Графични страници
PDF файл

“ picture of Jacobinism. But, however this may “be, if smallness of number is to become a " mark and pledge of genuine representation, " that gentleman's friends must acquire the re“ presentative character in a continual progres“sion ; for the party has been constantly de“ creasing in number, and both here and out of “this House, they are at present fewer than they “ ever were before. But they vote for peace, " and the people wish for peace; and therefore “ they represent the opinions of the people. The “ people wish for peace--so do I! But for what “ peace? Not for a peace that is made to-day

and will be broken to-morrow! Not for a “ peace that is more insecure and hazardous “ than war. Why did I wish for peace at Lisle ? “ Because war was then more hazardous than “ peace ; because it was necessary to give to the “ people a palpable proof of the necessity of the “ war, in order to their cordial concurrence with

that system of finance, without which the war “ could not be successfully carried on; because “our allies were then but imperfectly lessoned “ by experience; and finally, because the state “ of parties then in France was less Jacobinical " than at any time since that era. But will it “ follow that I was then insincere in negotiating “ for peace, when peace was less insecure, and “ war more hazardous; because now with de“ creased advantages of peace, and increased

“ means of war, I advise against a peace? As “ to the other arguments, it is of less consequence “ to insist upon them, because the opposition “ implied in them holds not against this measure “ in particular, but against the general principle of carrying on the war with vigour. Much “ has been said of the defection of Russia, and “ every attempt made to deduce from this cir“ cumstance so misnamed causes of despair or 56 diminished hope. It is true that Russia has “ withdrawn herself from confident co-operation ” with Austria, but she has not withdrawn her“ self from concert with this country. Has it ç never occurred, that France, compelled to make “ head against armies pressing on the whole of “ her frontiers, will be weakened and distracted $ in her efforts, by a moveable maritime force ? " What may be the ultimate extent of the Rus“sian forces engaged in this diversion, we cannot “ be expected to know, cut off as we are from “ the continent, by the season and the weather. “ If the Russians, acting in maritime diversion “ on the coast of France, and increased by our "own forces, should draw the French forces “" from Switzerland and Italy, it does not follow “that the Russians may be greatly, and perhaps “ equally useful to the objects of the campaign, “ although they will cease to act on the eastern “ side of France. I do not pretend to know “ precisely the number and state of the French

“ armies, but reason only on probabilities; and “ chiefly with the view of solving the honourable “ gentleman's difficulty, how the Russians can “ be useful, if not on the continent. It is unne“ cessary to occupy the time and attention of “ the House with a serious answer to objections, “ which it is indeed difficult to repeat with the “ same gravity with which they were originally “ stated.

" It was affirmed, gravely affirmed, that 6 £12,000,000 would be wanted for corn! I “ should be happy, if, in the present scarcity, “ corn could be procured from any, and all parts “ of the world, to one-third of that amount. It “ will not be by such arguments as these, that “ the country will be induced to cease a war for “ security, in order to procure corn for subsist“ ence. I do object, that there is unfairness « both in these arguments in themselves, and in “ the spirit which produces them. The war is “ now reviled as unjust and unnecessary; and “ in order to prove it so, appeals are made to “ circumstances of accidental scarcity from the “ visitation of the seasons. The fallacy of these “ reasonings is equal to their mischief. It is not “ true that you could procure corn more easily “ if peace were to be made to-morrow. If this “ war be unjust, it ought to be stopped on its “ own account; but if it be indeed a war of prin“ ciple and of necessity, it were useless and “ abject to relinquish it from terrors like these. “ As well might a fortress, sure of being put to “ the sword, surrender for want of provision. “ But that man, Sir, does not act wisely, if, feel“ing like a good citizen, he use these arguments “ which favour the enemy. God forbid, that an

opposition in opinion among ourselves should “ make us forget the high and absolute duty of “ opposition to the enemies of our country. Sir, “ in the present times, it is more than ever the “ bounden duty of every wise and good man to “ use more than ordinary caution in abstaining “ from all arguments that appeal to passions, not “ facts; above all, from arguments that tend to “excite popular irritation on a subject and on “ an occasion, on which the people can with “ difficulty be reasoned with, but are irritated “ most easily. To speak incautiously on such “ subjects, is an offence of no venial order; but “ deliberately and wilfully to connect the words, “ war and scarcity, were infamous, a treachery " to our country, and in a peculiar degree cruel “ to those whom alone it can delude, the lower “ uneducated classes. I will not enlarge upon “ that subject, but retire with a firm conviction " that no new facts have occurred which can “ have altered the opinion of this House on the “ necessity of the war, or the suitableness of

similar measures to the present to the effectual “ carrying of it on, and that the opinion of the

“ House will not be altered but by experience " and the evidence of facts.”

The following paragraph is extracted from private memoranda, and was intended for publication ten years afterwards, in the Courier Newspaper, in which he wrote a series of Essays to Judge Fletcher, which were at that time acknowledged by the most able judges to be prophetic. But it must be remembered he never wrote for party purposes. His views were grounded on Platonic principles keeping the balance of the powers, and throwing his weight into the scale that needed assistance.


WORD “ THE PEOPLE.” “ Every brutal mob, assembled on some “ drunken St. Monday of faction, is the People' “ forsooth, and now each leprous ragamuffin, “ like a circle in geometry, is at once one and “ all, and calls his own brutal self · us the “ People. And who are the friends of the “ People? Not those who would wish to elevate “ each of them, or at least, the child who is to “ take his place in the flux of life and death, “ into something worthy of esteem, and capable “ of freedom, but those who flatter and infuriate “ them as they do. A contradiction in the very “ thought. For if really they are good and wise, “ virtuous and well-informed, how weak must

« ПредишнаНапред »