the French had fent leditious mil- that of liis honourable friend, and fionaries into this country ; fecondiy, lamenting, that in confequence of that they meditated an invation of his indifpofition, the argument wouli Holland; and thirdly, that they had suffer confiderably from the want opened the Scheldt. Mr. Erikine of that ability with which it wouli begged the boule to recollect, that have been entorced by his superior Belgium was then in the poffeffion powers. Mr. Foi obscrved, that the of the French ; though nom as now; subject demanded the deepest come it was not, at that time, ingrafted fideration ; after a war of four years, by the constitution into the trrritory which was stated to have been atof France, as an integral part of it. tended with many occurrences highly
All the correspondence between honorable and advantageous to the lord Grenville and the French am- British arins, and to have been acballador was concealed from the companied with no disgrace, atier house, though M. Chauvelin had the immenie expcr.diture incurred
in the prosecution of hoftilities; af- place between him and M. Delo ter an addition of a sum of no less croix. In this conversation than two hundred millions to the French minister was represented a national debt, and of nine millions having paid the highest complı to the permanent taxes of the coun- ments to the extensive means poi try; after an enormous effufion of sessed by this country, as having de human blood, after an incalculable scribed it, from its internal source addition to the details of human of wealth, and from its colonies in wretchedness, so far from having the Indies, to be mistress of almost gained any object for which we set boundlefs resources. Thus, wbilit out in the war, so far were we from the directory admitted that Greathaving achieved any advantage, Britain was distinguished by her that the minister had this night come wealth and her resources, they had forward, in an elaborate speech, no hesitation to acknowledge their which had lasted for a considerable own poverty and embarrassments : space of time, to endeavour to prove, they acknowledged to all Europe, that the only effe&t had been, that that from the want of money the the enemy was become more unrea army was considerably in arrears, sonable tan ever in their preten- and every branch of the internal adfions, and that all hopes of peace ministration under circumstances of were removed to a still greater dif- the greatest embarrassment and ditance.
stress. But whilst they admitted the In this speech the right hon. gen- ruined state of their own finances, tleman had affirmed that he for- what a striking contrast did their merly had given a representation of exertions in the present conteft, and the deplorable situation of the French the success which had followed hnances from uncertain documents, them afford, to the conduct and fate but now he had been enabled to of those who had been entrusted confirm the same from indubitable with the management of the war on authority, the statement of the di- our side! rectory: he, for his own part, was Whilft we, in every quarter which inclined to believe that the docu- it was deemed most important to dements in both instances were equally fend, had been lofing city after city: authentic.
whilst we bad been actually driven It had been found from expe- from the poffeflions which we conrience, that in proportion as the ceived to be necessary to the secufinances of the French had been ac- rity of our commerce, or to the baknowledged, even by themselves, to lance of power, France, resourceless be reduced to the lowest ebb, in and dispirited, all the while avowthe same proportion had their exer- ing its own distressed situation, and tions been found to be wonderful speaking in the most respectful terms and unparalleled. The certain ruin of our wealth and resources, had of the French finance is confirmed constantly been adding to its acquiby an immediate statement from the fitions, and aggrandizing its empire. directory, we are told; Mr. Fox France, at the present moment, expreffed surprise that the right ho- appeared as the conqueror of moft nourable gentleman did not go far- important and extensive territories! ther, and quote the ingenious letter Belgium was annexed to her empire! of lord Malmesbury, in which he re- great part of Italy had yielded to ported the conversation which took the force of her arms, and Holland