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been attended by very serious and alarming consequences *. No, Sir, the same men who pu. nished with promptitude the mutineers at Bantry bay; the same men who resisted every application of several of the most distinguished peers of the realm, in behalf of governor Wall, condemned for the inurder of one of his Majesty's subjects, were not the men likely, at the requisition of any foreign power, to release those culprits, who had attempted the life of his Majesty himself. The idea could have been sugo gested only by the basest mind and blackest heart.
As alarm and terror are most commonly produced by weakness and suspicion, ministers in conformity to recent precedents, might have suspended the Habeas Corpus act, immediately on the detection of the traitors. But they were neither alarmed nor terrified. They considered the conspiracy as an insulated act of weakness, wickedness, and depravity, in which the rest of the people were in no degree implicated; and
* Who will venture to assert, if Despard should be found guilty and condemned, that he also does not expect, nay, that he also will not find a friend powerful enough to DEMAND AND TO OBTAIN HIS RELEASE ? Ibid.
felt that it would be disgraceful to Englishmen to cherish any longer those principles which even the French themselves had disclaimed. Accordingly, the law was suffered to flow in its usual course; order was maintained; loyalty increased, and unanimity confirmed.
It would have been fortunate for this country, if Despard and his confederates had been the only enemies with whom ministers had to contend; but they had been long, and were then engaged, in the most important discussions with the government of France. The wish for
peace, connected with its advantages, some of which I have already represented as its necessary consequence, must have exacted the utmost exertion of vigour and talents in the course of those negociations. For, although the actual state of France at the period of the definitive treaty was, as I have already shewn, not such as to create any jealousy on our part; yet, her subsequent usurpations afforded just grounds for strong representation. Accordingly, the most dignified and firm language * was holden towards her, in
See the list of papers presented to both Houses of Padiawent, 18th May, 1803,
pursuance of the principle laid down by the present administration, in the address of the 14th of May, 1802* But, it has been alledged that mimisters did not dare even to notice the strides of the First Consul. There is a material difference between blustering and remonstrance; and ministers were certainly not chargeable with the former. Unless they had been lunatics, they could not have addressed the government of France in any other language than in the style of neighbours pacifically disposed, and willing it should be convinced of their sincerity and good faith. I am aware that you and your party would have bullied; but then, as you would have had a bully to deal with, your intemperance would have hurried on events too fast, and not given sufficient time for your enemy to have diselosed himself; consequently, the country would have been exposed to a war, without those accumulated motives, which at this day, make it popular.
* We entertain at the same time a perfect confidence that his Majesty will not fail to employ that vigilance and attention which the present state of Europe demands; and above all, that his Majesty will uniformly determine and prepare to defend against every encroachment, the great sources of wealth, com.. merce, and naval power of the empire,
When it became necessary to assert our-honour and independence, against the menaces of the First Consul, the unanimity of the nation proved its sense of the conduct of ministers. In all the official papers which have been published by the two governments, there is not a single passage marked by any pusillanimous or timid feeling on their part. The whole is firm, decisive, and consistent; exhibiting a strong disposition to cultivate peace, without disparagement to the national character and safety. As the discussions contained in those papers, involved some of the dearest rights of Englishmen, the sentiments and language of ministers corresponded with the dignity of the subject. They yindicated our constitution, liberties, and laws, in so forcible a manner, that none but the most besotted tyrant could have disputed the justice of their claims.
But while appealing to every public docu. ment; to the declarations of his Majesty ; reechoed by ministers in both houses of Parliament; as proofs of the firm tone invariably maintained towards France, I challenge you or any of the opponents of administration to adduce a single instance to the contrary. Vague and general assertions, which may be easily made
to serve the purposes of party, will not invalidate facts. They may impose on the credulous and ignorant, but all rationaf men will form their judgment of ministers, not by such captious rules, but by their actions. The vigorous measures that were enforced to give effect to our 'remonstrances against the usurpations of the Corsican; to recal him to a sense of the interests of the people whom he has enslaved; and finally, to warn him that unless he adopted a different line policy, the strength of this Empire would be exert. ed to set bounds to his enchroachments; unequivocal evidences of firmness and vigilance.
Hence, when it was evident that nothing could induce his feverish ambition to desist from its projects, measures of preparation were pursued, with order, and in silence, without alarming the country, or even exciting its attention in
any peculiar degree; the ballot for the militia, and the bounties and recruiting for the army were accelerated. Any other mode of proceeding, would have been highly reprehensible, as long as the course of negociations afforded a reasonable hope, that the peace
would remain uninterrupted. For, it was not the business of those who had judged it to be a blessing, to provoke another war. If by indiscreet preci. pitation they had urged on the event, we should