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measures, which had, he said, been adopted for the raising them, had disgusted and disorganized the people to such a degree, that it was impossible the Government could long exist against the anarchy and destruction which threatened it, in consequence of its ruinous and oppressive measures. . Against these, my Lords, the Noble Secretary contrasted the comparatively trifling expence at which we carried on the war, and the truly conftitutional mode in which the expences of the war were levied upon the subjects of this kingdom. What however has been the consequence, my Lords, of the Noble Secretary's boastings and predi&tions on this particular head? Why just this, my Lords. The French have not only contrived to carry on several successful campaigns since, but, in the course of thefe, we have found them calling in those immense milliards of affignats ; they purchased them for about fix or seven millions sterling, and ever since paper money has been kicked out of the market, and hard cash substituted in its place. But what, my Lords, have been the melancholy contrast in this country ? I am truly sorry to mention it; but the very reverse of this has been the case with us. This very Administration, which found the country, at the commencement of the present war, in a state of unexampled opulence and prosperity, after all their väunting predictions about the ruin of the French finances, had, by their mismanagement and incapacity, so exhausted our own, that what had never been so much as dreamed of in former periods, had lately most unfortunately happened ; the Bank of England has stopped its regular course of payments; and, what is still more unfortunate and amieting, Ministers have been obliged to refort to such measures for raising the supplies, as have never before been heard of, and were hitherto altogether unknown to the constitution of this country.
“My Lords, this has continually from its commencement been styled a war for the defence and preservation of property, but in my opinion it has operated the very contrary way, and ftruck most forcibly and deeply at the very root of all property. I request leave to call your Lordships' attentions to the favou. rite measures fo recently adopted by the present Administration, and I would fain know what in its principle can be more pernicious. I do not wish your Lordships in a matter of such moment to be guided by my opinion alone, and therefore I fall endeavour to strengthen it by that of a Gentleman high in the confidence of the present Ministers, a d whore wisdom and talants have long been held in the highest estimation by the world in general ; I mean, my Lords, the late Mr. Burke. What, my Lords, was his opinion of the principle of voluntary subscription? I will, as nearly as poffible, give it to your No. 18 * 50
Lordships in his own words, “ If you come,” says he, “ to speak of voluntary subscriptions, by way of raising the supplies, it is the first approach to the dissolution of all proper ty.” Then, my Lords, if this was the opinion of this enlightened Statesman, on the mere principle of voluntary subscription in general, what would he have said, or what will or can your Lordships think, of voluntary subscriptions suggested and carried into effect by such means as are the present? By the recommendation and example of chartered bodies and corporations, who have stepped forward, and with a mischievous, and, in my opinion, unjust alacrity, most copivusy and liberally subo scribed money with which they were entrusted for other and particular purposes, without consulting even their own council, whether they legally might do so or not? No perfon, my Lords, has been more in a long continued habit of paying a superstitious, I had almost said, respect to the wisdom and integrity of the Directors of the Company of the Bank of England, than I have myself—but what am I henceforwards to think, or what opinion are your Lordships hereafter to form, of the conduct of those Directors, when, from a paper on your Lordships' Table it appears, on their own Thewing, and under their own hand writing, that they had been prevailed upon to advance to Government several immense sums of money, against every principle of their charter, against every principle of law and justice ; and yet, in a very few months afterwards, on the suggestion by Ministers of a voluntary subscription, they eagerly come forward, and immediately subscribe so large a sum as Two hundred thousand pounds of the money entrusted to them by the proprietory at large, without ever consulting their council on the legality or propriety of io doing, and even without consulting the proprietors at large? Why is a council appointed to all public and chartered bodies but for the purpose of giving them legal advice? And where is the use of council, if their advice, in matters of such magnitude and importance, is not even asked for? I have said, my Lords, that the Directors have subscribed this very large sum of money, which they hold in truft for others, without consulting and obtaining the consent of the proprietory at large, and I repeat it, for I do not deem a meeting of a handful of proprietors called together in a hubble bubble manner to constitute the sense of the proprietory at large. This conduct of the Directors has been, my Lords, fo contrary to the opinion I had always entertained and expressed concerning them, that I think it a kind of duty incumbent on me to qualify the favourable Jepresentations I have always before given of their former conduct, by this candid statement of the disapprobation in which
I hold that which they so recently adopted and pursued. And here I cannot help saying that new, and, in my opinion, very dangerous doctrines are held forth concerning property of which I will give your Lordships a thort proof from a memorandum, which, if I am rightly informed, ought to alarm your Lordships, as I assure you it has alarmed me ; it relates to what paised in another House. I will give an opportunity to explain the doctrine away, or else it shall come before your Lordihips again and again. It is stated to have been said “ That offices and places were held by a stronger tenure than any freehold." I will never fuffer that doctrine to go unrefuted. To conlider offices and places under the Crown of equal wcight or superior to freehold property, is a doctrine of the most inonstrous nature. Offees are commonly obtained by accident, intrigue, or court corruption, and they should never be put on a footing with a freehold. True it is indeed, my Lords, that there doctrines do not startle many of your Lordships much, because ideas of property are not much examined. The reason of that is obvious-it is because property has hitherto been pretty secure in this country, and men seldom examine much into things that are not disputed.
“My Lords, I conceive the continuance of the war, and the measures adopted in support of it, as tending to the direct and speedy subversion and destruction of all property in this country. Property once broke in upon and destroyed, my Lords, we may from that moment bid adieu to our liberries. these must inevitably follow.; for the history of the world is full in proof, that property may exist without liberty much better and easier than liberty can exist without property. I find, my Lurds, that some days ago a Noble Friend and Relative of mine made a motion in this House for papers, containing the correspondence with the Auitrian Ministers, relative to the question of Belgium, whether the Court of Vienna had made a request to our's, that the restoration of the Low Countries should be the fine qua non of peace. Had I been in the Hoase I should have faved him the trouble of moving for any such påpers ; because I could have told my Noble Friend that Ministers had no such papers as he wished for. They have no papers from the Emperor respecting Belgium, my Lords; I know they have not. They might have thewn my Noble Friend some finance diplomatic correspondence, that nobody would give them two-pence to see. In God's name if they had, could any thing poffefs their imagination on the 27th of December, 1786, to make that absurd demand upon the French. What do you think of the heads of fuch Ministers, my Lords Is it conceivable that so much absurdity can enter 5 Q 2
the mind of man as this will appear to be. when you come to compare the dates. They inlift at this time on the restoration of the Milanete Savoy, and that every thing should be put on the footing of the status quo ante Bellum. In less than four months after this, it appears that the Emperor opened a negotiation with the French, in which he ftipulated as a preliminary, not to inhilt upon any of these points which our Ministers infilted upon for him. Is it conceivable they should have done this, had they the communication from the Emperor of what was then the view of the Court of Vienna ? This negotiation opened on the 17th of April, 1797. Here our Ministers proceeded as if they were the governors of all Europe, at the same time when all Europe was laughing at them.
.“ My Lords, I now beg leave to call your recollection to the many flattering pictures which were drawn by the present Ministers relative to the state of our allies, and the various bet neficial consequences that were to result from them. The subsidies paid to the several powers on the Continent were held up as masterpieces of policy, and every man that presumed to doubt of the lincerity and good faith of our allies, was deemed a sceptic of the most obftinate fort, if nothing worse. I remember it was said by the Noble Secretary of State, that when the Emperor was paying into our Bank 400l. for every 300l. that he was to receive from us, it was not either candid, just, or even gentlemanlike to throw the least doubt on his good faith. The same had been said, with very little variety, with regard to the King of Prussia; and yet, notwithstanding all the variety of promises and predictions so plentifully bestowed by his Majesty's present Ministers, every ally we had, had one by one deserted us, till, with the exception of Portugal, we were left to finish the contest by ourselves.
“ My Lords, we have at length been reduced to an entire new system. All idea of offensive war on the continent is at an end there we cannot show our heads. What the history of Europe never exhibited to the world like the prefent moment is come to pass a congress of the different powers has some time been fitting, without any the most diftant reference to Great Britain. We have no ambailador there, and the concerns and interests of this country are no more attended to or mentioned in that congress, which consists of all our late allies, than if Great Britain were blotted out of the map of Europe, or had never been entitled to a place in it. My Lords, the fame proposition which is now submitted to your Lordships' consideration, has been in fubftance laid before you more than once before ; and I have as often given my opinion against it: but, my Lords, I will now give you my reasons why I did fa,
and why I shall on the present occasion give my vote in favour of it. My Lords, I heretofore was against the propolition, because I did not see any inmediate good consequence that could rcfalt from it. I shall now support it, because I firmly believe that if it is not speedily adopted, the moft lamentable and atticting consequences will be the result to this country.' My Lords, I coniider this Empire as consisting of Great Bric' tain, Ireland, and the dependences belonging to Great Britain. The dependences, as they are called, I can by no meaus conlider in that beneficial light in which they are held by many. I rather look upon them, particularly the colonies, as disadvantages than the contrary, and attended with more expence than profit. Even the East Indies, with all the wealth that is drawn from them, if nicely examined into, will perhaps, my Lords, be found to be counterbalanced by the great oumber of lives which are facrificed to keep them; the immorality which flows from the accquirement of immense wealth ; and the pernicious principles which are also imbibed in that acquirement. The great and effential interests of the empire, I cherefore take to lie in the strict and solid union of Great Britain and Ireland. When I seriously reflect on this, My Lords, I almost shudder to think how much the best interests of the empire have been neglected, or sacrificed to the schemes of conquest and extenfion of dominion. We have, in the course of the present war, conquered islands till we are tired of them, and found them no longer worth our keeping. We have expended immense sums in the acquisition of the island of Corsica, and have quitted it without the smallest compensation, and apparently without regret. I wish, My Lords, I could persuade his Majesty's Ministers to quit as easily the mad schemes of con.. quest in St. Domingo. I beg leave to mention to your Lordships a proof which I have received lately from America, relative to this subject. A Gentleman writes from thence, and gives a description of the immense plenty and luxury which at this time prevail at Montreal, owing to the activity of the people in the neighbouring colonies, and that these good consequences chiefly result from the giving up of those very posts for which but a short time ago we were nearly entering into a war with America. This plainly shews that extension of dominion is not beneficial, but the contrary, and that the consolidation of our internal interests at home, is what is moit defirable for the general welfare of the State and people. The fituation of Ireland, My Lords, at the present moment, is truly critical and uncommonly alarming; and, notwithstanding what has been said by a Noble Marquis of that as well as of this country certainly deserves great attention, as coming from a person