« AnteriorContinuar »
in, the best eulogies, and the highest panegyric upon both the author and the peace; it is to convince your Lordships of this, that I rife to trespass for a few words on the time and patience of the House.
It is said, my Lords, in the speech I allude to, that preliminary articles of peace were disgraceful, pusillanimous, and dishonourable ; and yet, my Lords, these very preliminary articles of peace, disgraceful, pusillanimous, and dishonourable, as they are represented to be, are nevertheless made only because • through the spirit and good conduct of the present Ministry, they are not quite so disgraceful in the ratification as they are in the preliminary articles,' no less the subject of adulation to Ministers than they are, because ' peace, long wished-for peace, is at last established,' of declamatory joy and congratulation to the public.
But, my Lords, this being said of the consistency of this exordium in overture of Ministers, let us a little fee how the assertion, that ' the preliminary articles of peace were disgraceful, pusillanimous, and dishonourable,' stand in point of reasoning, argument, and fact.
It is said, in a kind of logical process, though unaccompanied by any other symptom of logic, that * the preliminary articles were disgraceful,' and that they were disgraceful, "because they took away from the dignity of this kingdom.* That they were dishonourable, ' because better terms might have been obtained.' That they were pusillanimous, 'because we made concessions, when we should have had humiliations.' Assertions, my Lords, without proofs, reasoning without reasons, and arguments without a single fact to support them: for what is this but to fay, 4 that the preliminary articles were disgraceful,' because they were disgraceful; that' they were dishonourable,' because they were dishonourable; and that ' they were pusillanimous,' because they were pusillanimous ; and yet, my Lords, such is the
O 4 support support of Ministry, and such the way that calumny would asperse, and slander use its tongue.
"But now, my Lords, to admit the truth of all, to ads mit that the articles were as they are stated to be, and that their ratification were an act not of choice but of necessity in the present Ministers: why not fay so then? And why make that which is disgraceful, that which is dishonourable, and that which is pusillanimous, the subject matter not only of unanimous parliamentary approbation, as it has been made, but of merit, boasted merit to Ministers, as well as of general acclamation and joy to the nation? For peace, long wished-for peace, fays the speech, is at last established! Can there be then, my Lords, as I have said, a higher proof of panegyric and eulogy more strongly expressed than this affords? And what is this, but as in the fable, to steal the lion's skin, in order that the ase might wear it?
But it is said, my Lords, 'that this country stood indebted to the present Administration for amending the ratified articles, those shameful and disgraceful terms that were in the preliminaries.' What shameful and disgraceful terms, my Lords? Does the speech know, and could it explain itself even at this hour? Or is this one of those hardy and bold assertions, which much credulity and little knowledge are apt so readily to conceive and utter? But, my Lords, here,again too I will admit the fact; I will admit that they were shameful and disgraceful terms in the preliminaries; and admitting this, let me ask your Lordships, is it not fair, is it not liberal, is it not honest to suppose, that if the late Administration had had the conclusion of the peace in their hands, that they might not have rectified, by the definitive treaties, these errors in the preliminaries, as well as the present Administration have done? Nay, my Lords, it is not to be supposed that the late Administration, knowing better surely than any other could do, both the feeble and the forte of their own negotiations, that the other defects
too might not have been remedied, which have escaped the all-penetrating eye even of the present Administration? And if so, my Lords, where is the merit of the present Ministry, and in what does the country stand indebted to them? On the contrary, is it not shameful and disgraceful in them to take merit to themselves upon such an occasion ; and, instead of praises, do they not rather deserve the curses of the nation, if it were but for this very act alone, inasmuch as amended as the peace is by the present Administration, it might not only have been equally amended by the late Ministry, but from their more intimate knowledge of the subject, might have been infinitely better than it now is? And therefore, my Lords, I do in my turn assert, and dogmatically aflert too, that the taking of the peace out of the late Administration under the circumstances in which it was done, was an act of treason to the state, of a kind as nefarious and flagitious as any that ever had trial at your Lordships' bar, .
And now, my Lords, I had done, if it were not for one thing more, and that is the beautiful little image that has been made the ornament of this speech, so beautiful, that I cannot help taking notice of the bantling, and for a while dandling it in my arms; for, my Lords, it is sakl, ' the peace appeared in the shape of a ricketty bantling, dropped at the door of the present Ministers by its too hasty parents, and there begging their support and protection. They took it up, examined its defects, and as they found a kind of national promise made in its favour, they nursed it, and by the dint of political art, kept it alive, until they could obtain a ratification for its existence, on the best terms that could be obtained for the benefit of its country.'
Such is the image, my Lords ; and however rhetorical the allegory, however beautiful the figure, what is the fact and the truth r Was this bantling dropt at the door of Ministers, and did it there beg its support and protection of them? No, my Lords ; and is not the very reverse of this
the the fact and the truth. Were not Ministers rather dropt at the door of this bantling, and, under that shelter, made to seek their own support and protection? Or, rather, my Lords, may it not be said with greater truth than in either case, that the taking of this bantling into the hands of the present Ministers, was a political ravishment of a ward out of the hands of its proper guardians; accomplished on the one hand by fraud, and on the other by force? By fraud, in making Viscounts of this House to believe that they were to be raised to Earldoms ; and Members of the House of Commons, that they were to be created Peers of the realm. Thanks to the firmness and wisdom of His Majesty, both have been equally disappointed ! By force, my Lords, in having, under the cloak of this bantling, seized upon the Cabinet of the King, and taking, as we all know, with a violence unheard of before, forcible possession of the government of this country. These are the features of the 'ricketty bantling,' as it has been called, and this the fact and truth.
"But now let us fee, my Lords, what the features are of the nurse, the fosterdam, the stepmother, or the mother-inlaw, call it which you please, of this ricketty bantling, and who is said, (contrary to all experience) to have taken more care of it than its own natural parents could have done; and this, my Lords, I, in my turn, will represent to your Lordships; not in allegory, however, my Lords, nor in metaphor, nor figure, nor as a child of fancy, or creature of the imagination, but in real true picture, drawn from the life, and of living existence; and here it is, my Lords, (holding up the figure of Lord North and Mr. Fox in the print of the coalition dissected^ ecce homunculus! My Lords! Vera copla examinata! The nurse of that bantling, which has been described to your Lordships; and to which nurse, I must entreat your Lordships* attention; not in laughter, my Lords, for it is no joke, but in sober serious earnestness; and to this end must humbly move the noble Lord upon the
woolsack, woolsack, that I may have leave to lay this figure upon the table, for your Lordships' examination; from which I vow to God, my Lords, I think, more real benefit might be drawn to the country, than from all the papers (important as they are) that will be laid upon your Lordships' table during the whole session of Parliament. For what, my Lords, must be the result of such an examination? I will tell your Lordships. You will fee the Government of this country in the hands of this bifrontcd monster. And in the name of possibility, what papers can turn to use that are to have the direction of such an unnatural Lusus Natures as this is? But I have now done, my Lords, with a single remark only. However disgraceful, however dishonourable, however pusillanimous the peace is, I rejoice to give it to my noble friend who made it; it is his, and let him have the honour of it. A peace negotiated without connection, and obtained without corruption; though he saw at the time the spirit of a malignant faction staring him in the face. But the purity of his intentions, the firmness of his mind, and the wisdom of his conduct, have risen superior and triumphant over all opposition. It has met with what no other peace ever did before in the annals of our history. —It has had the unanimous suffrage of Parliament, and the approbation of his King and country. In apostrophe,, therefore, to my noble friend, let me fay to him, in the words of Horace—Age, et fume superbiam que* Jttam mentis.