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tion of that power that sustains my adversaries, that power which discovers itself in characters that cannot be mistaken, through every part of this transaction, I must be blind not to see, that the hand of government appears throughout this matter. When I consider the extreme care employed in preparing it for the measures which have been taken in this house, in consequence of it-when I consider the evident determination not to let it rest here-when I consider the extraordinary zeal and anxiety of particular persons in this house, to shelter and to sanctify this high bailiffwhen I consider the situation of those who take the lead, and are most active in his vindication—when I consider the indifference of my adversaries to the expenses which result from this scrutiny; but which expenses must be a severe stroke upon the spirit and independence of those by whom I am supported when I consider that all that artifice could dictate, and power could execute, have been exerted upon this occasion, I can have no doubt that the hand of a revengeful government pervades it all.
The opposition of such a government upon an election, is a discouraging circumstance; and the likelihood of renew. ing again those events which I have witnessed within the last two months, is indeed a formidable and terri.
When I look back, sir, to all the shameful and shocking scenes of the Westminster election—when I consider that my enemies practised all that was possible of injustice, indecency and irreverence in their efforts to overwhelm me when I consider the gross, the frontless prostitution of names too sacred to be mentioned when I consider that all the inAuence of all the various branches of government was employed against me, in contempt of propriety and defiance of lawwhen I consider that a body of men was brought in the appearance of constables to the place of election, under the command of a magistrate, and against the express opinion of all the other magistrates of Westminster--that these constables broke that peace they were bound to preserve, and created a riot, which proved fatal to one of their own bodywhen I consider that this was made the pretence of a wanton, and indecent, and unconstitutional introduction of the military, in violation of all that has been done by our ancestors, to keep sacred the freedom of election-when I consider that the lives of innocent men were deemed light and trivial impediments to the gratification of that implacable spirit of revenge, which appears through the whole of this business when I consider that several men of the lower order of life, whose only crime was appearing in my interest, were confined for many weeks in a prison, and obliged to stand trial, and that others, of the higher rank, ingenious and amiable men, valuable for their qualities, respectable for their characters, distinguished for their abilities, and every way meriting the esteem of mankind, were also attacked without the show of a pretence, and obliged to undergo the ceremony of a publick acquittal from the foul crime of murder-when I consider that palpable perjury, and subornation of perjury were employed to accomplish the sanguinary object of this base conspiracy-when I consider that the malignity of my enemies has stopt at nothing, however gross and wicked, to ruin me and all that appeared in my interest-when I consider all this, sir, I cannot indeed but look with some anxiety to the circumstance of a new election.
I am not, it is well known, sir, of a melancholy complexion, or of a desponding turn of mind, yet the idea of again combating this host of oppressions might, in other situations, deter me from the risk. But I owe too much to the electors of Westminster, ever to abandon them from any dread of any consequences; and I do assure you, that I should conceive a new writ, with the hazard of all these hardships, as a great indulgence and favour, compared to that mockery, that insult upon judicature, a scrutiny under Mr. Thomas Corbett.
Sir, I have nothing more to say upon this subject. Whatever may be the fate of the question, it will be a pleasing reflection to me, that I have delivered
my opinions at full, upon a point so important to that great and respectable body of men, to whom I am so much indebted; and I sincerely thank the house for the honour of their patience and attention through so long a speech.
To the honourable gentleman over against me,* I will beg leave to offer a little advice. If he condemns this measure, let him not stoop to be the instrument of its success. Let him well weigh the consequences of what he is about, and look to the future effect of it upon the nation at large. Let him take care, that when they see all the powers of his administration em. ployed to overwhelm an individual, men's eyes may not open' sooner than they would if he conducted himself within some bounds of decent discretion, and not thus openly violate the sacred principles of the constitution. 'A moderate use of his power might the longer keep people from reflecting upon the extraordinary means by which he acquired it. But if the honourable gentleman neglects his duty, I shall not forget mine. Though he may exert all the influence of his situation to harass and persecute, he shall find that we are incapable of unbecoming submissions. There is a principle of resistence in mankind, which will not brook such injuries, and a good cause and a good heart will animate men to struggle in proportion to the size of their wrongs, and the grossness of their oppressors. If the house rejects this motion, and establishes the fatal precedent that follows that rejection, I confess I shall begin to think there is little to be expected from such a house of
But let the question terminate as it may, I feel myself bound to maintain an unbroken spirit through such complicated difficulties; and I have this reflection to solace me, that this unexampled injustice could never have succeeded, but by the most dangerous and desperate exertions of a government, which, rather than not wound the object of their enmity, scrupled not to break down all the barriers of law; to runcounter to the known custom of our ancestors; to violate all that we have of practice and precedent upon this subject; and to strike a deep blow into the very vitals of the English constitution, without any other inducement or temptation, or necessity, except the malignant wish of gratifying an inordinate and implacable spirit of resentment.
* Mr. Pitt.
ON THE RIGHT OF MAKING WAR AND PEACE: DELIVERED IN
THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, MAY 20, 1790.
On the 14th of May, 1790, M. de Montmorin, minister for foreign affairs, made a communication by order of the king to the national assembly, of the warlike preparations in which Great Britain and Spain were then engaged, in consequence of their dispute concerning Nootka Sound, and of the precautionary measures which, under existing circumstances, he had thought proper to adopt.
After a discussion of the message, the following resolution, presented by M. De Mirabeau, was carried :
“ The national assembly decrees, that its president shall, in the course of the day attend the king, for the purpose of thanking his majesty for the measures he has taken for the preservation of peace. The assembly decrees, moreover, that, on to morrow the 16th of May, the order of the day shall be the question : Ought the nation to intrust the king with the right of making war and peace ?”—Two opposite opinions, divided the assembly on this subject. The concession of the prerogative to the crown was strenuously advocated by one party, while the other,