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The late Overtures for a Negociation: tbat they will not treat with France but on the footing of “ perfect “ equality ?" Do they mean a “ perfect equality of cabinets, and that they scarcely consider the present head of the British cabinet, the Duke of PORTLAND, who was some years since dismissed from office" ou account,” (as stated in the gazette) “ of his age, and “ infirmities," as quite equal to BONAPARTE, or Mr. CANNING as equal with TALLEYRAND, and that they are seeking for farther assistance from Marquis WELLESLEY, Lord Melville, or their new zealous champion of their favourite Danish ! expedition-Mr, CHARLES YORKE! If they mean that they will not treat till Britain and her remaining allies shall have equal power and influence with France on the continent, it is needless to add- they will never treat at all. Who are the allies whose interests are to prevent us from negociating singly with France ? The fugitive court of Portugal, and chivalrous court of Sweden! As these are our only remaining allies, we have kindly prevailed on them to accept of one hundred thousand pounds each as the first part of a subsidy. There have been periods in the British history in which ministers would not have dared thus to have sent money to foreign powers without the previous consent of parliament; but Mr. Pitt set the precedent, and the people seem content that their money may be squandered either with or without the previous scanction of their representatives. A former administration, most unwisely rejected the blessings of peace merely, as it is now stated on official authority, for the sake of Russian interests; and now we are to refuse even to enter on negociation ? Paris has usually been the city where former negociations have been successfully concluded. The great Lord CHATHAM, when the arms of Britain by both sea and land were in the meridian of their glory, .sent plenipotentiaries to Paris ; his successors followed his example, and peace was concluded at that city. The late Marquis of LANDSDOWN concluded his successful regociation the war before last at Paris. Mr. Pitt during the last war sent Lord MaLMSBURY to negociate at Paris; the G'RENVILLE, or Fox administration, sent their plenipotentiaries to Paris; and now for the first time our ministers, assuming a tone which has not beenexercised by Britain even in the “ hour of her inso:“ lence," and when France lias shewn her vast superiority in councils and in arms, rashly pledge his Majesty's word “ that he
will not again send plenipotentiaries to Paris.” Can the senate of the nation, can our countrymen any longer patiently endure such conduct; and are we to wage eternal war with France to gratify the whins, the caprice, of the present ignorant and conceited cabinet, whose abilities seem to comprehend nothing but mischief; who bave reduced the British name and character to almost the lowest species of degradation, by the intolerant principles which introduced thema The late Overtures &c.—Nature of the War. to office, by their piratical and murderous expedition against Copeslagen, by their extending the calamities of war, not only over Europe, but it is to be feared to America ; by their ruining the commerce of their country, and by their rejecting all overtures for negociation!
. NATURE OF THE WAR. Our ministers appeať determined to try the utmost extent of their powers in the invention of falsehood, and accordingly with brazen fronts declare to their country and to the whole world“ That if ever there was à just and necessary war, it is that wbich “his Majesty is now compelled to prosecute: that this war is in " its principle purely defensive.” To these assertions we beg leave to reply—That if ever there was a war equally unjust and unnecessary it is the present. This was the opinion of Mr. Fox; to which we will now add, that a reference to incontrovertible facts, fully warrants us in affirining, that the war from its commencement to the present moment, has been totally destitute of “ a principle pure“ ly defensive.” Was it “a principle purely defensive” which induced a former minister to commence hostilities by alarming the nation, with a message to parliament, of the vast preparations carrying forward in foreign parts, and which message proved to be a falsehood, shortly afterwards not only disbelieved, but ridiculed even by that minister's supporters ? —Was it “ a principle purely de“ fensive" that impelled the same minister to go to war, for the sake of Malta, thus perfidiously violating his own treaty? Was it “ a principle purely defensive,” which induced Mr. Pitt to force Spain into the war by his piratical seizure of her vessels--an act which even Lord GRENVILLE, notwithstanding his friendship for the minister, declared to be disgraceful to the national character? Was it “ a principle purely defensive” which induced the late ministers to break off negociations nearly brought to a successful close; merely on account of Russian interests? Was it a "principle pure“ ly defensive” which set on foot the bucaniering and ill fated expedition to Buenos Ayres ? Was it “a principle purely defensive" which produced the attack on Constantinople? Is it from “a “ principle purely defensive,” that we are always to insist on the restoration of Hanover as the sine qua non, not only of peace but of negociation ? Was it from sa principle purely defensive,” that our ministers committed the worst action ever recorded in the British annals--the violent seizure of the Danish fleet, at a time when our', 'naval force was superior to that of all the powers of Europe united? Was it “ a principle purely defensive” which dictated the recent orders of council, threatening the ruin of our commerce ? and was
si Nature of the War.- State of the Revenue. it “ a principle purely defensive” whick: dictated the late note to the Austrian ambassador, in which amongst other assumptions equally extravagant, his Majesty is made to pledge his word, never to send plenipotentiaries for negociation to Paris? Such a notorious contradiction to facts, such an atter abuse of language must additionally expose our ministers to the detestation and contempt of all Europe!
Ministers by their determination not only to persevere in the war, but to persevere in it in such a manner as to set the common principles of justice and equity at defiance, appear to be fast imbibing the frantic principles in which Mr. Cobbett has been of late so assiduously instructing thein. This writer in his recommendation of the terms of peace to be dictated to France, has suggested, perhaps, to our ministers some of their ideas on the subject of “ perfect “ equality.” “I do not,”-says Mr. C. with his usual modesty," I “not pretend to lay down what ought to be precise conditions of a “ treaty with Bonaparte, but it appears to me as long as he holds “ controul over the states above mentioned (Holland, Portugal, &c.) " we never should suffer any ship of war of those states to sail upon " the sea ; and farther, that we should make it ground of war if " in lany of those states ships of war were known to be erecting."* Such sentiments as these are suitable to the man who has laboured to. reduce the lower classes of mankind to a stațe of ignorance and barbarism,—the champion of slavery and the slave trade, and whose principles were they thoroughly and generally imbibed would transform the human race into tyrants and slavęs, pirates and savages, If ministers attended to Mr. Cobbett's suggestious respecting the language to be held to France, we cease to wonder at their dread pf the business of negociation altogether.
STATE OF THE REVENUE.
. The alleged flourishing state of the revenue affords considerable encouragement to our ministers in the prosecution of the war, and they express their confident hopes that it “ shall be found possible “ to raise the necessary supplies for the present year without any ma
terial addition to the public burtbens.” It appears that the in: crease of our revenue arises not from the customs, or the duties on. imports and exports, but from our internal taxes; the fact is that the methods contrived by former ministers to increase the amount of the taxes paid immediately by the people, have been patiently submitted to, and have produced the desired effect. The amount of that unjust, oppressive, inquisitorial impost, the income tax, a tax
State of the Revenue. which our forefathers would never have endured, has by the last regulations, which render it still more unjust, more oppressive, and more inquisitorial, been greatly augmented; but the distress occasioned by this grinding impost, now collected with so much rigour, is inconceivable. Many of the middle class of society are thereby deprived of the fruits of their honest industry, and are obliged to resign those comforts to which they were justly entitled. The consequence of this and other taxes is, that numbers have been reduced from a competency to indigence, the list of paupers has been considerably augmented, and the poor rates proportionately increased, Burthened as the majority of the people are by excessive taxation, our ministers had prepared a bill last sessions---To amend and regulate the assessment and collection of the assessed taxes, and the tax upon the profits of property, professions, trades and offices." Had some of these amendments been adopted, they would have rens dered the system of taxation the perfection of despotism. The bill however was ordered to be printed: the conimissioners of the income tax have in many places taken the alarm, and have entered into very proper resolutions expressive of their disapprobation of the proposed regulations. In consequence of their representations we find the minister has given notice of his intention to new model the bill relinquishing the most obnoxious clauses. We hope they will not render the oppressive measures of their preslecessors still more so, but be content “ to chastise us with whips only, and not with scorpions."
But however fourishing might have been the revenue for the past year, it is impossible if the blockading system should be continued, but it must suffer a considerable defalcation. It is truly melancholy to behold the mischievous consequences of that career of injustice in which the hostile nations France and Britain, the latter eagerly following the example of the former, are proceeding. Lord AUÇKLAND, who is well acquainted with the nature of trade, revenue, &c. observed on this subject, that “ at present the conduct of the powers
at war with respect to commerce, appeared to him to be like " that of madmen fighting in a room, inerely for the purpose of “ seeing who should be knocked down first; or like a man in the « North of England sitting on a stone and crying Here I'll starve « till you do me justice. Another instance he recollected reading, ` where several men being met together, one gave himself a deep 4 gash with a knife, and then gave the knife to another, and the “ man who refused to give himself a gash was deemed infamous. " It was in this light he viewed our orders in council and the cir“ stances attending them."* The people of this country may
* Lord Auckland's Speech's, Jan. 28.
therefore rest assured that if the present system continues, their burthens must be materially increased, while their means of supporting them must be materially diminished.
DISPUTE WITH AMERICA. In a late Review alluding to the blockading system we remarked . as follows :-" Whilst the rulers of Britain and France are thus “ running the race of injustice, it would perhaps be for the in©c terest of neutral nations, were they to refuse trading with either : “. although we cannot expect to find in comunities such a temporary “ sacrifice of interest for the general good, we are persuaded such a “ measạre would have the tendency to bring both parties to their s senses, and to put an end to their system of blockade."* This measure, however, appears to have been adopted by the Americans, who have passed a non-importation act respecting this country, and have likewise laid an embargo on all their own vessels, which they state to be not a hostile proceeding, but a necessary measure of defence in consequence of the conduct of the different belligerent powers towards neutral nations. An American statesman assigns the following amongst other reasons for adopting this measure.-" The ocean now presents a field where no harvest “ is to be reaped, but that of danger, of spoliation, and of dis-, 6 grace. Under such circumstances, the best to be done is what
has now been done : a dignified retirement within ourselves ; a “ watchful preservation of our resources ; a demonstration to the s« world, that we possess a virtue, and a patriotism that can take “ any shape, that will best suit the occasion.” Alluding to the probable effects of this measure on the belligerent powers, Britain, France and Spain, the writer adds—“ It is a happy consideration
also attending it, that although it will bave these effects, salutary « it may be hoped, on the policy of great contending nations, “ it affords neither of them the slightest ground for complaint. “ The embargo violates the rights of none. Its object is to secure “ ourselves. It is a measure of precaution, not of aggression. It “ is resorted to by all nations when their great interests require it. « All of them have made us on different occasions feel the effects “ of such a resort on our commercial interests : and it could be the « less murmured at, by those who may be incidentally affected by o the present embargo; inasmuch as they have forced us into thà “ measure, by the direct effect on us, of measures founded in an “ alleged regard for their own eventual safety and essential « interests."
Were the “ dignified retirement” of America to be imitated by neutral states in general it would soon bring the belligerent powers
* Pol. Rev. Vol. 11. p. Ixxiv.