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Sir, I shall conclude with moving, "That | the said Report be taken into further consideration upon this day six months."
Sir W. Pulteney said, that the right hon. gentleman had displayed great ability and ingenuity in the speech he had made. His first argument was, that passing the bill was encouraging a spirit of petty legislation; but the legislature had often interfered on subjects equally trifling. The right hon. gentleman had alluded to the importance of keeping up this breed of dogs, and to the warlike spirit which this practice infused into the people. But if bull-baiting was so very important, and if it was declining and getting so much into disuse, why not propose to grant a bounty for its encouragement? But though it was so much neglected now, it was rather against part of the right hon. gentleman's argument, that the warlike spirit of the nation had not at all declined. Had not as great courage been displayed in the course of the present war, by our soldiers and sailors, as at any former period? There were many Counties where bull-baiting was never practised. In Yorkshire, Northumberland, and all the northern counties, it was unknown, and the inhabitants were as brave as any other counties in the kingdom. But there were many places where this practice was far from declining. In Staffordshire and Rutlandshire, the labouring poor often left their work to attend on this sport for days and even weeks together, and thus consumed the money which ought to go to the support of their families. As to the cruelty of the practice, it was indisputable. There was a great difference between it and hunting or shooting. In this case a poor animal was tied to a stake, with no means of defence or escape, and tormented and tortured for a whole day, or even for several succeeding days. In the other sports, there was no such refinement of torture. He thought it was a dangerous thing to impress the minds of the poor with a persuasion of the hardships of the laws under which they lived. The case was a simple one; it was merely determining whether it was right to put a stop to a cruel, brutal, and inhuman practice, which was degrading to the people by whom it was encouraged, and debasing to
the human mind.
Mr. Canning said, that the hon. baronet had turned the tables rather unfairly upon his right hon. friend; and as it was incon[VOL. XXXV.]
sistent with the forms of the House for a member to speak twice during the same debate, he rose to explain and justify the arguments which his right hon. friend had adduced. The worthy baronet had seemed to think it absurd to dwell so long upon such a trifling subject; but lie ought to have considered, that if a bill was once brought into the House, however trifling or however absurd its object might be, it was necessary to discuss its merits, and that the blame lay with those who proposed the measure, not with those who stated their reasons for disapproving it. If he understood his right hon. friend, he opposed the bill on these grounds: first, because there was no call for legislative interference, and certainly every one must be sensible that the practice of bullbaiting was becoming every day less common; and, that though the practice was ever so reprehensible, there was no occasion for passing an act to render it penal. His right hon. friend had said, that the practice was not detrimental to morals: he had not ascribed to it such virtues as the hon. baronet seemed to imagine; but merely asserted its innocence, or rather said, that it was not more criminal than the daily amusements of the rich, a truth which all must readily allow. He had likewise objected to the unfairness of depriving the poor of their pastimes, while the great were left in possession of theirs, and many harsh laws were made that they alone might enjoy their favourite sports. Certainly, there could be no better principle for the legislature to proceed upon than to make no distinction between the different orders of the state, and that if any should be made, the comfort and happiness of the lower orders should be preferably attended to, therefore they ought to put a stop to the practices of hunting and shooting before they attacked bull-baiting. But gentlemen seemed to think, that they alone should enjoy the sports of the field; and that they might have the exclusive possession of them, they used their utmost exertions. If a foreigner had last year been allowed to sit below the gallery, what would have been his opinion of the members of the British legislature? Night after night, when the most momentous questions were to be discussed, he would have seen the benches empty, and scarcely as many present as would constitute a quorum. At last, upon entering he would have been astonished to see the House crowded
to the very door, and would have asked with had been called "hops" was, an increaes amazement, what great business comes on of his majesty's subjects. The legislature to-night? Is a foreign power to be sub- ought not to interfere to abolish these sidized? Is the question of peace and practices; and, above all, ought never war to be decided? It would be answered, to interfere unless where there was no: these sage legislators have assembled" dignus vindice nodus." The dignity of to consider of the best means of prevent- the House would have been better preing the common people from killing a served, had it never meddled with this bird, the shooting of which affords ex-story of a cock and a bull. It was abcellent sport to gentlemen, and which, surd to legislate against the genius and when roasted with bread sauce, makes spirit of the country. The putting a an excellent dish at dinner. Shooting stop to bull-baiting was legislating against was the grand employment of the English the genius and spirit of almost every gentry, and their great object in the country and every age. The natural ineducation of their sons was, to make them stincts and mutual antipathies of animals good marksmen; they delighted not" to had ever been made a source of amuseprompt the tender thought," but "to ment to man, and, notwithstanding all teach the young idea how to shoot!" All the laws that could be made, would conthis might be very well; but when they tinue to be so. were so attached to their own sports, why should they wish to take away from the sports of the poor? He did not under-present stand whether the hon. baronet, in exposing the shocking cruelty of the practice of bull-baiting, meant to say it was cruel to the dogs or to the bull. The amusement was a most excellent one; it inspired courage, and produced a nobleness of sentiment and elevation of mind. He could see no objection to it, which might not be urged against almost any other. The dogs were dangerous, and accidents might happen from the bull getting loose; but if the legislature were to interfere to put a stop to every practice which might possibly be productive of mischief to any individual, the House must sit unremittingly, making new laws, and many whimsical laws they would make. He himself lately, when walking down Ludgate-hill, had seen an over-drove ox overturn and gore a little old woman in a red cloak. How would the House have looked, had he that night brought in a bill with this preamble: "Whereas an over drove ox did on Ludgate-hill overturn and gore a little old woman in a red cloak, be it enacted, &c. ?" Yet more mischief, he was confident, was done in one year by the over-driving of oxen than by bull-baiting in twenty. The hon. baronet had objected to what his right hon. friend had said with regard to depriving the people of amusements, and had attempted to justify this by saying that their amusements were prejudicial to themselves and the community. But what could be more innocent than bullbaiting, boxing, or dancing? The only result he knew to be produced by what
Mr. Sheridan said, his hon. friend seemed to think that the proposers of the bill had been guilty of the greatest absurdity. He could see nothing absurd in their conduct, but was rather inclined to apply that epithet to the conduct of those who in such long and laboured speeches had opposed it. In repelling this charge, his hon. friend had said, that if a trifling and absurd bill was introduced, it became necessary to enter at length into its merits; but if the present bill was so very trifling and so excessively absurd, was there any occasion for speaking long against it? Would it not have been better to have quietly left it to its fate? Such a bill spoke sufficiently for itself. According to the abettors of the practice of bull-baiting, it was not only to be tolerated, but to be encouraged, and a premium held out to encourage its frequency. But, in recommending bull-baiting, they had taken the bull by the horns; for they said, that it ought not to be abolished previous to the abolition of all the amusements of the rich; and that there should be no sort of distinction between the different orders of the state. If such arguments had been adduced in a speech from his side of the House, the speaker would be denounced as a Democrat and Jacobin. The right hon. gentleman had even said, that the laws were oppressive and tyrannical to the poor of this country, and that they were harshly and cruelly administered. He had compared the magistrates to senseless parents who tormented their children, and said that the rich not only indulged in every gratification them. selves, but took a delicious pleasure in
The House divided: For Mr. Windham's motion, 43; Against it, 41. The bill was of course lost.
Debate on Mr. Jones's Motion respecting the War with the Republic of France.] May 8. Mr. T. Jones said;-Sir I rise to bring forward a motion on the subject of the present war with the republic of France. This, Sir, is a very awful moment for me; no man, I will venture to state, Mr. Speaker, ever addressed you under greater difficulties and disadvantages. But, Sir, I have great confidence in the justice of my cause; I have a strong reliance on the candour and indulgence of this House: and, furthermore, I trust much to that Providence which has prompted me (and which alone has prompted me) to bring forward the motion which I shall have the honour to present to this House this night. I do assure the House, that if I conceived our laws, our liberties, our religion, or one atom of our most glorious constitution, were in danger, I would not stand up here for the purpose which I do now; but I would support the war, and the councils which conduct it, with the same zeal and firmness and resolution, which I did within these walls, and without them, when I conceived they all really were. In a just and necessary war, to support the interests and the honour of my country, I would undergo the severest privations, and recommend it to others so to doj; but in what I conceive an unjust, an unnecessary, and an impracticable pursuit, I think it my most bounden duty to recommend such councils as shall produce a negotiation for peace. After eight years of a war of various expedients and complexions, and not without intermeHediate negotiations, a new æra of the war appears: his majesty's ministers, by not listening to the proposals of peace, have at length pulled off the mask, flung away the scabbard, and commenced what I must denominate (and as such denounce) Bellum Bourboninum.
lessening the comforts and preventing
Sir, if this point should be disputed, I would ask the minister distinctly, for what object we are at war? I want to know, plainly, for what object on earth the people of England are groaning under an unprecedented and inquisitorial system of taxation; and for what object ministers. are at this moment promoting the common carnage of their fellow creatures, almost over the whole world, with British gold; if it be not for the re-establishment of the
tyrant of Seringapatam, the most inveterate enemy of Great Britain, the tiger Tippoo Sultan, is laid low! and here I must again refer the House to his majes
Then, Sir, as to India, become the corner stone of Great Britain, I hope I do not presume too much when I express my most sanguine wishes, that the chancellor of the exchequer will condescend to own the existence of his favourite basis of peace-security.
ancient government of France ? Sir, are we contending for the sovereignty of the seas? Thank God, we have it: Witness the fleets of France and Spain, now cooped up in Brest harbour! Wit-ty's speech of 24th September 1799. ness the mutilated and capitulated marine of Holland! Witness the brilliant and transcendent victories of lords Howe, St. Vincent, Duncan, and Nelson! Witness that proud day for Old England, when the captured colours of France, Spain, and Holland, were deposited and consecrated in St. Paul's cathedral, amid the blaze of majesty, amid the joy and gladness religion, enthusiasm, and loyalty of the people. Sir, are we fighting for the safety of our commerce? We, Sir, have monopolized almost the commerce of the whole world-witness our ports (perhaps too much so) crowded with the ships of all the nations of the earth. Can we be fearful for the safety of our territorial possessions in India? Here, Sir, I must say a few words on the French expedition to Egypt. I certainly, Sir, did, here in my place, predict its destination, and did pray for its discomfiture and annihilation. we have experienced the truth of the former; and know that, fortunately for the world, the latter has taken place. Now, Sir, to ascertain the magnitude of this expedition as to the British interests in India, I would refer the House to his majesty's speech of November 20, 1798, after the naval part only was happily destroyed. Again, Sir, I must draw the attention of the House to his majesty's speech on the 24th September 1799, after the accounts were received of the wonderful acts of prowess of sir Sidney Smith and his brave comrades, and to whom, Sir, you know my good intentions; and I trust government will anticipate any proposition of reward of mine on that subject. But, Sir, since that wonderful siege of Acre, the total abandonment of Egypt has taken place. Why then, Sir, if the British interests in India were, according to the sentiments of his majesty's ministers, announced from the throne to be" in that quarter in a state of solid and permanent security," what must they be now? But, Sir, if security does not exist there in full force, let us turn our eyes to India herself, and contemplate the vigilance, decision, and wisdom of the governor-general (lord Mornington), by whose prompt zeal and transcendent abilities, aided and suported by the military skill and valour of general Harris and his officers and men, the black
Now, with regard to Italy, as far as we are concerned, we have by the vast exertions of lord Nelson and commodore Trowbridge, re-enthroned the fugitive king of Naples; and, we have, in fact re-elected the pope-and at this moment the papal banner waves in triumph its proclamation of the re-establishment of the Romish faith to its numerous adherents scattered over the face of the earth.Are his majesty's ministers bent on the reinstatement of the stadtholderian government in Holland? I do not wish to remind the House of misfortunes; but we have tried that, and we know the result-everlasting disgrace to England and Russia, and no inquiry granted. God forbid any more human-nature expeditions, unless, if they should fail, we can bring the authors of such failure, to condign punishment! Now, Sir, I trust we shall not hear of ministers contending that we are at war to extirpate Jacobinism. That plague and pestilence, thank God! is extinct. God, Almighty God, "hath bruised the serpent's head." Then, again, Sir, I must ask the minister seriously, for what object are we contending, but for the re-establishment of the ancient government of France? Here, Sir, I hesitate not to aver, that I cannot discover that the existence of the present government of France is incompatible with, or its destruction necessary to, the safety of this country. Sir, I see nothing in it that ought to preclude a negotiation for peace. Sir, I see quite the contrary. England has not tried the faith of republican France. England has had reason to know the perfidy and ambition of monarchical France; to illustrate and elucidate which most fully and incontrovertibly, I shall desire the clerk to read an address to the Commons of the date of April 19th, 1689. [This was read accordingly.]
Well, Sir, so much for the perfidy, the ambition, and the Jacobinism of monarchical France! Now, Sir, it will be necessary for
thus violated the constitutional privileges of the House. Gentlemen sometimes talk of the aggrandizing spirit of France: let them, for one moment, look at Austria. Has she not all the lust of power that belongs to the most desperate ambition? Why,after the Campo-Formio treaty (bythe secret articles of which we are taught to believe she bargained for the plunder of Venice, and of which Venice we have heard nothing since; and moreover, by which secret articles we are also taught to believe she acquiesced in the starvation of one of her own Germanic fortresses, (Ehrenbreitstein)-why, I say, after the said treaty, has she again consented to be subsidized by British gold? Why, but to promote her ambitious views, and add to her extension of territory! We all know her wishes as to Sardinia. As to Italy, the conquests of Buonaparté are all, save Genoa, gone; and perhaps at this moment she has completely routed the armies of Suchet and Massena, and is in possession of Genoa. I humbly think that she will, by her immense armies, destroy the balance of power in Europe, and despotize over the continent. Whence arose her quarrel with Russia, but that Suwarrow would not aid her inordinate ambition? and I maintain that we are now fostering her projects, to our own future evil; and, what is still worse, we are absolutely pampering her with shovel-fulls of British gold. So much for griping Austria !
my purpose, to show the state of the war and the necessity of peace, to go into the alliances and subsidies, as they have stood, and as they now stand, relatively to ourselves and the respective nations concerned, which I shall do with all the brevity possible. On the 21st January 1794, copies of conventions entered into between his Britannic majesty and the emperor of Germany, the kings of Prussia, Spain, Sicily, the queen of Portugal, and the landgraves of Hesse-Cassel, and Baden, were laid on this table. Of these allies, Prussia took our gold, and soon laid down her arms, and basely deserted us. A more detestable act of meanness never blackened the annals of history. Spain, that miserable and inefficient government, soon fell into the possession of French counsels; and now her galleons serve to reward our brave tars; and their fleet, cooped up in Brest harbour, as I told you in my place it would be, proclaims her disgrace to the surrounding nations of the world. Of the king of Sicily I have spoken. The unfortunate and helpless queen of Portugal goes on in the confederacy. The landgraves (if I mistake not) made peace in sympathy with the elector of Hanover. A word or two on Austria, generally called our grand ally. On looking over his majesty's speeches during the war, I not only find occasionally great and due encomiums on that power, but I also find an interval, or rather exchange of praise, in favour of Russia; which interval and exchange of I now come to a convention between praise may fairly be traced to the defec-his Britannic majesty, and his majesty the tion of Austria after the treaty of Campo emperor of all the Russias, signed at Formio (which treaty was signed on the Petersburgh in June 1799, formed after the 17th October 1797), of which I shall defection of the Emperor from the common speak again, and more fully, when I cause. Not one word therein on Austria. come to the Russian treaty; but I must The treaty of Campo-Formio was signed refer the House here to his majesty's on the 17th October 1797, and the date speeches on November 2nd, 1797, and of his majesty's first speech after this November 20th, 1798-in the former of event is the 2nd November 1797. The next which, not one word is to be found of the in succession is on the 20th November Austrians; and in the latter, not only not 1798. Not a word on Austria. And then one word, but great stress is laid on the comes some notice of Austria again, after magnanimity of the emperor of Russia: and the campaign (a very glorious one, no here the House will not fail to recollect doubt), in Italy: but what I wish the the fact, that Austria has taken our mil- House to notice here is, the wonderful lions, and paid little or no interest for encomiums on the emperor of Russia, them. The House, I trust, and the na- concerning whose alliance, and the pretion, will moreover never forget the mi- sent state of it, I wish now to speak. nister sending out of the country to the Now, Sir, if any faith is to be placed in Emperor the sum of 1,200,000l., while the proclamations and manifestoes (I conparliament was sitting, and without asking fess I place none myself since the famous the consent of parliament; and that, fur- Brunswick one), no potentate ever had a thermore, he took no indemnity for having greater claim to confidence from his allies