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an unquestionable indication of good humour which attracted every heart. Where there was such a seeming equipoise of merit, the two last circumstances might be thought to turn the scale : but Mr. Pitt's undeviating circumspection,-sometimes concealed, sometimes ostentatiously displayed,—tended to obtain for him, from the considerate and the grave, a confidence which they denied to his rival.
Henry Grattan. 1750-1820.
359. ATTACK UPON MR. FLOOD. Thus defective in every relationship, whether to constitution, commerce, and toleration, I will suppose this man to have added much private improbity to public crimes ; that his probity was like his patriotism, and his honour on a level with his oath ; he loves to deliver panegyrics on himself. I will interrupt him, and say, Sir, you are much mistaken if you think that your talents have been as great as your life has been reprehensible ; you began your parliamentary career with an acrimony and personality which could have been justified only by a supposition of virtue: after a rank and clamorous opposition, you became on a sudden silent; you were silent for seven years : you were silent on the greatest questions, and you were silent for money! In 1773, while a negociation was pending to sell your talents and your turbulence, you absconded from your duty in Parliament, you forsook your law of Poynings, you forsook the questions of economy, and abandoned all the old themes of your former declamation ; you were not at that period to be found in the House ; you were seen, like a guilty spirit, haunting the lobby of the House of Commons, watching the moment in which the question should be put, that you might vanish; you were descried with a criminal anxiety, retiring from the scenes of your past glory; or you were perceived coasting the upper benches of this House, like a bird of prey, with an evil aspect and a sepulchral note, meditating to pounce on its quarry :these ways, they were not the ways of honour, you practised pending a negociation which was to end either in your sale or your sedition : the former taking place, you supported the rankest measures that ever came before Parliament; the embargo of 1776, for instance. “O, fatal embargo, that breach of law, and ruin of commerce !” You supported the unparalleled profusion and jobbing of Lord Harcourt's scandalous ministry,—the address to support the American war,—the other address to send 4,000 men, which you had
yourself declared to be necessary for the defence of Ireland, to fight against the liberties of America, to which you had declared yourself a friend; -you, Sir, who delight to utter execrations against the American
commissioners of 1778, on account of their hostility to America ;you, Sir, who manufacture stage-thunder against Mr. Eden, for his anti-American principles ;-you, Sir, whom it pleases to chaunt a hymn to the immortal Hampden ;-you, Sir, approved of the tyranny exercised against America ;-and you, Sir, voted 4,000 Irish troops to cut the throats of the Americans fighting for their freedom, fighting for your freedom, fighting for the great principle, liberty ; but you found, at last (and this should be an eternal lesson to men of your craft and cunning), that the King had only dishonoured you ; the Court had bought, but would not trust you ; and having voted for the worst measures, you remained, for seven years, the creature of salary, without the confidence of Government. Mortified at the discovery, and stung by disappointment, you betake yourself to the sad expedients of duplicity; you try the sorry game of a trimmer in your progress to the acts of an incendiary; you give no honest support either to the Government or the people; you, at the most critical period of their existence, take no part, you sign no non-consumption agreement, you are no volunteer, you oppose no perpetual mutiny bill, no altered sugar bill; you declare, that you lament that the declaration of right should have been brought forward ; and observing, with regard to prince and people, the most impartial treachery and desertion, you justify the suspicion of your Sovereign, by betraying the Government as you had sold the people : until, at last, by this hollow conduct, and for some other steps, the result of mortified ambition, being dismissed, and another person put in your place, you fly to the ranks of the volunteers, and canvass for mutiny; you announce that the country was ruined by other men during that period in which she had been sold by you. Your logic is, that the repeal of a declaratory law is not the repeal of a law at all, and the effect of that logic is, an English act affecting to emancipate Ireland, by exercising over her the legislative authority of the British Parliament. Such has been your conduct, and at such conduct every order of your fellow-subjects have a right to exclaim ! The merchant may say to you—the constitutionalist may say to you—the American may say to you—and I, I now say, and say to your beard, Sir, you are not an honest man.
360. SPEECH AGAINST NAPOLEON, May 25, 1815. The proposition that we should not interfere with the government of other nations is true, but true with qualifications. If the government of any other country contains an insurrectionary principle, as France did, when she offered to aid the insurrection of her neighbours, your interference is warranted ; if the government of another country contains the principle of universal empire, as France did, and promulgated, your interference is justifiable. Gentlemen may call this internal government, but I call this conspiracy. If the government of another country maintains a predatory army, such as Buonaparte’s, with a view to hostility and conquest, your interference is just. He may call this internal government, but I call this a preparation for war. No doubt he will accompany this with offers of peace, but such offers of peace are nothing more than one of the arts of war, attended, most assuredly, by charging on you the odium of a long and protracted contest, and with much common place, and many good saws and sayings of the miseries of bloodshed, and the savings and good husbandry of peace, and the comforts of a quiet life : but if you listen to this, you will be much deceived ; not only deceived, but you will be beaten. Again, if the government of another country covers more ground in Europe, and destroys the balance of power, so as to threaten the independence of other nations, this is a cause of your interference. Such was the principle upon which we acted in the best times : such was the principle of the grand alliance; such was the triple alliance, and such the quadruple ; and by such principles has Europe not only been regulated, but protected. If a foreign government does any of those acts I have mentioned, we have a cause of war ; but if a foreign power does all of them,-forms a conspiracy for universal empire, keeps up an army for that purpose, employs that army to overturn the balance of power, and attempts the conquest of Europe,-attempts do I say ? in a great degree achieves it (for what else was Buonaparte's dominion before the battle of Leipsic?)—and then receives an overthrow ; owes its deliverance to treaties which give that power its life, and these countries their security (for what did you get from France but security ?)—if this power, I say, avails itself of the conditions in the treaties, which give it colonies, prisoners, and deliverance, and breaks those conditions which give you security, and resumes the same situation which renders this power capable of repeating the same atrocity,—has England, or has she not, a right of war?
Having considered the two questions—that of ability and that of right—and having shown that you are justified on either consideration to go to war, let me now suppose that you treat for peace. First, you will have peace upon a war establishment, and then a war without your present allies. It is not certain that you will have any of them, but it is certain that you will not have the same combination, while Buonaparte increases his power by confirmation of his title, and by further preparation; so that you will have a bad peace and a
Were I disposed to treat for peace I would not agree to the amendment, because it disperses your allies and strengthens your enemy, and says to both, we will quit our alliance to confirm
SP. ENG. LIT.
Napoleon on the throne of France, that he may hereafter more advantageously fight us, as he did before, for the throne of England,
Gentlemen set forth the pretensions of Buonaparte ; gentlemen say, that he has given liberty to the press ; he has given liberty to publication, to be afterwards tried and punished according to the present constitution of France, as a military chief pleases; that is to say, he has given liberty to the French to hang themselves. Gentlemen say, he has in his dominions abolished the slave-trade : I am unwilling to deny him praise for such an act; but if we praise him for giving liberty to the African, let us not assist him in imposing slavery on the European. Gentlemen say, will you make war upon character ? But the question is, will you trust a government without one ? What will you do if you are conquered, say gentlemen ? I answer, the very thing you must do if you treat-abandon the Low Countries. But the question is, in which case are you most likely to be conquered—with allies or without them? Either you must abandon the Low Countries, or you must preserve them by arms, for Buonaparte will not be withheld by treaty. If you abandon them, you will lose your situation on the globe ; and instead of being a medium of communication and commerce between the new and the old, you will become an anxious station between two fires—the continent of America, rendered hostile by the intrigues of France, and the continent of Europe, possessed by her arms. It then remains for you to determine, if you do not abandon the Low Countries, in what way you mean to defend them-alone or with allies.
Gentlemen complain of the allies, and say, they have partitioned such a country, and transferred such a country, and seized on such a country. What! will they quarrel with their ally, who has possessed himself of a part of Saxony, and shake hands with Buonaparte, who proposes to take possession of England ? If a prince takes Venice, we are indignant; but if he seizes on a great part of Europe, and stands covered with the blood of millions, and the spoils of half mankind, our indignation ceases ; vice becomes gigantic, conquers the understanding, and mankind begin by wonder, and conclude by worship. The character of Buonaparte is admirably calculated for this effect: he invests himself with much theatrical grandeur ; he is a great actor in the tragedy of his own government; the fire of his genius precipitates on universal empire, certain to destroy his neighbours or himself; better formed to acquire empire than to keep it, he is a hero and a calamity, formed to punish France and to perplex Europe.
The authority of Mr. Fox has been alluded to—a great authority, and a great man; his name excites tenderness and wonder. To do justice to that immortal person, you must not limit your view to this country : his genius was not confined to England; it acted three
hundred miles off, in breaking the chains of Ireland; it was seen three thousand miles off, in communicating freedom to the Americans ; it was visible, I know not how far off, in ameliorating the condition of the Indian ; it was discernible on the coast of Africa, in accomplishing the abolition of the slave-trade. You are to measure the magnitude of his mind by parallels of latitude. His heart was as soft as that of a woman, his intellect was adamant; his weaknesses were virtues—they protected him against the hard habit of a politician, and assisted nature to make him amiable and interesting. The question discussed by Mr. Fox in 1792 was, whether you would treat with a revolutionary government; the present is, whether you will confirm a military and a hostile one. You will observe, that when Mr. Fox was ready to treat, the French, it was understood, were ready to evacuate the Low Countries. If you confirm the present government, you must expect to lose them. Mr. Fox objected to the idea of driving France upon her resources, lest you should make her a military government. The question now is, whether you will make that military government perpetual. I therefore do not think the theory of Mr. Fox can be quoted against us; and the practice of Mr. Fox tends to establish our proposition, for he treated with Buonaparte, and failed. Mr. Fox was tenacious of England, and would never yield an iota of her superiority; but the failure of the attempt to treat was to be found, not in Mr. Fox, but in Buonaparte.
On the French subject, speaking of authority, we cannot forget Mr. Burke, Mr. Burke, the prodigy of nature and acquisition ! He read every thing, he saw every thing, he foresaw every thing. His knowledge of history amounted to a power of foretelling; and when he perceived the wild work that was doing in France, that great political physician, intelligent of symptoms, distinguished between the access of fever and the force of health ; and what other men conceived to be the vigour of her constitution, he knew to be no more than the paroxysm of her madness; and then, prophet-like, he pronounced the destinies of France, and in his prophetic fury admonished nations.
Gentlemen speak of the Bourbon family. I have already said we should not force the Bourbon upon France; but we owe it to departed (I would rather say to interrupted) greatness to observe that the House of Bourbon was not tyrannical : under her, every thing, except the administration of the country, was open to animadversion ; every subject was open to discussion-philosophical, ecclesiastical, and political—so that learning, and arts, and sciences, made progress. Even England consented to borrow not a little from the temperate meridian of that government. Her court stood controlled by opinion, limited by principles of honour, and softened by the in