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integrity, and solid advantage, as I am confident it must one day appear the Earl of Shelburne and his colleagues have done, I promise them, before-hand, my uniform and best support on every occasion, where I can honestly and conscientiously assist them.
In short, Sir, whatever appears dishonourable or inadequate in the peace on your table, is strictly chargeable to the noble lord in the blue ribbon, whose profusion of the public's money, whose notorious temerity and obstinacy in prosecuting the war, which originated in his pernicious and oppressive policy, and whose utter incapacity to fill the station he occupied, rendered peace of any description indispensable to the preservation of the state. The small part which fell to my share in this ignominious transaction, was divided with a set of men, whom the dispassionate public must, on reflection, unite to honour. Unused as I am to the factious and jarring clamours of this day's debate, I look up to the independent part of the House, and to the public at large, if not for that impartial approbation which my conduct deserves, at least for that acquittal from blame to which my innocence entities me. I have ever been most anxious to do my utmost for the interest of my country; it has been my sole concern to act an honest and upright part, and I am disposed to think every instance of my official department will bear a fair and honourable construction. With these intentions, I ventured forward on the public attention ; and can appeal with some degree of confidence to both sides of the House, for the consistency of my political conduct. My earliest impressions were in favour of the noblest and most disinterested modes of serving the public: these impressions are still dear, and will, I hope, remain for ever dear to my heart: I will cherish them as a legacy infinitely more valuable than the greatest inheritance. On these princi. ples alone I came into parliament, and into place; and I now take the whole House to witness, that I have not been under the necessity of contradicting one public declaration I have ever made. I am, notwithstanding, at the disposal of this House, and with
their decision, whatever it shall be, I will cheerfully comply. It is impossible to deprive me of those feelings which must always result from the sincerity of my best endeavours to fulfil with integrity every official engagement. You may take from me, Sir, the privileges and emoluments of place, but you cannot, and you shall not, take from me those habitual and warm regards for the prosperity of Great Britain, which constitute the honour, the happiness, the pride of my life; and which, I trust, death alone can extinguish. And, with this consolation, the loss of power, Sir, and the loss of fortune, though I affect not to de. spise them, I hope I soon shall be able to forget.
Laudo manentem ; si celeres quatit
- probamque Pauperiem sine dole quæro. The three first resolutions were agreed to without opposition. Upon the fourth, the house divided,
Majority for censuring the terms of the Peace
March 31. 1783.
Tu Earl of Surrey called the attention of the House to the unsettled state of the administration; and desired to know, from the right honourable gentleman (Mr. Pitt) who had just entered the House, whether an administration had yet been formed, or whether there was a near probability of such an event taking place; as if that was the case, he observed, the necessity that enforced his motion was superseded, and ile should take pleasure in not being obliged to bring it forward.
Mr. Pitt said, he was to inform the noble lord, and the House,
* Public affairs continued, for several weeks after this division, in a state of great disorder; no new administration was appointed, and the negociations for power were, through the several conjunctions of parties, carried on with much violence and animosity.
that he was not competent to give official information of any thing that came within his knowledge of the forming of an administration, as his royal master had, a little time before, on that day, been graciously pleased to accept his resignation of that employ which he had the honour of filling in his government. If the noble lord, however, would accept of his personal knowledge, he would pledge himself, it was the earnest desire of his gracious sovereign to accede to the wishes and requisitions of his faithful commons, and which he had so amply testified in his answer to their address. However, though he could not take upon himself to say that an administration was formed, or when an event, which was so much to be wished for, should take place, his full reliance upon His Majesty's answer to the address firmly persuaded him, that His Majesty was anxiously employed in effectuating a purpose which was so much the wish of his people, and of his faithful commons in particular.
This explanation not proving satisfactory, the Earl of Surrey declared that he found himself the more peculiarly called upon to proceed with his motion, and he accordingly moved, “ That a considerable time having now elapsed without an administration responsible for the conduct of public affairs, the interposition of this House on the present alarming crisis is become necessary.”
Mr. Pirt again rose to assure the House that he gave every credit to the noble mover for the best intentions. He, however, did not admit with the noble lord, that there was a necessity for such a resolution after His Majesty's answer of Wednesday, and he thought the words of that resolution were as exceptionable as its spirit. There was an indecency in the language and style of it, of which he said, he could never approve, and the spirit of it aimed at the very dissolution of the government of this country. If the most undoubted, the most constitutional, the most neces. sary prerogative of the crown was to be wrested from it; or if any thing like an interference of that House, tantamount to such an intention, once took place, then there was an end of the constitution, and the very political existence of this country.
Mr. Pitt caught hold of the noble lord's word co-operating, to which he attached himself for some time, and said, for his part, he could not form a doubt but that it was the wish of the House to establish such a co-operation as would prove undoubtedly of the most salutary consequence; that co-operation, however, was not to be acquired by the present resolution, which tended neither in its letter, nor its spirit, to conciliate it. If, by any co-operation of sentiment, in respect to an address, there was a probable likelihood of removing the difficulties that stood in the way of forming an administration, there was no man to be found more ready than he should be to adopt and subscribe to it; but he asked, and he demanded an answer from gentlemen, whether it was decent, whether it was loyal, whether it was parliamentary, whether it was constitutional, whether it was prudent, to agree to the motion proposed by the noble lord? He requested the House to consider that it was only on Wednesday last when His Majesty received the address, and that there had elapsed but four days since that time. The royal answer was all that parliament could expect, it was all that parliament could wish, and a reason. able time should be allowed for conforming to the requisitions of the House. He lamented the situation of government without a minister, and saw inevitable destruction to the country if an administration was not formed : yet he must confess at the same time, that the measure proposed to the House to effect that desirable purpose did not meet his idea of what was due to the country, and what was due to the sovereign. The motion strongly militated against political justice, and went directly to abolish the clear and undisputed privileges of the crown, and to effect a dissolution of all regal authority.
Until, therefore, he heard some sound reason adduced, some good substantial argument in proof of the propriety of the noble lord's motion, it should not, it could not, have his assent. In the words in which it now stood, it seemed to him to be couched in terms totally unwarrantable according to the present situation of the business. A most gracious answer had come from His Majesty, of which he was certain every inember of the House approved ; and that answer he insisted was a sufficient security to parliament of the sovereign's intentions to comply with the wishes of the House. It was a pledge of a very strong nature, and which, if the noble lord's motion was carried, must in consequence lose its intrinsic value, and give an opinion of the royal word, which, perhaps, nay, which he was certain, it was not in the intention of any member of that assembly to convey. If a second application became necessary, it should be adopted with propriety, and conveyed with delicacy. There was a respect due to Majesty, which he hoped the House would never forget, as it was one of the great links that bound the three estates of the constitution together. Having said thus much, he observed, he should not, until he heard what was farther to be urged in support of the motion, take up any more of the time of the House.
Lord John Cavendish and Lord North disapproved of the resolution, preferring, as a more eligible mode, the form of an address. Lord North, in the course of his remarks, objected further to the wording of the mo. tion. It implied, he said, that for six weeks past there had been no responsible ministers: this was not the fuct; there had been ministers, who, till they resigned, were responsible for the conduct of governmentresponsible as ministers for every part of their conduct. This brought up Mr. Pirt once more:
Considering himself called upon by the noble lord who spoke last, he declared that, so long as he held any employment under the crown, he looked upon himself as responsible to parliament and to the people for his conduct. He wished not to conceal nor to do away, any one act during his official administration, by resigning the place he lately held. His desire - his ambition was, that his conduct as Chancellor of the Exchequer should meet every investigation should be canvassed and scrutinized. He was conscious in himself that he acted uprightly, and therefore had nothing to dread. He again repeated, that he was responsible so long as he continued in office, and that he shadowed himself not from enquiry under the idea of retirement.
The Earl of Surrey then, in compliance with the wishes of the House, withdrew the resolution he had proposed; and substituted in its stead