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prized to discover either one or the other where they were not expected to be found : nor is it other than our every day's experience, and conformable to the testimony of all history, that rather than render to a people any right, or perform towards them any justice, . which can be either with-held or denied, the ordinary resort of the usurper, the ambitious demagogue, or the corrupt politician, is WAR. And in this christian and polished age, we have too our sober, moral, apologizing writers, who gravely maintain that war is not in itself an evil, but the contrary; not a disease, but a cure or preventive of diseases; not a bloody issue requiring ibe physician to heal it, but a salutary evacuation without which the body politic must die of plethora ; and we have reviewers to praise, and statesmen to reward such writers. War in prospect, and war in retrospect, are to be sure two different things. Whatever be the real motives of its real authors, a war in prospect is invariably held forth as necessary, and therefore just ; and the advantages to be gained, and the glory to be acquired, are described in glowing colours. Such were the pretences and the pictures held up to us by Mr. Pitt at the commencement of the present war ; nay, the more easily to gull the nation, it was proposed as an experiment worth trying, which if not successful, might at pleasure be abandoned ; and with such abundant means in the hands of a minister of this country, for deceiving the people as to facts as well as principles, and for deluding them into a war, as already instanced in the case of that with America, nothing so easy, in a country circumstanced as this is, as to bring on a war. The glittering prospects presented by our talking, tricking minister, have proved mere air bubbles for trying the infantine credulity of the nation, while he was carrying on a system of fraud and tyranny.
But now the time is come for viewing twelve years of this war, (including a short truce) in retrospect; and now we behold in all their magnitude its numerous evils; now we see arising around us, the bloody visions of our countrymen and relatives whom it has slaughtered, and we feel the grievous burthens it has laid upon us; now we discero its effect in changing France from a.
feeble suppliant of England for protection, to a terror of Europe, “perplexing monarchs with fear of change;" now we are brought in suffering and sorrow to contemplate the vices it has engendered, the miseries it has produced, and the mischiefs it has sown in our system of government; and now at length it is, that its powerful authors, and their hireling host of abettors, being sick with disappointment, and silent through shame, honest men are able to make known to their country, the true character of its origin. Having had enough of the experiment, we now find to our cost, that the rash and wicked authors of the calamity are utterly incapable either of conducting the contest with success, or of bringing it to a termination : at their hands we can neither have a war of energy, nor a peace of repose.
MY LORD, In considering the present war—that is, taking it to have commenced in 1793, and to have been divided into a first and a second part, separated by a truce; we may discuss what belongs to it under three heads, namely, the circumstances which led to it; those atteading its commencement; and those which followed; as all of them materially belong to our consideration of the state of the nation. First,then, I must ever hold it to have been in reality a war waged by the court and borough factions in alliance, foraverting from them that parliamentary reformation which promised to rescue our country from their usurpations and pillage, and if possible for establishing for ever in themselves and families their detested power; and it was because the revival of liberty in France, had occasioned the revival of the spirit of reformation in England, that to crush that new liberty in its infancy, became so ardently their desire, as to blind them to the infamy of the thing it. self, and the aggravated infamy of leaguing for so
shameful a purpose with every despotism in Europe; as well as to render them utterly regardless of every national consideration which would have forbidden wise statesmen or honest men from involving their country in such a contest. And thus only is it possible to explain the bitter and rancorous spirit they manifested against human liberty and human rights, and against all who had the courage to assert or maintain them by deed, word, or writing.
We inust recollect, that so long as things went well, towards a restoration of their long lost liberties to the people of France, a general joy gladdened the hearts of the people of England, but the court and borough factions, and their minister, Mr. Pitt, REJOICED NOT. Their sympathy was not with the rising freedom, but with the falling despotism; and consequently, that which gave them most pain and alarm, was the revival at home of the spirit of parliamentary reformation, and the consequent danger to their oligarchical power. Fearful only of this reforming spirit, secret service money found its way into every popular society, secretaries and other corrupt inembers were taken into pay, well instructed spies were introduced, and all the movements of the societies were duly reported, and constantly watched with a jealous eye; while numerous writers under ministerial patronage, were regularly employed in disseminating sentiments adverse to all freedom in all countries, and others who had written under the influence of contrary sentiments, and had warmly sympathized in French patriotism, were corrupted and gained over, and thus made bitter enemies of that liberty, in whose service they had formerly exercised their pens, and raised themselves to public notice.
Even the public dinners held in London, of those who rejoiced in the fair prospects to liberty and humanity, filled the factions with painful sensations, and with wishes for an opportunity of letting louse the sword for curing these patriotic fervours. On the near approach of one of these dinners, I well remember to have heard in a large company, (on a dining party at the house of the Rev. Basil Berridge, at Algarkirk,
in the county of Lincoln,) from a military officer, that all things would be in readiness, the guards were to be under orders, ball cartridges to be delivered out, and an example was to be made if,-On my saying purposed being at that dinner, politeness prevented my hearing more : but for having attended that dinner, I received a strong mark of displeasure from a nobleman of the first rank, and a privy counsellor, holding two important offices, one extremely lucrative, and the other of high dignity and power. I was refused the promised Lieutenant-Colonelcy of my regiment, and superseded as major. The notification of that refusal having been in 1791, may be taken as a pretty decisive symptom of the disposition at that early period of our ministers, to whom this nobleman was sufficiently subservient; 1 a period when the French revolution had produced nothing, but what was a subject of joy to all good men.
But by far the most important fact for shewing the minds of the court and borough factions prior to the war, was a profound secret until declared by Earl Stanhope, in the house of lords, in his celebrated speech on the 20th of February, 1800. He charged his Majesty's ministers with perverting the meaning of the French decrees, and the letters of the French ministers, by mistranslating their language, and that in passages of the very first importance.--" If,” says he, “they “ have done so wilfully, I know no guilt can equal " theirs; for, to set the people of two nations to cut “ each others throats, by unjustly exasperating them “ against each other, is the full measure of human de
linquency.” The instance brought in proof, was in the mistranslation of a letter of the ambassador, Chauvelin, to Lord Grenville, dated 27th. Dec. 1799.
" To shew that this system of misconception, or misrepresentation, has been uniformly acted upon, I need
only remind your lordships that M. Talleyrand, and $ several other persons came over to England, in an " official capacity, before the wur commenced between
Austria and France. There were then, however,
1 See the Authors letter to the Duke of Newcastle, 1792.
" some points in dispute between them, respecting the
province of Alsace, which were likely to terminate “ jo hostilities. * I took occasion to represent to M, “ Talleyrand, the absurdity of two great nations going
to war about objects so insignificant. The latter “ answered, that the French government were of the
same opinion, and would willingly submit their plea to the judgment of the head of the only free nation in
Europe, except France. He stated, and he stated “ with energy, that the French nation loved the people “ of England, because they are free; and, therefore,
they wished that his Majesty, the king of England, “ or any commissioners by him appointed, should set“ ile the question in dispute between Austria and “ France. 'He desired me to go to his Majesty's mini
sters, to sound their dispositions, and to feel whether, “ by accepting the office of mediators, they would con“ tribute to avert the calamities of war. I accepted “ the commission, and made the proposal to the secre“ tary of state.”—Here Lord Grenville said, he did not recollect the circumstance." You do not recollect it! " --but I do. Think, my Lords, what a minister you “ have got, who thus forgets one of the most material “ and important facts, that has occurred during his “ whole administration. This handsome proposal, on “ the part of France, was not accepted. My reason " for mentioning this fact is, to convince the house “ that the French were heartily disposed to shew the “ British government, and the British nation, every “ mark of possible respect. For what can be a greater “ degree of respect aud confidence shewn either to a “ nation, a government, or an individual, than volun
tarily to propose to abide by their decision.”I
“ Now, my lords, I know it is unparliamentary to “ allude to discussions that have already taken place in “ this house, but I will suppose that somebody said in “ public, on the subject of Buonaparte's late overtures “ for peace, that his answer 2 to the first letter of the
1 What a change has taken place, when France now lays it down as a principle, that an English minister in any court of Germany ought not to be tolerated!
2 Alluding to a letter of Lord Grenville's.