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THE

SPEECH

LORD ERSKINE,

IN THE

HOUSE OF LORDS,
(The 8th of March, 1808)

ON MOVING

RESOLUTIONS

AGAINST THE LEGALITY OF THE

ORDERS IN COUNCIL.

LONDON :
PRINTED BY J. LAMBERT, STRAND,

AND

PUBLISHED BY JAMES RIDGWAY, PICOADILLY.

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PREFACE.

THE following Speech was wholly beyond the limits of a newspaper, and would not properly , admit of an abridgment. The substance of observations upon political subjects may be conveyed most usefully, but legal arguments, supported by authorities, require more fullness and precision to preserve their force and effect. The Editor of the Morning Chronicle has, therefore, adopted this mode of publication ; and he thinks he may venture to appeal to those who were present, and, through them, to the public, not only for the correctness of the substance, but generally, even of the expression, throughout. He believes there inay be omissions, but all that is expressed will be found to be accurate. A subject of more deep or general importance has been seldom agitated in Parliament, because it involves the principles which have connected the States of Europe for many ages. He, therefore, dedicates the Speech to Lord Grenville, by whom, it is believed, the Resolutions were drawn; who so ably supported them, and who is daily adding to his high reputation by his distinguished ability, spirit, and eloquence, in this difficult crisis of our affairs.

Strand, March, 1808.

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My LORDS, The Resolutions, which I had the honour on a former day to read in my place to the House, and which I am presently about to propose to your Lordships to adopt, involve a higher and more extensive consideration than even the justice and effect of the late Orders in Council, as they regard the United States of America, momentous as that consideration undoubtedly is. They involve no less a question, (I speak most advisedly when I say it,) they involve no less a question, than the very existence of that whole system of conventional public law, which has contributed so much to advance the civilization, and to secure the happiness of the world. They involve no less a question, than

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