APPROACHING towards the close of a long period of public services, it is natural I should be desirous to stand well (I hope I do stand tolerably well) with that public, which, with whatever fortune, I have endeavoured faith­fully and zealously to serve.

I am also not a little anxious for some place in the estimation of the two persons to whom I address this paper. I have always acted with them, and with those whom they represent. To my knowledge I have not deviated, no not in the minutest point, from their opinions and prin­ciples. Of late, without any alteration in their sentiments, or in mine, a difference of a very unusual nature, and which, under the circum­stances, it is not easy to describe, has arisen be­tween us.

[Page 4]In my journey with them through life, I met Mr. Fox in my road; and I travelled with him very chearfully as long as he appeared to me to pursue the same direction with those in whose company I set out. In the latter stage of our progress, a new scheme of liberty and equality was produced in the world; which either daz­zled his imagination, or was suited to some new walks of ambition, which were then opened to his view. The whole frame and fashion of his politics appear to have suffered about that time a very material alteration. It is about three years since, [1790] in consequence of that extraordinary change, that, after a pretty long preceding pe­riod of distance, coolness, and want of confi­dence, if not total alienation, on his part, a complete public separation has been made be­tween that Gentleman and me. Until lately the breach between us appeared reparable. I trust­ed that time and reflection, and the decisive ex­perience of the mischiefs which have flowed from the proceedings and the system of France, on which our difference had arisen, as well as the known sentiments of the best and wisest of our common friends upon that subject, would have brought him to a safer way of thinking. Several of his friends saw no security for keeping things in a proper train after this excursion of his, but in the re-union of the party on its old grounds, under the Duke of Portland. Mr. Fox, if he pleased, might have been comprehended in that system, with the rank and consideration to which [Page 5] his great talents entitle him, and indeed secure to him in any party arrangement that could be made. The Duke of Portland knows how much I wished for, and how earnestly I laboured that re-union, and upon terms that might every way be honourable and advantageous to Mr. Fox.—His conduct in the last session has extinguished these hopes for ever.

Mr. Fox has lately published in print, a de­fence of his conduct. On taking into considera­tion that defence, a society of gentlemen, called the Whig Club, thought proper to come to the following resolution:—‘"That their confidence in Mr. Fox is confirmed, strengthened, and en­creased, by the calumnies against him."’

To that resolution my two noble friends, the Duke of Portland and Lord Fitzwilliam, have given their concurrence.

The calumnies supposed in that resolution, can be nothing else than the objections taken to Mr. Fox's conduct in this session of parliament; for to them, and to them alone, the resolution refers. I am one of those who have publicly and strongly urged those objections. I hope I shall be thought only to do what is necessary to my justification, thus publicly, solemnly, and heavi­ly censured by those whom I most value and esteem, when I firmly contend, that the objec­tions which I, with many other of the friends to [Page 6] the Duke of Portland, have made to Mr. Fox's conduct, are not calumnies, but founded on truth; that they are not few, but many; and that they are not light and trivial, but in a very high degree, serious and important.

That I may avoid the imputation of throwing out, even privately, any loose random imputa­tions against the public conduct of a Gentleman, for whom I once entertained a very warm affec­tion, and whose abilities I regard with the great­est admiration, I will put down distinctly and articulately, some of the matters of objection which I feel to his late doctrines and proceed­ings, trusting that I shall be able to demonstrate to the friends whose good opinion I would still cultivate, that not levity, nor caprice, nor less defensible motives, but that very grave reasons influence my judgment. I think that the spirit of his late proceedings is wholly alien to our national policy, and to the peace, to the prospe­rity, and to the legal liberties of this nation, according to our ancient domestic and appropriat­ed mode of holding them.

Viewing things in that light, my confidence in him is not encreased, but totally destroyed by those proceedings. I cannot conceive it a mat­ter of honour or duty (but the direct contrary) in any member of parliament, to continue a systematic opposition for the purpose of putting Government under difficulties, until Mr. Fox [Page 7] (with all his present ideas) shall have the prin­cipal direction of affairs placed in his hands; and until the present body of administration (with their ideas and measures) is of course overturned and dissolved.

To come to particulars:

1. The laws and constitution of the kingdom, entrust the sole and exclusive right of treating with foreign potentates, to the King. This is an undisputed part of the legal prerogative of the Crown. However, notwithstanding this, Mr. Fox, without the knowledge or participa­tion of any one person in the House of Com­mons, with whom he was bound by every par­ty principle, in matters of delicacy and impor­tance, confidentially to communicate, thought proper to send Mr. Adair as his representative, and with his cypher, to St. Petersburgh, there to frustrate the objects for which the Minister of the Crown was authorized to treat:—He suc­ceeded in this his design, and did actually frus­trate the King's Minister in some of the objects of his negociation.

This proceeding of Mr. Fox does not (as I conceive) amount to absolute high treason; Rus­sia, though on bad terms, not having been then declaredly at war with this kingdom. But such a proceeding is, in law, not very remote from that offence, and is undoubtedly a most uncon­stitutional [Page 8] act and an high treasonable misde­meanour.

The ligitimate and sure mode of communica­tion between this nation and foreign powers, is rendered uncertain, precarious, and treache­rous, by being divided into two channels, one with a Government, one with the head of a party in opposition to that Government; by which means the foreign powers can never be assured of the real authority or validity of any public transaction whatsoever.

On the other hand, the advantage taken of the discontent which at that time prevailed in parliament and in the nation, to give to an in­dividual an influence directly against the go­vernment of his country, in a foreign Court, has made a highway into England for the intrigues of foreign Courts in our affairs. This is a sore evil; an evil from which, before this time, Eng­land was more free than any other nation. No­thing can preserve us from that evil—which connects cabinet factions with popular factions here and abroad—but the keeping sacred the Crown, as the only channel of communication with every other nation.

This proceeding of Mr. Fox has given a strong countenance and an encouraging example to the doctrines and practices of the Revolution and Constitutional societies, and of other mischievous [Page 9] societies of that description, who, without any legal authority, and even without any corporate capacity are in the habit of proposing, and to the best of their power, of forming leagues and alli­ances with France. This proceeding, which ought to be reprobated on all the general princi­ples of Government is, in a more narrow view of things not less reprehensible; it tends to the pre­judice of the whole of the Duke of Portland's late party, by discrediting the principles upon which they supported Mr. Fox in the Russian business, as if they of that party also had proceeded in their Parliamentary opposition on the same mis­chievous principles which actuated Mr. Fox in sending Mr. Adair on his embassy.

2. Very soon after his sending this embassy to Russia, that is in spring of 1792, a Covenanting Club or Association calling itself by the ambitious and invidious title of ‘"The Friends of the Peo­ple,"’ it was composed of many of Mr. Fox's own most intimate, personal and party friends, joined to a very considerable part of the members of those mischievous associations called the Revolu­tion Society and the Constitutional Society. Mr. Fox must have been well apprized of the progress of that Society in every one of its steps, if not of the very origin of it, I certainly was informed of both, who had no connection with the design directly or indirectly. His influence over the persons who composed the leading part of that Association was, and is unbounded; I hear that [Page 10] he expressed some disapprobation of this Club in one case (that of Mr. St. John) when his consent was formerly asked. Yet he never attempted seri­ously to put a stop to the Association, or to disavow it, or controul, check or modify it in any way whatsoever; if he had pleased, without difficulty he might have suppressed it in its beginning, but he encouraged it in every part of its progress at that particular time when Jacobin Clubs (under the very same or similar titles) were making such dreadful havock in a country not thirty miles from the court of England, and when every mo­tive of moral prudence called for the discourage­ment of Societies formed for the encrease of po­pular pretensions to power and direction.

3. When the proceedings of this Society of the Friends of the People, as well as others act­ing in the same spirit, had caused a very serious alarm in the mind of the Duke of Portland and of many good patriots, he publicly in the House of Commons, treated their apprehensions and conduct with the greatest asperity and ridicule. He condemned and vilifyed, in the most insult­ing and outrageous terms, the Proclamation issued by Government on that occasion—though he well knew, that it had passed through the Duke of Port­land's hands, that it had received his fullest ap­probation, and that it was the result of an actual interview between that noble Duke and Mr. Pitt. During the discussion of its merits in the House of Commons, Mr. Fox countenanced and justifyed [Page 11] the chief promoters of that Association; and he received in return, a public assurance from them of an inviolable adherence to him, singly and per­sonally. On account of this proceeding, a very great number (I presume to say, not the least grave and wise part) of the Duke of Portland's friends in Parliament, and many out of Parliament, who are of the same description, have become separated from that time to this, from Mr. Fox's particular cabal; very few of which cabal are, or ever have, so much as pretended to be attached to the Duke of Portland, or to pay any respect to him or to his opinions.

4. At the beginning of this session, when the sober part of the nation were a second time gene­rally and justly alarmed at the progress of the French arms on the Continent, and at the spread­ing of their horrid principles and cabals in Eng­land, Mr. Fox did not (as had been usual in cases of far less moment) call together any meeting of the Duke of Portland's, friends in the House of Commons, for the purpose of taking their opi­nion on the conduct to be pursued in Parliament at that critical juncture. He concerted his mea­sures (if with any persons at all) with the friends of Lord Lansdown, and those calling themselves friends of the people, and others not in the small­est degree attached to the Duke of Portland; by which conduct he willfully gave up (in my opi­nion) all pretensions to be considered of that par­ty, and much more of being considered as the [Page 12] leader and the mouth of it in the House of Com­mons. This could not give much encouragement to those who had been separated from Mr. Fox, on account of his conduct on the first proclama­tion, to re-join that party.

5. Not having consulted any of his party in the House of Commons; and not having consult­ed them because he had reason to know that the course he had resolved to pursue would be highly disagreeable to them, he represented the alarm, which was a second time given and taken, in still more invidious colours than those in which he painted the alarm of the former year. He de­scribed those alarms in this manner, altho' the cause of them was then grown far less equivocal, and far more urgent. He even went so far as to treat the supposition of the growth of a Jacobin spirit in England as a libel on the nation. As to the danger from abroad, on the first day of the session, he said little or nothing on that subject. He contented himself with defending the ruling factions in France, and with accusing the public councils of this kingdom of every sort of evil de­sign on the liberties of the people, declaring dis­tinctly, strongly and precisely, that the whole danger of the nation was from the growth of the power of the crown. The policy of this decla­ration was obvious. It was in subservience to the general plan of disabling us to take any steps against France. To counteract the alarm given by the progress of Jacobin arms and principles, [Page 13] he endeavoured to excite an opposite alarm con­cerning the growth of the power of the crown. If the alarm should prevail, he knew that the na­tion never would be brought by arms to oppose the growth of the Jacobin empire; because it is obvious that war does, in its very nature, neces­sitate the Commons considerably to strengthen the hands of government; and if that strength should itself be the object of terror, we could have no war.

6. In the extraordinary and violent speeches of that day, he attributed all the evils which the public had suffered to the proclamation of the preceding summer, though he had spoke in the presence of the Duke of Portland's own son, the Marquis of Litchfield, who seconded the address on that proclamation; and in the pre­sence of the Duke of Portland's brother, Lord Edward Bentinck, and several others of his best friends and nearest relations.

7. On that day, that is, on the 13th of Decem­ber 1792, he proposed an amendment to the ad­dress, which stands on the journals of the House, and which is, perhaps, the most extraordinary record which ever did stand upon them. To in­troduce this amendment, he not only struck out part of the proposed address which alluded to in­surrection, upon the ground of the objections which he took to the legality of the calling toge­ther Parliament, (objections which I must ever [Page 14] think litigious and sophistical) but he likewise struck out that part which related to the cabals and conspiracies of the French faction in England, altho' their practices and correspondences were of pub­lic notoriety. Mr. Cooper and Mr. Watt had been deputed from Manchester to the Jacobins. These ambassadors were received by them as Bri­tish representatives; other deputations of English had been received at the bar of the National As­sembly; they had gone the length of giving sup­plies to the Jacobin armies, and they, in return, had received promises of military assistance to forward their designs in England; a regular cor­respondence for fraternizing the two nations had also been carried on by societies in London, with a great number of the Jacobin societies in France; this correspondence had also for its object the pre­tended improvements of the British constitution. What is the most remarkable and by much the more mischievous part of his proceedings that day, Mr. Fox likewise struck out every thing in the address which related to the tokens of ambition given by France, her aggressions upon our allies, and the sudden and dangerous growth of her power upon every side; and instead of all those weighty, and at that time, necessary matters, by which the House of Commons was (in a crisis, such as per­haps Europe never stood) to give assurances to our allies, strength to our government, and a check to the common enemy of Europe, he substituted nothing but a criminal charge on the conduct of the British government for calling Parliament toge­ther, [Page 15] and an engagement to enquire into that conduct.

8. If it had pleased God to suffer him to pro­ceed in this his project, for the amendment to the address, he would for ever have ruined this na­tion, along with the rest of Europe. At home all the Jacobin societies, formed for the utter destruc­tion of our Constitution, would have lifted up their heads, which had been beaten down by the two proclamations. These societies would have been infinitely strengthened and multiplied in every quarter; their dangerous foreign communi­cations would have been left abroad and open; the crown would not have been authorised to take any measure whatever for our immediate defence by sea or land. The closest, the most natural, from many internal as well as external circumstances, the weakest of our allies, Holland, would have been given up, bound hand and foot, to France, just on the point of invading that republic. A ge­neral consternation would have seized upon all Europe; and all alliance with every other power except France, would have been for ever ren­dered impracticable to us. I think it impossible for any man, who regards the dignity and safety of his country, or indeed the common safety of mankind, ever to forget Mr. Fox's proceedings in that tremendous crisis of all human affairs.

9. Mr. Fox very soon had reason to be apprized of the general dislike of the Duke of Portland's [Page 16] friends to his conduct. Some of those who had even voted with him, the day after their vote ex­pressed their abhorrence of his amendment, their sense of its inevitable tendency, and their total alienation from the principles and maxims upon which it was made; yet, the very next day, that is, on Friday, the 14th of December, he brought on what in effect was the very same business, and on the same principles a second time.

10. Although the House does not usually fit on Saturday, he a third time brought on another pro­position, in the same spirit, and pursued it with so much heat and perseverance as to fit into Sunday; a thing not known in Parliament for many years.

11. In all these motions and debates he wholly departed from all the political principles relative to France, (considered merely as a state, and in­dependent of its Jacobin form of government) which had hitherto been held fundamental in this country, and which he had himself held more strongly than any man in Parliament. He at that time studiously separated himself from those to whose sentiments he used to profess no small re­gard, altho' those sentiments were publicly de­clared. I had then no concern in the party, having been for some time, with all outrage, excluded from it; but on general principles I must say, that a person who assumes to be leader of a party com­posed of freemen and of gentlemen, ought to pay some degree of deference to their feelings, and [Page 17] even to their prejudices. He ought to have some degree of management for their credit and in­fluence in their country. He shewed so very lit­tle of this delicacy, that he compared the alarm raised in the minds of the Duke of Portland's party, (which was his own) an alarm in which they sympathized with the greater part of the na­tion, to the panic produced by the popish plot in the reign of Charles the second—describing it to be, as that was, a contrivance of knaves, and believed only by well meaning dupes and madmen.

12. The Monday following (the 17th of De­cember) he pursued the same conduct.—The means used in England to co-operate with the Jacobin army in politics agreed; that is, the mischievous writings circulated with much in­dustry and success, as well as the seditious clubs at that time, added not a little to the alarm taken by observing and well-informed men. The writ­ings and the clubs were two evils which marched together. Mr. Fox discovered the greatest possi­ble disposition to countenance the one as well as the other of these two grand instruments of the French system. He would hardly consider any writing whatsoever, as a libel, or as a fit object of prosecution. At a time in which the press has been the grand instrument of the subversion of order, of morals, of religion, and I may say of human society itself, to carry the doctrines of its [Page 18] liberty higher than ever it has been known by in most extravagant asserters in France, gave occa­sion to very serious reflections. Mr. Fox treated the association for prosecuting those libels, as tending to prevent the improvements of the hu­man mind, and as a mobbish tyranny. He thought proper to compare them with the riotous assem­blies of Lord George Gordon in 1780, declaring that he had advised his friends in Westminster, to sign the association whether they agreed to them or not, in order that they might avoid destruction to their persons or their houses, or a desertion of their shops. This insidious advice tended to con­found those who wished well to the object of the association with the seditious, against whom the association was directed. By this stratagem, the confederacy intended for preserving the British constitution, and the public peace, would be wholly defeated. The Magistrates utterly inca­pable of distinguishing the friends from the ene­mies of order, would in vain look for support when they stood in the greatest need of it.

13. Mr. Fox's whole conduct on this occasion was without example. The very morning after these violent declamations in the House of Com­mons against the association, (that is on Tuesday the 18th) he went himself to a meeting of St. George's Parish, and there signed an association of the nature and tendency of those he had the night before so vehemently condemned; and [Page 19] several of his particular and most intimate friends, inhabitants of that parish, attended and signed along with him.

14. Immediately after this extraordinary step, and in order perfectly to defeat the ends of that association against Jacobin publications, (which, contrary to his opinions, he had promoted and signed) a mischievous society was formed under his auspices, called, the Friends of the Liberty of the Press. Their title groundlessly insinuated, that the freedom of the Press had lately suffered, or was now threatened with some violation. This Society was only, in reality, another modification of a Society calling itself the Friends of the People, which, in the preceding summer had caused so much uneasiness in the Duke of Portland's mind, and in the minds of several of his friends. This new Society was composed of many, if not most of the Members of the Club of the Friends of the People, with the addition of a vast multitude of others (such as Mr. Horne Tooke) of the worst and most seditious dispositions that could be sound in the whole kingdom. In the first meeting of this Club Mr. Erskine took the lead, and directly (without any disavowal ever since on Mr. Fox's part) made use of his name and authority in favour of its formation and purposes. In the same meet­ing Mr. Erskine had thanks for his defence of Paine, which amounted to a complete avowal of that Jacobin incendiary; else it is impossible how [Page 20] Mr. Erskine should have deserved such marked applauses for acting merely as a Lawyer for his fee, in the ordinary course of his profession.

15. Indeed Mr. Fox appeared the general pa­tron of all such persons and proceedings. When Lord Edward Fitzgerald, and other persons, for practices of the most dangerous kind, in Paris and in London, were removed from the King's Guards, Mr. Fox took occasion in the House of Commons, heavily to censure that act as unjust and oppressive, and tending to make officers bad citizens. There were few, however, who did not call for some such measures on the part of Go­vernment, as of absolute necessity for the King's personal safety, as well as that of the public; and nothing but the mistaken lenity (with which such practices were rather discountenanced than pu­nished) could possibly deserve reprehension in what was done with regard to those gentlemen.

16. Mr. Fox regularly and systematically, and with a diligence long unusual to him, did every thing he could to countenance the same princi­ple of fraternity and connection with the Jaco­bins abroad, and the National Convention of France, for which those officers had been remov­ed from the Guards. For when a Bill (feeble and lax indeed and far short of the vigour requir­ed by the conjuncture) was brought in for re­moving out of the kingdom the emissaries of [Page 21] France, Mr. Fox opposed it with all his might. He pursued a vehement and detailed opposition to it through all its stages, describing it as a mea­sure contrary to the existing treaties between Great Britain and France, as a violation of the law of Nations, and as an outrage on the Great Charter itself.

17. In the same manner, and with the same heat, he opposed a bill, which, (though aukward and artful in its construction) was right and wise in its principle, and was precedented in the best times, and absolutely necessary at that juncture, I mean the Traiterous Correspondence bill. By these means the enemy, rendered infinitely dangerous by the links of real faction and pretended com­merce, would have been (had Mr. Fox succeeded) enabled to carry on the war against us by our own resources. For this purpose that enemy would have its agents and traitors in the midst of us.

18. When at length war was actually declared, by the usurpers in France, against this kingdom, and declared whilst they were pretending a nego­ciation through Dumourier with Lord Auckland, Mr. Fox continued through the whole of the pro­ceeding, to discredit the national honour and jus­tice, and to throw the entire blame of the war on Parliament and on his own country, as acting with violence, haughtiness, and want of equity. He frequently asserted, both at the time and ever [Page 22] since, that the war, though declared by France, was provoked by us, and that it was wholly un­necessary and fundamentally unjust. He has lost no opportunity of railing, in the most virulent manner, and in the most unmeasured language, against every foreign power with whom we could now, or at any time, contract any useful or effectual alliance against France; declaring that he hoped that no alliance with these powers was made, or was in a train of being made*. He always ex­pressed himself with the utmost horror con­cerning such alliances, so did all his phalanx. Mr. Sheridan, in particular, after one of his invec­tives against thofe powers, sitting by him, said, with manifest marks of his approbation, that if we must go to war, he would rather go to war alone than with such allies.

20. Immediately after the French declaration of war against us, Parliament addressed the king in support of the war against them, as just and ne­cessary, and provoked as well as formally declar­ed, against Great Britain. He did not divide the House upon this measure; yet he immediately followed this our solemn Parliamentary engage­ment to the king, with a motion proposing a set of resolutions, the effect of which was, that the [Page 23] two Houses were to load themselves with every kind of reproach for having made the address, which they had just carried to the throne. He commenced this long string of criminatory reso­lutions against his country (if King, Lords and Commons of Great Britain, and a decided majo­rity without doors, are his country) with a declara­tion against intermeddling in the interior concerns of France. The purport of this resolution of non-interference, is a thing unexampled in the history of the world, when one nation has been actually at war with another. The best writers on the law of nations give no sort of countenance to this doctrine of non-interference in the extent and manner in which he used it, even when there is no war. When the war exists, not one authority is against it in all its latitude. His doctrine is equal­ly contrary to the enemy's uniform practice, who, whether in peace or in war, makes it her great aim, not only to change the Government, but to make an entire revolution in the whole of the social order in every country.

The object of the last of this extraordinary string of resolutions moved by Mr. Fox, was to advise the Crown not to enter into such an en­gagement with any foreign power, so as to hin­der us from making a separate peace with France, or which might tend to enable any of those powers to introduce in that country, a Govern­ment, other than such as those persons, whom [Page 24] he calls The People of France, should choose to establish. In short, the whole of these resolu­tions appeared to have but one drift—namely, the sacrifice of our own domestic dignity and safety, and the independency of Europe, to the support of this strange mixture of anarchy and tyranny which prevails in France, and which Mr. Fox and his party were pleased to call a Government. The immediate consequences of these measures was (by an example, the ill ef­fects of which, on the whole world, are not to be calculated) to secure the robbers of the inno­cent nobility, gentry, and ecclesiastics of France, the enjoyment of the spoil they have made of the estates, houses, and goods of their fellow-citizens.

21. Not satisfied with moving these resolu­tions, tending to confirm this horrible tyranny and robbery, and with actually dividing the House on the first of the long string which they composed, in a few days afterwards he encou­raged and supported Mr. Grey in producing the very same strings in a new form, and in mov­ing under the shape of an address of Parliament to the Crown, another virulent libel on all its own proceedings in this session; in which not only all the ground of the resolutions was again travelled over, but much new inflammatory mat­ter was introduced. In particular, a charge was made, that Great Britain had not interposed to [Page 25] prevent the last partition of Poland. On this head the party dwelt very largely, and very vehemently. Mr. Fox's intention, in the choice of this extraordinary topic, was evident enough. He well knows two things; first, that no wise or honest man can approve of that partition, and without prognosticating great mischief from it to all countries at some future time. Second­ly, he knows quite as well, that, let our opi­nions on that partition be what they will, Eng­land, by itself, is not in a situation to afford to Poland any assistance whatsoever. The purpose of the introduction of Polish politics into this discussion was not for the sake of Poland, it was to throw an odium upon those who are obliged to decline the cause of justice, from their im­possibility of supporting a cause which they ap­prove, as if we, who think more strongly on this subject than he does, were of a party against Poland, because we are obliged to act with some of the authors of that injustice, against our com­mon enemy, France. But the great and lead­ing purpose of this introduction of Poland into the debates on the French war, was to direct the public attention from what was in our power, that is, from a steady co-operation against France, to a quarrel with the allies for the sake of a Polish war, which, for any useful purpose to Po­land, he knew it was out of our power to make. If England can touch Poland ever so remotely, it must be through the medium of alliances. [Page 26] But by attacking all the combined powers toge­ther for their supposed unjust aggression upon France, he bound them by a new common in­terest, not seperately to join England for the res­cue of Poland. The proposition could only mean to do what all the papers of his party in the Morning Chronicle have aimed at persuading the public to, through the whole of the last autumn and winter, and to this hour, that is, to an alliance with the Jacobins of France, for the pretended purpose of succouring Poland.—This curious project would leave to Great Bri­tain no other ally in all Europe, except its old enemy France.

22. Mr. Fox, after the first day's discussion on the question for the address, was at length driven to admit (to admit rather than to urge, and that very faintly) that France had discover­ed ambitions views, which, none of his partizans, that I recollect, (Mr. Sheridan excepted) did, however, either urge or admit. What is remark­able enough, all the points admitted against the Jacobins, was brought to bear in their favour as much as those in which they were defended. But when Mr. Fox admitted that the conduct of the Jacobins did discover ambition, he al­ways ended his admission of their ambitious views by an apology for them, insisting, that the uni­versally hostile disposition shewn to them, ren­dered their ambition a sort of defensive policy. [Page 27] Thus whatever road he travelled, they all ter­minated in recommending a recognition of their pretended Republic, and in the plan of sending an ambassador to it. This was the burden of all his song, ‘"Every thing that he could rea­sonably hope from war, would be obtained from treaty."’ It is to be observed, however, that in all these debates, Mr. Fox never once stated to the House, upon what ground it was he con­ceived that all the objects of the French system of united fanaticism and ambition, would in­stantly be given up whenever England should think fit to propose a treaty. On proposing so strange a recognition and so humiliating an em­bassy as he moved, he was bound to produce his authority, if any authority he had. He ought to have done this the rather, because Le Brun, in his first proportions, and in his an­swers to Lord Grenville, defended, on principle, not on temporary convenience, every thing which was objected to France, and shewed not the smallest disposition to give up any one of the points to discussion. Mr. Fox must also have known, that the Convention had passed to the order of the day, on a proposition to give some sort of explanation or modification to the hostile decree of the 19th of November, for exciting insurrection in all countries; a decree known to be peculiarly pointed at Great Britain. The whole proceeding of the French Administration was the most remote that could be imagined [Page 28] from furnishing any indication of a pacific dis­position, for at the very time in which it was pre­tended that the Jacobins entertained those boast­ed pacific dispositions, at the very time in which Mr. Fox was urging a treaty with them, not con­tent with refusing a modification of the decree for insurrections, they published their ever-me­morable decree of the 15th of December, 1792, for disorganizing every country in Europe into which they should, on any occasion, set their foot; and on the 25th and 30th of the same month, they solemnly, and on the last of these days, practically confirmed that decree.

23. But Mr. Fox had himself taken good care in the negociation he proposed, that France should not be obliged to make any very great concession to her presumed moderation—for he laid down one general comprehensive rule, with him (as he said) constant and inviolable. This rule, in fact, would not only have left to the faction in France, all the property and power they had usurped at home, but most, if not all, of the conquests which by their attrocious perfidy and violence they had made abroad. The principle laid down by Mr. Fox, is this, ‘"That every State in the conclusion of a war, has a right to avail itself of its conquests towards an indemnification."’ This principle (true or false) is totally contrary to the policy which this country has pursued with France, at various periods, particularly at the treaty of Rys­wick, [Page 29] in the last century, and at the treaty of Aix­la-chapelle, in this: whatever the merits of this rule may be, in the eyes of neutral judges, it is a rule, which no Statesmen before him ever laid down in favour of the adverse power with whom he was to negociate. The adverse party himself, may be safely trusted to take care of his own aggrandize­ment. But (as if the black boxes of the several parties had been exchanged) Mr. Fox's English ambassador, by some odd mistake, would find him­self charged with the concerns of France. If we were to leave France as she stood at the time when Mr. Fox proposed to treat with her, that formida­ble power must have been infinitely strengthened, and almost every power in Europe as much weak­ened, by the extraordinary basis which he laid for a treaty. For Avignon must go from the Pope; Savoy (at least) from the King of Sardinia, if not Nice. Liege, Mark, Salm, Deux-Ponts and Bale, must be separated from Germany. On this side of the Rhine, Liege, at least, must be lost to the empire, and added to France. Mr. Fox's gene­ral principle covered all this. How much of these territories came within his rule, he never attempt­ed to define. He kept a profound silence as to Germany. As to the Netherlands, he was some­thing more explicit. He said, (if I recollect right) that France, on that side, might expect something towards strengthening her frontier. As to the remaining parts of the Netherlands, which he supposed France might consent to surrender, he [Page 28] [...] [Page 29] [...] [Page 30] declared, went so far as that England ought not to permit the Emperor to be repossessed of the remainder of the ten Provinces, but that the Peo­ple should choose such a form of independent Government as they liked. This proposition of Mr. Fox was just the arrangement which the usur­pation in France had all along proposed to make. As the circumstances were at that time, and have been ever fince, his proposition fully indicated what Government the Flemings must have in the stated extent of what was left to them. A Go­vernment so set up in the Netherlands, whether compulsory, or by the choice of the Sans-Culottes, (who he well knew were to be the real electors, and the sole electors) in whatever name it was to exist, most evidently depend for its existence, as it has done for its original formation, on France. In reality, it must have ended in that point, to which, piece by piece, the French were then ac­tually bringing all the Netherlands; that is, an incorporation with France, as a body of new de­partments, just as Savoy and Liege, and the rest of their pretended independent popular sove­reignties, have been united to their republic. Such an arrangement must have destroyed Aus­ria; it must have left Holland always at the mercy of France; it must totally and for ever cut off all political communication between England and the Continent. Such must have been the situation of Europe according to Mr. Fox's system of poli­tics, however laudable his personal motives may [Page 31] have been in proposing so completea change in the whole system of Great Britain, with regard to all the continental powers.

24. After it had been generally supposed that all publick business was over for the session, and that Mr. Fox had exhausted all the modes of pressing the French scheme, he thought proper to take a step beyond every expectation, and which demonstrated his wonderful eagerness and perseverance in his cause, as well as the nature and true character of the cause itself. This step was taken by Mr. Fox immediately after his giv­ing his assent to the grant of supply voted to him by Mr. Serjeant Adair and a committee of gen­tlemen who assumed to themselves to act in the name of the public. In the instrument of his acceptance of this grant, Mr. Fox took occasion to assure them, that he would always persevere in the same conduct which had procured to him so honourable a mark of the public approbation. He was as good as his word.

25. It was not long before an opportunity was found, or made, for proving the sincerity of his professions, and demonstrating his gratitude to those who had given public and unequivocal marks of approbation of his late conduct. One of the most virulent of the Jacobin faction, Mr. Gurney, a banker at Norwich, had all along distinguished himself by his French politics. By [Page 32] the means of this gentleman, and of his associ­ates of the same description, one of the most in­siduous and dangerous hand bills that ever was seen, had been circulated at Norwich against the war, drawn up in an hypocritical tone of compassi­on for the poor. This address to the populace of Norwich was to play in concert with an ad­dress to Mr. Fox, was signed by Mr. Gurney and the higher order of the French fraternity in that town. In this paper Mr. Fox is applauded for his conduct throughout the session, and requested before the prorogation, to make a motion for an immediate peace with France.

26. Mr. Fox did not revoke to this suit; he readily and thankfully undertook the task assign­ed to him. Not content, however, with merely falling in with their wishes, he proposed a task on his part to the gentlemen of Norwich which was, that they should move the people without doors to petition against the war. He said that without such assistance, little good could be expected from any thing he might attempt within the walls of the House of Commons. In the mean time to animate his Norwich friends in their endeavours to besiege Parliament, he snatched the first op­portunity to give notice of a motion, which he very soon after made; namely, to address the Crown to make peace with France. The address was so worded as to co-operate with the hand bill in bringing forward matter calculated to inflame the manufacturers throughout the kingdom.

[Page 33]27. In support of his motion he declaimed in the most virulent strain, even beyond any of his former invectives, against every power with whom we were then, and are now, acting against France. In the moral forum, some of these powers certainly deserve all the ill he said of them; but the political effect aimed at, evidently was to turn our indignation from France, with whom we were at war, upon Russia, or Prussia, or Austria, or Sardinia, or all of them together. In consequece of his knowledge that we could not effectually do without them, and his resolu­tion that we should not act with them, he there­fore proposed, that having, as he asserted, ‘"ob­tained the only avowed object of the war (the evacuation of Holland) we ought to conclude an instant peace."’

28. Mr. Fox could not be ignorant of the mis­taken basis upon which his motion was grounded. He was not ignorant that the attempt of Dumou­rier on Holland (so very near succeeding) and the navigation of the Scheld (a part of the same piece), even among the immediate causes, they were by no means the only causes alledged for Parliament's taking that offence at the proceedings of France, for which the Jacobins were so prompt in declaring war upon this kingdom. Other full as weighty causes had been alledged: They were, 1. The general overbearing and desperate ambition of that faction. 2. Their actual attacks on every nation in Europe. 3. Their usurpation of territories in the empire with the Governments of which they had no pretence of quarrel. 4. Their perpetual and irrevocable consolidation with their own domini­ons of every territory of the Netherlands, of Germany, and of Italy, of which they got a [Page 34] temporary possession. 5. The mischief attend­ing the prevalence of their system, which would make the success of their ambitious designs a new and peculiar species of calamity in the world. 6. Their formal public decrees; particularly those of the 19th of November and the 15th and 25th of December. 7. Their notorious at­tempts to undermine the constitution of this country. 8. Their public reception of deputa­tions of traitors for that direct purpose. 9. Their murder of their sovereign declared by most of the members of the Convention, who spoke with their vote (without a disavowal from any) to be perpetrated, as an example to all kings and a precedent for all subjects to follow. All these and not the Scheld alone or the invasion of Holland were urged by the Minister, and by Mr. Wyndham, by myself, and by others who spoke in those debates, as causes for bringing France to a sense of her wrong in the war which she declared against us. Mr. Fox well knew that not one man argued for the necessity of a vigorous resistance to France, who did not state the war as being for the very existence of the social order here, and every part of Europe; who did not state his opinion, that this war was not at all a foreign war of Empire, but as much for our liberties, properties, laws, and religion; and even more so than any we had ever been engaged in. This was the war, which, according to Mr. Fox and Mr. Gurney, we were to abandon, be­fore the enemy had felt, in the slightest degree, the impression of our arms.

29. Had Mr. Fox's disgraceful proposal been complied with, this kingdom would have been stained with a blot of perfidy hitherto without an example in our history, and with far less excuse [Page 35] than any act of perfidy which we find in the his­tory of any nation. The moment when by the incredible exertions of Austria (very little through ours) the temporary deliverance of Holland (in effect our own deliverance) had been atchieved, he advised the House instantly to abandon her to that very enemy, from whose arms she had freed ourselves, and the closest of our allies.

30. But we are not to be imposed on by forms of language. We must act on the substance of things. To abandon Austria in this manner, was to abandon Holland itself. For suppose France, encouraged and strengthened as she must have been, by our treacherous desertion; suppose France, I say, to succeed against Austria, (as she had succeeded the very year before) England would after its disarmament, have nothing in the world but the inviolable faith of Jacobinism, and the steady politics of anarchy to depend upon, against France's renewing the very same attempts upon Holland, and renewing them (considering what Holland was and is) with much better pros­pects of success, Mr. Fox must have been well aware, that were we to break with the greater Continental Powers, and particularly to come to a rupture with them, in the violent and intempe­rate mode in which he would have made the breach, the defence of Holland against a foreign enemy, and a strong domestic faction, must here­after rest solely upon England, without the chance of a single ally, either on that or on any other oc­casion. So far as to the pretended sole object of the war, which Mr. Fox supposed to be so com­pletely obtained, but which then was not at all, and at this day is not completely obtained, as to leave us nothing else to do, than to cultivate a peaceful quiet correspondence with those quiet, [Page 36] peaceable and moderate people, the Jacobins of France.

31. To induce us to this, Mr. Fox laboured hard to make it appear, that the powers with whom we acted, were full as ambitious and as perfidious as the French. This might be true as to other nations. They had not, however, been so to Us or to Holland. He produced no proof of active ambition and ill faith against Austria. But supposing the combined powers had been all thus faithless, and had been all alike so, there was one circumstance which made an essential diffe­rence between them and France. I need not be at the trouble of contesting this point, (which, however, in this latitude, and as at all affecting Great Britain and Holland, I deny utterly.) Be it so. But the great monarchies have it in their power to keep their faith if they please, because they are governments of established and recog­nized authority at home and abroad. France had in reality, no government. The very factions who exercised power, had no stability. The French Convention had no power of peace or war. Supposing the Convention to be free (most assuredly it was not) they had shewn no disposi­tion to abandon their projects.—Though long dri­ven out of Leige, it was not many days before Mr. Fox's motion, that they still continued to claim it as a country, which their principles of fraternity bound them to protect, that is, to subdue and to regulate at their pleasure. That party which Mr. Fox inclined most to favour and trust, and from which he must have received his assurances (if any he did receive) that is the Brissotins, were then either prisoners or fugitives. The party which prevailed over them (that of Danton and Marat) was itself in a tottering condition, and was dis­owned by a very great part of France. To say [Page 37] nothing of the Royal party who were powerful and growing, and who had full as good a right to claim to be the legitimate Government as any of the Parisian factions with whom he proposed to treat—or rather (as it seemed to me) to surrender at discretion.

32. But when Mr. Fox began to come from his general hopes of the moderation of the Jacobins to particulars, he put the case, that they might not perhaps be willing to surrender Savoy. He cer­tainly was not willing to contest that point with them; but plainly and explicitly (as I understood him) proposed to let them keep it; though he knew (or he was much worse informed than he would be thought) that England had at the very time, agreed on the terms of a treaty with the King of Sardinia, of which the recovery of Savoy was the Casus Federis. In the teeth of this treaty Mr. Fox proposed a direct and most scandalous breach of our faith, formally and recently given. But to surrender Savoy, was to surrender a great deal more than so many square acres of land, or so much revenue. In its consequences the surrender of Savoy, was to make a surrender to France of Switzerland and Italy, of both which countries, Savoy is the key—as it is known to ordinary speculators in politics, though it may not be known to the weavers of Norwich, who, it seems are, by Mr. Fox, called to be the judges in this matter.

33. A sure way indeed, to encourage France not to make a surrender of this key of Italy and Switzerland, or of Mayence, the key of Germany, or of any other object whatsoever which she holds, is to let her see, that the people of England raise a clamour against the war before terms are so much as proposed on any side. From that moment, the Ja­cobins [Page 38] would be masters of the terms.—They would know, that Parliament, at all hazards, would force the King to a separate peace. The crown could not, in that case, have any use of its judgment. Parliament could not possess more judgment than the crown, when besieged (as Mr. Fox proposed to Mr. Gurney) by the cries of the manufacturers. This description of men, Mr. Fox endeavoured in his speech, by every method, to irritate and inflame. In effect his two speeches were, through the whole, nothing more than an amplification of the Norwich hand-bill. He rested the greatest part of his argument on the distress of trade, which he attributed to the war, though it was obvious, to any tolerably good observation, and much more must have been clear to such an observation as his, that the then difficulties of the trade and manufactures would have no sort of con­nection with our share in it. The war had hardly begun. We had suffered neither by spoil, nor by defeat, nor by disgrace of any kind. Public cre­dit was so little impaired, that instead of being supported by any extraordinary aids from indivi­duals, it advanced a credit to individuals to the amount of five millions, for the support of trade and manufactures, under their temporary difficul­ties; a thing before never heard of;—a thing of which I do not commend the policy—but only state it, to shew, that Mr. Fox's ideas of the effects of war were without any trace of foundation.

33. It is impossible not to connect the argu­ments and proceedings of a party with that of its leader—especially when not disavowed or con­trolled by him. Mr. Fox's partizans declaim against all the powers of Europe, except the Jacobins, just as he does; but not having the same reasons for management and caution which [Page 39] he has, they speak out. He satisfies himself merely with making his invectives, and leaves others to draw the conclusion. But they pro­duce their Polish interposition, for the express purpose of leading to a French alliance. They urge their French peace, in order to make a junction with the Jacobins to oppose the powers, whom, in their language, they call despots, and their leagues, a combination of despots. In­deed, no man can look on the present posture of Europe with the least degree of discernment, who will not be thoroughly convinced, that Eng­land must be the fast friend or the determined enemy of France. There is no medium; and I do not think Mr. Fox to be so dull as not to observe this. His peace would involve us instantly in the most extensive and most ruinous wars; at the same time that it would not have made a broad highway (across which no human wisdom could put an effectual barrier) for a mu­tual intercourse with the fraternizing Jacobins on both sides. The consequences of which, those will certainly not provide against, who do not dread or dislike them.

34. It is not amiss in this place to enter a lit­tle more fully into the spirit of the principal ar­guments on which Mr. Fox thought proper to rest this his grand and concluding motion, particular­ly such as were drawn from the internal state of our affairs. Under a specious appearance (not uncommonly put on by men of unscrupulous am­bition) that of tenderness and compassion to the poor; he did his best to appeal to the judgments of the meanest and most ignorant of the people on the merits of the war. He had before done something of the same dangerous kind in his printed letter. The ground of a political war is [Page 40] of all things that which the poor labourer and manufacturer are the least capable of conceiving. This sort of people know in general that they must suffer by war. It is a matter to which they are sufficiently competent, because it is a matter of feeling. The causes of a war are not matters of feeling, but of reason and foresight, and often of remote considerations, and of a very great combi­nation of circumstances, which they are utterly in­capable of comprehending; and, indeed, it is not every man in the highest classes who is altogether equal to it. Nothing, in a general sense, appears to me less fair and justifiable (even if no attempt were made to inflame the passions) than to submit a mat­ter on discussion to a tribunal incapable of judg­ing of more than one side of the question. It is at least as unjustifiable to inflame the passions of such judges against that side, in favour of which they cannot so much as comprehend the arguments. Before the prevalence of the French system (which as far as it has gone has extinguished the saluta­ry prejudice called our country) nobody was more sensible of this important truth than Mr. Fox; and nothing was more proper and pertinent, or was more felt at the time, than his reprimand to Mr. Wilberforce for an inconsiderate expression which tended to call in the judgment of the poor, to estimate the policy of war upon the standard of the taxes they may be obliged to pay towards its support.

35. It is fatally known, that the great object of the Jacobin system is to excite the lowest descrip­tion of the people to range themselves under am­bitious men, for the pillage and destruction of the more eminent orders and classes of the communi­ty. The thing, therefore, that a man not fanati­cally attached to that dreadful project would most [Page 41] studiously avoid, is, to act a part with the French Propagandists, in attributing (as they constantly do) all wars, and all the consequences of wars, to the pride of those orders, and to their contempt of the weak and indigent part of the society. The ruling Jacobins insist upon it, that even the wars which they carry on with so much obstinacy against all nations, are made to prevent the poor from any longer being the instruments and victims of kings, nobles, and the aristocracy of burghers and rich men. They pretend that the destruction of kings, nobles, and the aristocracy of burghers and rich men, is the only means of establishing an universal and perpetual peace. This is the great drift of all their writings from the meeting of the states of France, in 1789, to the publication of the last Morning Chronicle. They insist that even the war, which with so much boldness they have declared against all nations, is to prevent the poor from becoming the instruments and victims of these persons and descriptions. It is but too easy, if you once teach poor labourers and mechanics to defy their prejudices, and as this has been done with an industry scarcely credible, to substitute the principles of fraternity in the room of that saluta­ry prejudice called our Country, it is, I say, but too easy to persuade them, agreeably to what Mr. Fox hints in his public letter, that this war is, and that the other wars have been, the wars of Kings; it is easy to persuade them, that the terrors even of a foreign conquest are not terrors for them.—It is easy to persuade them that, for their part, they have nothing to lose; and that their condi­tion is not likely to be altered for the worse, whatever party many happen to prevail in the war. Under any circumstances this doctrine is highly dangerous, as it tends to make separate parties of the higher and lower orders, and to put their in­terests [Page 42] on a different bottom. But if the enemy you have to deal with should appear, as France now appears, under the very name and title of the deliverer of the poor, and the chastiser of the rich, the former class would readily become, not an in­different spectator of the war, but would be ready to enlist in the faction of the enemy; which they would consider, though under a foreign name, to be more connected with them than an adverse de­scription in the same land. All the props of so­ciety would be drawn from us by these doctrines, and the very foundations of the public defence would give way in an instant.

36. There is no point which the faction of fra­ternity in England have laboured more, than to ex­cite in the poor the horror of any war with France upon any occasion.—When they found that their open attacks upon our constitution in favour of a French Republic were for the present repelled—they put that matter out of sight, and have taken the more plausible and popular ground of general peace, upon merely general principles, although these very men in the correspondence of their Clubs with those of France, had reprobated the neutrality which now they so earnestly press. But, in reality, their maxim was and is, ‘"Peace and alliance with France, and war with the rest of the world."’

37. This last motion of Mr. Fox bound up the whole of his politics during the sessions. This mo­tion had many circumstances, particularly in the Norwich correspondence, by which the mischief of all the others, was aggravated beyond measure. Yet, this last motion, for the worst of Mr. Fox's proceedings was the best supported of any of them, except his amendment to the address. The [Page 43] Duke of Portland had directly engaged to support the war.—Here was a motion as directly made to force the crown to put an end to it before a blow had been struck. The efforts of the faction have so far prevailed that some of his Grace's nearest friends have actually voted for that motion: some, after shewing themselves, went away—others did not appear at all. So it must be where a man is for any time supported from personal considerations, without reference to his public conduct. Through the whole of this business, the spirit of fraternity appears to me to have been the governing principle. It might be shameful for any man, above the vul­gar, to shew so blind a partiality even to his own country, as Mr. Fox appears, on all occasions, this session, to have shewn to France. Had Mr. Fox been a Minister, and proceeded on the principles laid down by him, I believe there is little doubt he would have been considered as the most criminal statesman that ever lived in this country. I do not know why a statesman out of place is not to be judged in the same manner, unless we can excuse him by pleading in his favour a total indifference to principle; and that he would act and think in quite a different way if he were in office. This I will not suppose. One may think better of him; and that in case of his power he might change his mind. But supposing, from better or from worse motives, he might change his mind on his acquisi­tion of the favour of the crown, I seriously fear that if the king should to-morrow put power into his hands, and that his good genius would inspire him with maxims very different from those he has promulgated, he would not be able to get the bet­ter of the ill temper, and the ill doctrines he has been the means of exciting and propagating throughout the kingdom. From the very begin­ning of their inhuman and unprovoked rebellion [Page 44] and tyrannic usurpation, he has covered the pre­dominant faction in France, and their adherents here, with the most exaggerated panegyrics; nei­ther has he missed a single opportunity of abusing and villifying those, who in uniform concurrence with the Duke of Portland's and Lord Fitzwilliam's opinion, have maintained the true grounds of the Revolution settlement in 1688. He lamented all the defeats of the French; he rejoiced in all their victories; even when those victories threatened to overwhelm the Continent of Europe, and by facilitating their means of penetrating Holland, to bring this most dreadful of all evils with irresistible force to the very doors, if not into the very heart of our country. To this hour he always speaks of every thought of overturning the French Jaco­binism by force, on the part of any power what­soever, as an attempt unjust and cruel; and which he reprobates with horror. If any of the French Jacobin leaders be spoken of with hatred or scorn, he falls upon those that take that liberty, with all the zeal and warmth with which men of honour defend their particular and bosom friends, when attacked. He always represents their cause as a cause of liberty, and all who oppose it as partizans of despotism. He obstinately continues to consider the great and growing vices, crimes and disorders of that country as only evils of passage, which are to produce a permanently happy state of order and freedom. He represents these disorders exactly in the same way, and with the same limitations which are used by one of the two great Jacobin factions, I mean that of PETION and BRISSOT. Like them he studiously confines his horror and reprobation only to the massacres of the second of September, and passes by those of the 10th of August, as well as the imprisonment and deposition of the king, which were the consequences of that day, as [Page 45] indeed were the massacres themselves to which he confines his censure, though they were not actually perpetrated till early in September. Like that faction, he condemns, not the deposition, or the proposed exile, or perpetual imprisonment, but only the murder of the king. Mr. SHERIDAN on every occasion, palliates all their massacres commit­ted in every part of France, as the effects of a natural indignation at the exorbitances of despo­tism, and of the dread of the people of returning under that yoke.—He has thus taken occasion to load, not the actors in this wickedness, but the Government of a mild, merciful, beneficent and patriotic Prince, and his suffering faithful subjects, with all the crimes of the new anarchical tyranny, under which the new one has been murdered, and the others are oppressed. Those continual either praises or palliating apologies of every thing done in France, and those invectives as uniformly vo­mitted out upon all those who ventured to express their disapprobation of such proceedings, coming from a man of Mr. Fox's fame and authority, and one who is considered as the person to whom a great party of the wealthiest men in the kingdom look up, has been the cause why the principle of the French fraternity formerly gained the ground which it had obtained. It will infallibly recover itself again, and in ten times a greater degree, if the kind of peace, in the manner which he preaches, ever shall be established with the reigning faction in France.

38. So far as the French practices with regard to France and the other powers of Europe—as to their principles and doctrines, with regard to the constituton of states, Mr. Fox studiously, on all oc­casions, and indeed when no occasion calls for it, (as on the Debate of the petition for Reform) brings [Page 46] forward and asserts their fundamental and fatal principle, pregnant with every mischief and every crime, namely, that ‘"in every country the people is the legitimate sovereign,"’ exactly conformable to the Declaration of the French Clubs and Legisla­tors. ‘"La Souveraineté est une, indivisible, inali­enable, et imprescriptible. Elle appertient a la nation. Aucune Section du-peuple, ni aucun Individu ne peut s'en attribuer l'exercise."’ It consounds, in a manner equally mischievous and stupid, the origin of a government from the people with its continuance in their hands. I believe, that no such doctrine has ever been heard of in any pub­lic act of any government whatsoever, until it was adopted (I think from the writings of Rousseau) by the French assemblies, who have made it the basis of their constitution at home, and of the matter of their apostate in every country. These and other wild declarations of abstract principle, Mr. Fox says, are in themselves perfectly right and true; tho' in some cases he allows the French draw absurd consequences from them. But I conceive he is mistaken. The consequences are most logically, tho' most mischievously drawn from the premises and principles by that wicked and ungracious, fac­tion. The fault is in the foundation.

39. Before society, in a multitude of men, it is obvious, that sovereignty and subjection are ideas which cannot exist. It is the compact on which society is formed that makes both. But to suppose the people, contrary to their compacts, both to give away and retain the same thing, is altogether absurd. It is worse, for it supposes in some things combination of men a power and right of always dissolving the social union; which power, however, if it exists, renders them again as little sovereigns as subjects, but a mere unconnected multitude. It [Page 47] is not easy to state for what good end, at a time like this, when the foundations of all antient and pre­sumptive governments such as ours (to which peo­ple submit, not because they have chosen them, but but because they are born to them) are undermined by perilous theories, that Mr. Fox should be so fond of referring to those theories, upon all occa­sions, even tho' speculatively they might be true, which God forbid they should! Particularly I do not see the reason why he should be so fond of de­claring, that the principles of the Revolution have made the Crown of Great Britain elective; why he thinks it seasonable to preach up with so much ear­nestness, for now three years together, the doctrine of resistance and Revolution at all; or to assert that our last Revolution of 1688 stands on the same and similar principles with that of France. We are not called upon to bring forward these doctrines, which are hardly ever resorted to but in cases of extremi­ty, and where they are followed by correspondent actions. We are not called upon by any circum­stance, that I know of, which can justify a revolt, or which demands a Revolution, or can make an election of a successor to the Crown necessary, what­ever latent right may be supposed to exist for effec­tuating any of these purposes.

40. Not the least alarming of the proceedings of Mr. Fox and his friends in this session, especially taken in concurrence with their whole proceedings, with regard to France and its principles, is their eagerness at this season, under pretence of Parlia­mentary Reform (a project which had been for some time rather dormant) to discredit and disgrace the House of Commons. For this purpose these Gen­tlemen have found a way to insult the House by se­veral atrocious libels in the form of petitions. In particular they brought up a libel, or rather a com­plete [Page 48] digest of libellous matter, from the Club called the Friends of the people. It is indeed at once the most audacious and the most insidious of all the performances of that kind which have yet appeared, It is said to be the penmanship of Mr. Tierney, to bring whom into Parliament the Duke of Portland formerly had taken a good deal of pains, and ex­pended, as I hear, a considerable sum of money.

41. Among the circumstances of danger from that piece and from its precedent, it is observable, that this is the first petition (if I remember right) coming from a Club or association, signed by individuals, de­noting neither local residence, nor corporate capacity. This mode of petition not being strictly illegal or informal, tho' in its spirit in the highest degree mis­chievous, may and will lead to other things of that nature, tending to bring these Clubs and Associa­tions to the French model, and to make them in the end answer French purposes: I mean, that without legal names, these Clubs will be lead to assume po­litical capacities; that they may debate the forms of Constitution; and that from their meetings they may insolently dictate their will to the regular autho­rities of the kingdom, in the manner in which the Jacobin Clubs issue their mandates to the National Assembly or the National Convention. The auda­cious remonstrance, which I observe is signed by all of that Association (the Friends of the People) who are not in Parliament, and it was supported most strenuously by all associations who are members, with Mr. Fox at their head. He and they contended for referring this libel to a Committee. Upon the question of that reference, they grounded all their debate for a change in the constitution of Parliament. The pretended Petition is, in fact, a regular charge or impeachment of the House of Commons, digest­ed into a number of articles. This plan of Reform [Page 49] is not a criminal impeachment, but a matter of prudence, to be submitted to the public wisdom, which must be as well apprized of the facts as peti­tioners can be. But those accessors of the House of Commons have proceeded upon the principles of a criminal process; and have had the effrontery to offer proof on each article.

42. This charge, the party of Mr. Fox main­tained article by article, beginning with the first, namely, the interference of Peers at elections, and their nominating in effect several Members of the House of Commons. In the printed list of grievan­ces which they made out on the occasion, and in support of their charge, is found in the borough, which under Lord Fitzwilliam's influence, I now sit. By this remonstrance and its object, they hope to defeat the operation of property in electi­ons, and in reality to dissolve the connection and communication of interests which makes the Houses of Parliament a mutual support to each other. Mr. Fox and the friends of the people are not so igno­rant as not to know, that Peers do not interfere in elections as Peers, but as men of property. They well know that the House of Lords is by itself the feeblest part of the constitution; they know that the House of Lords is supported only by its connecti­ons with the crown and the House of Commons; and that without this double connection the Lords could not exist a single year. They know, that all these parts of our constitution, whilst they are ba­lanced as opposing interests, are also connected as friends; otherwise nothing but confusion could be the result of a complex constitution. It is natu­ral, therefore, that they who wish the com­mon destruction of the whole and of all its parts, should contend for their total separation. But as the House of Commons is that link which connects [Page 50] both the other parts of the constitution (the Crown and the Lords) with the mass of the people, it is to that link (as it is natural enough) that their incessant attacks are directed. That artificial representation of the people being once discredited and overturn­ed, all goes to pieces, and nothing but a plain French democracy or arbitrary monarchs can possibly exist.

43. Some of these gentlemen who have attacked the House of Commons, lean to a representation of the people by the head, that is, to individual repre­sentation. None of them that I recollect, except Mr. Fox, directly rejected it. It is remarkable, however, that he only rejected it by simply declar­ing an opinion. He let all the argument go against his opinion. All the proceedings and arguments of his reforming friends lead to individual repre­sentation and to nothing else. It deserves to be at­tentively observed, that his individual representation is the only plan of their reform, which has been expli­citly proposed. In the mean time, the conduct of Mr. Fox appears to be far more inexplicable, on any good ground, than theirs, who propose the individual representation; for he neither proposes any thing, nor even suggests that he has any thing to propose, in lieu of the present mode of consti­tuting the House of Commons.—On the contrary, he declares against all the plans which have yet been suggested, either from himself or others: yet, thus unprovided with any plan whatsoever, he pressed forward this unknown reform with all possible warmth; and for that purpose, in a speech of seve­ral hours, he urged the referring to a committee, the libellous impeachment of the House of Com­mons by the association of the friends of the peo­ple. But for Mr. Fox to discredit Parliament as it stands,—to countenance leagues, covenants, and [Page 51] associations for its further discredit,—to render it perfectly odious and contemptible,—and at the same time to propose nothing at all in place of what he disgraces, (is worse if possible) than to contend for personal individual representation, and is little less than demanding, in plain terms, to bring on plain anarchy.

44. Mr. Fox and these gentlemen have, for the present, been defeated; but they are neither con­verted nor disheartened. They have so solemnly de­clared, that they will persevere until they have ob­tained their ends; persisting to assert, that the House of Commons not only is not a true represen­tative of the people, but that it does not answer the purpose of such representation; most of them insist that all the debts, the taxes, and the burthens of all kinds on the people, with every other evil and in­convenience, which we have suffered since the re­volution, have been owing solely to the House of Commons which does not speak the sense of the people.

45. It is also not to be forgotten, that Mr. Fox, and all who hold with him, on this, as on all other occasions of pretended Reform, most bitterly re­proached Mr. Pitt with treachery, in declining to support the scandalous charges and indefinite pro­jects of this infamous libel from the friends of the people. By the animosity with which they perse­cute all those who grow cold in this cause of pre­tended Reform, they hope, that if through levity, inexperience, or ambition, any young person (like Mr. Pitt, for instance) happens to be once em­barked in their design, they shall, by a false shame, keep him fast in it for ever. Many they have so hampered.

[Page 52]46. I know it is usual, when the peril and alarm of the hour appears to be a little overblown; to think no more of the matter.—But for my part, I look back with horror on what we have escaped; and am full of anxiety with regard to the dangers, that, in my opinion, are still to be ap­prehended both at home and abroad; this business has cast deep roots. Whether it is necessarily connected in theory with Jacobinism is not worth a dispute. The two things are connected in fact. The partizans of the one are the partizans of the other. I know it is common with those who are favourable to the gentlemen of Mr. Fox's party, and to their leader, though not at all devoted to all their reforming projects, or their Gallican po­litics, to argue in palliation of their conduct, that it is not in their power to do all the harm their actions evidently tend to. It is said, that as the people will not support them, they may safely be indulged in those eccentric fancies of Reform, and those theories which lead to nothing. This apo­logy is not very much to the honour of those po­liticians, whose interests are to be adhered to in defiance of their conduct. I cannot flatter myself that these incessant attacks on the constitution of of Parliament are safe. It is not in my power to despise the unceasing efforts of a confederacy of about fifty persons of eminence; men of the far greater part, of very ample fortunes either in pos­session or in expectancy; men of decided characters and vehement passions—men of very great talents of all kinds; of much boldness, and of the greatest possible spirit of artifice, intrigue, adventure and enterprize, all operating with unwearied activity and perseverence. These gentlemen, are much stronger too without doors than some calculate. They have the more active part of the Dissenters with them; and the whole clan of speculators of all denomina­tions [Page 53] —a large and growing species. They have that floating multitude which goes with events and which suffer the loss or gain of a battle, to decide their opi­nions of right and wrong. As long as by every art this party keeps alive a spirit of disaffection against the very Constitution of the kingdom, and attri­butes, as lately it has been in the habit of doing, all the public misfortunes to that Constitution it is ab­solutely impossible, but that some moment must arrive, in which they will be enabled to produce a pretended Reform and a real Revolution. If ever the body of this compound Constitution of ours is subverted either in favour of unlimited Monarchy, or of wild Democracy, that ruin will most certainly be the result of this very sort of machinations against the House of Commons. It is not from a confidence in the views or intentions of any statesman that I think he is to be indulged in these perilous amuse­ments.

47. Before it is made the great object of any man's political life to raise another to power, it is right to consider what are the real dispositions of the person to be so elevated. We are not to form our judgment on these dispositions from the rules and principles of a court of Justice, but from those of private discretion; not looking for what would serve to criminate another, but what is suf­ficient to direct ourselves.—By a comparison of a series of the discourses and actions of certain men, for a reasonable length of time, it is im­possible not to obtain sufficient indication of the general tendency of their views and principles. There is no other rational mode of proceeding. It is true, that in some one or two, perhaps not well weighed expressions, or some one or two un­connected and doubtful affairs, we may and ought to judge of the actions or words by our previous [Page 54] good or ill opinion of the man. But this allow­ance has its bounds. It does not extend to any regular course of systematic action, or of constant and repeated discourse. It is against every prin­ciple of common sense and of justice to myself, and to the public, to judge of a series of speeches and actions from the man, and not of the man from the whole tenor of his language and con­duct. Had Mr. Fox been a minister, and pro­ceeded in that capacity on the principles and in the manner in which he has acted during the whole of the last Session, I believe he would be considered as the most criminal statesman that ever existed in this country. I do not see why a statesman out of place is not to be judged of in the same manner, unless we excuse him by plead­ing in his favor a total indifference to moral prin­ciple, and that he would speak and act in quite a different way, if he were in office. I have stated the above matters, not as infering a criminal charge of evil intention. If I had meant to do so, perhaps they are stated with tolerable exact­ness—But I have no such view. The intentions of these Gentlemen may be very pure. I do not dispute it. But I think they are in some great error. If these things are done by Mr. Fox and his friends, with good intentions, they are not done less dangerously; for it shews these good in­tentions are not under the direction of safe max­ims and principles.

48. Mr. Fox, Mr. Sheridan, and the Gentle­men who call themselves the phalanx, have not been so very indulgent to others. They have thought proper to ascribe to those Members of the House of Commons, who, in exact agreement with the Duke of Portland, and Lord Fitzwilliam, abhor and oppose the French system, the basest [Page 55] and most unworthy motives for their conduct;—as if none could oppose that atheistic, immoral and impolitic project set up in France, so dis­graceful and destructive, as I conceive, to human nature itself, but with some sinister intentions. They treat those Members on all occasions with a sort of lordly insolence, though they are persons that (whatever homage they may pay to the elo­quence of the Gentlemen who choose to look down upon them with scorn,) are not their in­feriors in any particular which calls for and ob­tains just consideration from the public—not their inferiors on knowledge of public law, or of the Constitution of the kingdom—not their inferiors in their acquaintance with its foreign and domestic interests—not their inferiors in experience or practice of business—not their inferiors in moral character—nor their inferiors in the proofs they have given of zeal and industry in the service of their country. Without denying to these Gentle­men, the respect and consideration which, it is allowed, justly belongs to them, we see no reason why they should not as well be obliged to concede something to our opinions, as that we should be bound blindly and servilely to follow those of Mr. Fox, Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Grey, Mr. Court­ney, Mr. Lambton, Mr. Whitbread, Mr. Francis, Mr. Taylor, and others. We are Members of Parliament and their equals. We never consider ourselves as their followers. These Gentlemen (some of them hardly born, when some of us came into Parliament) have thought proper to treat us as deserters, as if we had been listed into their phalanx like soldiers, and had sworn to live and die in their French principles. This insolent claim of superiority on their part, and of a sort of vas­salage to them on that of other Members, is what no liberal mind will submit to.


[Page 56]49. The Society of the Liberty of the Press, the Whig Club, and the Society for Constitutional Information, and (I believe) the Friends of the People, as well as some Clubs in Scotland, have indeed declared, ‘"That their confidence in and attachment to Mr. Fox, has lately been con­firmed, strengthened, and encreased by the ca­lumnies (as they are called) against him."’ It is true, Mr. Fox and his friends have those testi­monies in their favour, against certain old friends of the Duke of Portland. Yet on a full, serious, and I think dispassionate consideration of the whole of what Mr. Fox and Mr. Sheridan and their friends have acted, said and written, in this Session, instead of doing any thing which might tend to procure power, or any share of it what­soever, to them or to their phalanx (as they call it) or to encrease their credit, influence, or popu­larity in the nation, I think it one of my most serious and important public duties, in whatsoever station I may be placed for the short time I have to live, effectually to employ my best endeavours, by every prudent and every lawful means, to tra­verse all their designs. I have only to lament, that my abilities are not greater, and that my proba­bility of life is not better, for the more effectual pursuit of that object. But I trust, that neither the principles nor exertions will die with me. I am the rather confirmed in this my resolution, and in this my wish of transmitting it, because every ray of hope concerning a possible control or mitigation of the enormous mischiefs which the principles of these Gentlemen, and which their connections full as dangerous as their prin­ciples, might receive from the influence of the Duke of Portland and Lord Fitzwilliam, on be­coming their colleagues in office, is now entirely banished from the mind of every man living.— [Page 57] It is apparent, even to the world at large, that so far from having a power to direct or to guide Mr. Fox, Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Grey, &c. &c. &c. in any important matter, they have not, through this Session, been able to prevail on them to forbear or to delay, or mitigate, or soften any one act, or any one expression upon subjects on which they essentially differed.

50. Even if this hope of a possible control did exist, yet the declared opinions and the uniform line of conduct conformable to those opinions, pursued by Mr. Fox, must become a matter of serious alarm if he should obtain a power either at Court or in Parliament, or in the Nation at large; and for this plain reason—He must be the most active and efficient member in any Ad­ministration of which he shall form a part. That a man, or set of men, are guided by such not du­bious, but delivered and avowed principles and maxims of policy as to need a watch and check on them, in the exercise of the highest power, ought in my opinion, to make every man, who is not of the same principles, and guided by the same maxims, a little cautious how he makes him­self one of the traversers of a ladder, to help such a man or such a set of men, to climb up to the highest authority. A minister of this country is to be controlled by the House of Commons. He is to be trusted, not controlled, by his col­leagues in office; if he were to be controlled, Government, which ought to be the source of order, would itself become a scene of anarchy. Besides, Mr. Fox is a man of an aspiring and commanding mind, made rather to control, than to be controlled, and he never will be, nor can be, in any Administration, in which he will be guided by any of those whom I have been accus­tomed [Page 58] to confide in. It is absurd to think that he would or could. If his own opinions do not control him, nothing can. When we consider of an adherence to a man which leads to his power, we must not only see what the man is, but how he stands related.

It is not to be forgotten that Mr. Fox acts in close and inseparable connection with another Gentleman of exactly the same description as himself, and who, perhaps, of the two, is the leader. The rest of the body are not a great deal more tractable; and over them if Mr. Fox and Mr. Sheridan have authority, most assuredly the Duke of Portland has not the smallest degree of influence.

51. One must take care, that a blind partiality to some persons, and as blind an hatred to others, may not enter into our minds under a colour of inflexible public principle. We hear, as a reason for clinging to Mr. Fox at present, that nine years ago Mr. Pitt got into power by mischievous in­trigues with the Court, with the Dissenters, and with other factious people out of Parliament, to the discredit and weakening of the power of the House of Commons. His conduct nine years ago I still hold to be very culpable. There are, however, many things very culpable that I do not know how to punish. My opinion, on such matters, I must submit to the good of the State, as I have done on other occasions; and particularly with regard to the authors and managers of the American war, with whom I have acted, both in office and in opposition, with great confidence and cordiality, though I thought many of their acts criminal and impeach­able. Whilst the misconduct of Mr. Pitt and his associates was yet recent, it was not possible to get [Page 59] Mr. Fox of himself to take a single step, or even to countenance others in taking any step upon the ground of that misconduct and false policy, though if the matters had been then taken up and pursued, such a step could not have appeared so evidently des­perate as now it is.—So far from pursuing Mr. Pitt, I know that then, and for some time after, some of Mr. Fox's friends were actually, and with no small earnestness, looking out to a coalition with that gen­tleman. For years I never heard this circumstance of Mr. Pitt's misconduct on that occasion mentioned by Mr. Fox, either in public or in private, as a ground for opposition to that minister. All oppo­sition, from that period to this very Session, has pro­ceeded upon the separate measures as they separately arose, without any vindictive retrospect to Mr. Pitt's conduct in 1784. My memory, however, may fail me. I must appeal to the printed debates, which (so far as Mr. Fox is concerned) are unusually ac­curate.

52. Whatever might be in our power, at an early period, at this day I see no remedy for what was done in 1784. I had no great hopes even at that time, I was therefore very eager to record a remon­strance on the journals of the House of Commons, as a caution against such a popular delusion in times to come; and this I then feared, and now am cer­tain, is all that could be done. I know of no way of animadverting on the Crown. I know no mode of calling to account the House of Lords, who threw out the India Bill, in a way not much to their credit.

As little, or rather less, am I able to coerce the people at large, who behaved very unwisely and intemperately on that occasion. Mr. Pitt was then accused, by me as well as others, of attempting to be minister, without enjoying the confidence of the [Page 60] House of Commons, though he did enjoy the confi­dence of the Crown. That House of Commons, whose confidence he did not enjoy, unfortunately did not itself enjoy the confidence, (though we well deserved it) either of the Crown or of the pub­lic. For want of that confidence, the then House of Commons did not survive the contest. Since that period Mr. Pitt has enjoyed the confidence of the Crown, and of the Lords, and of the House of Commons through two successive Parliaments; and I suspect that he has ever since, and that he does still, enjoy as large a portion, at least, of the confi­dence of the people without doors, as his great rival. Before whom, then, is Mr. Pitt to be im­peached, and by whom? the more I consider the matter, the more firmly I am convinced, that the idea of proscribing Mr. Pitt indirectly, when you cannot directly punish him is a chimerical a pro­ject, and as unjustifiable, as it would be to have prescribed Lord North. For supposing, that by indirect ways of opposition, by opposition upon measures which do not relate to the business of 1784, but which on other grounds might prove un­popular, you were to drive him from his seat, this would be no example whatever of punishment for the matters we charge as offences in 1784. On a cool and dispassionate view of the affairs of this time and country, it appears obvious to me, that one or the other of these two great men, that is, Mr. Pitt or Mr. Fox, must be Minister. They are, I am sorry for it, irreconcileable. Mr. Fox's con­duct in this Session has rendered the idea of his power a matter of serious alarm to many people, who were very little pleased with the proceedings of Mr. Pitt in the beginning of his administration. They like neither the conduct of Mr. Pitt in 1784, nor that of Mr. Fox in 1793; but they estimate, which of the evils is most pressing at the time, and [Page 61] what is likely to be the consequence of a change. If Mr. Fox be wedded, they must be sensible, that his opinions and principles, on the now existing state of things at home and abroad, must be taken as his portion. In his train must also be taken the whole body of gentlemen, who are pledged to him and to each other, and to their common politics and principles.—I believe no King of Great Bri­tain ever will adopt for his confidential servants, that body of gentlemen, holding that body of prin­ciples. Even if the present King or his successor should think fit to take that step, I apprehend a general discontent of those, who wish that this na­tion and that Europe should continue in their pre­sent state, would ensue; a discontent, which, com­bined with the principles and progress of the new men in power, would shake this kingdom to its foundations. I do not believe any one political conjecture can be more certain than this.

53. Without at all defending or palliating Mr. Pitt's conduct in 1784, I must observe, that the crisis of 1793, with regard to every thing at home and abroad, is full as important as that of 1784 ever was; and, if for no other reason, by being present, is much more important. It is not to nine years ago we are to look for the danger of Mr. Fox's and Mr. Sheridan's conduct, and that of the Gen­tlemen who act with them.

It is at this very time, and in this very sessi­on, that, if they had not been strenuously resisted, they would not only merely have discredited the House of Commons (as Mr. Pitt did in 1784, when he persuaded the King to reject their advice, and to appeal from them to the people,) but, in my opinion, would have been the means of wholly subverting the House of Commons and the House of Peers, and the whole Constitution actual and vertual, together with the safety and independence [Page 62] of this nation, and of the peace and settlement of every state in the now Christian world. It is to our opinion of the nature of Jacobinism, and of the probability by corruption, faction, and force, of its gaining ground every where, that the questi­on who and what are you to support is to be deter­mined. For my part, without doubt or hesitation, I look upon Jacobinism as the most dreadful, and most shameful evil, which ever afflicted mankind, a sting which goes beyond the power of all calcu­lation in its mischief; and that if it is suffered to exist in France, we must in England, and speedily too, fall into that calamity.

54. I figure to myself the purpose of these Gen­tlemen accomplished, and this Ministry destroyed. I see that the persons who in that case must rule, can be no other than Mr. Fox, Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Grey, the Marquis of Lansdowne, Lord Thurlow, Lord Lauderdale, and the Duke of Norfolk, with the other Chiefs of the Friends of the People, the Parliamentary Reformers, and the admirers of the French Revolution. The principal of these are all formally pledged to their projects. If the Duke of Portland and Lord Fitzwilliam should be admit­ted into that system (as they might and probably would be) it is quite certain they could not have the smallest weight in it; less, indeed, than what they now profess, if less were possible: because they would be less wanted than they now are; and be­cause all those who wished to join them, and to act under them, have been rejected by the Duke of Portland and Lord Fitzwilliam themselves; and Mr. Fox, finding them thus by themselves disarm­ed, has built quite a new fabric, upon quite a new foundation. There is no trifling on this subject. We see very distinctly before us the Ministry that would be formed, and the plan that would be pur­sued. If we like the plan, we must wish the pow­er [Page 63] of those who are to carry it into execution; but to pursue the political exaltation of those whose political measures we disapprove, and whose principles we dissent from, is a species of modern politics not ea­sily comprehensible, and which must end in the ruin of the Country, if it should continue and spread. Mr. Pitt may be the worst of men, and Mr. Fox may be the best, but at present, the former is in the interest of his country, and of the order of things long established in Europe: Mr. Fox is not. I have, for one, been born in this order of things, and would fain die in it. I am sure it is sufficient to make men as virtuous, as happy, and as know­ing as any thing which Mr. Fox and his friends abroad or at home, would substitute in its place; and I should be sorry that any set of politicians should obtain power in England, whose principles, or schemes should lead them to countenance persons or factions whose object is to introduce some new devised order of things into England, or to support that order where it is already introduced in France; a place, in which if it can be fixed, in my mind, it must have a certain and decided influence in and upon this kingdom. This is my account of my conduct to my private friends. I have already said all I wish to say, or nearly so, to the public, I write this with pain, and with an heart full of grief!


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