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it, and the observations upon them, are submitted to the wisdom of the House, that it may act upon both in the time and manner that to your judgment may seem most expedient, or that you may not act upon them at all, if you should think it most useful to the public good. Your committee has obeyed your orders; it has done its duty in making that report. I am of opinion with the eminent person by whom that report is censured, that it is necessary, at this time very particularly to preserve the authority of the Judges. This, however, does not depend upon us, but upon themselves. It is necessary to preserve the dignity and respect of all the constitutional authorities. This, too, depends upon ourselves. It is necessary to preserve the respect due to the House of Lords: it is full as necessary to preserve the respect due to the House of Commons: upon which, whatever may be thought of us by some persons, the weight and force of all other authorities within this kingdom essentially depend. If the power of the House of Commons is degraded or enervated, no other can stand. We must be true to ourselves; we ought to animadvert upon any of our members who abuse the trust we place in them: we must support those who, without regard to consequences, perform their duty.
"For your committee of managers, and for myself, I must say, that the report was deliberately made, and does not, as I conceive, contain any very material errors, or any undue or indecent
reflection upon any person. It does not accuse the Judges of ignorance or corruption. Whatever it says, it does not say calumniously. This kind of language belongs to persons whose eloquence entitles them to a free use of epithets. The report states, that the Judges had given their opinions secretly, contrary to the almost uninterrupted tenor of Parliamentary usage on such occasions. It states that the opinions were given, not upon the law, but upon the case. It states, that the mode of giving the opinions was unprecedented, and contrary to the privileges of the House of Commons. It states, that the committee did not know upon what rules and principles the judges had decided upon those cases, as they neither heard them, nor are they entered upon the journals. It is very true, that we were and are extremely dissatisfied with those opinions, and the consequent determination of the Lords, and we do not think such a mode of proceeding at all justified by the most numerous and the best precedents. None of these senVOL. II.
timents are the committee, as I conceive, (and I full as little as any of them) disposed to retract or to soften in the smallest degree.
"The report speaks for itself. Whenever an occasion shall be regularly given to maintain every thing of substance in that paper, I shall be ready to meet the proudest name for ability, learning, or rank, that this kingdom contains, upon that subject. Do I say this from any confidence in myself? Far from it! It is from my confidence in our cause, and in the ability, the learning, and the constitutional principles, which this House contains within itself, and which I hope it will ever contain; and in the assistance which it will not fail to afford to those who, with good intention, do their best to maintain the essential privileges of the House, the ancient law of Parliament, and the public justice of the kingdom.
No one, as may be supposed, seemed inclined to take up the gauntlet thrown down in the concluding part of this address. On the 20th of June, Mr. Pitt moved the thanks of the House to the managers "for their faithful management in their discharge of the trust reposed in them," which was carried. Mr. Burke, in the course of his reply, observed with great liberality, that prejudices against himself arising from personal friendship, or personal obligations to the accused, were too laudable for him to be discomposed at. He had thrown no general reflections on the Company's servants; he had merely repeated what Mr. Hastings himself had said of the troops serving in Oude; and the House had marked their opinion of the officers in the very terms he had used. As for the other expressions attributed to him, they had been much exaggerated and misrepresented.
This was the last day he appeared in the House of Commons, having immediately afterwards accepted the Chiltern Hundreds.
To a translation made some time before this by Mr. William Burke, of "Brissot's Address to his Constituents," Edmund, though without his name, gave a masterly preface, which, from exciting general notice, caused some demand for a book now no longer read by any one, and whose very name, notwithstanding the revolutionary notoriety of the author, is nearly forgotten. This introduction sketches a concise but powerful portrait of the Girondist faction, its principles and progress until overwhelmed and guillotined by that of Robespierre or the Mountain; but particularly of its chiefs Roland and Brissot, of the latter of whom he says,
"He is a chief actor in all the scenes which he presents. No man can object to him as a royalist: the royal party and the Christian religion never had a more determined enemy. In a word, it is Brissot it is Brissot the republican, the jacobin, and philosopher, who is brought to give an account of jacobinism, and of republicanism, and of philosophy."
Immediately after the conclusion of the session, in July, 1794, the junction of the Portland party with Ministry, which previously existed in fact, took place in form by the Duke receiving a blue riband, the office of Third Secretary of State with the management of Ireland; Earl Fitzwilliam becoming at first President of the Council, and then Lord Lieutenant of that country; Earl Spencer, Lord Privy Seal, and soon afterward First Lord of the Admiralty; and Mr. Windham, Secretary at War; Lord Loughborough already held the office of Lord Chancellor.
This union, which was effected by Mr. Burke, from a conviction of its being intimately connected with the safety of the country, was stigmatized by the inconsiderate friends of Mr. Fox, as an interested desertion of him, their liege lord-as an act of moral rebellion against him whom they were politically bound to honour and obey. This story being still occasionally told, a single retrospective glance at the history of the party may serve to show its untruth-and that he in fact deserted them, and not they him.
It will be recollected that on being dismissed from his connexion with Ministry, by a contemptuous note from Lord North in 1774, Mr. Fox, as might be expected, joined, in fact if not in name, that division of opposition of which the Marquis of Rockingham was the head, and Mr. Burke the efficient leader and soul in the House of Commons. His admiration of the latter, which even at this time was unreserved, as well perhaps as a family disinclination to range himself under the banners of his father's former adversary, Lord Chatham, who led the other branch of the Minority, might have strengthened this determination; but in point of fact the Rockingham party contained by far the greater portion of talents, as well as of numbers; in its general principles he professed his warm acquiescence, and it promised the readiest road to power. A direct junction with it was therefore the most obvious step which an ambitious man, in furtherance of his own views, could well take. Mr. Burke, in a most friendly, and indeed affectionate letter already alluded to, written to him to Ireland,
in October 1777, and beginning My dear Charles, instead of attempting to bias his choice of political friends by undue persuasion, expressly says, "Do not be in haste. Lay your foundations deep in public opinion. Though (as you are sensible) I have never given you the least hint of advice about joining yourself in a declared connexion with our party, nor do I now; yet, as I love that party very well, and am clear that you are better able to serve them than any man I know; I wish that things should be so kept as to leave you mutually very open to one another in all changes and contingencies; and I wish this the rather, because in order to be very great, as I am anxious you should be (always presuming that you are disposed to make a good use of power), you will certainly want some better support than merely that of the crown."*
The choice of his associates was therefore voluntarily, no doubt wisely, and at least deliberately made by Mr. Fox. He acceded ultimately to the Rockingham party and to its principles in form; he dissented from it in no matter of moment; on the contrary acknowledging, after the death of the Marquis, the Duke of Portland and Earl Fitzwilliam as the new heads of the connexion, and consulting them on all public measures, with the deference due to their rank and public weight in the country until the occurrence of the French Revolution, when his views either changed, or at least when the change became obvious to his coadjutors.
By this time, however, he had formed a consider
* Burke's Works, vol. ix. 8vo. ed. p. 156.