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to the circles of the Upper Rhine. Was it then from him,- from the Italian states, the kings of Sardinia, Naples, and Spain, or from our disgraceful 'alliance with the empress of Russia, that we expected assistance ? Or was it from our good German ally, who had taken twelve hundred thousand pounds of our money? who had not brought into the field the sixty-two thousand men for which he stipulated ; who had denied our right to command any of the Prussian troops, and contended that they ought not to march against the French, but to remain to defend Germany. The strongest reason which a great nation could have for war, was the defence of its honour; this, he contended, we had so fully vindicated, as to secure us from future irisult. The decree of the convention, November 19; 1792, was no bar to a negotiation, as that declaration had been repealed, and followed by a contrary declaration. : It had been stated that there had been periods at which a negotiation could commence. It was a proper period at the time, the misunderstanding commenced with this country; and at several times when we had been suc. sessful since, negotiation might have been begun. This had been repeatedly advised from his side the house : and thus, much misery might have been prevented. While we possessed great power and great resources, was the time for negotiation. Should the French pro. ceed in their rapid career of conquest, it would not be easy. Were even the house willing to trust ministers with the prosecution of the war, would the minister declare he could trust the allies? This, therefore, was a time for negotiation ; and should our attempts of that nature prove fruitless, the house and the people would cheerfully concur in a vigorous prosecution of the war ; and we should then resemble France in the only point in which she was to be envied, -the unanimity of the people with their government. As additional reasons, Mr. Grey noticed the debates in the diet at Ratisbon,
in which all parties agreed for overtures to the enemy, except the elector of Hanover, and the landgrave of Hesse, -and the capture of Holland.
On the State of the Nation.
His design had been, he said, not to induce the dis, cussion of what had already been discussed, but to inquire into the conduct of the war in general. It was perfectly consistent in gentlemen on the other side of the house to say they did not wish an inquiry :-an inquiry was likely to influence the opinion of the house upon the conduct of ministers; and an address to the thione for their removal would be the probable result. ; But rather than they should lose their places, was the country to be lost? A hint had been insinuated, that if the minister and his associates were dismissed, neither his majesty nor the public would look to the supporters of the present motion for their assistance. Was the war to be carried on, even by inore able ministers, upon the same principles hitherto avowed, and for the same object, there was, he said, nothing his majesty could offer to him,nothing that any prince in Europe could offer to him, that could induce him to take any share in it. Mr. Fox ridiculed the idea of ministers here not being answerable for the declarations of ministers abroad; and the assertion that on enquiry they would be found to have acted properly respecting neutral nations, when all inquiry was refused. With respect to the motion being mis timed, his side of the house had not, he said, been
negligent in bringing forward questions upon the war. He denied having introduced the present motion on account of affairs in Ireland, and appealed to the time in which notice of it had been given, in proof of this assestion; but thought a full investigation of that business of great importance. The cabinet certainly interfered in the affairs of that country; and he wished to know upon what principle it should do so, more than the parliament of this country. He had, he said, been told he endangered Ireland by such an inquiry ; but wished to know who most endangered it he who respected both that and this country as much as any man in that house ; or those who conducted themselves as if they had no re. gard to the interest of either, when in competition with their own power? The right honourable gentleman says, (added Mr. Fox,) that my conduct, if not counteracted, tends to lower the dignity of this country. That a man, who has himself so lowered the dignity of this country, who has brought it to the verge of ruin by the obstinacy and the madness of his conduct, should presume even to think that any man else could lower it more than he has, is, I own, rather extraordinary. I desire to know, and I ask the minister to inform me, if he can,-I ask any man in this house to inform me, when it was that I endeavoured to lower the dignity of this country? He alluded to the present war,-- what has been his conduct, and what did I advise this house upon that subject? I would have offered reasonable terms to France before the war commenced; and for that purpose I proposed a nego. tiation : he affected to disdain it. What has been the event? Will even he himself now attempt to say, that there is a chance of making so good a peace at this time as we might have had then? Does he even hope he can ever negotiate with the French in a situation less disho. nourable to us than the present? I would have negoti. ated with them before a fight. He must negotiate after a fight, and after a defeat too, if he negotiates at all. I would have negotiated with them while we were rich in
our resources, and our commerce was entire. He must negotiate when both are desperately impaired. I would have negotiated before our allies were defeated, and while they were yet supposed to be in union. He must negotiate after victory has declared in favour of the enemy, and the allies have been deserting us and abandoning one another. After this, that such a man could possibly suppose he is supporting the dignity of this country, and that he should put himself on a footing with any gentleman who has not the misfortune to be in the present administration, is an extraordinary thing; but it is an assumption of merit which is peculiar to his majesty's present council. In the mean time, it is with heartfelt satisfaction I reflect, that in every thing I ever proposed, I have supported the dignity of this country: I regard it as a circumstance of good fortune to me, that I never gave an opinion by which one drop of British blood was shed, or any of its treasure squan. dered. The right honourable gentleman has insinuated, that neither I nor those with whom I act ever mention the glory of the British arms. The fact is notoriously otherwise, we have been proud to praise them. Is it endurable, then, to hear a man accuse others of endea. vouring to lower the dignity of this country, when we are doing all we can to save it, and are calling for an inquiry into the conduct of that man who has brought us to the very last stake, with which we are now con• tending for our existence ? and shall it be still a ques.tion who is the best friend of the honour of Great Bri. tain ? But I wish again to ask, if this committee be not granted, what am I to say to my constituents if they ask —Who are the allies of this country,—what is our relative situation with the king of Prussia, -what with the emperor,—what has been the conduct of administra, tion with regard to the war,-- what is the situation of Ireland ? To all these questions I can only answer, "I cannot tell you any of these things. The house of Vol. II.
commons would not grant me an inquiry; they went hand in hand with the minister.
On moving the Order of the Day for taking into consi
deration his majesty's Proclamations of October 31, and November 4, 1795, for preventing Seditious Meetings.
He painted in glowing colours the strong impressions which the criminal and outrageous insult committed upon his majesty in person, on the first day of the session, had made upon the minds of all his subjects; and remarked, that those outrages proceeded from circumstances upon which he meant to ground the proceedings of that night. If, under this first impression, every man should think himself called upon by the affection he owed to the person of the sovereign, to apply a remedy to those very alarming symptoms (which he presumed would be the case) another impression would arise out of it, equally forcible, namely, that thy should do this busi. ·ness but by halves, if they directed their attention solely to that separate attack upon the person of his majesty, and not to those formidable circumstances which were connected with it in point of principle, and which produced it in point of fact. If the house meant such enormities should be totally averted, they should adopi somc means to prevent those seditious assemblies, which served as vehicles to faction and disloyalty, which fanned and kept alive the flame of disuffection, and filled the minds of the people with discontent.