(a) William Pitt
FEBRUARY 17, 1800
THE hon. gentleman defies me to state, in one sentence, what is the object of the war. In one word, I tell him that it is security; -- security against a danger, the greatest that ever threatened the world -- security against a danger which never existed in any past period of society. This country alone, of all the nations of Europe, presented barriers the best fitted to resist its progress. We alone recognized the necessity of open war, as well with the principles, as the practice of the French revolution. We saw that it was to be resisted no less by arms abroad, than by precaution at home; that we were to look for protection no less to the courage of our forces than to the wisdom of our councils; no less to military effort than to legislative enactment. At the moment when those, who now admit the dangers of Jacobinism while they contend that it is extinct, used to palliate this atrocity, this House wisely saw that it was necessary to erect a double safeguard against a danger that wrought no less by undisguised hostility than by secret machination. But how long is it since the hon. gentleman and his friends have discovered that the dangers of Jacobinism have ceased to exist? How long is it since they have found that the cause of the French revolution is not the cause of liberty? How or where did the hon. gentleman discover that the Jacobinism of Robespierre, of Barrère, of the triumvirate, of the five directors, has all disappeared, because it has all been centered in one man who was reared and nursed in its bosom, whose celebrity was gained under its auspices, who was at once the child and the champion of all its atrocities? Our security in negotiation is to be this Buonaparté, who is now the sole organ of all that was formerly dangerous and pestiferous in the revolution. Jacobinism is allowed formerly to have existed, because the power was divided. Now it is single, and it no longer lives. This discovery is new, and I know not how it has been made. But the hon. gentleman asks, Whether the war is to be carried on till Jacobinism is extinguished, if he means that war is to be carried on until Jacobinism has either lost its sting, or is abridged in its power to do evil. I say that this is the object of our exertions. I do not say that we must wage war until the principle of Jacobinism is extinguished in the mind of every individual; were that the object of the contest, I am afraid it would not terminate but with the present generation. I am afraid that a mind once tainted with that infection, never recovers its healthful state. I am afraid that no purification is sufficient to eradicate the poison of that foul distemper. Even those, we see, who so loudly tell us that the danger____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Principles & Problems of International Politics:Selected Readings. Contributors: Hans J. Morgenthau - Editor, Kenneth W. Thompson - Editor. Publisher: Knopf. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1952. Page number: 349.