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my opinions at full, upon a point so important to that great and respectable body of men, to whom I am so much indebted; and I sincerely thank the house for the honour of their patience and attention through so long a speech.

To the honourable gentleman over against me,* I will beg leave to offer a little advice. If he condemns this measure, let him not stoop to be the instrument of its success. Let him well weigh the consequences of what he is about, and look to the future effect of it upon the nation at large. Let him take care, that when they see all the powers of his administration employed to overwhelm an individual, men's eyes may not open sooner than they would if he conducted himself within some bounds of decent discretion, and not thus openly violate the sacred principles of the constitution. A moderate use of his power might the longer keep people from reflecting upon the extraordinary means by which he acquired it. But if the honourable gentleman neglects his duty, I shall not forget mine. Though he may exert all the influence of his situation to harass and persecute, he shall find that we are incapable of unbecoming submissions. There is a principle of resistence in mankind, which will not brook such injuries, and a good cause and a good heart will animate men to struggle in proportion to the size of their wrongs, and the grossness of their oppressors. If the house rejects this motion, and establishes the fatal precedent that follows that rejection, I confess I shall begin to think there is little to be expected from such a house of commons. But let the question terminate as it may, I feel myself bound to maintain an unbroken spirit through such complicated difficulties; and I have this reflection to solace me, that this unexampled injustice could never have succeeded, but by the most dangerous and desperate exertions of a government, which, rather than not wound the object of their en

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mity, scrupled not to break down all the barriers of law; to runcounter to the known custom of our ancestors; to violate all that we have of practice and precedent upon this subject; and to strike a deep blow into the very vitals of the English constitution, without any other inducement or temptation, or ne cessity, except the malignant wish of gratifying an inordinate and implacable spirit of resentment,



ON the 14th of May, 1790, M. de Montmorin, minister for foreign affairs, made a communication by order of the king to the national assembly, of the warlike preparations in which Great Britain and Spain were then engaged, in consequence of their dispute concerning Nootka Sound, and of the precautionary measures which, under existing circumstances, he had thought proper to adopt.

After a discussion of the message, the following resolution, presented by M. De Mirabeau, was carried:

"The national assembly decrees, that its president shall, in the course of the day attend the king, for the purpose of thanking his majesty for the measures he has taken for the preservation of peace. The assembly decrees, moreover, that, on to morrow the 16th of May, the order of the day shall be the question: Ought the nation to intrust the king with the right of making war and peace?"-Two opposite opinions, divided the assembly on this subject. The concession of the prerogative to the crown was strenuously advocated by one party, while the other,

with equal vehemence, contended for the policy of investing it exclusively in the legislative body. Wearied, however, by the contest which had been protracted for several days, the parties at length agreed to pursue a middle course, and the assembly accordingly resolved: "That the right of announcing to the legislative body, the necessity of peace or war should be conceded to the monarch; and after a solemn deliberation, it should be declared on the part of the king of the French, in the name of the nation.

M. De Mirabeau maintains this doctrine, with some modifications, in the subsequent warm, energetick, and well reasoned speech.


IN rising to speak upon a subject, which, for these five days past, hath occasioned such long debates, my sole motive is to rectify the state of the question, which, in my mind, hath not been fixed where it should have been. Urgent peril at the present moment, dangers of no common magnitude in future, ought to have roused all the attention of patriotism but this important question is likewise accompanied with a danger peculiar to itself. These words, war and peace, sound lofty to the ear, awake and deceive the imagination, inflame the most imperious of the passions, pride and courage, are connected with the grandest objects, victories, conquests, the fate of empires, above all, with liberty, with the duration of that infant constitution, which every Frenchman hath sworn to maintain. And when a

question of publick right, presents itself with so imposing an aspect, what attention should not one pay to oneself, in order to reconcile, in so solemn a discussion, the cool reason, the profound meditation of the statesman, with that emotion, so excusable, which the fears that surround us must inspire?

Are we to delegate to the king, the exercise of the right of making war and peace; or ought we to attribute it to the legislative body? It is thus, gentlemen,

it is with this alternative, that hitherto the question hath been stated; and I confess that this manner of stating it, would render it a question not to be solved by me. I do not think that we can, without annihilating the constitution, intrust the king with the exercise of the right of making peace or war; as little do I think, that we can exclusively adjudge this right to the legislative body, without preparing for ourselves dangers of another kind, and equally to be dreaded. But are we under an obligation to make an exclusive choice? Can we not, in favour of one of the functions of the government, at once partaking both of action and of will, of execution and of deliberation, make the two powers, which constitute the national strength, and have been sanctioned by our constitution?

Before we come to any decision upon this new point of view, I must first examine, in concert with you, gentlemen, whether in the practice of war and peace, the nature of things, their irresistible progress, point not out to us the junctures, when each of the two powers may act separately, the points of contact where their cooperation commences, the functions which are common to them, and those which are peculiar, the moment for deliberation, and the moment which calls for action. Be assured, gentlemen, that such an inquiry will conduct us much more readily to the truth, than if we were to confine ourselves to simple theory.

And first, is it for the king or for the legislative body, to maintain foreign connexions, to watch over the safety of the empire, to make, or order the preparations necessary for its defence?

Should you determine this first question in favour of the king, and I know not how you can determine it otherwise, without creating in the same kingdom two executive powers, you are by that alone obliged to acknowledge, that, frequently, a first act of hostility shall be repulsed, before the legislative body hath had time to manifest any symptoms, either of approbation or disapprobation. Now, what is such act of hostility,

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