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“ Sicily at such a price; when they were subsidizing such a court, « it became the members of the house of Commons to declare that “ some atteinpt should be made on our part to induce the govern“ ment of that Island to remedy its defects, without which no grant, “ po aid would be available in the end ; for a more profligate go" vernment, or a more oppressed people did not exist, nor ever “ had existed!" Thus, whilst we are pursuing those grand objects, the deliverance of Spain, Portugal, and the various states of the contineut, we are duly careful to preserve the people of Sicily in their happy state of deliverance; and for such objects the resources of Britain are draining to the very dregs.
We are now approaching the close of thie fourth year of war in Spain and Portugal; and surely the following questions demand the serious attention of our rulers and our countrymen :-What are we fighting for; is there any probability of our attaining the object; and what will be the cost ? We have afforded our allies the most ample assistance :--assistance was all they asked ; and we bave more than fulfilled our engageinents. If the people of the peninsula have not energy or spirit sufficient, after the supplies in men and money already só liberally afforded them, they cannot reasonably expect that we should risk our safety in assisting those who with such luke. warmness assist themselves.
The indifference or the aversion to peace which só fatally discovers itself, is one of the worst of our national symptoms. There are some few persons—we hope there are very few, who aver, that we ought never to make peace with the French Emperor! Such men do not deserve to be reasoned with; and it affords some sa. tisfaction to find that not any one of our leading statesmen, 'either in administration or opposition have avowed a position as weak as it is wicked. But it is much to be lamented that all parties seem persuaded that this is not the time to offer terms of peace. Mr. Whitbread has indeed hinted something of a contrary sentiment; but we recollect no other member of either house who has pressed the subject oo ministers. We however are still firmly of opinion, that justice and policy equally demand that our rulers should offer to negociate with France; although it is impossible to say whether such offer would be attended with success. Mr. Whitbread in the debate on the subsidy to Sicily, remarked on this subject, as follows:--" Whether peace could or could not be obtained, he “ would not pretend to say; but this he would say, that until " the trial was made, no one could know what might be effected. “ There had been many opportunities in the course of the war. " when the Emperor of France might in his opinion have been “ successfully approached with overtures of peace." At the time wheu Mr. Whitbread delivered these important opinions, tlfe brains
of ministers were, on hearing of the retreat of the French from Portugal again contemplating the “ deliverance of Europe !" Justice demands that we should make such overtures. The war commenced by breaking our own treaty. At several periods during its continuance overtures have been made by different goveruments. We have rejected them. Till therefore we show a disposition to negociate, we are waging a war of injustice, the guilt of which rests principally on our own heads.
Policy equally demands with justice our most sincere and ardent endeavours to procure the blessings of peace. What does the war on the peninsula cost us; for it is there principally our countrymen are slaugbtered, and our resources are drained. Our annual war expenditure amounts to upwards of fifty millions sterling. Is it possible for any nation long to persevere in such a course ? The fatal effects of such extravagance arę indeed most sensibly felt, and are continually augmenting. Our enormously extended paper circulation, which paturally arose from our war system now presents a yawning gulph which almost every one trembles to approach : a considerable portion of the past session has been employed in sug." gesting remedies for the increasing evil; we have had bullion reports, and week after week spent in debates on Mr. Horner's resolutions, founded on that report, and in Mr. Vansittart's in opposition. The public have been deluged with pamphlets on the subject. Lord Stanhope has since come forward with his nostrum, which when first offered caused a wry face in the principal supporters of the present system ; but it was at lengih swallowed down, in hopes it might afford some trifling relief. Ministers, the grand authors of the evil profess themselves alarmed, and lament the necessity of the temporary remedy. We however beg leave to urge it on the consideration of our countrymen, whether it be possible for the evil to be effectually remedied so long as the war continues ? No!
our paper circulation must be augmented ; and we perceive by the - public prints that during the present month, the increase of Bank
of England notes has been enormous.* The price of provisions,
Bank Notes under 51. ......
.* The amount in circulation on the 6th of July, 1811, as laid before parliament, was as follows :
Bank Notes of 51. and upwards. L. 13, 988,710
- Total L22,323,540 · The amount in circulation on the 13th of July, only a week after, was as follows:
Bank Notes of 51. and upwards ... L 14,969,300
Bank Post Bills . . . . . . . . 1,007,390 .. . Bank Notes under 5l. . . . . . . . 7,588,700
Total .. L. 23,565,390
and of all the conveniences, and even the necessaries of life hag been entirely owing to this continually augmenting paper circulation; and past experience assures us that as the evil increases the evil consequences must likewise increase. The directors and proprietors of Bank Stock have indeed been enriched at the cost of their country; and have in bonuses, and increased dividends shared millions amongst themselves, not a shilling of which onght to have been touched from the time they were no longer able to fulll their promise of paying their notes on dernánd: their additional profits at least, ought to have been expended in procuring specie, which instead of being lavished on ministers for the purpose of carrying on the war, should have been deemed sacred for the purpose of enabling the directors to fulfil their first, iheir most sacred 'engage. thents with the public. It is absolutely impossible that during the war the evil should not be constantly augmentmg. 'At the time that it was confessed by one of our stalesmen in office, that half a million of guineas could not be procured for the payment of our forces, we were expending fifty millions of paper annually in wár ONLY. The depreciation of our paper money is felt the more par. ticularly by our armies on the continent, the exchange being from 30 to 40 per cent. The natural effects of such a system of prodigality, need not excite surprise. Whilst the war continues it is an absolute impossibility to arrest tlie gigantic progress of this incalculable tvil.*
But such is the infatuation of ministers, that the paper system so far from being considered by them as an evil, has during the past séssion been the perpetual theme of their panegyric. Had it not been for this system it has been repeatedly observed by Mr. Perceval, “ the’ “ vation could never have inade ihose brilliant exertions by which she
has been so distinguished during the late and present war.” This circumstance which constitute's such a subject of congratulation on the part of the minister, we cannot but consider as one of the most severe calamities with which the Almighty ever visited a guiliy bation.
* As the provisions of Lord Stanhope's bill extend to Notes of the Bank of England only, it will by no means prevent the traffic in guineas and country bank notes, which may be easily exchanged for those of the grand paper bank ; nor will it prevent two prices being asked. An'estate was jately advertised in the public prints, to be let for one thousand guineas a year, if paid in gold, or for one thousand three hundred, if paid in paper,
Lord King notwithstanding his public independence, and the excellence of his private character, has been much abused by ministers and their tools, for the check which his conduct naturally tended to give the present system. Happy, however, would it have been for this nation and for Europe, had much stronger measures been taken fourteen years since, and if the people in general had resolved to refuse bank notes, till the directora had fulfilled the expressed condition-" To pay them on DEMAND."
Happy would it liave been for Britain and the world, had the formet been obliged to discontinue those exertions in an early stage of the last war, and unable to commencé ibé present war. Peace and a fou: fishing conimerce would have been the happy consequences ; milo lions of lives would have been spared, and France would not liave possessed one half of her preserit vast and increasing domiuions and influence. Our navy would have been our sufficient protection, As friends to mankind, we most earnestly hope that the example of Britain may in this respect prove a warning to the rest of the world, and that no other state may ever possess the dangerous power of ravaging other states, and ruining their own by means of paper money. Such a circulating medium may be useful for the purposes of commerce, so long as it can support its credit by being couvertible into specie ; but the moment that a pational bank stops payment, and at the same time, under the authority of goveriiinent, increases the amount of its notes, every one wearing falsehood on its features, for the purpose of fomenting and supporting foreign wars, which but for such support must have long since ceased, it becomes a wide spreading plague, and will most assuredly end in the ruin of itself and the country it has deluded. In proportion to the elevation and tourishing appearance of the great paper money manufactory, will be the fall, and the desolating effects uccasioned thereby.
We have mentioned Spain and Portugal às the principal Theatres of the war; for it is scarcely to be imagined that ministers have the serious design of acting on a more distant Theatre, and of waging war with America ; and yet such lias been their treatment of the American states for these five years past, that'it is impossible to forétell the result. It is not only the general systení arising froni the execrable and in politic orders of council, but the refusing to confirm the wise, prudent, and conciliatory measures of our anibas: sador Mr. Erskine, and the subsequent negligent and insulting conduct to the American government, which demand tie most serious reprehension. Whilst France has been proclaiming the repeal of her Berlin and Milan decrees, and has released the vessels of America, our minister's truly, assigning their doubts of the sincerity of France; aš a reason for their conduct, obstinately persevere in en. forcing their orders of council, and our admiralty court is condemping American vessels, so unfortunaté as to have becoine the prey of our legalised pirates on the bigh seas. Would not conimon prudence have compelled ministers to have been even beforehand with France in endeavouring tò conciliate America, or instead of Houbting the sincerity of the enemy, proved their own sincerity, as well as regard to national justice, by meeting France, and in the present instance following her example. Should the enemy have
renewed her odious decrees, then surely it would have been time enough for Britain to have renewed her orders of council. There can be no peace between states, so long as hostile measures are to proceed on doubts of each other's sincerity! We fear that in the inajor part of engagements which have passed between that sacred, anointed order, called KINGS, from their first institution, security has depended more on their inability to break them, than in their inclination to preserve them. Like beasts of prey, how often have they fought with each other, or worse than wild beasts, how often have they enjployed millions of their subjects to massacre each other, till no longer able to maintain the contest they have, trembling for their own security, given a pause to the horrid carnage, only with a view to its renewal at a more convenient season. With respect to the late unliappy affair between the American and Eng. lish captains, we suspect, judging by their respective letters neither were free from blame. Why that refusal on both sides at once to declare to what nation they respectively belonged? We most sin. cerely hope that the wisdom, and moderation which have, amidst many injuries and insults received from both Britain and France, characterised the American government, for these thirty years past, ever since she established her independence, will continue to be exercised in such a manner as to prevent even the insanity of a Bri: usb cabinet from kindling a new war in the western world.
If from the retrospect we have taken of our external, we turn to our internal state, we shall scarcely find it less melancholy. Du. ring the late session of parliament various motions were introduced on subjects materially affecting the public interests. Sir Samuel ROMILLY's just and buinane bill for the amendment of our penal code, now, on account of its numerous sanguinary laws, the disgrace not only of our country, but of civilised society, although it passed the Commons, was negatived in the Lords. It is sufficient to prove the indispensible necessity of this amendment, that the law inflicting capital punishment is not executed in one instance out of twenty, and that one of the judges, the late Lord Kenyon, inimediately after pronouncing, in the usual solemn manner, the sentence of the law, on perceiving the agitalion of the prisoner condemned to die, w great agitation himself exclaimed~" Good woman, I do “ not mean to hang you—will nobody persuade the poor woman " she will pot be executed ?” What laws must those be which, in order to avoid the horror of the punishment denounced, juries are sometimes perjured, and judges, immediately after pronounciog sentence, dread being carried into execution. To this might be added, the habitual encouragement afforded to the commission of crimes by the hope being cherished of the improbability of the law being carried into execution. If our legislators will condescend 19