Imatges de pÓgina

be massacred if taken in the field. Nor was there, it was obferved, any great encouragement, from the conduct of these emigrants, to trust them too far: Had they not deserted their king in the hour of distress? these persons might therefore find some interest to induce them to betray us, and consequently, the project was dangerous and absurd.

The idea that the mass of the people of France would be seady to return to the feudal and tyrannical system of the old government, and repair to the standard of the emigrants, was treated as ridiculous; and yet, without that junction, nothing could be effected under this bill; for we had nothing here but the skeletons of regiments, formed of officers.

On Monday the twelfth of May, Mr. Dundas brought down a message from his majelly, purporting that, having received information that feditious pradices had lately been carried on by certain societies in London, in correspondence with societies in different parts of the country, and avowedly directed to the object of assembling a pretended general convention of the people, in contempo and defiance of the authority of parliament - he had thercfore given diedlicns for seizing the books and papers of the said focieties in London, which had been seized accordingly—that his majesty had also given orders for laying them before the house of commons, and recommended to them to consider the fame. At the same time a chcemaker, of the name of Hardy, secretary of the London Correr ponding Society, and Mr. Adams, secretary of the Society for Conftitutional Information, were taken into custody, underwent several examinations before the privy council, and were committed to the Tower for high treason. The imprisonment of Mr. Horne Tooke, Mr. Thelwall, and Mr. Jorce, the private secretary of car! S:anhope, immediately followed, in confequence of the tremendous diicoveries contained in the papers of these societies. The papers taken were, also, 'inade the foundation of an act of parliament for fufpending the habeas corpus act; they were previously referred to a fecrct committee, who made a long report of their contents to the house. The public found, in the parliamentary report of these papers, a repetition of what they had before seen in almost every newspaper, notices for inerrings of the refpecivc focicties, their transactions, refolutions, and confts, which were generally ordered to be published by the focieties themselves. The letters from in


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dividuals, and distant members of the societies to the fccretaries of those respective focieties, and the correfpondence between one society and another, made a confiderable part of the report of the secret committee. But the most important discovery was, that in the poression of individuals, connected with these focieties (who were suppored to confiit of at leait twenty thousand persons) there were found not fewer than eighteen stand of arms !

The bill for the suspension of the habeas corpus act was introduced into the house by the minister, upon reading the report of the secret committee; and, in confequence of his motion, leave was given to bring in a bill to empower his majesty to secure and detain such persons as his majesty fhall fufpect are conspiring against his person and government.'

The opposition side of the house contended, that they saw nothing in the report that justified so extraordinary and so alarming a measure as the suspension of the habeas corpus act, which was juftly confidered as the palladium of English liberty; if, however, learę to bring in the bill was given, it would be absolutely necessary to move two clauses-the one, that while the suspenfion of the habeas corpus act continued, the house should continue to fit; and the other, that an account should be rendered by the exca; cutive government, to that house, of all perfons apprehended and confined under this bill, otherwise it would give to ministers the power of throwing into prison, and detaining, any person whom they might incline to distress, and that upon any fuppofed treafon, or the fightest pretext, With regard to the report, it certainly contained nothing, but what had been publicly known long before. . As to the principal argument of the ministerial party, which went to prove the illegality of conventions, it was anfwered by the other side, that there had been many conventions in this country, Scotland, and Ireland, for different purposes, and none of them had ever been thought illegal. Mr. Pitt, and the duke of Richmond themselves had belonged to some of them, for the express purpose alio of parliamentary reform. With regard :o the discretion of those who were to be entrufted with the extraordinary power which the fufpension of the habeas corpus act would put into the hands of the executive government, it was contended that no member, even of that house, would be safe from the false pretexts,


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fuspicions, and malice of their opponents; for they might proceed upon the most frivolous suspicions. It was urged that, if this bill pafled, it would be impossible to satisfy the public, that many of those, who brought out the seditious and improper publications, were not suborned, and emploved for the very purpofe of exciting and carrying on this syitem of alarm and pretended danger. It was ailerte ed, by one of the opposition members, 'that if it was attempted to carry this bill through both houses of parliament with any extraordinary expedition or precipitation, he would not hesitate to say, that any minister who should, under such circumstances, advise his majesty to pass it, deserved to lose his head.'

Notwithstanding these reasons, the bill pafied into a law, the 23d of May, by which, persons imprisoned for high treason, &c. may be detained, without bail or mainprize, until the first of February, 1795.

The differences which had arisen between this country and America came next under the confideration of parliament.

On the 26th of May, the marquis of Lansdowne called the attention of their lordships to the relation in which we stood at this moment with the United States of America. He went over, rapidly, all the grounds of complaint which the Americans had to prefer, and fome of them, he feared, with much justice. The barrier posts had never been de livered up, and this great cause of contention, which had rankled in the brcafts of the Americans, now made the first article of their charge. It was impoflible to deny, that, in this instance, our conduct had neither manifested a disposition to cultivate the friendship of the Americans, nor any degrce of extended and magnanimous policy. The Americans had their suspicions too, that we had not acted either with openness, or even consistentiy with the rights of nations, in the part which we had taken between the courts of Portugal vad Algiers. They suspected that the treaty was made with no kind intention towards them. It was concealed for six weeks after it was made, until the Alccrine cruifers could be let loose upon their trade. They had their fufpicions that this secrefy was suggested by the court of London. The orders of the 6th of June and the 6th of November had further provoked the Americans, and neither of thele orders could be jurified by the rights of nations. The fecond was fo avowedly hostile to all the laws of civilized nations, as well as to true policy, that ministers had found themselves in the situation incident to all weak and rafh men--they had been forced to retract it. Another provocation alleged by the Americans against the British nation, was her governors, and their deputies, exciting the Indians to commit depredations upon the territories of the republic. A paper was then read, called the Reply of Lord Dorchester to the Indians of the Seven Villages of Lower Canada, as deputies from all the nations who were allembled at the general council, held at the Miami, in the year 1793.

In one of the clauses of this reply, his lordship says, speaking of a boundary line,' that from the manner in which the people of the states push on, and act, and talk on this side, and from what I learn of their conduct towards the sea, I shall not be surprised if we are at war with them in the course of the present year; and if we are, a line mult then be drawn by the warriors.'

After this paper, and the feizure of their ships, was it surprising that the Americans had laid an embargo on shipping in their ports for thirty days ? A motion for the production of copies of instructions sent to lord Dorchester, relative to this country and America, was negatived by 69

to 9.

On the 30th of May, the great question of the war was brought under the confideration of the upper house by the duke of Bedford.

His grace entered into an account of the several stages of the war in which we were engaged, and developed the views which had been entertained concerning it, by the government and the legislature; the different aspects which it had allumed at different times; and lastly, he pointed out the utter impossibility there was at this moment of drawing any specific conclusion from the conduct of minilters, of what their real intentions in the war were, or to limit the calamity to any object, the attainment of which would fatisfy their wishes. In doing this, he examined the fitution of affairs both at home and abroad, and inquired, whether they entertained any well grounded hopes that the system which they were pursuing, and the means they had taken to accomplifa it, were likely to produce any beneficial object whatever to this country? The declaration that had been made by Lord Hood to the


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people of Toulon, was the first instance in which we had expressed any design or wish to interfere in the internal government of France. Lord Hood formally accepted of the declaration of the people of Toulon, to adopt a monarchie cal government, such as it was originally formed by the constituent afsembly, and he declared to the people of the fouth of France, that he should protect those who profefed these sentiments, and pledged the faith of the government of England, to the honest and unequivocal maintenance of the object of their declaration. The invitation which he gave to the people of the south of France, to declare themfelves, was accepted, the people did repair to the standard which he had erected, and the noble lord, on the 28th of August, folemnly accepted of their declaration; and thus

a specific ground and object of the war was held out to the people of France, and the faith of Great Britain was pledged to that people for this clear and specific object. By the memorial prefented to the states.general, on the 25th of January 1793, however, the persons who framed the constitution, which we pledged ourselves by lord Hood's declaration to affift in re-establithing, were described as miscreants affuming the name of philosophers,' and that conftitution was reviled as 'the offspring of vanity and licentiousness.

As to the cruelties exercised in France, had not the allied powers urged them on to these savage acts ? Had they not preiled them on from murder to murder, goaded, hunted, set upon like beasts of prey, and rendered desperate in the toils? Had not the courts of Europe taught the French, that nothing but their extermination would satisfy them? Had they not made a falemn declaration against their lives; pro. nounced that nothing but their blood could give security to Europe, and having thus demanded, in the face of France, the lives of their leaders, the men who had given to them, however they might at present exercise it, the advantages of liberty, could it be expected that they would dcliver up their leaders, or stand by and see then torn from their fidies?

My lords, continued his grace, 'let us not deceivę ourselves; let us not be made the dupes of our own deciamation; before we bring these people to the tribunal of justice, let us be sure that our own hearts are free from the crimes that we aiFeet to achor; let us be sure that we have

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