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exposed, crush her commerce wherever you can, make her feel heavy and immediate distress throughout the nation, the people will soon cry out to their government: whilst the advan-. tages she promises herself are remote and uncertain, inflict present evils and distresses' upon her subjects, the people will become discontented and clamourous, she will sind it a bad bargain having entered into this business, and you will force her to desert an ally that brings so much trouble, and distress, and misfortune, the advantages of whose alliance may never take effect; or if they should be subject always to disturbance from this country, which it always ought to be, and which I know you are able to give if you once get your hands clear of America. What is become of the antient spirit of this nation? Where is that national spirit that ever did honour to this country? Have the present Ministers spent that too with almost the last shilling of your money? Are they not ashamed of the temporizing conduct they have used towards France? Her correspondence with America has been clandestine, compare that with their conduct towards Holland some time ago—but it is the characteristic of little minds to exact in little things, whilst they shrink from their rights in great ones.—The conduct of France is called clandestine; look back but a year ago to a letter from one of your Secretaries of State to Holland, " it is with "surprise and indignation" your conduct is seen—in something done by a petty Governor of an island—while they affect to call the measures of France clandestine: this is the way that Ministers support the character of the nation, and the national honour and glory: but look again how that fame Holland is spoke of to~day, even in your correspondence with her your littleness appears,
Pauper £sf exul ttterque,
Projecit empullas, & ssquipcdalia verba.
From this you may judge of your situation, from this you may know what a state you are reduced to: how will the
French French party in Holland exult over you and grow strong; she will never continue your ally when you meanly crouch to France, and do not dare to stir in your defence: but it is, nothing extraordinary that she should not, whilst you keep the Ministers you have; no power in Europe is blind; there is none blind enough to ally itself with weakness, and become partner in bankruptcy; there is no one blind enough to ally themselves to obstinacy, absurdity, and imbecility.
Mr. Fox, Nov. 26, 1778.
There is not in the whole history of this country, a period that resembles the present, except the reign of the unfortunate Henry the Vlth. His family, like that of his present Majesty, did not claim the Crown as their hereditary right; it was by revolutions they both obtained it. Henry was an amiable and pious Prince, so is his present Majesty: Henry was the son of the most renowned Monarch that ever fat upon the Throne; George was the grandson of a Hero; Henry lost all his father's conquests, and all his hereditary provinces in France: George has already seen the conquests of his grandfather wrested from hjm in the West-Indies, and his hereditary provinces of America erected into an empire, that disclaimed all connection.
His Majesty set out in life with the brightest prospects that a young man could have wished for: possessed of immense dominions, and the warmest affections of his people, his accession to the Crown was completely flattering both to himself and his subjects. How fadly is the scene reversed! his empire dismembered, his councils distracted, and his people falling off in their affection for his person. I only speak within doors the language that is held without: the people are beginning to murmur, and their patience is not unlimited: they will at last -do themselves justice; there certainly will be insurrections: and though it is impossible that the calamities that will attend them can be justisied, or compenfated by any good that can be obtained by them, yet they certainly will take place,
It cannot be a secret to this House, that the present Sovereign's claim to the Throne of this country was founded only upon the delinquency of the Stuart family; a circumstance that ought never to be out of his Majesty's recollection. It was true, indeed, that the unfortunate race of that name, was univerfally detested in this country, and therefore his Majesty had little to fear from their pretensions: but he should ever remember, that it was the conduct of wicked and ignorant Ministers that excited that detestation for them. If there should be at this day one of that unfortunate House remaining, what a scope for upbraidings and remonstrance could he not sind in the present reign! Could he not fay, " You have banished my ancestor from the M Throne, and barred the Sceptre from all his progeny for th« "misconduct of his Ministers; and yet the Ministers of the pre"sent reign, are ten times more wicked and more ignorant than "those were; and whilst you all agree in giving to your pre** sent Sovereign the title of best of Princes, his Ministers have "rendered his reign beyond any degree of comparison, the most "infamous that ever disgraced this nation." The Minister, though with such a load of national censure and national calamity on his head, has the hardiness to boast of his innocence; but it is not a conscious rectitude of mind that could excuse a Minister from criminality. What he calls innocence may be another name for ignorance, and ignorance in a Minister is a crime of the first magnitude. But the wide ruin that the counsels of Administration have spread through this great empire, and the miserable state to which they have reduced it in the short space in which the present Parliament have been sitting, is so far beyond the natural effects of mere ignorance, that I cannot help adopting the opinion of an Honourable Friend (Mr. J. Townshend) that there is treachery at the bottom of the national councils. His Lordship (Lord North) may flatter himself as much as he pleases in the protection of a majority, or in the security of the law; but when a nation is reduced to such a state of wretchedness and distraction that the laws can
afford afford the people no relief, they will give a Minister who has caused the evil but little protection. What the law of the land could not do, the law of nature, would accomplish; the people would inevitably take up arms, and the first characters in the kingdom would be seen in their ranks!
Mr. Fox, Nov. 25, 1779.
The necessity of my faying something upon the present occasion, is so obvious to the House, that no apology will, I hope, be expected from me in troubling them even at so late an hour, (two o'clock in the morning.) I shall not enter much into a detail, or minute defence, of the particulars of the EastIndia Bill before you, because few particular objections have been made. The opposition to it consisting only in general reasonings, of little application some, and some totally distant from the point in question.
This Bill has been combated through its past stages upon various principles; but to this moment the House has not heard it canVafied upon its own intrinsic merits. The dabate this night has turned chiefly upon two points-"violation of charter> and increase os influence; and upon both these points I shall fay a few words.
The Honourable Gentleman, who opened the debate, (Mr. Powys) first demands my attention, not indeed for the wisdom of the observations which fell from him this night, acute and judicious though he is upon most occasions) but from the natural weight of all such characters in this country, the aggregate of whom should, in my opinion, always decide upon public measures: but his ingenuity was never, in my opinion, exerted more ineffectually, upon more mistaken principles, and more inconsistent with the common tenor of his conduct, than in this debate, ,
The Honourable Gentleman charges me with abandoning that cause, which, he fays, in terms of flattery, I had once so successsully asserted. I tell him, in reply, that if he were to search the history of my life, he would find that the period of it, in which I struggled most for the real, substantial cause of Liberty, is this very moment that I am addressing; you. Freedom, according to my conception of it, consists in the fafe and facred possession of a man's property, governed by laws defined and certain; with many personal privileges, natural, civil, and religious, which he cannot surrender without ruin to himself; and of which to be deprived by any other power, is despotism. This Bill, instead of subverting, is destined to stabilitate these principles; instead of narrowing the basis of freedom, it tends to enlarge it; instead of suppressing, its object is to insuse and circulate the spirit of Liberty.
What is the most odious species of tyranny? Precisely that which this Bill is meant to annihilate. That a handsul of men, free themselves, should execute the most base and abominable despotism over millions of their fellow-creatures; that innocence should be the victim of oppression; that industry should toil for rapine; that the harmless labourer should sweat, not for his own benesit, but for the luxury and rapacity of tyrannic depredation. In a word, that thirty millions of men, gifted by Providence with the ordinary endowments of humanity, should groan under a system of despotism, unmatched in all the histories of the world.
What is the end of all government? Certainly the happiness of the governed.—Others may hold other opinions; but this is mine, and I proclaim it. What are we to think of a government, whose good fortune is supposed to spring from the calamities of its subjects, whose aggrandisement grows out of the miseries of mankind? This is the kind of government exercised under the East-India Company upon the natives of Indostan; and the subversion of that infamous government, is the main object of the Bill in question. But in the progress of accomplishing this end, it is objected that the Charter of the Company should not be violated; and upon this point, Sir, I shall deliver my opinion without disguise. A Charter is a trust to