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(added Mr. Fox) help admiring the wisdom and the fortune of this great man ; not that by the phrase fortune I mean in the smallest degree to derogate from bis merit. But, notwithstanding
his extraordinary talents and exalted integrity, it must be considered as singularly fortunate, that he should have experienced a lot, which so seldom falls to the portion of humanity, and have passed through such a variety of scenes, without stain and without reproach. It must indeed create astonishment, that placed in circumstances so critical, and filling for a series of time a station so conspicuous, his character should never once have been called in question ; that he should in no one instance have been accused either of improper insolence, or of mean submission, in his transactions with foreign nations. It has been reserved for him to run the race of glory, without experiencing the smallest interruption to the brilliancy of his career. The breath of censure has not dared to impeach the pu. rity of his conduct, nor the eye of envy to raise its malignant glance to the elevation of his virtues. Such has been the transcendant merit and the unparalleled fate of this illustrious man ! But if the maxims now held forth were adopted, he who now ranks as the asserter of his country's freedom, and the guardian of its interests and honour, would be deemed to have disregarded and be. trayed that country, and to have entailed upon himself indelible reproach. How did he act when insulted by Genet ? Did he consider it as necessary to avenge himself for the misconduct or madness of an individual, by involving a whole continent in the horrors of war? Nó; he contented himself with procuring satisfaction for the insult, by causing Genet to be recalled ; and thus at once consulted his own dignity and the interests of his country, Happy Americans ! while the whirlwind flies over one quarter of the globe, and spreads every where desolation, you remain protected from its baneful effects, by your own virtues and the wisdom of your government. Separated from Europe by an immense ocean, you feel not the effects of those prejudices
and passions which convert the boasted seats of civilization into scenes of horror and bloodshed. You profit by the folly and madness of the contending nations, and afford in your more congenial clime an asylum to those blessings and virtues which they wantonly contemn, or wickedly exclude from their bosom! Cultivating the arts of peace under the influence of freedom, you advance by rapid strides to opulence and distinction; and if by any accident you should be compelled to take part in the present unhappy contest, if you should find it necessary to avenge insult, or repel injury, the world will bear witness to the equity of your sentiments and the moderation of your views, and the success of your arms will, no doubt, be proportioned to the justice of your cause ! I have now nothing more with which to trou. ble the house ; I am sensible, indeed, that at this advanced hour I have already detained them too long. But I was anxious to put the question upon its true footing, and to free it from that misrepresentation in which it has been so studiously involved. We have of late been to much accustomed to invective and declamation ; addresses to our prejudices and passions have been substituted instead of appeals to our reason. But we are met here, not to declaim against the crimes of other states, but to consult what are the true interests of this country. The question is not, what degree of abhorrence we ought to feel of French cruelty, but what line of conduct we ought to pursue, consistently with British policy. Whatever our detestation of the guilt of foreign nations, we are not called to take upon ourselves the task of avengers ; we are bound only to act as guardians of the welfare of those with whose concerns we are immediately entrusted. It is upon this footing I have argued the question. Mr. Fox concluded by proposing an amendment, recommending to his majesty to treat for a peace. with France upon safe and honourable terms, without any reference to its existing form of
government. VOL. II.
He contended, that so far from the king being empowered to maintain foreign troops without the consent of parliament, he could at no period of the English history call out the native troops without that consent. During the operation of the feudal laws, the monarchs did not levy troops merely as kings, but as the territorial lords of the country. That at common law there exist. ed no right in the crown to embody any armed force within the country, was clear from the first establishment of the militia in the reign of Charles II. At that time the greater part of the feudal tenures were abolished, and the system of national defence founded upon them of course fell to the ground. In their stead, parliament established a regular national militia, because they knew that the king by his prerogative had no pow. er to provide for internal defence. From that time a system had been gaining ground of having a regular body of forces, in the nature of a standing army, which had become in some degree a necessary measure. But this army must be annually voted by parliament, and a mu. tiny bill yearly passed for its regulation. The jealousy of parliament on the prerogative of the crown to levy troops, commenced at a very early period, and was evinced by several acts and resolutions of parliament. In the reign of Edward III. an act was passed which enacted, that no person should be called out of the shire in which he lived, except' in cases of insurrection or
invasion ; and he could not conceive'our ancestors would be guilty of such a solecism in politics as to prevent the drawing forth our native forces except in times of extraordinary danger, and yet leave to the crown the right of bringing into the kingdom an indefinite number of foreign troops whenever it pleased. The 25th of the same king restricts this military force to such as were bound by their tenure and possessions to defend the country. Respecting the militia, though composed of persons peculiarly interested in the welfare of the kingdom, the king is not by law wholly invested with the control of these troops : even in case of the utmost exigency, he is not empowered to call them out without first acquainting parliament, if it is at that time sitting ; and if not, it shall be convened within fourteen days, and the measures which had been adopted laid before it. If, however, his majesty was vested with the power of introducing what number of foreign troops he pleased into the kingdom, this jealous caution of the legislature was totally useless and inefficient. From the silence of the bill of rights respecting the prerogative of the crown in this instance, it would be wrong to suppose the existence of such a prerogative. As well might it be said, that several of the most valuable privileges of British subjects, which they hold under Magna Charta, and the Habeas Corpus act, did not exist, since they had not been recited in the bill of rights. The act of settlement, and the naturalization bill, clearly proved that this prerogative did not exist in the crown. Mr. Adair confesscd himself no enemy to the ordinary prerogatives of the crown, which were known, defined, and legal; but the prerogative which appeared to him dangerous, was that prerogative which, if it at all existed, was unknown, undefined, and unascertained. With respect to what had been said by an honourable gentleman concerning the acquiescence of those who had framed the act of settlement in the subsequent introduction of foreign troops, this was at a time when there was an open
rebellion in the country; the present introduction of fo. reign troops, he thought, might be fully justified on the grounds of necessity and humanity ; and he should have considered that there was little cause for jealousy, had not the assertion of this prerogative proceeded from a quarter which gave occasion for more than" common jealousy, when the question was between the preroga. tives of the crown and the law of the land.
On e Motion for raising French Troops for the Service
of Great Britain,
JUSTIFIED the war upon the reasons which have been 80 often detailed, and accused those gentlemen of inconsistency, who objected to it as not just nor necessary, because they had pledged themselves in its support ; and added to this the further inconsistency of opposing
every measure adopted by the executive government for its maintenance. With respect to the present measure, he Jeft it to the wisdom and discernment of the house to decide, whether it was one which tended to facilitate the object of tlte war or not, and he would impartially abide by that decision. The present power of France was, he contended, held by the most precarious of all possible tenures; and he thought the great body of the people were far from attached to the present constitution ; and in proof of this he mentioned the immense emigrations which had taken place, the massacres, and the insecu. rity of life and property. Nothing but protection and