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Rambler’s Pitt

We have just printed book with a long title: Speech of the Right Honourable William Pitt, delivered in the House of Commons, Monday, February 3, 1800, on a Motion for an Address to the Throne, Approving of the Answers Returned to the Communications from France Relative to a Negociation for Peace (known as a Overtures of Peace with France).

About this Pitt’s speech, his biographer, Robin Reilly wrote: “On Feruary 1800 Pitt defended his policy in the house of Commons in a long and vigorous speech. He accused the French of «perfidy, which nothing can bind, which no tie of treaty, no sense of principles generally received among nations, no obligation, human or divine, can restrain.» He recounted the history of French aggression since the Revolution, of their repudiation of treaties and rejection of peace moves, and of the methods by which Bonaparte had risen to power. He laid stress on the instability of all French governments since 1793, and the lack of security inherent in any negotiation with the new First Consul, whom he described disdainfully as «this last adventurer in the lottery of revolutions». He believed that there were signs that the French could not long resist the combined forces of Europe: «But supposing the confederacy of Europe prematurely dissolved, supposing our armies disbanded, our fleets laid upon in our harbours, our exertions relaxed, our means of precaution and defence relinquished, do we belive», he asked, «that the revolutionary power, with this rest and breathing-time given it to recover from the pressure under which it is now sinking… will not again prove formidable to Europe?… And with these considerations before us, can we hesitate whether we have the best prospect of permanent peace, the best security for the independence of Europe, from the restoration of the lawful Government, or from the continued of revolutionary power in the hands of Bonaparte?» The war must be continued because to make peace with Napoleon would be to court final defeat. «As a sincere lover of peace», he declared, «I will not sacrifice it by grasping at the shadow, when the reality is not substantially within my reach – Cur igitur nolo? Quia infida est, qua periculosa, quia esse non potest» (Why, then I refuse peace? Because it is deceptive, because it is dangerous, because it cannot be, Cicero Philippies VII, 3).

Robin Reilly, Pitt the Younger, London 1978.

25 copies, 8vo, 112 pages the text in 12-point Bodoni on Conqueror Connossieur pure cotton paper. Quarter-bound in leather by hand, with the slipcase. £ 90.

[PS] Pitt’s marbled edges.