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joying. Little fear do I feel of success with the of those by whom I am supported—when I conelectors of Westminster, who will not, I am sure, sider that all that artifice could dictate and pow. abandon me until I desert those principles which er could execute have been exerted upon this first recommended me to their favor!
occasion, I can have no doubt that the hand of a (4.) A person of great rank in this House (Mr. revengeful government pervades it all. The opPitt) has thrown out a hint or threat, I know position of such a government upon an election not which to call it, in a former debate," that I is a discouraging circumstance; and the likelishould not again disturb the peace of the city of hood of renewing again those events which I Westminster." Good God, sir! did any man have witnessed within the last two months, is ever hear such aggravating, such insulting in- indeed a formidable and terrific prospect. sinuations? I disturb the peace of Westminster! When I look back, sir, to all the shameful and Is that honorable gentleman not contented with shocking scenes of the Westminster electionbreaking every law, with violating every stat- when I consider that my enemies practiced all ute, with overturning every analogy and every that was possible of injustice, indecency, and precedent, to accomplish this business; but must irreverence in their efforts to overwhelm mehe, at the very moment he thus makes a deep when I consider the gross, the frontless prostibreach in the English Constitution, complete the tution of names too sacred to be mentioned28_ catalogue of injury, by adding pertness and per- when I consider that all the influence of all the sonal contumely to every species of rash and in various branches of government was employed considerate violence ! . I, I disturb the peace of against me, in contempt of propriety and defithis city, who have three times had the honor of ance of law-when I consider that a body of representing it in this House ! I, who was fa- men was brought, in the appearance of constavored with the free suffrages of its electors, long, bles, to the place of election, under the command long before any of those who lately opposed me of a magistrate, and against the express opinion were ever talked of, ever thought of for such a of all the other magistrates of Westminster distinction ! Every man qualified to sit in Par- that these constables broke that peace they were liament has a right to offer himself wherever he bound to preserve, and created a riot which thinks proper; and it is indecent, daring, and proved fatal to one of their own body—when I audacious in any man, to insinuate that he ought consider that this was made the pretense of a not to disturb the peace of the place. I there- wanton, and indecent, and unconstitutional introfore hope, sir, that a language so peculiarly false duction of the military, in violation of all that has and unbecoming toward me, and so directly re- been done by our ancestors to keep sacred the pugnant to the genius and spirit of the Constitu- freedom of election—when I consider that the tion, will meet with the disapprobation it de- lives of innocent men were deemed light and serves in this House, as it certainly will be re- trivial impediments to the gratification of that ceived with merited odium and execration out implacable spirit of revenge, which appears of this House,
through the whole of this business—when I conUpon the generous protection of the electors sider that several men of the lower order of life, of this city I shall certainly throw myself
, in case whose only crime was appearing in my interest, of a new writ; and, in doing so, sir, well I am were confined for many weeks in a prison, and aware what a series of various difficulties I have obliged to stand trial, and that others, of the to encounter. Expenses at elections, in despite higher rank, ingenious and amiable men, valuaof every effort to reduce them, still continuo ble for their qualities, respectable for their char. most exorbitant; and how ill matched in funds acters, distinguished for their abilities, and every and certain inexhaustible resources I stand with way meriting the esteem of mankind, were also my opponents, is indeed very unnecessary to ex. attacked without the show of a pretense, and plain. But, sir, it is not in the article of ex- obliged to undergo the ceremony of a public acpenses that I should most dread the operation of quittal from the foul crime of murder—when I that power that sustains my adversaries—that consider that palpable perjury, and subornation power which discovers itself in characters that of perjury were employed to accomplish the sancan not be mistaken, through every part of this guinary object of this base conspiracy—when I transaction. I must be blind not to see that the consider that the malignity of my enemies has hand of government appears throughout this stopped at nothing, however gross and wicked, to matter. When I consider the extreme care em- rnin me and all that appeared in my interest ployed in preparing it for the measures which when I consider all this, sir, I can not, indeed, but have been taken in this House in consequence look with some anxiety to the circumstance of a of it—when I consider the evident determination new election. not to let it rest here—when I consider the ex- I am not, it is well known, sir, of a melantraordinary zeal and anxiety of particular per- choly complexion, or of a desponding turn of sons in this House to shelter and to sanctify this
Reference is here made to the use of the King's High Bailiff-when I consider the situation of
name by Lord Temple and others, to defeat Mr. those who take the lead, and are most active in
Fox. bis vindication—when I consider the indifference
29 They were acquitted on that trial. Mr. O'Bryof my adversaries to the expenses which result en, who is next referred to, was indicted for murder, from this scrutiny, but which expenses must be bat no evidence whatever was produced against a severe stroke upon the spirit and independence him, and he was of course discharged.
mind; yet the idea of again combating this host think there is little to be expected from such a of oppressions might, in other situations, deter House of Commons. But let the question termme from the risk. But I owe too much to the inate as it may, I feel myself bound to maintain electors of Westminster ever to abandon them an unbroken spirit through such complicated diffrom any dread of any consequences; and I do ficulties. And I have this reflection to solace assure you that I should conceive a new writ, me, that this unexampled injustice could never with the hazard of all these hardships, as a great have succeeded but by the most dangerous and indulgence and favor, compared to that mockery, desperate exertions of a government, which, that insult upon judicature, a scrutiny under Mr. rather than not wound the object of their enmiThomas Corbett.
ty, scrupled not to break down all the barriers Sir, I have nothing more to say upon this sub- of law; to run counter to the known custom of ject. Whatever may be the fate of the ques. our ancestors; to violate all that we have of tion, it will be a pleasing reflection to me that I practice and precedent upon this subject; and have delivered my opinions at full upon a point to strike a deep blow into the very vitals of the so important to that great and respectable body English Constitution, without any other induceof men, to whom I am so much indebted; and I ment, or temptation, or necessity, except the ma. sincerely thank the House for the honor of their lignant wish of gratifying an inordinate and impatience and attention through so long a speech. placable spirit of resentment.
To the honorable gentleman over against me [Mr. Pitt) I will beg leave to offer a little advice. These eloquent reasonings, and the significant If he condemns this measure, let him not stoop appeal at the close, were lost upon Mr. Pitt. to be the instrument of its success. Let him He had taken his ground, and Mr. Ellis' motion well weigh the consequences of what he is about, was negatived by a majority of 117. Still the and look to the future effect of it upon the nation mind of the country was affected precisely as at large. Let him take care, that when they Mr. Fox declared it would be. The scrutiny see all the powers of his administration employed was more and more regarded as dishonorable to overwhelm an individual, men's eyes may not and unjust; especially when, at the expiration open sooner than they would if he conducted of eight months, Mr. Fox was found to have lost himself within some bounds of decent discretion, only eighteen votes, as compared with his antagand not thus openly violate the sacred principles onist. All this time had been spent upon two of the Constitution. A moderate use of his pow- out of seven parishes, and how long the investier might the longer keep people from reflecting gation might be continued no one could predict. upon the extraordinary means by which he ac- On Feb. 9th, 1785, another motion was made quired it. But if the honorable gentleman neg- for an immediate return. This was rejected by lects his duty, I shall not forget mine. Though a greatly diminished majority. The motion was he may exert all the influence of his situation to renewed at the close of the same month, when harass and persecute, he shall find that we are in the majority against it was reduced to nine. On capable of unbecoming submissions. There is a the third of March, 1785, it was made again, principle of resistance in mankind which will not and Mr. Pitt now endeavored to stave it off by brook such injuries; and a good cause and a good moving an adjournment; but perfectly as he was heart will animate men to struggle in proportion master of his majority on every other subject, to the size of their wrongs, and the grossness of they deserted him here. His motion was neg. their oppressors. If the House rejects this mo- atived by a vote of 162 to 124. The original tion, and establishes the fatal precedent which motion was carried, and the next day the High follows that rejection, I confess I shall begin to | Bailiff made a return of Mr. Fox.
INTRODUCTION. This was the most galling attack ever made by Mr. Fox on his great antagonist. The circumstances of the case were these. Turkey having commenced war against Russia in 1788, Joseph, Emperor of Austria, espoused the cause of the Russians, and attacked the Turks. At the end of two years, bow. ever, Joseph died, and bis successor, Leopold, being unwilling to continue the contest, resolved on peace. He therefore called in the mediation of England and Prussia at the Congress of Reichenbach ; and the three allied powers demanded of the Empress of Russia to unite in making peace on the principle of the status quo, that is, of giving up all the conquests she had gained during the war. To this Catharine strongly objected, and urged the formation of a new Christian kingdom out of the Turkish provinces of Bessarabia, Moldavia, and Wallachia, over which her grandson Constantine was expected to be ruler. This the allied powers refused, on the ground of its giving too great a preponderance to Russia ; and the Empress, being anable to resist so strong an alliance, consented finally to relinquish all her cunquests, with the exception of the fortress of Oczakow (pronounced Otchakof), at the mouth of the Dnie. per, on the Black Sea, and a desert tract of country dependent thereon, which was valuable only as a security for ber former conquests. England and Prussia, however, insisted on her restoring Oczakow, to which they attached undue importance as the supposed key of Constantinople, distant about one bundred and ninety miles. The pride of Catharine was touched, and she indignantly refused. Mr. Pitt instantly prepared for war, and with his views and feelings at that time he would probably have thrown himself into the contest with all the energy and determination which marked his character.
But when he brought the subject before Parliament, he found that both sides of the House shrunk back. His majority carried him through, indeed, but with diminished numbers; and as the question came up again and again under different forms, it became obvious that the nation would never sustain him on so narrow an issue ; for it seemed preposterous to every one to think of plunging England into war about a fortress in the wilds of Tartary, which hardly any man in the kingdom had ever heard of before. He therefore wisely determined to recede, though much to the mortification of some of his friends, and particularly of the Duke of Leeds, his foreign secretary, who instantly resigned under a sense of the disgrace brought upon government. Still Mr. Pitt continued his preparations for war (fearing, no doubt, that the Empress might rise in her demands), and thus brought upon himself new charges of wasting the public money, since it turned out that Catharine was still ready to abide by her original terms. On those terms the matter was finally adjusted, Mr. Pitt pledging himself that Turkey should accept them within foar months, or be abandoned to her fate. Accordingly, peace was concluded on this basis between the Empress and the Porte, in August, 1791, and Oczakow has remained from that time in the hands of the Russians.
At the next session of Parliament, early in 1792, the Opposition seized upon this as a favorable opportanity to attack Mr. Pitt. He had placed himself, they affirmed, in a dilemma from which it was impossible for him to escape. If Oczakow was so important as to justify threats of war, and the expenditare of so large a sum for its recovery, he deserved a vote of censure for giving it up; if not so important, he equally deserved censure for endangering the peace of the nation, and adding, by bis rashness, to the weight of the public burdens. Whether he had acted the part of a coward or a bully, he had equally disgraced the nation, and deserved its sternest reproof. Such were the views with which Mr. Whitbread moved his celebrated resolutions, on the 29th of March, 1792, condemning Mr. Pitt as having been " guilty of gross misconduct tending to incur unnecessary expense, and to diminish the influence of the British nation in Europe."
The debate occupied two nights, probably the most painful ones Mr. Pitt ever spent in the House of Commons. He was ingeniously defended on the ground of the balance of power, by Mr. Jenkinson, Mr. Grant, and Mr. Dundas (though some of his adherents gave bim up, and joined in the general reprobation); and was lashed unmercifully by Mr. (afterward Earl) Grey, Sir Philip Francis, Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Windham, and others. Mr. Sheridan, speaking of the plea that ministers had obtained the navigation of the Dniester as a "radoucissement,” said, “The Empress, with a vein of sarcasm, granted them their sweeten. er, bat required them to go to the Porte and demand the same on their part. The entry of the Grand Viz. ier (Mr. Pitt) into the divan, accompanied by the Reis Effendi (Mr. Dundas), must have been a very curious spectacle! What sort of reception and dialogue must have taken place ? 'What glorious terms have you procured with your grand fleet? Have you bumbled Russia ? Does she tremble at your pow. er? Does she crouch? Have you burned her fleets for us? Have you demolished St. Petersburgh?' A melancholy No! must be the answer. 'What! does she not repent that she provoked you? But have you made her give up Oczakor? That your sovereign has pledged himself for.' The reply must be, Nothing of all this! We have engaged, if you do not comply with every tittle she demanded of you before we presumed to interfere, that we will abandon you to all the consequences of the war !!” Mr. Windham, speaking of the animportance of Oczakow as a ground of arming, said, “Their political object was almost a nothing, and that nothing they have failed to obtain! They have not even the plea of a great and glorious failure. They aimed at triling objects, and their success has been still more diminutive. It reminds one of the account of an invalid who could swallow nothing, and even that would not stay on his stomach! Or, to express it more classically,
Nil habuit Codrus, attamen infelix ille,
Perdidit totum nil !"'1 Mr. Pitt bore the whole in silence, resolved, when the attack was through, to sum up briefly in bis own defense, and throw himself on his majority. But Mr. Fox held back, obviously with a view to defeat the plan; until, at the end of the first evening, Mr. Dundas called upon him by name to come forward, claiming for Mr. Pitt a right to the closing turn. Mr. Fox denied the right, but promised (as there was not then enough time left) to open the debate the next evening, if the House would adjourn over. This was accordingly done, and, on the evening of the first of March, he delivered the following speech. Lord Brougham bas spoken of it as perhaps the ablest, and certainly the most characteristic, of all Mr. Fox's productions. The occasion was one wbich gave the fullest scope for his favorite mode of attack, the argumentum ad hominem, the exposure of inconsistencies, the detection of what he considered the secret
Codrus had nothing, yet, unhappy man,
motives of his opponents, and the bitterest invectives against Mr. Pitt's conduct, as bringing indelible disgrace on the country. The reader will mark the dexterity and force with which be wrests from the hands of Mr. Pitt's friends every weapon they had used in his defense—the ingenuity with which he shapes and interprets every act of the minister into a ground of condemnation-the closeness with which he holds him to the point, and the incessant goading to which he subjects him, on the horns of the dilemma mentioned above.
SPEECH, &c. Sir,--Aster the challenge which was thrown | the truth, never did man stand so much in need of
out to me, in the speech of a right hon every advantage! Never was there His former re not speaking orable gentleman (Mr. Dundas), last an occasion in which a minister was fusals, and his night, I consider it my duty to trouble exhibited to this House in circum- warduess, to
explain. you somewhat at length on this important ques. stances so ungracious as those under tion. But before I enter into the consideration which he at present appears. Last session of of it, I will explain why I did not obey a call Parliament, we had no fewer than four debates made, and repeated several times, in a manner upon the question of the armament, in which the not very consistent either with the freedom of de- right honorable gentleman involved this country, bate, or with the order which the right honora- without condescending to explain the object ble gentleman (Mr. Pitt] himself has prescribed which he had in view. The minority of this for the discussion of this day. Why any mem- House stood forth against the monstrous measure bers should think themselves entitled to call on of involving the country, without unfolding the an individual in that way, I know not; but why reason.
The minister proudly and obstinately I did not yield to the call is obvious. It was refused, and called on the majority to support said by an honorable gentleman, last night, to be him. We gave our opinion at large on the the wish of the minister to hear all that could be subject, and with effect, as it turned out, on the said on the subject, before he should rise to en- public mind. On that of the right honorable ter into his defense. If so, it certainly would gentleman, however, we were not successful; not become me to prevent him from hearing any for what was his conduet? He replied to us, other gentleman who might be inclined to speak "I hear what you say. I could answer all your on the occasion; and as he particularly alluded charges; but I know my duty to my King too to me, I thought it respectful to give way to gen- well to submit, at this moment, to expose the tlemen, that I might not interrupt the course secrets of the state, and to lay the reasons before which he has chosen, as it seems he reserves you of the measure on which I demand your himself till I have spoken.
confidence. I choose rather to lie for a time This call on me is of a singular nature. A under all the imputations which you may beap
minister is accused of having rashly upon me, trusting to the explanations which will right to claim engaged the country in a measure by come at last.” Such was explicitly his lan
which we have suffered disaster and guage. However I might differ from the right disgrace, and when a motion of censure is made, honorable gentleman in opinion, I felt for his sit. he chooses to reserve himself, and speak after ev. uation. There was in this excuse some shadow ery one, that no means may be given to reply to of reason by which it might be possible to dehis defense--to expose its fallacy, if fallacious, fend him, when the whole of his conduct came or to detect its misrepresentations, if he shall to be investigated. I thought it hard to goad choose to misrepresent what may be said. If him, when, perhaps, he considered it as unsafe the right honorable gentleman is truly desirous to expose what he was doing. But when the of meeting the charges against him, and has con- conclusion of the negotiation had loosed him fidence in his ability to vindicate his conduct, why from his fetters, when he had cast off the tramnot pursue the course which would be manly and mels that bound him, I thought that, like the open
n? Why not go into a committee, as was horse described by Homer (if I remembered, I offered him by the honorable gentleman who would quote the lines), exulting in the fresh pas. made the motion (Mr. Whitbread]. in which the tures after he had freed himself from the bridle, forms of this House would have permitted mem- the right honorable gentleman would have been bers on each side to answer whatever was ad eager to meet us with every sort of explanavanced by the other, and the subject would have tion and satisfaction. I thought that, restrained received the most ample discussion ? Instead of this honorable course, he is determined to take
1 The lines referred to are those near the end of all advantages. He screens himself by a strat- the sixth book of the Iliad, in which Paris, after beagem which no desendant in any process in this ing withheld for a time from the combat, is reprecountry could enjoy ; since no man put upon his sented as rushing to meet the foe with all the eadefense in any court of justice could so contrive gerness of a horse escaped from the stalls, when he
seeks his accustomed pastures. as not only to prevent all reply to his defense, but Ως δ' ότε τις στατός ίππος, ακοστήσας επί φάτνη, all refutation of what he may assert, and all ex- δεσμόν απορρηξας θείη πεδίοιο κροαίνων, planation of what he may misrepresent. ειωθως λoύεσθαι εύρρειος ποταμοίο,
Such are the advantages which the right hon- κυδιόων: υψού δε κάρη έχει, αμφί δε χαίται orable gentleman (Mr. Pitt) is determined to únous ủiooovtaló d'ayaainol Tentùs, seize in this moment of his trial; and, to consess piuda é yoūva pépel perá 7'ndea kai vouòv itawy.
Mr. Pitt no
by no delicacy, and panting only for the moment precluded from all inquiry into that business. that was to restore him to the means of develop. But now the right honorable gentleman, coning, and of expatiating upon every part of his con- scious that the country feels somewhat differentduct that was mysterious; of clearing up that ly, admits the ground of criminality to have been which had been reprobated; of repelling on the laid, by producing those documents on your taheads of his adversaries those very accusations ble, imperfect as they are. It is from bis own with which they had loaded him--the right hon- confession, therefore, that I am to pronounce him orable gentleman would have had but one wish, guilty, until he proves himself not to be so; and that of coming forward in a bold and manly man- it is enough for me to contend that the papers ner, and endeavoring to make his cause good now before us afford him prima facie no justifiagainst us in the face of the world. Has he done cation, but, on the contrary, afford strong proof so ? Has he even given us the means of inquir- of his guilt, inasmuch as they evince a complete ing fully and fairly into his conduct? No such failure in the object he aimed to extort. Sir, thing. He lays before us a set of papers, suffi- the right honorable gentleman is sensible how cient, indeed, as I shall contend, to found a strong much these circumstances render it necessary criminal charge of misconduct against him, but for him to take every possible advantage his sitevidently mutilated, garbled, and imperfect, with uation can give him. Instead, therefore, of showa view of precluding that full inquiry which his ing himself anxious to come forward, or thinking conduct demands, and which we had every rea- it his duty to explain, why it was inconvenient son to expect he would not have shrunk from on or impolitic for him to state last year the true this day. We call for more. They are denied grounds on which he had called upon us to arm, us. Why? " Because," say the gentlemen on what was the object of that armament, and why the other side, "unless the papers now before he had abandoned it, he lays a few papers on the you show there is ground for accusation, and un- table, and contents himself with an appeal unless you agree to accuse, it is not safe or proper heard of before : “If you have any thing to say to grant you more." But is this a defense for against me, speak out, speak all. I will not say the right honorable gentleman ? Do these pa- a word till you have done. Let me hear you pers exculpate bim? Directly the reverse. Pri- one after another. I will have all the advantage ma facie they condemn him. They afford us, in of the game-none of you shall come behind the first instance, the proof of disappointment. me; for as soon as you have all thrown forth They show us that we have not obtained what what you have to say, I will make a speech, we aimed to obtain ; and they give us no justi- which you shall not have an opportunity to confication of the right honorable gentleman for tradict, and I will throw myself on my majority, that disappointment. I have heard much inge- that makes you dumb forever.” Such is the sitnuity displayed to maintain that there was no uation in which we stand, and such is the course guilt. But what is the fallacy of this argument? which the right honorable gentleman thinks it honWhen we called for papers during the Spanish orable to pursue! I cheerfully yield to him the negotiation (as to Nootka Sound], we were an- ground he chooses to occupy, and I will proceed, swered," the negotiation was pending, and it was in obedience to the call personally addressed to unsafe to grant them.??? Very well. But when me, frankly to state the reasons for the vote of it was over, and the same reasons for withhold- censure, in which I shall this night agree. ing them could not be said to exist, we were I. Much argument has been used on topics told, "Look to the result. The nation is satis- not unfit, indeed, to be mixed with Mr. Pitt not exfied with what we have got, and you must lay a this question, but not necessary; doctrine of the ground of criminality before we can admit your topics which undoubtedly may be balance of power. principle of calling for papers.” Thus we were incidentally taken up, but which are not essenThe wanton courser
thus with reins unbound tial to the discussion. In this class I rank what Breaks from his stall, and beats the trembling has been said upon the balance of Europe. ground;
Whether the insulated policy which disdained Pamper'd and proud, he seeks the wonted tides, all continental connection whatever, as adopted And laves, in height of blood, bis shining sides;
at the beginning of the present reign-whether His head now freed, he tosses to the skies; His mane disheveld o'er his shoulders fies;
the system of extensive foreign connection, so eaHe snuffs the females in the distant plain,
gerly insisted on by a young gentleman who spoke And springs, exulting. to his fields again.-Pope. yesterday for the first time (Mr. Jenkinson, aft
* In 1789, a Spanish frigate broke up a small trad. erward Lord Liverpool]—or whether the medium ing establishment of the English at Nootka Sound, between these two be our interest, are certain. alleging that Spain had an exclusive right to all the ly very proper topics to be discussed, but as cerPacific coast from Cape Horn to the sixteenth de tainly not essential topics to this question. Of gree of north latitude. Mr. Pitt entered into nego- the three, I confidently pronounce the middle tiations on the subject, which could not then be made line the true political course of this country. I public; and in order to enforce his demands, he ap: think that, in our situation, every continental conplied to Parliament in 1790 for a large increase of nection is to be determined by its own merits. military and naval force. It was granted, and Spain I am one of those who hold that a total inattenyielded the point during the same year. She restored Nootka Sound, and conceded to England the tion to foreign connections might be, as it has right of carrying on a free navigation and her fish proved, very injurious to this country. But if I eries in the North Pacific Ocean.
am driven to choose between the two extremes.