Page images
PDF
EPUB

who had formed the treaty of Amiens, 1 tinent. He touched slightly on the conand given peace to the country. He did duct of the French government towards not vote that force for the purpose of re- Switzerland, and the total subjugation of commencing war; for he was sure it was Italy to its will. On the subject of Hol. neither their wish nor intention, but for land, he descanted with great energy, and the purpose of maintaining peace, and pointed out the alarming consequences with it the security and the honour of the which French influence in that country country

presented in the event of a renewal of Mr. Calcraft said, that upon the fullest war. On the importance of our conconviction of the wisdom and good con- nexion with Holland, he believed there duct of his majesty's ministers, as well as was no difference of opinion. He desthat the force voted the preceding night, cribed with great force the claims which was necessary to the maintenance of peace, the House of Orange had to our protec. national honour, and national security, he tion, from ancient connexion cemented gave that vote his most hearty approba- by common friendship; and the more he tion. He believed the ministers had the considered the fate of this illustrious fa. universal confidence of the people. mily, the more was he convinced of the

Dr. Laurence condemned the system inefficacy of the article in the definitive upon which ministers acted; particularly treaty, which professed to guarantee them in reducing the navy so much since the a full and complete indemnity. He called peace, and proposing to keep up a large the attention of the House to the treatstanding army, though the former force ment which captain D'Auvergne had exwas our natural defence, and the latter perienced in Paris, in consequence of was ever an object of constitutional jea- orders issued by the French government. lousy. He animadverted on the observa- What he meant to state he did not pretions of the noble secretary of state, on tend to state on authority. That respect. the subject of continental alliances, and able officer, even under the protection of the balance of power, and compared them a British commission and a regular passwith his assertion on a former occasion, port, had been arrested, thrown into a that the capture of Oczakow, a fortress dungeon, and subjected to interrogatories on the Black Sea, by the Russians, would of the most insulting kind. Could any endanger the safety of Europe. He re- thing be reckoned an attack on our naprobated the idea of abandoning that po. tional honour, if such an outrage did not licy, with respect to the continent, upon come under that description ? He took which this country had acted for the last occasion to allude to a prosecution insticentury and a half. He also reproved the tuted against M. Peltier, for a supposed practice of perpetually referring to the libel on the French government. He did conduct of ministers during the last war. not mean to give any opinion against the The House should not be so goaded. If propriety of such a prosecution, but was gentlemen wished to investigate that con- pointed on articles which had appeared duct fully, let it be brought forward in a in the French official journal, containing proper form, and solemnly discussed. He unbecoming allusions, and indecent rewas anxious to know what ideas were Alexions, on the character of our own meant to be attached to national insults sovereign. and hostile aggression. Ministers did Mr. Chancellor Addington said, it not explain in what sense these terms seemed to be urged constantly, as the were to be understood, and it therefore systematic opinion of the learned member became necessary to attend a little to and his friends, that ministers, by the facts, so far as they might be useful in measures they adopted, had compromised determining whether, on the part of the dignity, and tarnished the honour of France, there had been since the conclu- the empire ; without, however, substansion of the treaty of peace, any acts, with tiating their accusations by any specific regard to foreign powers, which this charge. But if they really conceived country would be entitled to make a themselves founded in their assertion, the ground of remonstrance. On this part of manly way would be, to bring it forward, his argument he accordingly examined in and give those whom they accused an detail the system of German indemnities, opportunity of vindication. The charge which he reprobated as subversive of the of abandoning the indemnity to the prince constitution of the Germanic empire, and of Orange was wholly unfounded. Before destructive of our influence on ihe con- the approaching recess, he hoped to make

t

such a communication to the House as ment had refused to give satisfaction to would manifest that his majesty's feelings the honour of the country, wounded in the were by no means dormant to the situation person of a British officer, this would, in of the illustrious personage alluded to. his opinion, be a ten thousand times more The next point he thought necessary to justifiable ground of war than any thing notice was, the prosecution commenced drawn from the conduct of France in the against the publisher of a libel upon the system of German indemnities, in the inchief consul of France. But though the vasion of Switzerland, or any other act of British government certainly were not usurpation on the continent. Strongly responsible for the publication which disposed as he was for the preservation of contained that libel, he conceived the first peace, he declared, without difficulty, consul was entitled, by the justice of the that war was an alternative ever to be country, to reparation, as well as every preferred to insult and infamy. After a other person in such a case. The next few observations on the influence which point was the affair of captain D'Auvergne. the state of our finances ought to have in The moment his situation was made deterring us from hastily plunging again known to liis majesty's minister at Paris, into war, the hon. gentleman vindicated a demand was made to the French go- the system he had recommended with re. vernment for his release, which was in. gard to continental connexions. Conti. stantly obtained ; so that the apprehen- nental connexions were not to be estisions of the learned member for the ho mated according to a general system. nour and dignity of this country, on this They were to be judged of by a consias well as the other occasions, were ut. deration of the circumstances in which terly unfounded. Another topic with the country was placed. He was a friend the learned member was, the aggrandiz- to continental connexions when they could ing power of France. No man lamented be advantageous; and at the commenceit more than he did; but he could not ment of the late war he had resisted our allow that it was a matter that would war. entering into them, because the manner rant the revival of hostilities. The next in which they were formed was such as to objection of the learned member was, that promote nothing but disappointment and ministers called for a large force, without disaster. His opinion now was, that the stating any specific necessity; at the war had left the continent in that state, same time that his own speech and those that if we had an opportunity of forming of his friends, were fraught with alarm an alliance with Austria, and even Russia, for our situation, and the avowal of that he should not think such an alliance jus. necessity. If the learned member was tified by policy. Gentlemen might ask, not disposed to confide in the assurances were we never again to form any contiwhich ministers were warranted to give, nental alliances ? His answer was, that the right way of proceeding would be, to this must depend on circumstances which move an address to his majesty, for the might hereafter appear in the situation of documents to show that necessity. The Europe. He would not say that such hon. member might do so now; and when alliances might not be hereafter renewed produced, they would furnish a justifica with advantage; but this was not the motion of the measures adopted by ministers. ment for such a renewal. Adverting

Mr. Fox alluded to the representation merely to the interests of Austria, he given by Dr. Laurence, of the treatment could not conceive it to be either fair or which had been experienced by a British friendly in this country, to seek the reofficer from the French government. Al-newal of any alliance with that power, lowing that a remonstrance had been made when such an alliance might only have on the subject by ministers without obtain the effect of exposing her to attacks from

. saying, agreeably to the ideas of national No man was more anxious than himself to honour which he had often had occasion keep up a high spirit in the country; but to express, that he should reckon this an the time for exerting that spirit was to be insult of such magnitude as to form a regulated by circumstances. What might legitimate ground of renewing hostilities. be very wise and political under certain If captain D'Auvergne had been arrested circumstances, might under circumstances without the smallest pretext, thrown into of a different nature, be ruinous to our a dungeon, and subjected to insulting in- best interests, and he thought that to emterrogatories; or if the French govern- bark in foreign connexions at this time,

sense.

would be to expose ourselves to such | against Austria and other states. By our consequences. If the House and the honesty, “ of which the hon. gentleman country had acquiesced in the peace, and had said so much, was, perhaps, meant the ansatisfactory state of the continent this, that foreign powers should be bound on which the peace was concluded, the to us, but not we to them. If this same acquiescence was demanded on country had been in such danger as every principle of policy and common Austria was previous to the treaty of

The learned gentleman had been Luneville, he believed those who held this offended at charges produced against the language would have been the first to cry out Jate administration, and had called on an that we ought to take care of ourselves, hon. baronet to come forward and produce and think no more of our allies. The buthe proof on a regular inquiry. He was siness with regard to the prince of really astonished to hear' gentlemen Orange was a gross fraud upon this making use of such language. Had he country. It might be guessed, from what and those with whom he had the honour the right hon. gentleman had stated, that of acting been slack in demanding in- this indemnity was to be made up by hard quiry into the conduct of the late minis- English guineas. What, then, became of ters? Had they not from year to year our point of honour? Capt. D'Auvergne's proposed inquiry, and had not the friends case was another point which he thought of ministers as generally resisted all in- might convince the hon. gentleman (Mr. vestigation? With much more justice Fox), that the honour of the country was might this charge be retorted on the not perfectly safe. It was said, that milearned gentleman and his friends of the nisters practised at once conciliation and new opposition. They were indeed firmness. This brought to his recollecliable to a charge of inconsistency, which tion the story of a man, reputed religious, they would not find it so easy to repel. who having committed a dishonourable Supporting every public measure, they transaction, excused himself by saying to still were

dissatisfied with ministers. a bishop,“ my lord, it was only a pious They were perpetually accusing them of fraud." The bishop, however, answered, imbecility, and yet never had they the that he could distinguish the fraud, but manliness to prefer against them a specific not the piety; so he, with respect to micharge. He was very pointed on the nisters, could easily see the conciliation, subject of the German indemnities, which but could not discover an atom of the he condemned as a system of the most firmness. He agreed perfectly that there gross violation of all honesty and justice, was no retreat for this country in meanand adduced this as an additional reason

It was with us, aut Cæsar, aut why, for the present at least, German al- nullus. We must be a great nation or liances should be avoided. He should nothing ? He wished to know where the rejoice in any plan to reduce French in- point of honour so much talked of was to fluence on the continent, but of this there be found. It it did not exist in the case was at present no rational prospect of the prince of Orange, or of captain With regard to Holland, there was no D'Auvergne, where did it exist ? This thing he so much lamented as the acqui. shifting of the point of honour reminded sition of influence which France had him of what was said to happen to gained in that country, connected as it travellers in a part of Essex, who, when was with Belgium ; but he saw no use in they asked for a district remarkable for constantly complaining on this subject, being visited by fevers and agues, were unless some means could be pointed out always told by the inhabitants, that the of redressing the grievance.

place was not just where they were, but Mr. Windham said, that the speech of a little farther on. He had often been his learned friend had been complained of accused of entertaining high chivalresque as long. Long it might be by the clock; notions with respect to the relations of but certainly not by the matter it con- this country and France. He, however, tained. With regard to the affair of the disclaimed all such ideas. He grounded prince of Orange, bis learned friend had the whole of his arguments upon the been called to that subject by what an plain vulgar prosaic ground of safety. hon. gentleman bad stated respecting His opinion was, that the places to be foreign powers. That was a very erro- given by the treaty ought to be retained ; neous opinion ; and it was proper that his but certainly not, unless there were just learned friend should refute the charge pretexts for doing so.

ness.

Lord Castlereagh thought that Mr. Fox venue during the last half year. It would under-rated the danger in which this be recollected, that 4,500,0001, had been country was placed and that Mr. Wind- voted on the credit of the consolidated ham over-rated it. The powers of the fund for one year, to the 5th of April present French government being greater 1803. Of that sum no less than 3,800,0001. than any former, to call forth the resources had been realized on the 10th of Octoand population of the country, was one ber last ; and there was little doubt that, reason for an increased establishment in at the end of the current quarter, viz. on this country. It ought not at the same the 5th of January, the surplus of the time to be forgotten that there were too consolidated fund would exceed the many appearances of a disposition in the 700,0001. necessary to complete the

French government to interfere with other whole sum. The committee, therefore, nations. One hon. gentleman thought would be aware, that, unless a power that our military establishment might be were given to his majesty to apply to the lower, since our navy was so much su. public service such further surplus as perior to that of the rest of Europe. might accrue, a considerable sum might Much as he rejoiced in the superiority of remain dead and useless in the excheour navy, he did not think that was a mode quer, whilst money must be raised by of defence on which the country ought other means to defray the necessary ex. entirely to rely. To show that an inva- penses. sion might take place notwithstanding the The reason for the second part of the superiority of our navy, he instanced the notice was, the intimate and inseparable arrival of the French expedition in Bantry connexion between the state of the con. Bay, when the landing was prevented solidated fund and the general financial only by a storm. He blamed the prac- situation of the country; and as the tice of running down continental alliances. House had already voted a large part of He did not think that any of the acts of the supplies for the ensuing year, it could the French government since the treaty of not but be material that the public should Amiens formed a ground of war. He be apprized of the means by which those saw much in the state of France and Eu- supplies were to be raised. rope which he deeply regretted ; but Mr. Addington then proceeded to adshould we not make things worse if we vert to the financial operations of the interfered ? He was aware of the com- year 1802. The committee would recolmercial and maritime faculties of France. lect, that, in the last session of the late But we had got a start of her, which it parliament, a capital of 97,000,000l. had would be impossible for her to overtake, been provided for; of which, 56,500,0001. if we were true to ourselves.

was the amount of the sum, for the The report was agreed to.

redemption of which the income tax had

been made responsible'; about 11,000,000h. Debate on the Budget.] Dec. 10. The arose from the funding of exchequer bills, House having resolved itself into a com- and the remaining 30,000,0001. from the mittee of Ways and Means,

loan of the present year. Mr. Chancellor Addington then rose, For this sum, the charge to be proand began by observing, that before he vided somewhat exceeded 3,100,000/. entered upon the subjects to which his It would not be forgotten that a hope had notice referred, he was desirous of sub- been expressed on his part, that the promitting to the committee the grounds on duce of the taxes intended to cover the which he was induced to bring them for- amount of this charge would prove conward so early in the session. It would ap- siderably more than adequate to that pear from the notice, that it was his inten. object; and he had peculiar satisfaction tion to propose a vote of 4,000,0001. on in stating, that the hope so expressed had the credit of the growing produce of the been realized. A complaint had, at the consolidated fund ; and also to take a time, been made, of his having proposed general view of the financial situation of taxes, the produce of which would greatly the country, as far as it could be ex. exceed what was requisite to defray the plained with any degree of accuracy at charge of the debt to be provided for. the present period of the year.

To this accusation he had pleaded guilty, The immediate occasion of the motion and had admitted his expectation to be, which he had to propose was to be found that their produce would not fall short of in the extraordinary produce of the re- 4,000,0001. How did the matter stand ?

[ocr errors]

assessed

In the first quarter, the taxes on malt, the House, that the outstanding exchebeer, on exports and imports, and on the quer bills, previous to the commencetonnage of shipping, actually yielded ment of the war, amounted to 9,500,0001. 926,0001. To this might be added the It also afforded him the greatest satisfacadditional

taxes, of which tion to be enabled to state, that with the scarcely any part had yet been received, exception only of the army extraorand which were estimated at 1,000,000l. dinaries, the grants of the last session had per annum. With the addition therefore been found sufficient to provide for all the of one-fourth of this sum to that which services of the year. Gentlemen, he was had been realized, it would appear that sure, would recollect, that he had for. the produce of the taxes of 1802, in the merly expressed his apprehensions that quarter ending the 10th of October in the sum of 1,600,0001. which had been that year, might be fairly estimated at voted for army extraordinaries, would 1,170,0001.

prove inadequate to the demand. Every Mr. Addington then said, that it would one must be aware of the impossibility at be remembered he had stated on a former all times of making a correct estimate for day, that one effect of the ample provi- that branch of the public service; and sion made in the last session had been, in the present instance an unavoidable that it had afforded the means of accom- increase of expense had been occasioned plishing a considerable reduction of the by the detention of our troops on foreign outstanding unfunded debt, of which no stations longer than there had been reason less than 18,000,0001. had been taken out to expect. He could not but feel concern of the market.

in estimating the excess in that particular The unfunded debt, in exchequer bills branch of the expenditure at upwards of and navy debt, which, in November 1801, one million ; but he had the consolation amounted to upwards of 37,300,000l. had of being able to state, that the total exbeen reduced to about 19,500,0001. ; of penses of the extraordinaries of the army which 3,000,0001. which had been ad-in 1802 would not be found to exceed one. vanced by the Bank as a consideration for half of their amount in the preceding the renewal of their charter, bore no in- year. It was also satisfactory to reflect, terest, and was not payable till the year that the economical management of the 1806; and 900,0001. was charged on the naval service had effected a reduction of annual taxes of the present year, the no less than 4,500,0001. of the navy debt, arrears of which would be sufficient for the which had been discharged out of the votes liquidation of that sum. Deducting there- of the year. fore 3,900,000l. which never came into He next proceeded to lay before the the market, and 4,500,0001. of navy debt, committee a statement of the supplies and the remaining exchequer bills scarcely Ways and Means for the ensuing year, exceeded 11,000,0001. and of these par. For the navy there had been voted liament, since its meeting, had provided 50,000 seamen, at 71. per man per month, for the discharge of 4,281,0001. ; and it the expense of which would amount to would appear by the accounts laid before | 4,550,0001.

SUPPLIES, 1803.
Navy—50,000 men at 7l. per man per month

£.4,550,000
Ordinary and extraordinary

1,218,238 Buildings, &c.

901,140

-£.6,669,378 Army

5,500,000 Extraordinaries (including surplus extraordinaries issued in 1802) •. 2,000,000

7,500,000 Ordnance

787,947 Corn Bounties

524,573 Miscellaneous, England

} 1,000,000 Ditto Ireland Irish Permanent Grants

363,339

Amount of joint charge ...,

16,845,237

« PreviousContinue »