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thanks for the liberality and readi-,
mess with which you have granted the supplies for the public service. It is painful to me to reflect, that the means of necessary exertion cannot be provided without a heavy pressure upon my faithful people. But I cannot sufficiently applaud that wisdom and fortitude which have led you to overlook considerations of temporary convenience, for the purpose of preventing a large accumulation of debt during the continuance of the war. You may be assured that there shall be as strict an attention to economy on my part as may be consistent with those preparations and exertions which will be best calculated to frustrate the designs and to weaken the power of the enemy, by whose arrogant pretensions and restless ambition alone these sacrifices have been rendered unavoidable.
subjects will prove to the enemy, . to the world, that an attempt to subvert the independence, or impair the F. of this united kingdom, will terminate in the disgrace and ruin of those by whom it may be made; and that my people will find an ample reward for all their sacrifices, in an undisturbed enjoyment of that freedom and security, which, by their patriotism and valour, they will have preserved and ensured to themselves and their posterity.
His Majesty's Speech to both Houses of Parliament, November 22, 1803.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
Since I last met you in parliament, it has been my chief object to carry into effect those measures which your wisdom had adopted for the defence of the united kingdom, and for the vigorous prosecution of the war. In these preparations I have been seconded by the voluntary exertions of all ranks of my people, in a manner that has, if possible, strengthened their claims to my confidence and affection; they have proved that the menaces of the enemy have only served to rouse their native and hereditary spirit; and that all other considerations are lost in a general disposition to make those efforts and sacrifices which the honour and safety of the kingdom demand at this important and cri
tical conjuncture. Though my attention has principally been directed to the great object of internal security, no opportunity has been lost of making an impression on the foreign possessions of the enemy. The island of St. Lucia, of Tobago, of St. Pierre, and Miquelon, and the settlements tlements of Demerara and Essequibo, have surrendered to the British arms. In the conduct of the operations by which those valuable acquisitions have been made, the utmost promptitude and zeal have been displayed by the officers employed on those services, and by my forces acting under their command by sea and land. In Ireland, the leaders, and several inferior agents, in the late traitorous and atrocious conspiracy, have been brought to justice; and the public tranquillity has experienced no further interruption. I indulge the hope, that such of my deluded subjects as have swerved from their o, are now convinced of their error; and that having compared the advantages they derive from the protection of a free constitution, with the condition of those countries which are under the dominion of the French government, they will cordially and zealously concur in resisting any attempt that may be made against the security and independence of my united kingdom.
Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
I have a perfect reliance on your public spirit for making such provision as may be necessary for the service of the year. The progressive improvement of the revenue cannot fail to encourage you to ersevere in the system which has É. adopted, of defraying the expenses of the war, with as little addition as possible to the public debt, and to the permanent burthens of the state. I lament the heavy pressure which, under the present circumstances, must unavoidably be experienced by my people; but I am persuaded that they will meet it
with the good sense and fortitude which , so eminently distinguish their character, under a conviction of the indispensable importance of upholding the dignity and of providing effectually for the safety of the empire.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
I have concluded a convention with the king of Sweden, for the purpose of adjusting all the differences which have arisen on the subject of the eleventh article of the treaty of 1661. I have directed that a copy of this convention should be laid before you; and you will, I trust, be of opinion that the arrangement, whilst it upholds our maritime rights, is founded on those principles of reciprocal advantage which are best calculated to maintain and improve the good understanding, which happily subsists between the two countries. In the prosecution of the contest in which we are engaged, it shall be, as it has ever been, my first object to execute as becomes me the great trust committed to my charge. Embarked with my brave and loyal people in one common cause, it is my fixed determination, if the occasion should arise, to share their exertions and their dangers in the defence of our constitution, our religion, our laws, and independence. To the activity and valour of my fleets and armies, to the zeal and unconquerable spirit of my faithful subjects, I confide the honour of my crown, and all those valuable interests which are involved in the issue of this momentous contest. Actuated by these sentiments, and humbly imploring the blessing of Divine Providence, I look forward with a firm conviction, that if, contrary to all just expectatiqn, the the enemy should elude the vigi|ance of my numerous fleets and cruisers, and attempt to execute their presumptuous threats of invading our coasts, the consequence will be to them, discomfiture, confusion, and disgrace; and that ours will not only be the glory of surmounting present difficulties, and repelling immediate danger, but the solid and permanent advantage of fixing the safety and independence of the kingdom on the basis of acknowledged strength, the result of its own tried energy and resources
His majesty's earnest endeavours for the preservation of peace having failed of success, he entertains the fullest confidence that he shall receive the same support from his parliament, and that the same zeal and spirit will be manifested by his people, which he has experienced on every occasion when the honour of his crown has been attacked, or the essential interests of his dominions have been endangered.
During the whole course of the negotiations which led to the preliminary and definitive treaties of peace between his majesty and the French republic, it was his majesty's sincere desire, not only to put an end to the hostilities which subsisted between the two countries, but to adopt such measures, and to concur in such propositions, as might most effectually contribute to consolidate the general tranquillity of Europe. The same motives by which his majesty was actuated during the negotiations for peace, have since invariably governed his conduct. As soon as the treaty of Amiens was con
cluded, his majesty's courts were open to the people of France for every purpose of legal redress ; all sequestrations were taken off their property; all prohibitions on their trade which had been imposed during the war were removed; and they were placed, in every respect, on the same footing, with regard to commerce and intercourse, as the inhabitants of any other state in amity with his majesty, with which there existed no treaty of commerce.
To a system of conduct thus open, liberal, and friendly, the proceedings of the French government afford the most striking contrastThe prohibitions which had been placed on the commerce of his majesty's subjects during the war have been enforced with increased strictness and severity ; violence has been offered in several instances to their vessels and their property; and, in no case, has justice been afforded to those who may have been aggrieved in consequence of such acts, nor has any satisfactory answer been given to the repeated representations made by his majesty's ministers or ambassador at Paris. Under such circumstances, when his majesty’s subjects were not suffered to enjoy the common advantages of peace within the territories of the French republic, and the countries dependent upon it, the French government had recourse to the extraordinary measure of sending over to this country a number of persons for the professed purpose of residing in the most considerable sea-port towns of Great Britain and Ireland, in the character of commercial agents or consuls. These persons could have no pretensions to be acknow
ledged in that character, as the
right of being so acknowledged, as well as all the privileges attached to to such a situation, could only be derived from a commercial treaty; and as no treaty of that description was in existence between his majesty and the French republic. There was consequently too much reason to suppose that the real object of their mission was by no means of a commercial nature; and this suspicion was confirmed, not only by the circumstance that some of them were military men, but by the actual discovery that several of them were furnished with instructions to obtain the soundings of the harbours, and to procure military surveys of the places where it was intended they should reside. His majesty felt it to be his duty to prevent their departure to their respective places of destination, and represented to the French government the necessity of withdrawing them; and it cannot be denied that the circumstances under which they were sent, and the instructions which were given to them, ought to be considered as decisive indications of the dispositions and intentions of the government by whom they were employed, The conduct of the French government, with respect to the commercial intercourse between the two countries, must therefore be considered as ill suited to a state of peace; and their proceedings in their more general political relations, as of. in those which immediately concern his majesty’s derminions, appear to have been altogether inconsistent with every principle of good faith, moderation, and justice. His majesty had entertained hopes, in consequence of the repeated assurances and professions of the French government, that they might have been induced to adopt a system of policy which, 1803.
if it had not inspired other powers
with confidence, might at least have allayed their jealousies. If the French government had really appeared to be actuated by a due attention to such a system; if their dispositions had proved to be essentially pacific, allowances would have been made for the situation in which a new government must be placed after so dreadful and extensive a convulsion as that which has been produced by the French revolution. . But his majesty has unfortunately had too much reason to observe, and to lament, that the system of violence, §. and aggrandisement, which characterised the proceedings of the diffe. rent governments of France during the war, has been continued with as little disguise since its termination. They have continued to keep a French army in Holland against the will, and in defiance of the remonstrances of the Batavian government, and in repugnance to the letter of three sclemn treaties. They have, in a period of peace, invaded the territory, and violated the independence of the Swiss nation, in defiance of the treaty of Luneville, which had stipulated the independence of their territory, and the right of the inhabitants to choose their own form of government. They have annexed to the dominions of France, Piedmont, Parma, and Placentia, and the island of Elba, without allotting any provision to the king of Sar: dinia, whom they have despoiled of the most valuable part of his territory, though they were bound by a solemn engagement to the emperor of Russia, to attend to his interests, and to provide for his establishment. It may, indeed, with truth be asserted, that the period which has elapsed since the conclu
sion of the definitive treaty, has been marked with one continued series of aggression, violence, and insult, on the part of the French go
In the month of October last, his majesty was induced, in consequence of the earnest solicitation of the Swiss nation, to make an effort, by a representation to the French government, to avert the evils which were then impending over that country. This representation was couched in the most temperate terms; and measures were taken by his majesty for ascertaining, under the circumstances which then existed, the real situation and wishes of the Swiss cantons, as well as the sentiments of the other cabinets of Europe. His majesty learned, however, with the utmost regret, that no disposition to counteract these repeated infractions of treaties and acts of violence was manifested by any of the powers most immediately interested in preventing them; and his majesty therefore felt, that, with respect to these objects, his single efforts could not be expected to produce any considerable advantage to those in whose favour they might be exerted.
t was about this time that the French government first distinctly advanced the principle, that his majesty had no right to complain of the conduct or to interfere with the proceedings of France, on any point which did not form a part of the stipulations of the treaty of Amiens. That treaty was unquestionably founded upon the same principle as every other antecedent treaty or convention, on the assumption of the state of possession and of engagements subsisting at the time of its conclusion; and if that state of possession and of
engagements is materially affected by the voluntary act of any of the parties, so as to prejudice the condition on which the other party has entered into the contract, the change, so made, maybe considered as operating virtually as a breach of the treaty itself, and as giving the party aggrieved a right to demand satisfaction or compensation for any substantial difference which such acts may have effected in their relative situations; but whatever may be the principle on which the treaty is to be considered as founded, there is indisputably a eneral law of nations, which, ough liable to be limited, explained, or restrained, by conventional law, is antecedent to it, and is that law or rule of conduct to which all sovereigns and states have been accustomed to appeal, where conventional law is admitted to have been silent. The treaty of Amiens, and every other treaty, in roviding for the objects to which it is particularly directed, does not therefore assume or imply an indifference to all other objects which are not specified in its stipulations; much less does it adjudge them to be of a nature to be }. to the will and caprice of the violent and the powerful. The justice of the cause is alone a sufficient ground to warrant the interposition of any of the powers of Europe in the differences which may arise between other states, and the application and extent of that just interposition is to be determined solely by considerations of prudence. These principles can admit of no dispute; but if the new and extraordinary pretension advanced by the French government, to exclude his majesty from any right to interfere with respect to the concerns of other powers, unless they made a specific - part