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left alone to contend with France, Was it probable, that if we were to abandon the conteft, the French would alter their prefent fyftem? Would their immense armies be peaceably disbanded? Would not the French government find it necellary to give them employment, and what other could be found, than to complete the ruin of the royal party, which ftill remained in fufficient force to afford us a powerful co-operation? Could the low countries be given up to France, confiftently with our fafety? Should the French iflands, in the West Islands, be rotored to them; not only thofe who had placed themfelve under our protection would be ruined, but our own poffeffions would foon be thrown into confufion. The real loftes of the French far exceeded those of the coalition, and the refources of the latter were greatly fuperior to thofe of the former. The pecuniary strength of France arofe from the immenfe extortion of money and property from all ranks of people; a method of procuring fupplies that could only be fupported by terror and violence, and could not, in the nature of things, be lafting. France had expended, fince the revolution, no lefs than three hundred and twenty millions fterling. The paper money they had created, had hitherto fupported this prodigious expenditure. But paper credit was at an end, and it was evident, by the debates in the convention, that they did pot dare to venture on farther emiffions.

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defign was to deftroy the French government, he well knew that he would not have been fo numerously fupported; but his determination, to procure approvers of his plan, led him to difguife it: and what was the confequence? a feries of the most aftonishing fucceffes on the part of the enemy, and of the moft mortifying diffafters on that of the coalition. He might be reproached for this favourable reprefentation of the exploits of an ancient and inveterate foe; but he felt himself bound to fpeak truths, however, difagreeable, from which only, motives of conduct could be formed. Folly, not fortune, was ́the cause of our disasters. If other nations could live peaceably with France, why could not Britain? Denmark, Sweden, and North America, had ftood aloof from the conteft, without detriment, and fo we might have done.


Could England, with honour, it had been atked, submit to treat with France? But in what confifted this fubmiffion? in no more than allowing the French to have a bad government. had we not treated with governments as bad? Had the government of France been better for a century paft? Had we not tamely fubmitted to the infamous treatment of Poland? Could we, without difgracing ourselves, it was faid, fue for peace to the French? He would answer this queftion by another. Were nations, at war, bound, in honour, to exterminate cach other? for fuch must be the flue to one,

A reply was made to this if neither were to request a Speech by Mr. Fox. Had the peace. The royalifts had been minifter, he faid, avowed that his mentioned, as ftanding through

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our engagements to them, in the way of a pacification; but furely the nation was not to be facrificed to the rafh promifes of a minifter. Experience had fhewn we could depend on thofe of our allies, who were gradually defert ing the caufe into which they had drawn us. Pruffia had for faken it, and fo probably would Auftria, at a convenient feafon, The French finances were faid to be entirely exhaufted; but this affertion had been repeatedly made, and as repeatedly belied, by the events of every year. It had alio been affirmed, that whenever the French reverted to a more moderate fyftem, which they muft neceffarily do at laft, there would be an end to their exertions, which were only fupported by violence; but had their activity and efforts been diminished, fince the fall of Robespierre, when they undeniably adopted a plan of moderation?

Mr. Joliffe coincided with Mr. Fox, and objected to the addrefs, as binding the houfe to an implicit fupport of the war. He expreffed himself, however, highly averfe to any treaty of peace, of which the French fhould dictate the conditions. The debate concluded at four in the morning, when, on a divifion, feventy-three voted for the amendment, and two hundred and forty-fix against it.

On the 5th of January, the difcuffion on the fufpenfion of the habeas corpus act was refumed by Mr. Sheridan. The preamble to that fufpenfion stated that a dangerous and treasonable confpiracy exifted in this country; but a verdict in court had fhewn this confpiracy to be a mere fabrica

tion of minifters, who had exercifed an illegal influence over the grand jury, that found the indictment against the parties accused. He feverely animadverted on the expreffion of acquitted felons, used by Mr. Windham, in the preceeding debate, as fcandaloufly milapplied. The parties had un dergone the firicieft trial, and no pains had been fpared to cri minate them. Eight thoufand pounds had been paid to the crown-lawyers, and no less than two hundred witneffes had been procured against one alone, at a vaft expence. He ftrongly ridi culed the epithet of formidable, bestowed on the fuppofed *confpiracy; the frength and prepa rations made by which, he jocu larly flated, as confifting of an arfenal furnished with one pike and nine rufty mufkets, and an exchequer containing nine pounds and one bad fhilling. Thefe were the ways and means with which the confpirators propofed to over. turn the government of Great Britain. The fufpenfion of the habeas corpus act, Mr. Sheridan explicitly affirmed, was, in fact, to fufpend the whole British conftitution. Nothing less than ime minent, as well as evident, danger could warrant fuch a mea fure. But minifters now acted on the moft queftionable of all information, that of fpies; a fpecies of agents more numerous and more employed and relied upon than at any preceding periods. He defcribed, with great force of language, the various evils refulting to fociety, from the encouragement of perfons bate enough to aflume fo deteftable, as well as fo defpicable, a character. The


people at large had, he obferved, been lately charged with a feditous difpofition; but the fact was, that they were difcontented at the meafures of adminiftration, and apt to exprefs their fenti nts of perfons in power, witho difguife. The only method preventing the complaints of the public would be, to alter the ruinous fyftem hitherto purfued. Mr. Sheridan, then refuming the fubject of the late trials, afferted, that the perfons tried were not certainly more culpable than thofe well-known members of the focieties, in 1780, that had acted precifely on the fame principles, and that ought ftrictly to be confdered as having fet them the example. If their imitators were guilty of treasonable practices, they had alfo incurred no lefs criminality, and merited equal punishment. Look to France, he noticed, was now the cry, whenever the reform of abufes, demanded by thofe focieties, was infifted on, as neceflary to remove the complaints of the people. Bat, were he to look to France, he would look to the causes of its prefent calamities; the pride and oppreffion which the French had fo long endured; the miferies of a defpotic government, deaf to the repeated remonftrantes of a fuffering people; and fparning at all entreaties, for an alviation of their burdens. Thefe

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Mr. Windham replied, with great warmth, to Mr. Sheridan. He imputed the favourable verdict of the jury, in the late trials of the perfons accufed of confpiracy, to ignorance and incapacity to difcern the true ftate of the cafe before them. He afferted, that the real object of the focieties was to overturn the conftitution, and that the principles imported from France would produce the worst effects, unless they were oppofed with the ftricteft vigilance. He took this occafion to deny his having uttered fuch an expreffion as perith the commerce of England" which he attributed to another member, Mr. Hardinge, who did not difavow it.

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The propriety of continuing the fufpenfion of the habeas corpus was difcuffed, in a long and elaborate fpeech, by Mr. Erikine, who concluded, from what had paffed on the trials, which he accurately recapitulated, that a confpiracy had been explicitly dif proved. This being the bafis on which the fufpenfion refted, no pretence could remain for its continuance; which would be to fufpend the liberty of the whole nation, on the mere fufpicion of fome individuals.

If the determination of a jury, it was replied by Mr. Adair, were never to be called in queftion, upon what feeble ground the fubject's liberty would ftand! Parliament was clearly entitled to inveftigate the conduct of juries; otherwife there would be no redre's against the corruption of juries or of judges, nor against minifterial oppreffion. On this maxim he juftified the dif cuffions on the late trials, the iffue

of which, though in favour of the accufed, had, by no fixed rule, eftablished their innocence. The fufpicions entertained against them had not been cleared up to their ad vantage in one particular cafe, the jury hefitated two hours. Would the judges, would the grand jury, have countenanced the accufation, unless it had appeared founded? but the tranfactions of the focieties fufficiently proved their treafonable intentions. The general statement of a confpiracy was undeniable. The fame circumftances on which the fufpenfion-act was grounded in the preceding year, ftill exifted, and no valid motive could be alleged for its repeal.

In answer to Mr. Adair, it was afked by Mr. Fox, upon what argument the repeal would be founded, the former argument having been legally difproved? the decifion of a jury, though doubtless revifable by parliament, could not, confiftently with reafon and equity, be queftioned without the moft evident necef fity. In the prefent cafes, no acquital had taken place, but after the ftricteft and fevereft trial: In that of Hardy, which decided the others, had a confpiracy been proved, he muft, unavoidably, have been condemned, as he was privy to all the transactions of the parties accused. His discharge was, there fore, a proof that no confpiracy exifted. Such being the fact, what was to be the motive of the fufpenfion? the house ought to reflect, that they were now fitting as a jury, on the palladium of English liberty. To fay, that a fufpenfion of the habeas would obviate the neceffity of bringing people to trial, was precifely the argument urged in defence of the lettres de cachet, under the old


government of France, by which a perfon might remain a prifoner for years, or for life. He concluded, by reproaching minifters for charging oppofition with promoting difcontents, in the fame manner as they accufed the diffenters of being bad fubjects, and encouraged an ignorant and bigoted populace to treat them with barbarity.

The propriety of the bill fufpending the habeas was maintained, by the mafter of the rolls, and as earneftly oppofed by Mr. Thomfon, and Mr. Milbanke. After a concluding fpeech in its fupport, by Mr. Pitt, the debate clofed, by 41 votes for a repeal of the fufpenfion, and 185 against it.

Ten days after the decifion of this matter, a motion for leave to bring in a bill, to continue the fufpenfion of the habeas corpus, was moved by the attorney-general, and carried by 71 against 13. But the fecond reading, which was on the 23d, met with a strong oppofition. Mr. Lambton obferved, that the power entrusted to the minifter, by the intended bill, was enormous : he might imprison individuals on what pretences he thought proper. The whole nation was in a manner furrendered to his difcretion. The worthieft men were liable to be thrown into confinement, without being informed of the particular crime or offence for which they fuffered, without knowing their accufer, and without the benefit of a trial till it fuited the minifter's convenience. Was fuch treatment of the fubject to be endured, in a country, calling itfelf free, without the moft glaring and felf-evident ncceffity? The trials, that had taken place, had proved the innocence of the parties accufed, of every charge


brought against them. What more was required, by the law of the land, to clear them of thofe accufations that brought them into court? was not this fufficient not only for their discharge, but to fhield them hom all malicious imputations? No afts of treafon had been fubftantiated gainst them. This being the main intent and scope of their trial, and having entirely failed, what remain ed for the candid parts of fociety, but to acquiefce in the verdict of an unbiaffed jury, and to acknowledge them, what they certainly were, after fuch a decifion, not guilty of the crime laid to their charge? The grand jury, it was alleged, had found the bill against them; but upon what evidence? that of perfors fufpected of being fpies and informers, and whofe occupation it was to difcover guilt in hope of a reward for their difcovery. Were thefe characters worthy of the leaft credit, either in private tranfactions or in a public court? did it become either minifters, or their partifans, to infift upon the weight of fuch teftimony Had they not been confated in open court? was it fair, was it legal, to build on the reports of fuch men, fo weighty a meafure as the fufpenfion, which was to affect the public tranquillity, and the domeftic quiet of a whole nation? for who was fafe, when once fufpicions were deemed fufficient motives to rob a man of his liberty Thele were not furmifes, nor groundless infinuations: every man that had fpirit enough to avow his difapprobation of minifterial mea fures, laid himself open to the fevereft treatment. Before a truft of fuch magnitude as that which was given to government, by the fuf

penfion of the habeas, could be af fented to by the reprefentatives of the people, they ought to be well perfuaded, that it was indifpenfibly required; they ought alfo to have proofs of fuch neceflity: without thefe they had no right to inchain their conftituents at the foot of a minifter, fubject to all thofe paffions that are the natural concomitants of an exalted poft, and whose native uprightnefs of difpofition, however it might be alerted by his adherents, ought by no means to com→ mand implicit confidence. Various. focieties had of late years been eftablifhed throughout the nation, and obtained great popularity; it was ufual, in the minifterial circles, to reprefent them as confifting chiefly of difaffected people. But these focieties were the very life of liberty in a free country: thofe only dif approved of them, who were better friends to the agents of the execu tive power, than to the freedom of the conftitution; the existence of which depended on the avowal and circulation of free and manly ideas on political fubjects. To oppofe, or to depreciate these focieties, was a proof that minifters dreaded their inveftigating fpirit. This alone fhewed a confcioufnefs of deferving cenfure: but this was the ftrongeft argument in favour of thefe focieties, and how firmly they ought to be fupported by a nation that valued its freedom. The inceflant complaints of their feditious tendency proceeded folely from the mouths of notorious tools of power. He was himfelf, Mr. Lambton faid, a member of one of these focieties, that of the friends to the people, and defied any unprejudiced man to tax their proceedings with the


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