Abbildungen der Seite

of our

feamen of our fhips of war more active In gratitude likewise, Sir, to our seaand diligent in looking out for, and sei- men, we ought to agree to this motion. zing the ships of France; and if the taking To them this nation owes that internal of any be an advantage, or will conduce tranquillity which it has for so many ages to a peace, surely the more we do take, enjoyed. By them we have, for so many the more advantage we shall have, the ages, been protected from those inroads more it will conduce to a peace. That of hostile armies, which other nations both these effects would Aow from our have often been exposed to. It may be giving all prizes, as soon as condemned, truly faid, that ever since the invafion of to the captors, is fo certain from the na. the Danes, our internal tranquillity has ture of things, and was fo fully confirm- never been disturbed but by civil broils ed by experience in the last war, that it amongstourselves. And they deserve this cannot with ary colour of reason be de. encouragement the more, as the wages nied; and consequently we may be af- allotted them by the public are but very sured, that both would immediately flow small, and as their condition of life is from our agreeing to this motion. harder, and the dangers they are exposed

But now, Sir, with regard to the con. to are greater, than those of any other sequences of our disagreeing to this mo. fort of military men. They pass a greattion, how must it depress the spirits of er part of their life in a fort of prison ; those seamen that are already in the pa. and even in the most peaceable times blic service, how unwilling muft it make they are exposed to the dangers of the every seaman to enter into the public ser. sea. The wages even of our fea-officers vice? Will any man of common sense are but very inconfiderable. A sea-lieuwillingly do so, when he finds he can tenant, when out of commission, and expect nothing but the poor wages al. upon half-pay, has but 2 s. a-day, which lowed by the public; and that at a is 36 1. 10. s a-year. How many time when he is sure of having double the civil officers have higher wages, or a wages by continuing in the merchant-fer- greater salary, without being ever expovice? Gentlemen may perhaps chufe sed to any danger? and yet our sea-lieuto disagree to this motion by means of tenants are, by his Majesty's orders, to the previous question ; but our brave rank with a captain of foot. Therefore, and blunt seamen do not understand such in justice as well as gratitude to our sealanguage. When they hear of such a men, we ought to give them every omotion's having been made, and not a. ther advantage in our power. greed to, they will conclude, that it was After having thus answered every obrejected ; and consequently will suppose, jection that has been made to this mothat our ministers are resolved to carry on tion, and given such strong arguments this war in the same manner they have for our agreeing to it, I hope, Sir, it begun it, without any formal declaration will not be said, that it proceeds from a of war, in order that they may have an French party in this house, as has been opportunity to enrich themselves by the said without doors of those who happen prizes that are taken ; nay, as all prizes not to approve of every thing that has would in such a case belong to the crown, been done, or left undone, by our miniI am afraid, left our seamen should car- sters. Nay, an insinuation has even been ry their suspicions higher than our mini. printed and published, that 250,000 1. fters. God forbid ! any of them should had come from France, for creating ever suspect, that his Majesty intends to an opposition to the wise measures of our enrich himself by a war. Those who minifters (xviii. 69.). But I am so far know his generous and bountiful nature, from being angry at this freedom, though can have no fufpicion ; but our feamen it may justly be called licentious, that I can have no such knowledge; and there. am glad to see the press fo free. It makes fore, in duty to our sovereign, we ought me recollect what I have somewhere to agree to this motion, in order to pre- read of one of the greatest generals of vent their entertaining any such suspicion, the Athenian commonwealth, who was VOL. XIX.



accused by a most low and abject citi. err in both these respects; and such an zen. Though the accusation was false, error has often been the cause of the dea he was so far from resenting it, that he struction, both of themselves, and those rejoiced at it, and said, he was glad to under their direction. Therefore what. find that he had so well established the ever way gentlemen may affect to talk liberties of his country, that an accusa- in this house, I hope those who have tion might be brought by the meanest the honour to be of his Majesty's citizen, against the greatelt man in the council will take care never to form too republic. I hope this will always be high an opinion of our own strength and the case in this country: for though it courage, or too mean an opinion of the may be sometimes necessary to punish strength and courage of those who are, licentiousness, yet even licentiousness it, or are like to be our enemies; and as we self ought not, I think, to be ever so se. in this house are one of his Majesty's verely punished, as may incroach upon great and fupreme councils, this care is, the liberty of the press. This indeed I think, a duty incumbent upon every will never happen, I believe, when the gentleman who has the honour of a feat licentiousness is directed against those in this assembly. who are in oppoficion to ministers of If we do our duty in this respect, Sir; ftate; but there is some danger when it if we maturely and carefully examine all takes a contrary direction, and there- circumstances, I believe we shall find, fore even the punishment of licentious that the French are not such contempness is an affair that may sometimes de- tible people, as to induce us, in pruferve the attention of this house.

dence, and without regard to justice, to

involve ourselves in a war with that naThe speech of Cn. Fulvius, who spoke next. tion, if it can with honour be avoided ; Mr President,

and if it cannot with honour be avoided, Owever contemptibly fome gentle. I am sure, we ought to take all possible larity, may talk of fear; yet I hope they lies of France, for thinking that we are will not say, that it is consistent with the aggreffors : therefore I must think, common sense to be afraid of nothing; that, during this whole debate, gentletherefore I shall never be ashamed to men have never once considered the im. own, that I am afraid of involving my portance of the monosyllable now; and country needlessly in any war : and yet it is the hinge upon which the though I have as good an opinion as any very marrow of this debate muft turn. man ought to have, of the power of my If a war should ensue, or if his Majesty native country, and the courage and vi. was convinced, that there was no longgour of my countrymen, yet I Thall never er any room to expect redress or fatis. be ashamed to own, that I am afraid of faction by treaty, I shall grant, that acting in such a manner, as may unite some such bill as this would be necesseveral powerful nations against us, when, fary: but the question is, if it be now by holding a different sort of conduct, necessary? If it be not now necessary, we may prevent any such union. Whilt the ordering of such a bill to be brought we fit quiet and safe in this house, gen- in, can do but very little good, and may tlemen

may talk in a high strain of do a great deal of harm. All the good national itrength and courage, and of pretended to result from it, is that of its the contempt we have for our enemies : inducing some of our seamen to enter such a way of talking is sure to be attends voluntarily into his Majesty's service. ed with the applause of the populace; Gentlemen who suppose that this would and I shall grant, that those who are on- be any great inducement, must have a ly to act, can never have too high an very different opinion of our common opinion of their strengih and courage, seamen from what I have. They must or too great a contempt for their ene. suppose them to be a very thoughtful, mies : but those that a 'e to direct, may considerate sort of men, and such as are


[ocr errors]

ready to give up a small present advantage I am afraid, that, in a war between for a very great and future advantage France and us, several of the nations in expectation; whereas I have always in Europe would think it their interest taken them to be the most thoughtless, to join with France, notwithstanding the inconsiderate set of men in the kingdom, greatest preparations we could make; and such as have less regard to futurity, because in the chances of war they would I mean in this life, than any other fort look upon the odds to be on the side of of men whatever. But suppose that this France : and therefore, in all our dis. would be an inducement to fome sea- putes with that nation, it is prudential men to enter voluntarily into his Maje. in us, to conduct ourselves so as to conity's fervice, could it have any great ef- vince every nation in Europe, that, if a feat in a few weeks, or in two or three war should ensue, it is not owing to inmonths? which, in my opinion, is the justice on our side, but to ambition on longest time we can be in suspense as to the side of France ; for as this would of peace or war. I am almost certain it course ftir up the jealousy of the other would not; and I am the more certain, powers of Europe, they would either because I believe there are now no sea. stand neuter in the war, or be ready, for men unemployed in the British domi- the fake of their own preservation, to nions. They are all employed, either in join with us, if the chances of war should our navy or the merchant service ; un turn very much against us. less it be such as are just returned from a To prevent this, Sir, is the true cause voyage, and have their pockets full of of that patience which has been hithermoney; and these you cannot expect to to hewn by the court of France. They enter, whilft they have a shilling left in look upon themselves, I fear, with too their pockets. For the cause of our want much justice, as an overmatch for any of feamen at present, as well as upon e one nation in Europe ; therefore the onvery like occasion, is not owing fo much ly thing they have to fear, is that of to their unwillingness to enter into the raising such a jealousy of their power King's service, as to never having a suf- and ambition among their neighbours, ficient stock of seamen, at the eve of a as may produce a confederacy againft war, to supply our trade and our navy: them. This is the only nation in Eu. nor is it possible, I think, to prevent rope from which; singly and alone, they this being always the case, by any other have any thing to fear; because they can method but that of keeping a very large attack us no way but by sea, and upon number of seamen in constant pay and that element we are as yet superior to employment, in time of peace as well as them ; though in the course of a long war.

war, by good conduct, and a few acci. Therefore, Sir, the utmost advantage dents in their favour, they may become we can expect by ordering any such bill superior to us even at sea. However, to be brought in a few weeks, or a few as this would be tedious, dangerous, and months, before it may become necessary, expensive, they are using all their art is both uncertain and inconsiderable; to persuade all their allies, that we are but the harm it may do to this dation the aggressors, in order to get them to is, I think, certain, and may be attend. join against us. How are we to prevent ed with utter ruin; consequently it re. the success of the French in this attempt? quires no great skill in the doctrine of Not by doing what we ourselves think chances, to determine what ought, in we may justly do, for vindicating of our such a case, to be done. I fall grant, poffeffions and our rights in America ; Sir, that the judgment of nations, as well but by doing no more than what the alas of private men, is pretty much go. lies of France think we may justly do : verned by what they take to be their in- and from hence every one must be con. tereft ; but whilft France takes care to vinced, that if we had begun a war with prevent her neighbours conceiving a jea: France in the manner chalked out by lousy of a too great increase of her power, the Hon. Gentleman in this debate, we

Сҫ 2


[ocr errors]

should probably have had one half of least so far as' relates to the ships already Europe united with France against us; taken. The property of them is alreaand no one will suppose, that, in such a dy vested in the crown; and every one case, we could for one year have pre. knows, that we never pass any bill by served our superiority at sea, consider. which the property of the crown may be ing the great number of ships of war we affected, without having first had the must always keep at home, for protect- consent of our sovereign signified to us ing our trade and preventing an invasion, by message. Nay, we never pass a bill

We find, Sir, that what we have as by which the property of any private yet done, has not had the effect which man may be affected, without making the French expected and wished for ; we good to him the damage or loss he may find, that our seizing the French ships, thereby suffer. Our agreeing to this moand our endeavouring to intercept the tion would therefore be a trespass upon troops they send to America, have not prudence, as the ships taken before a made any ally of France look upon us declaration of war, are often in whole or as the aggressors: but I fear we are up. in part applied to make good the daon the verge of the precipice, and that mage private men had suffered' by what one itep further would make us drop in- occafioned the war, or they are restored to the gulf of perdition. Even the al- upon a renewal of peace. Thus the lies of France are now mediating be ships taken from the Spaniards in 1739, tween us, and endeavouring to prevail before the declaration of war, were parte with that court to agree to reasonable ly applied towards making good the terms of accommodation. What would damage which our merchants had sufthey think, should we, whilst they are fered by their depredations, and the ghus employed, order such a bill as this ships taken from them in the year 1718, to be brought in? I am persuaded, that were restored upon the renewal of peace they would look upon it not only as a in 1721. Nay, some French Tips that hectoring menace against France, but had been seized by our ships of war, on as an affront to themselves, Nay, I am pretence of their being Spanish, before afraid, they would begin to look upon the declaration of war between France us as real pirates, which the French and us, in 1744, were restored, even have been representing us to be at every during the continuance of the war, upcourt in Europe : for as yet they confi- on its having been made appear that der our seizing the ships of France as they were truly French ships. Therefore done with no other views but such as we I mult chink, that it would be inconsiste really had ; which were, That we might ent with prudence to enact, that the have something in our hands to restore, property of all ships taken before the dein case honourable terms of peace Mould claration of war, should become vested be offered ; and, 2. That we might in the captors, as soon as war should be possess ourselves of some thousands of declared, and the ships condemned. French seamen, which in case of war Having thus shewn, Sir, that our a. might be employed against us. But if greeing to this motion can do little or we should order those ships to be appro- no good, but may do a great deal of priated to the captors, most foreign courts harm, and that our passing such a bill as would begin to think, that we had sei. this would be inconsistent with both ju. zed those ships without any other view ftice and prudence, I am for following but that of gain, which is the proper the example set os by a former minifter. character of pirates.

He was against pafling fuch a bill as this Thus, Sir, it is evident, that our a. in the year 1738, because it was not greeing to this motion might be attend. then necessary; but he was for it in 1739, ed with the most dangerous consequen- because it was then become necessary : ces, with regard to our foreign affairs. and he was probably for its going the And with regard to our domestic, it is length of the third reading, to prevent really what we cannot in justice do, at any opposition being made to it when it


[ocr errors]

should become necessary. But as this last ther, we ought to prepare for war before
circumstance cannot now serve any pur- we declare war? If he answers by the
pose, we have no occasion to take up important monosyllable aye, he must
our time with preparing and reading a- grant that the important monosyllable
ny such bill, until it does become necef- now is in favour of the bill proposed ;
sary. So that my conduct at this time as nothing more is thereby designed,
does not properly differ from the conduct but a method of preparing for war which
of that great minister, whom I shall als experience has taught us to be both pro-
ways be proud to imitate, and shall ne- per and necessary. Surely, Sir, we ought
ver be ashamed of having been one of to have our navy as fully and as well
his constant friends. Whatever some manned as possible before we declare
gentlemen may be pleased to fay of the war; and every one must grant, that
character of that minifter, I wish they both the courage and fidelity of the fea-
would not make quite so free with the men who enter voluntarily into his Ma-
character of parliament, in his time. jesty's service, is more to be depended
To talk of a venal majority at his beck, on than the courage or fidelity of those
in parliament, may teach the people who are pressed into the service. Is it
without doors, to think at least, if not not then now necessary for us, as we are
to talk, of a venal majority in our pre- upon the very brink of a war, to take
sent parliament. That minifter, it is every method that can be thought of for
true, had a very great influence for ma- encouraging able and expert seamen to
ny years in parliament; but it proceed. enter into his Majesty's service? Will
ed from the rectitude of his measures, any one say, that our seamens having a
and his abilities in explaining them to chance to enrich themselves by captures,
the house. He was always for keeping is not an encouragement for them to en-
his countrymen in peace, if possible ; and ter into his Majesty's service? Will any
we cannot boast much of what we have gentleman who has the honour to be of
got by war since his resignation. From his Majesty's council, stand up in bis
what had before happened to him, we place, and declare to the house, that
know, indeed, that there may be a ve: such terms of accommodation have been
nal majority in parliament; for he in. offered as.' may, with a little amend.
nocently suffered by one: and I wish we ment, prevent an open war?
had never had reason to suppose that But why should I say, Sir, prevent an
there may be a factious majority in par. open war? An open war is already be-
liament ; for they are equally dangerous gun: the French have attacked his Ma.
to our constitution; but the latter is by jesty's troops in America, and in return
far the most dangerous to the peace and his Majesty's fhips have attacked the
safety of the kingdom.

French King's ships in that part of the

world. Is not this an open war? The The speech of Julius Florus, whospoke next. ceremony of a declaration of war may Mr President,

be necessary for giving notice of the Never before observed, that any mo- rupture to neutral powers, but it can no

nofyllable was of great consequence way be necessary for giving notice to ei. in our debates, except the two famous ther of the contending parties to prepare ones which, like the ultima ratio regum, for defending themselves, or for annoydetermines every matter that happens ing the enemy. By the law, as it now to be contested in this house; and, like ftands, a declaration of war is indeed nethat too, is very often, on one side, the cessary for giving our seamen a certain only reason that can be given. But in and legal right to any share of the capthis debate, it seems, the monosyllable tures they have already made, or may now is of equal consequence with the hereafter make; I shall most readily monosyllables aye and no. If it be, grant, that they have not in strict lawa Şir, I must ask the Hon. Gentleman right to any, even the smallest share who lays so great a stress upon it, whe- of the prizes they take: bat this is the

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


[merged small][ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »