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by the abuses of a house of ill fame, they no longer think of regulation—they go to work the shortest way—they abate the nuisance-they pull down the house.'—This is a sort of epitome of universal history ; above all, of the history of the times we live in. From the proud rejection of these maxims of policy and prudence, the governments of Europe are one after another tumbling into ruin by sudden violence instead of being insensibly altered by peaceable reformation. To this cause the original independence of America is to be ascribed. In the beginning she sought only the reasonable privileges of a dependent community. It was the refusal that gave birth to her independence. We refused to look at her grievances whilst they were curable. The same procrastinating spirit prevailed at that period which prevails now, and the same delusion as to the effects of terror and coercion. Lord CHATHAM's warning voice was rejected. Give satisfaction to Ame
· rica,' said that great statesmanConciliate her affection --Do it to night-Do it before you sleep.' But we slept, and did it not; and America was separated from us for ever.
“ Ireland in the same manner obtained a sudden and unsought for independence, and has been brought to her present state of alarming hostility to this country. We refused to see what stared us in the face in characters reddening into blood; but the light broke in upon us at last, not through well constructed windows; but through the yawning chasms of our ruin. We were taught wisdom through humiliation.'-I am afraid we have much more to learn in that useful but melancholy school. The identical system by which America was lost to Great Britain, ministers are now acting over again with regard to Ireland at this moment. They refuse to redress her grievances: they refuse to listen to her complaints: what America was, Ireland, perhaps even England itself, will
shortly be, if you obstinately refuse to adopt that system of conciliation which alone can bring back affection and obedience to any government that has lost it.
“ I can have no interest, Sir, in painting my country in such dismal colors—I can have no desire to see the land I live in, and in which I inherit so many comforts and advantages, involved in confusion and blood. My only wish is to see a happy, powerful, disinterested union, which may save from destruction the constitution of our fathers. But whatever is to be done, must be done quickly. When you are the voluntary givers, you can command the limits of what you give, and fix the qualifications of the gift. But if discontent arises, and what is now petitioned for is brought forward as an imperious demand, you are disrobed of all choice and deliberation. Think of this awful conjuncture, whilst thinking is of any use. For my own part, I solemnly declare that I think there is no alternative between an immediate reform by which the nation may be made happy, and a revolution by which it will be involved in blood and ruin. I may be told, that bad men may avail themselves of a moderate reform to compass the utter overthrow of the constitution. But if there really be those whom no concession can satisfy, yet by the very attempt you will add to the number of those who will feel new attachment to the constitution, and new ardor in its defence. You will separate those who are sincerely attached to the genuine principles of the constitution, from those who may secretly wish to destroy it. You will unmask those whose views go beyond reform : you will deprive them of that pretence which gives effect to their animosity; and you will furnish the government with new strength to resist their machinations. Let ministers instantly forego that fatal system of coercion which forced America from her connexion into the arms of
France, and which is, at this very moment, driving Ireland to seek the same protection. Let them relinquish the insane attempt to retain the affection of that country by the point of the bayonet, which is hourly tearing out of the hearts of Irishmen those feelings of kindness and love for England, upon which the permanence of the union between the two countries can alone be looked to. This fatal system of coercion and terror, which ministers seem resolved to persevere in, has made half Europe submit to the arms of France, and has given the air of romance or rather of enchantment to the career of her conquests. Now in Holland-now on the Rhine-almost at the same moment overturning the states of Italy, and overawing the empire at the gates of Vienna. Without meaning to under-rate the unexampled energies of a mighty nation repelling the atrocious combinations of despotism against her liberties, I may assert safely, that she principally owed her triumphs to the very abuses which provoked the strife. The nations with which she contended had no privileges to fight for, nor any governments worth preserva ing; they felt therefore no interest in their preservation. Whilst the powers of such governments remained, their subjects were drawn up in arms, and appeared to be armies; but when invasion had silenced the power which oppressed them, they became in a moment the subjects and the soldiers of their invaders. Take warning from so many examples—the principles of revolution are eternal and universal.
“ Let me conclude with repeating again, that the condition of this country renders a reform most critically seasonable. The nation stands in the most perilous predicament. Government is forced to call upon the people for greater exertions than at former times, burdens which VOL. 1,
appeared impracticable even in speculation, are now to be carried into practical effect. This must be done either by affection or coercion; and this is the moment for the choice. Give the people the blessings of the constitution, and they will join with ardor in its defence : raise within these walls a standard which was never before raised, around which the friends of the constitution may rally, and to which the people will be attracted by the feelings of confidence and attachment: it will give general satisfaction ; it will unite all who are divided and create a general spirit to bear up against the calamities by which we are surrounded.”
Mr. Pitt made the following reply.
“ Feeling, Sir, as I do, the danger with which the present proposition is attended, upon the grounds upon which it has been supported, and in the circumstances in which it has been brought forward, I am very desirous, as early as possible in the debate, to state the reasons, by which I am determined to give it my most decided opposition. The honorable gentleman who introduced the motion, began with disclaiming very distinctly, and as far as he went very satisfactorily, all those abstract principles of imprescriptible right, all those dočtrines of the rights of man on which those without doors, who are most eager in their professions of attachment to the cause which he now supports, rest the propriety of their demand, and upon which alone they would be contented with any species of parliamentary reform. The honorable gentleman denies the truth of that principle which prescribes any particular form of government, as that which is essential to freedom, or that universal suffrage is necessary to civil liberty, or that it even must depend upon that light which the revolution of France has let in upon the world, and
from which however he derives the hopes of so much advantage to the general happiness of mankind. But in disclaiming these views of the question, and in placing it upon the footing of the practical benefit it was calculated to produce, the honorable gentleman did not state all the considerations by which the conduct of a wise statesman was to be regulated, and the judgment of an upright senator to be guided. The question is not merely whether some alteration might or might not be attended with adó vantage; but it is the degree of advantage which that alteration is likely to effect in the shape in which it is introduced; the mischief which may be occasioned from not adopting the measure ; and the chance, on the other hand, of producing by the alteration an effect upon those to whom you give way, very different from that which had induced you to hazard the experiment. These are the considerations which the subject ought to embrace, and the views upon which impartial men must decide. Before we adopt the conclusion of the honorable gentleman, we have a right, it is even imposed on us as a duty, to take into our view as a leading object what probability there is by encouraging the particular mode of attaining that union, or of effecting that separation of the friends of moderate reform, and the determined enemies to the constitution which they conceive it calculated to produce; we must consider the danger of introducing an evil of a much greater magnitude than that we are now desirous to repair ; and how far it is prudent to give an opening for those principles which aim at nothing less than the total annihilation of the constitution. The learn. ed gentleman, who seconded the motion, said, that those who formerly supported parliamentary reform had sown the seeds of that eagerness for parliamentary reform which was now displayed, and of the principles on which it was