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I behold fuch as of merit for when grow abusiva
or retreat with safety: but despicable, unprincipled, and detested as they are, I had nevertheless learned to treat their persons with respect: yet, when such men grow abusive and insolent, urge their claims of merit for what they deserve an axe; when I behold such men, in the very midst of these dire disasters and national misfortunes, endeavouring to contend that those misfortunes do not exist, or if they do, that they ought justly and solely to be imputed to Opposition; to see a lump of deformity and disease, of folly and wickedness, of ignorance and temerity, smitten with pride, immediately breaks all measures of patience ; it being hardly conceivable, that so much pride, vice, and folly, can exist in the same animal,
Mr. Fox, May 13, 1775.
I do not rife, my Lords, with any intention to oppose the Motion for the Address to his Majesty. The Speech from the Throné, must, in my mind, give very general satisfaction; and I shall never descend to the meanness of a factious Opposition. If I were called upon to deliver my sentiments on the Speech, I should rather find fault with it for its omissions than for what it contains. It speaks a language of zeal and earneftness, and, as far as it goes, is congenial with my feelings and ideas. But, my Lords, having said this, I may be permitted to state my reasons for with-holding confidence from the present Administration. I have no wish to inflame.--I am not instigated by envy; I do not speak hastily, but on the most mature deliberation-I must declare, that I have no confidence in the present Ministers.
My Lords, when I look back but a very few months to the events in our history, I do not hesitate to pronounce it as my opinion, that the present Ministers have in one great measure attacked, if they have not destroyed, the constitution of the country. This is a bold assertion; but I do not throw it out lightly and at hazard; it is the result of inquiry and discussion. I say, my Lords, that the constitution of the country must be destroyed, when a set of men can seize on the reins of governG 2
ment, and take the closet of the King by assault. I am not weak enough to hazard this charge, eight months after the event, without having seriously weighed it in my mind; and I Kould have delivered it at an earlier period, but that I was abfent in another place (Ireland). My situation at that time I accepted in duty to my Sovereign and country-I was introduced into it by no party—I was neither the adherent nor the dupe of any faction. I received it in the most honourable manner from the Crown; and I maintained myself in the situation by the purest and most upright means, by acting under the principles of the constitution, and studying the happiness and welfare of tlie country. When I saw the bold and unconftitutional attack that was made on the dignity of the Crown, and on the fyítem of the country, I thought it high time to lay at his Majesi y's feet the commission (Lord Lieutenant of Ireland) which I had received. There was a time, my Lords, when this Houli was voted to be useless. On this occasion the bold faction did not proceed to this indecent length : but where, my Lords, was the virtue, where the energy, where the influence and use of this House, when they could see and suffer such an infringement to be made on the constitution ? This House, in that moment, was evidently a cypher, and in so far I aver the equilibrium of the legislature was overturned. I speak from no envy nor disappointment. The manner in which I accepted and resigned my office, will acquit me from the imputation of intereted motives; and I do not spcak from any factious desire of letting up an indiscriminate opposition to his Majesty's government.
I have reasons, from the conduct of Ministers since they came into ofice, for distrusting them. The treaty with the Americans is concluded; both of that and of the definitive treaties with France and Spain, they are certainly the legitimate children of the preliminary articles; but having adopted the illue which they so violentiy condemned, it surely became them to have nurtured the offspring with the greatest care and tender
ness, ness, to have made them at least as vigorous and promising as poffible; instead of which, have they taken the measures which prudence and policy pointed out? What is become of the commercial treaty with America, from which so much good fortune was promised: has it not terminated in air? The Gentleman who was employed to negociate that treaty is returned from Paris; the whole is broken off, and broken off for reasons, which, if his information was right, were censurable. These reasons were not communicated to the public, but they were perfectly well known to individuals. I am not willing to take up rumours, and argue from the hearsay evidence of the day; but reports are circulated with great openness, that this treaty has not only been broken off, but is not likely to be renewed, for reasons by no means favourable to the King's Ministers.
Preliminary articles are signed with Holland; but give me leave to say, my Lords, that they also are but the legitimate offspring of the measures of the former Ministry; the advantages procured in that treaty were secured, and it will be required it must be known why these preliminary articles have not yet been wrought up into a definitive treaty. Why have we not yet begun even to reap the advantages of this peace? Why have not our Ministers been more vigorous and decisive in giving the finishing hand to a treaty, which they boast to be so profitable ?
The critical and very serious affairs of the East-Indies, properly make a paragraph in the Speech from the Throne : it certainly was time that the nation should begin to reap the advantages of the elaborate inquiries which had taken place. I must confess, I have not undergone the fatigue of reading those voluminous reports and papers which are on the table of the House of Commons; but the subject must be instantly discussed, and I much doubt, whether, by being delayed so long, we shall not want other information, and more recent materials than any of which we are now possessed.
The state of the funds, my Lords, call for the most serious consideration: at this instant, they are more depressed than almost at any period during the late distress and exertions of the nation, nay, even in the moment of threatened invasion: and, indeed, it was likely to be so, when, along with the other causes, there was so immense a sum as three or four and twenty millions of unfounded debt, part of which bore an interest of eight per cent. Was it not singular, that his Majesty's Ministers Thould not have thought fit to recommend from the Throne, the immediate and earnest confideration of the funds, and to take notice of their late extraordinary fall--a fall which could not be the
effect of chance, but of a fixed and alarming cause? It would - not have been improper to have stated what they mean to do
in this business, that the minds of the stockholders might be quieted.
I now come, my Lords, to mention a matter of the most delicate kind; and, when I presume to touch it all, I do it with pain to myself and anxiety. But your Lordships may conceive that I feel myself particularly interested in whatever belongs to Ireland, Surely Ministers, on this delicate ground, should have given us fome general consolatory expression, merely to quiet the suspicions that must be excited by their total silenceif they had done no more than just echoed the Addresies of the House of Lords and Commons, and framed any general words which might have shewn their disposition to harmony and union
I said, my Lords, that I did not mean to give any opposition to the Motion for the Address, nor to suggest any Amendment, I have delivered to you my reason for distrusting the King's Ministers--I shall certainly watch their conduct, and in doing fo, without being instigated by factious motives, I shall, in my place, state whatever appears to me to be censurable or injurious.
Earl Temple, Nov. 12, 1783.
I HAVE watched the debate with great attention, and have endeavoured to find out if any thing fell in the course of it, that would afford the least hopes of an union of parties, but in vain. Nothing of that kind has been hinted at; and“I am sorry to have observed, that those who have taken part in the debate, and are known to be the most intimate with the Right Hon. Gentleman, (Mr. Fox) and the nearest about him, have all, more or less, indulged themselves in personal asperities : which pretty plainly thews, that the Right Hon. Gentleman (Mr. Pitt) has not been sincerely inclined to union all along. 'The sort of attack that has this day been made on my Right Hon. Friend is what he by no means deserves; and I am the more sorry, because, undoubtedly, such is the state of the country, that all the abilities of this House are wanted to restore it to its proper state of vigour and prosperity. The great and extraordinary talents of the two Right Hon.Gentlemen are universally acknowledged ; but as far as regards that circumstance, I am not sorry for the contests that have occurred, since this House has assembled after the recess of the last summer, as they have given occasion for a farther display of the abilities of each of the Right Hon. Gentlemen, that has called forth greater admiration and greater wonder. I cannot but express my astonishment to hear Gentlemen complaining that there is no charge made against the Right Hon, Gentleman, (Mr. Pitt) nor any fault imputed to him. In the present case it would have been a little extraordinary if there had been any charge or imputation, because there is not the smallest occafion for either. The Question has nothing personal in it; it throws no disgrace on the Right Hon. Gentleinan opposite to him, nor on his colleagues. When Sir Robert Walpole had a Motion for his removal made against him, there was not any charge thought necessary; it was held to be enough that he had lost the confidence of this House ; and when, upon the division, it appeared that Sir Robert had but a majority of one in his favour, he thought that a sufficient hint, and he no longer appeared as a Minister. But no charge had been called