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support was, he thought, wanting to induce the French to come forward, and raise their whole force against the convention. The usurpation of France was incompatible with the existence of other governments; and till we could overthrow their system of politics, we must not hope for peace or security. In this endeavour he thought it right to unite with us persons who had the same reasons with ourselves, and who called upon the British nation to give them arms. Whatever might be the advantages we derived from an insulated situation, we could not remain safe while such opinions were disseminated near us, and propagated by force of arms. The authority of books and the dictates of common sense established the maxim, that the government of one country might interfere with and subvert another under certain circumstances. This was a matter of speculative policy applicable to internal discords in time of peace; but in a state of warfare it would be ridiculous to say, we should not do every thing to distress and destroy the government with which we
It was the part of ministers to consider the enemy as an enemy, and devise means to bring them either to reason or to ruin. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Fox) had, he said, dwelt with much plausibility upon the calamity of retaliation : this he said it had frequently been necessary to exercise, however painful the task. It lay with the emigrants to consider the probable effects of retaliation, and they had weighed it well and asked for arms. None could accuse government of com. pulsion in this instance ; the emigrants had themselves adopted the measure, and none could deny the wisdom of their choice ; no man of feeling or magnanimity could act otherwise. With respect to this measure having a tendency to prolong the war, Mr. Dundas allowed, that the conquests we had made in the East and West Indies had not the same effect as conquests in France might have had : yet still, by crippling in some degree the resources of the war, they must accelerate peace. We could not however, he contended, hope for peace and security without a
were at war.
total change in the government of France. Government had, he said, been blamed the last session for not af. fording early assistance to the mal-contents and royalists in La Vendée. If it were expedient to risque our national safety and honour in the hands of an undisciplined scattered band, such as that in La Vendée, how much more so to take into our pay a strong concentrated body of men, disciplined, oppointed, and commanded by men eminent for military honour and talents ! Such an army was, he said, not only equal to prodigies in itself, but must acquire strength and numbers as it proceeded. An hon. gentleman had mentioned 500,000 : he should rejoice to find so many ; and though that gentleman hadi questioned the ability to find resources for such a number except from this country, he conceived that a much smaller number would in a short time render aid from this country totally unnecessary, by putting a prosperous period to the war, recovering their rights, and terminating the calamities of France.
On Mr. Pitt's Motion for empowering his Majesty to
secure and detain all Persons suspected of Designs against his Crown and Government.
He asserted, that if any evil had arisen from the doctrine of applying to the people instead of to parliament, the chancellor of the exchequer was to be considered as the cause. If the language of applying to the people for a parliamentary reform was criminal, Mr. Grey said he had himself been guilty, since he did not scru
ple to assert, that from the house of commons he had no hopes of parliamentary reform ; that house never would reform itself, or destroy the corruption by which it was supported, by any other means than those of the resolutions of the people acting on the prudence of the house. That point they could only accomplish by meeting in bodies, and this, in 1782, had been the opinion of the minister. An hon. gentleman (Mr. Windham) had asserted, that the doctrine of universal suffrage was only fitted for the refuse of the people. If this were so, of that description were the duke of Richmond and Mr. Pitt. This he proved from the duke's letter to colonel Sharman. What more had been done by Messrs. Palmer, Muir, &c. to expose them to their present sufferings ? What, he said, had been discovered by the fine velvet bag which the minister had brought into the house a few days before ? Nothing but what had been known twelve years ago, and what these societies had thought proper to reprint and publish in the year 1794. For this the Habeas Corpus act was to be suspended, and the personal liberty of every individual of the kingdom was to be placed in the hands of ministers. In extreme cases extreme powers should certainly be given ; and if the case were made out, he should readily accede to the measure proposed : but he strongly contended, that the charge at the utmost amounted only to sedition, and imputed the measure to that system of alarm which had been adopted to prevent the people from seeing their real situation.
This gentleman writes verses better than he makes speeches. If he
had as much understanding as he has wit, he would be a great man : but that is not the case. Non omnia possumus omnes. How. ver, there is a degree of elegance and brilliancy, and a certain ambitious tip-toe elevation in his speeches. But they want man. liness, force and dignity. His eloquence is something like a bright, sharp-pointed sword, which, owing to its not being made of very stout metal, bends and gives way, and seems ready to snap asunder at every stroke ; and he is perpetually in danger of having it wrested out of his hands.
On the same.
He asserted, that in the precedent of 1722, ministers had only been supported by a message from the throne ; on the present occasion such a message had been backed by the secret committee. Then traitorous correspondences were carrying on for restoring the exiled family; they were now carrying on for the subversion of the constitution, and the introduction of republican anarchy. Why then not apply the same remedy to cases so similar? Or, were there no precedent, were we not justified in devising new remedies for singular and unheard of of. fences ? What had been said of the precedent of 1777? so far from being in point, it was diametrically opposite to the present instance. That had for its object the prevention of a congress in America ; this plan was designed to prevent the assembling of one in Great Britain. He retorted the charge brought against the minister, of adopting only such precedents as made for hiin, and scouting others. He would not, he said, argue as to the
proof of the danger that induced ministers to suspend the act. The report of the secret committee justified the nieasure, and he was willing to take the word of government. It had been observed, that if time were given, petitions, against the measure would low in from all parts of the country. He was not however to be intimidated from his duty by any petitions. He adverted to the conduct of the minister, when he had stood forward as an ad. vocate for parliamentary reform.
What he thought on that subject then, he said, now signified but little. He entertained the same opinions with his right hon. friend; he supported him in them; and agreed with him, that though such a reform might be not improper for discussion in a time of peace, it was a proposition that ought not to be agitated in a season of tumult. If the chancellor of the exchequer should at a future time return to his former opinions, it was probable he should again agree with him. However he and his right hon. friend might be threatened with secessions in the house, and disturbances abroad, they should continue to know and feel their own dignity, and wait for the subsequent approbation of the people.
In Reply to Mr. Canning.
He knew not which to admire most, the ingenuity which had been displayed, or the arguments with which the chancellor of the exchequer had been defended by his friend, who had admitted him to be an apostate, and complaisantly declared himself one also. He had further professed his readiness to join his friend, if he Vol. II.