Abbildungen der Seite

ought not to scruple to give her advantages; and surely ought not to fear that this very disproportionate gain could be injurious to us in case of a future contest.

It was in the nature and essence of an agreement between a manufacturing country and a country blessed with peculiar productions, that the advantages must terminate in favor of the former ; but it was particularly disposed and fitted for both the connections. Thus France was by the peculiar dispensation of Providence, gifted, perhaps, more than any other country upon earth, with what made life desirable, in point of soil, climate, and natural productions. It had the most fertile vineyards, and the richest harvests; the greatest luxuries of man were produced in it with little cost, and with moderate labor, Britain was not thus blessed by nature; but, on the contrary, it possessed, through the happy freedom of its constitution, and the equal security of its laws, an energy in its enterprize, and a stability in its exertions, which had gradually raised it to a state of commercial grandeur; and not being so bountifully gifted by heaven, it had recourse to labor and art, by which it had acquired the ability of supplying its neighbour with all the necessary embellishments of life in exchange for her natural luxuries. Thus standing with regard to each other, a friendly connection seemed to be pointed out between them, instead of the state of unalterable enmity, which was falsely said to be their true political feeling towards one

[ocr errors]


In conclusion, he remarked, " that with respect to political relation, this treaty at least, if it afforded us no benefits, brought us no disadvantages. It quieted no well-founded jealousy; it slackened no necessary exertion ; it retarded no provident supply ; but simply tended, while it increased our ability for war, to postpone the


R 2

[ocr errors][merged small]

period of its approach. But on this day he had only to draw the attention of the House to objects merely commercial,—and he must again say, that he by no means wished to bind them by any resolution this night, to any general approbation of the measure. He should sit down after voting his first resolution ; yet he begged to be understood, that he meant to move the others which he had mentioned.”

Mr. Pitt now moved :

« That in case either of the two high contracting parties shall think proper to establish prohibitions, or to augment the import duties upon any goods or merchandize of the growth or manufacture of the other, which are not specified in the tariff, such prohibitions or aug. mentations shall be general, and shall comprehend the like goods and merchandizes of the other most favored European nations, as well as those of either state ; and in case either of the two contracting parties shall revoke the prohibitions, or diminish the duties, in favor of any other European nation, upon any goods or merchandize of its growth or manufacture, whether on importation, or exportation, such revocations, or diminutions shall be extended to the subjects of the other party, on condition that the latter shall grant to the subjects of the former the importation and exportation of the like goods and merchandizes under the same duties; the cases reserved in the seventh article of the present treaty always excepted. That all articles of manufacture and commerce, not enumerated in the tariff, be admitted from France, on paying the same duties as the same articles pay on importation from the most favored nation."

Mr. Fox remarked, “ that he felt himself impelled to rise, by a consciousness that it was now become his indispensable duty not to fail embracing the carliest oppos

tunity of delivering his opinions concerning a point, of which the present aspect seemed certainly of all others the most detrimental to the policy, the revenue, and the commerce of this island. So impressed was he with this idea, that he should not hesitate to open his sentiments, with a declaration, that no former minister had ever labored to introduce a measure more beneficial to the coun. try than that which was the present object of parliaa mentary investigation. With regard to what the right honorable gentleman had observed respecting its political tendency to cement in bonds of peace and commerce the friendship of both countries, and that he conceived it not impossible, by these means, to destroy that enmity which had subsisted between the two nations, he must beg leave entirely to dissent. France was the in. veterate and unalterable politicial enemy of Great Britain. No ties of affection or mutual interest could possibly eradicate what was so deeply rooted in her constitution. What could demonstrate it more than the invariable system of her policy towards this island ? Was not her whole conduct towards this country an unwearied and systematic series of measures, either distinguished for their sinister intrigue, or declared hostility? He did not mean to say this enmity arose from any vindictive principles; it was not that she adopted her measures for our annihilation, in remembrance of Cressy or Agincourt; no, her policy of diminishing our power and prosperity arises from her own inordinate ambition of universal mo. narchy; and thus are we her natural enemies. It is from us she fears the diminution of her powers to obtain this desirable object of her inordinate ambition. From us alone do the other powers of Europe hope for protection, to maintain that balance of power which can preserve their respective liberties from her encrochmente. We are

A 3


therefore not her foe from enmity, or ambition ; we are only her enemy in her attempts to destroy that system of policy on which the other states of Europe must depend for their liberties as well as their existence. When she attempts encroachments on the barriers of European liberty, it is then Great Britian is her enemy, and no longer; and while this is the object of her ambition, so we shall ever remain ; and when had we not reason to look upon France with this jealousy and circumspection? View the tenor of all our history. While she practised these political intrigues of ambition, we were always the only power able and ready to check, punish, and counteract her designs. From the period of Henry VI. to CHARLES II. he acknowledged we did not feel this jealousy towards France. She was 'not during this time in a capacity to alarm any of the other powers of Europe with her ambitius encroachments. We had therefore no cause for the continuance of our exertions against her machinations and encroaching hostilities. Such were the general principles on which Great Britain and France were naturally unalterable enemies. A variety of treatises would serve to prove, that it was the principle of each of them not to admit her to a participation of our commercial advantages, except during the reigns of the two STUARTS.

“ The House were not ignorant, that, in the treaty of Utrecht in the year 1713, which was as much the censure of that day as it has been decried ever since, the ministry, who had the entire affection, confidence, and reverence of the people and parliament, did attempt to enter into a commercial connection with France. But such was the policy of the Whig party, that very successfully for this country, by their exertions and opposition, they subverted the plan which would otherwise have been


[ocr errors]

adopted, and would then have ruined the prosperity of this country, and destroyed the liberties most probably of every other in Europe. For had our powers been diminished we should not have possessed that strength which has ever been and must be their protection. This was similar to what had happened to the right honorable gentleman himself on a former occasion [the Irish propositions]. It was true, he admitted, according to what he [Mr. Pitt]had observed, this parliament had not rejected them. But still they were rejected, and happily, he thought, for the interests of both countries. But in what manner was the question carried in that House in favor of the right honorable gentleman ? Was it not from the confidence which they placed in the intentions of the minister, although they distrusted the consequences of his measures? Did not several gentlemen of very respectable ability, character, and property, say, when they gave their vote in favor of the Irish propositions, that it was a subject of so complex and intricate a nature, that they could not think themselves completely competent to decide; but that they gave their vote on the most unreserved confidence of the right honorable gentleman's intentions. Such we should expect would

. have been the conduct of that day; for never were a ministry higher in the trusts and estimation of the whole nation, as well as the parliament. So great was their attachment to this Tory administration, that even the man [the Duke of MARLBOROUGH] who had carried the character of the country to the highest exaltation of glorious conquest, was, in conformity to the sentiments of this ministry, degraded and dishonored. Is it not then an evidence incontrovertible of the idea which the nation had of the impolicy of entering into a commercial commerce with France, when they could thus reject a plan

« ZurückWeiter »