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it entirely upon the general grounds already stated. It has been contended, that the rejection by the executive council of Dumourier's proposal to invade Holland in the month of November 1792, was a strong proof of the pacifick disposition, and of the good faith which prevailed in the councils of France at that time: but it appears that on the 30th of November, Dumourier, in a letter addressed to the minister of war, communicated in detail a plan for the immediate invasion of Holland, and stated the previous conquest of Holland to be essential to the great object of driving the Austrian and Prussian armies beyond the Rhine. One of the principal arguments which he alleges in favour of this operation is founded in the hostile views which he attributes to Holland, and in his apprehension that if he should move towards the Rhine before he had effected a revolution in Holland, his rear might be exposed to a sudden attack from the Dutch. It appears that the minister of war expressly warrants the neutrality of the Dutch in the beginning of December to Dumourier. But notwithstanding that assurance the question between the immediate invasion of Holland, and a movement towards the Rhine is argued throughout the whole of the official correspondence merely upon grounds of expediency; the doubt being only, whether the operations of Dumourier's army in the month of December should commence, or terminate with the invasion of Holland. This will appear more clearly from a passage in the last orders from the minister of war to Dumourier on this subject, dated December the 6th, 1792. "Thus, if the army of Belgium should attack Holland, and not pass the Rhine, the Austrians will be able to attack Bournonville, and to force him to abandon the banks of the Moselle; Custine might be endangered. These motives have determined the executive council, and they have resolved (as a measure of urgency,* and which ought to take the lead of the invasion of Hollandt which you propose) that you shall dispose
* Une mesure d'urgence.
↑ Qui devoit devancer l'invasion de la Hollande.
the three armies under your orders, in the manner in which you judge the most proper for driving the Austrians from the countries comprehended between the Meuse, the Moselle, and the Rhine."
This letter leaves no doubt on my mind, that if the French could have succeeded in driving the Austrians and Prussians beyond the Rhine early in December, 1792, they would without scruple have fallen upon Holland, although by the confession of the minister of war, in the month of December, the Dutch had given them no ground of offence.
Such are the various proofs and occurrences which tend to confirm those impressions of the designs of France, in consequence of which we thought it our duty to enable his majesty to augment his forces previous to the declaration of war.
The aggression of France, which was the immediate cause of the war, forms another material branch of the argument. It was attempted to be justified under the pretence of certain alleged acts of hostility, particularly the stopping the export of corn to France in the month of November, 1792. That measure was defended by my right hon. friends near me on the ground of their knowledge, that warlike preparations were then actually making in France. Upon this subject, Brissot's testimony is not only ample and unequivocal, but it proves that preparations had been commenced at an earlier period, and were proposed to be carried to a much greater extent than could have been supposed by any person in this country, in the month of November. He tells us, "that as early as the month of October, the possibility of war with the maritime powers was foreseen, and the diplomatick committee, and the committee of general defence had warned Mongé the minister of marine of this circumstance. Considerable sums of money were put into his hands. He had promised* to collect stores and provisions from all quarters, to repair all the ships and frigates; he had promised a fleet of 30 sail of the line
* S'approvisionner de tous les cotès.
for the month of April, and 50 sail of the line by the month of July; he had promised to cover the sea with frigates for the protection of commerce, to send succours to St. Domingo and Martinique, an express law passed in October enjoined this." While France was thus preparing an armament against the maritime powers, what should we have thought of the conduct of our ministers, if they had suffered the export of corn to that country, and thereby had contributed to accelerate the equipment of those formidable fleets which the minister of marine had engaged to provide? It ought not to be forgotten, that the same government of France which had ordered preparations for equipping a fleet in the French ports as early as the month of October, thought it decent in the month of January, to make the armaments preparing by his majesty a principal ground of complaint, and to insist as the ultimatum of France, that England should disarm. A more insulting proposal under all the circumstances of the case as I have now stated them was never made by one independent nation to another.
But while we are inquiring in this house into the immediate cause of the war, we may derive some useful information on that head from the contentions and divisions which have disturbed the councils of our enemies. In the act of accusation against Brissot and his party, one principal charge is, "the proposal from the diplomatick committee by the organ of Brissot to declare war abruptly against England, war against Holland, war against all the powers which had not yet declared themselves,"
During the trial of Brissot, Chaumette says, in the jacobin club, every patriot has a right to accuse in this place the man who voted the war; and the blood which has been shed in the republick and without the republick in consequence of it shall be their proofs and their reasons."
Robespierre in his report on the 17th of November 1793 says, "with what base hypocrisy the traitors insisted on certain pretended insults said to have been offered to our ambassadour!"
Brissot on the other hand replies, "who has been the author of this war? The anarchists only, and yet they make it a crime in us."
Thus, amidst the animosities and dissensions which preceded the last revolution at Paris, the heinous crime of having provoked the war with England is mutually imputed by one party to the other. Robespierre imputes it to Brissot; Brissot retorts it upon Robespierre; the jacobins charge it upon the Girondists; the Girondists recriminate upon the jacobins ; the mountain thunders it upon the valley, and the valley re-echoes it back against the mountain. For my part, I condemn them both. The share of this guilt, which belongs to Brissot and his associates is already known to you. They who murdered Brissot and his associates upon the scaffold, were not only the most active promoters of the decree of the 19th of November, and of the several unions, but the principal agents in all the odious vexations exercised over the people of the Netherlands, and not one voice among them was raised against the measures which immediately led to the war. Therefore I repeat it, whatever be the crime of having drawn down upon their own country the indignation of Great Britain, and of her numerous allies, and of having fomented a general war in Europe, I charge that crime equally upon both these sanguinary factions. But who is the British subject that shall acquit both these sanguinary factions of the crime which they mutually impute to each other; and by charging it upon the councils of his own sovereign shall impair the confidence of a united people in the justice of their cause, and weaken the energy of their exertions in the prosecution of this arduous contest?
Unless I am wholly deceived in the authenticity and application of the proofs which I have adduced, I cannot suppose that any such person will in the appear course of this debate; and I must conclude, that these proofs, added to the arguments employed last year, have confirmed the original justice and necessity of the war upon the most solid and secure foundation.
If then the original justice of our cause, instead of appearing to be in any degree weakened, has received additional force and confirmation from the whole course of subsequent events, it must be both our right and our duty (a right which a high-spirited people will not easily concede, and a duty from the discharge of which they will not shrink) to prosecute the war without remission, unless it can be made to appear, that all our efforts must be vain and fruitless, and that our enemies are not only formidable, but invincible by any force which we can bring to act against them. But although the events of the last campaign have undoubtedly proved that France, in her present situation, is a formidable enemy, so far from proving her to be invincible, I shall contend, that the general result of the campaign both in its effects upon our own situation, and upon that of the enemy, has been such, as to afford a reasonable expectation of ultimate success.
What was our situation at the commencement of the last campaign? France was in full possession of the Netherlands, and by the operation of the revolutionary power under the decree of the 15th of December 1792, was rapidly adding to her own resources not only all the ordinary resources of that wealthy country, but the property of the church, of the nobility, of all the corporations, the personal property of the prince, and of all his adherents. Upon the first produce of this immense booty Dumourier had calculated, that he could support an army of an hundred thousand men for ten months. By the possession of the port of Ostend, France commanded the commerce both of Holland and England, and had the means of interrupting the intercourse between us and our allies. By the possession of Antwerp and the measures which she had taken relative to the navigation of the Scheldt, she had the means of annoying Holland in that quarter; the possession of Liege gave her the command of the Meuse, and furnished her with great advantages in any operation which she might meditate against Maestricht. Mentz was also in her hands, and the commerce of the Rhine was