« AnteriorContinuar »
keep a rod to scourge him in the corner; he may have thought at first his Cisalpine Republic a fine growing child, and may have found it a ricketty hantling; but I feel contempt for all this mockery. Let us, Sir, abstain from invective, only let us speak the truth. Why, Sir, what I have said is nothing but the truth. Let us be visiting acquaintance, but I do implore him not to consider us as one of the family. Perhaps, Sir, it is unnecessary for me to state any more reasons for voting for this large peace establishment. All I desire is, not to have it understood that in stating my fears, I speak from a well informed judgment. On that account it is that I say do not go to war; on that account it is that I state my apprehensions as national grounds for great vigilance, and for strong preparation. Sir, there are two other points pressed by several gentlemen, to which I beg leave to refer, I mean the fitness of the persons in power and the spirit of the people. The power of the country consists in its army, its navy, and its finance, in the talent and integrity of its ministers, and, above all, in the spirit of the people. Upon this second branch of the question, though I have said some things which may be considered as grateful to that party which may be denominated the war party, yet I fear I shall be compelled to state by and by some circumstances that may not be quite so agreeable to them. It is a matter of no importance to the house perhaps to know why I was absent on the two first days of the session. I am anxious to hear the part which men would take, and I do confess I never felt 80 much disgust at any circumstance, as to find on the first day of the session, instead of an unanimous vote for vigilance and preparation, a call from some to give us back our places, The noble Lord's friends may be divided into two classes; those who call for a change of ministers, and for war. And here I must say, Sir, for one, that I thank them for their frankness in stating what they have done, because their frankness is an antidote to the fury of their counsels. The noble lord says, we don't want to go to war; .we only wish to have other persons in power; the noble lord deals with the ingenuousness of youth, as I say, with the experience of youth, according to others. But what should we get by this change? Would those persons he recommends bave 'acted differently from the present ministers? Would they have gone to war for any of the events that have occurred since the peace? Would they have gone to war for
the annexing of Piedmont to 'France?
for the Cisalpinę Republic? for the invasion of Switzerland ? No, for none of these. They would have done as ministers have done, but more vigorously; they would have shewn more grumbling patience; they would have made wry faces; they would not have stood with their hands hefore them; 20, but with their arms akimbo. What would they have got by this? Would they have obtained any thing more by all this grudging, and wincing? - Would such a mode of conduct have become the character and dignity of the country? Şir, it is not to be inferred, because the right honorable gentleman opposite me did none of these things, that he felt po indignation. I learn from His Majesty's speech, every word of which I approve, that his ministers are determined not to be shut out of the continent. I say, Sir, I approve of the speech, because it satisfied me that a sense of wrong, and a resentment of injury, may live under moderate language. But these ministers, it seems, are the incapable gentlemen. Will gentlemen shew us any act of base submission on their part? If they can; if they prove that they did any act with respect to Switzerland,
and meanly retracted it afterwards, I will be the first to in - veigh against them. But these gentlemen shew us no such
acts; they seem as if they considered the ministers, now the drudgery of signing the peace is done, as functi officiis, and as if they onght to go out; as if one was a mere goose quill and the other a stick of sealing wax, which are done with, and ought to be thrown under the table. We know that Touchstone says, as a good ground of quarrel, „That he don't like the cut of a certain courtier's beard“ *). Perhaps this capriçious dislike cannot be better exemplified than by the septiment expressed in the well known epigram of Martial:
Non amo te, Sabidi, nec possum
Hoc tantum possum dicere, non amo te **).
I do not like thee, Doctor Fell,
*) Die Stelle', auf welche sich Sheridan bezieht, befindet sich in Shakspear's Comödie As you like it, Act IV. Sc. 4. Touch stoné ist eine Person dieses Stückes. **). Martialis Epigrammatum, I. 33.
It is fair, Sir, to say, that this English parody, so unfavourable to the Doctor, proceeds from the mouth of a fair lady, who has privileges to like and dislike, which woud ill-become a member of this house, 'Sir, I contend that no solid reason has been offered to be urged against these ministers. How, I would ask, has' the right honorable gentleman ,forfeited the confidence of the people? And why are we told that there is but one man alone that can save the country. But it seems, and I must frankly confess, that I was utterly astonished when I heard such an assertion made use of, that His Majesty's ministers assumed the reins of government at a most inviting period. Sir, I defy any man to shew me a period of greater difficulty. The right honorable gentleman who, in the chair of this house, had so amply deserved and secured the respect of every member in it, “could not but have quitted it with feelings of regret. But the expeditions to the Baltic and to Egypt were prepared: true; yet was success certain ? Was it not the act of chance, and the great skill shewn by the noble Admiral (Nelson) that brought the expedition to the Baltic to a favorable issue? Did the late ministers conceal 'their fears with respect to the expedition to Egypt? That it was most glorious in its event, and that the country ought to bind the brows of the meanest soldier engaged in it with laurels, I am ready to allow. But it cannot be denied, that, after the expedition had been off the coast in Italy, and was in Marmorice Bay, orders were sent to stop the expédition altogether. With respect to the negociations for peace, their predecessors knew that the present ministers would have to deal with men who, it might be supposed, would be glad of an occasion to retort the insolence of Lord Grenville's letter. If the enemy had parodied their letter as their only answer to us, if they had said we will wait for experience and the evidence of facts, with respect to the new ministry; if they had said, restore that old whig constitution which the former ministers have so impaired, we might have thought such conduct trifling, and beneath them; but we could not have questioned its fairness. Sir, though His Majesty's ministers must have been prepared to expect humiliation, yet they made peace, I will venture to say, on terms comparatively more advantageous to the country than those that were offered at Lisle, Of these ministers, Sir, I know also that they have not renewed any of their predecessor's oppressive acts. But
this, some gentlemen will contend, is a proof of their weakness and unfitness. Never too, Sir, did the Treasury interfere so little in the general election. This again may be advanced by some as an instance of their incapacity. Nay, the North was left almost to a member of the late administration. When, therefore, gentlemen talk in future of Mr. Pitt's being the fittest person to save the country, they ought to 'add also the name of Mr. Dundas. But what did these gentlemen expect from the present Chancellor of the Exchequer? We treated him, when in the chair of this bouse, with the respect he merited. He has, I believe, Sir, over our present worthy Speaker, the advantage in attitude; but did they expect that when he was minister he was to stand up and call Europe to order? Was he to send Mr. Colman, the Sergeant at Arms, to the Baltic, and order the Northern powers to the bar of the house? Was he to see the powers of Germany scramba ling like members over the benches, and say, Gentlemen must take their places? Was he expected to cast his eye to the Tuscan gallery, and exclaim, that strangers must withdraw? Was he to stand across the Rhine, and say, the Germans to the right and the French to the left? If he could have done all these things, I for one should always vote, that the Speaker of the house should be appointed the minister of the country. But the right honorable gentleman has done all that a reasonable man could expect him to do. Sir, I confess, I wish to know what Mr. Pitt himself thinks. I should be glad to hear what his sentiments are of the call made for him, and loudly made too, in another place by a vigorous statesman. I well remember, Sir, and so do we all, the cha· racter he
gave of the present administration. The justice of his character of the First Lord of the Admiralty, no man can question. Of the accuracy of his judgment, with respect to the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, it does not become us to entertain a doubt. The noble Secretary of State was better qualified for the situation than any man in the country, with au exception made, I believe, in favor of my honorable friend (Mr. Fox) near me. Does Mr. Pitt mean to retract that character? I cannot suppose he does. I must believe that he left, in his judgment, the best administration that could be left. I have heard some gentlemen attach to the present ministry the appellation of a mawkish mixture: but if I were to compare them to any thing, I should say, that Mr. Pitt, and
the Ex-Secretary of War, acted as men fond of wine (which I certainly do not mean to impute to them as a fault) and drinking a bottle of Tokay. Though you may take what appears to be the best, and leave only what seems to be the lees, yet if you only pour a bottle of good white wine upon them, you have as good a bottle of Tokay as ever. Sir, I think the mixture as good and as wholesome to the constitution as it could have been. I am sure I hear with joy that it is not on account of ill health that the right honorable gentleman to whom I have alluded is absent. I repeat, Sir, when I see so many persons anxious' about that gentleman, I am glad to hear that his bealth is re-established. But how, I would ask, can we, with any consistency, turn out the man who made the peace, to bring in the person who avowed his approbation of it? Sir, it is since that peace was made that gentlemen had voted a statue to Mr. Pitt; but whenever they erect that statue, let them cover it with laurels so as not to shew its nose; yet still a piece of the olive must go with it, for be approved and supported the peace. Sir, I cannot persuade myself to think he is playing a double game, or that he has retracted the opinion he delivered in this house; but every thing should stand plain, every thing should be explicit. I have heard of one person playing two different games 'at chess, for two different persons at the same time; but I never heard af a person playing one of his hands against the other. I suspect, therefore, there has been some mistake in the telegraphic communication; that the political Philidor's *) game has been misunderstood; that his friends have displaced a knight and a castle, when they should only have taken two pawns **); that they have made an attempt to checkmate the King, when they had no instructions for doing it. Sir, I cannot forget the period when the august persopage of the Sovereign was held up as the only man who was against extending privileges to the Catholics in Ireland; and I cannot, therefore, brook the idea of calling that right honorable gentleman back to power, and forcing him upon the crown. I expected when I came into this house to bear much said against Buonaparte, but I had not the slightest expecta
*) Philidor, ein berühmter Schachspieler. **) Es bedarf der Erinnerung nioht, dass von einem Missgriffe im Schachspiele die Rede ist.