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The White explained carefully that it was not a contract, that it was nothing at all, in fact.DOCTOR JOHNSON IN THE ANTE-ROOM OF LORD CHESTERFIELD, WAITING FOR AN AUDIENCE, 1748.
[See larger version]Fox and his party still maintained a vigorous and persevering endeavour to remain at peace; but he weakened his efforts by professing to believe that we might yet enter into substantial engagements with the French, who had at this moment no permanent settled Government at all, but a set of puppet Ministers, ruled by a Convention, and the Convention ruled by a mob flaming with the ideas of universal conquest and universal plunder. If Fox had advocated the wisdom of maintaining the defensive as much as possible, and confining ourselves to defending our Dutch allies, as we were bound, his words would have had more weight; but his assurance that we might maintain a full and friendly connection with a people that were butchering each other at home, and belying all their most solemn professions of equity and fraternity towards their dupes abroad, only enabled Pitt to ask him with whom he would negotiateWas it with Robespierre, or the monster Marat, then in the ascendant? "But," added Pitt, "it is not merely to the character of Marat, with whom we would now have to treat, that I object; it is not to the horror of those crimes which have stained their legislatorscrimes in every stage rising above one another in enormity,but I object to the consequences of that character, and to the effect of those crimes. They are such as render a negotiation useless, and must entirely deprive of stability any peace which could be concluded in such circumstances. The moment that the mob of Paris comes under a new leader, mature deliberations are reversed, the most solemn engagements are retracted, or free will is altogether controlled by force. All the crimes which disgrace history have occurred in one country, in a space so short, and with circumstances so aggravated, as to outrun thought and exceed imagination." In fact, to have made an alliance with France at that moment, and for long afterwards, would have been to sanction her crimes, and to share the infamy of her violence and lawlessness abroad.
Landor had been good to her. She would have gone through anything rather than have hurt him. And yet it was always a relief now when he went away. She was glad when he was ordered into the field at the beginning of the spring. Of old she had been sufficiently sorry to have him go. But of old she had not felt the bit galling.
"I can shoot, myself, when it comes to that," suggested Stone."The consequence of letting loose the passions at present chained and confined would be to produce a scene of desolation which no man can contemplate without horror, and I would not sleep easy on my couch if I were conscious that I had contributed to accelerate it by a single moment. This is the reason why I dread the recurrence of hostilities in any part of Europe; why I would forbear long on any point which did not taint the national honour, ere I let slip the dogs of war, the leash of which we hold in our hands, not knowing whom they may reach, or how far their ravages may be carried. Such is the love of peace which the British Government acknowledges, and such the necessity for peace which the circumstances of the world inculcate. Let us fly to the aid of Portugal, because it is our duty to do so; and let us cease our interference when that duty ends. We go to Portugal not to rule, not to dictate, not to prescribe constitutions, but to defend and preserve the independence of an ally. We go to plant the standard of England on the well-known heights of Lisbon. Where that standard is planted, foreign dominion shall not come." The House received this speech with tumultuous applause, and refused to listen to the objections that Mr. Hume and others wished to urge against the expedition on the score of economy. In the Upper House also the Government was sustained by an overwhelming majority. The expedition, consisting of six thousand men, received orders to march (as we have seen) on the 11th of December, and began to land in Lisbon on Christmas Day. The incursions from Spain immediately ceased, and France, which had instigated and secretly encouraged the movement, now found it prudent to disclaim all connection with it. Before eighteen months had elapsed the troops had returned.