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is inconsistent with the hunor and dignity of the ready heard one reason assigned why no other Crown of these kingdoms to be in arrear to its measures have been particularly mentioned and 1radesinen and servants; and it is the duty of condemned in this debate. If it were necessary, this House to take care that the revenue which many others might be mentioned and condemn. we have settled for supporting the honor and ed. Is not the maintaining so numerous an army dignity of the Crown, shall not be squandered or in time of peace to be condemned ? Is not the misapplied. If former Parliaments have failed fitting out so many expensive and useless squadin this respect, they must be censured, though rons to be condemned? Are not the encroach. • they can not be prinished; but we ought now to ments made upon the Sinking Fund;" the revir. atone for their neglect.
ing the salt duty; the rejecting many usesul bills I come now, in course, to the Excise Scheme, and motions in Parliament, and many other do which the honorable gentleman says ought to mestic measures, to be condemned? The weak be forgiven, because it was easily given up." ness or the wickedness of these measures bas Sir, it was not easily given up. The promoter often been demonstrated. Their ill consequences of that scheme did not easily give it up; he were at the respective times foretold, and those gave it up with sorrow, with tears in his eyes, consequences are now become visible by oui when he saw, and not until he saw, it was im- distress. possible to carry it through the House. Did not Now, sir, with regard to the foreign meas his majority decrease upon every division? Itures which the honorable gentleman has attempt. was almost certuin that if he had pushed it far-ed to justify. The Treaty of Hanover deserves ther, his majority would have turned against to its first mentioned, because from thence him. His sorrow showed his disappointment; spring the danger to which Europe is now exand his disappointment showed that his design posed; and it is impossible to assign a reason was deeper than simply to prevent frauds in the for our entering into that treaty, without supcustoms. He was, at that time, sensible of the posing that we then resolved to be revenged on influence of the excise laws and excise men with the Emperor for refusing to grant us some favor regard to elections, and of the great occasion in Germany. It is in vain now to insist upon he should have for that sort of influence at the the secret engagements entered into by the approaching general election. His attempt, sir, courts of Vienna and Madrid as the cause of was most flagrant against the Constitution; and that treaty. Time has fully shown that there he deserved the treatment he met with from the never were any such engagements, and his lato people. It has been said that there were none but what gentlemen are pleased to call the mob
? In the year 1717, the surplus of the public in. concerned in burning him in effigy ; but, as the into what was called The Sinking Fund, for the
come over the public expenditure, was converted mob consists chiefly of children, journeymen, and purpose of liquidating the national debt. During servants, who speak the sentiments of their par- the whole reign of George I., this fund was invari ents and masters, we may thence judge of the ably appropriated to the object for which it had sentiments of the higher classes of the people. been created ; and, rather than encroach upon it,
The honorable gentleman has said, these were money was borrowed upon new taxes, when the all the measures of a domestic nature that could supplies in general might have been raised by dedi: be found fault with, because none other have cating the surplus of the old taxes to the carrent been mentioned in this debate. Sir, he has al- services of the year. The first direct encroachment Majesty's speech from the throne can not here | afterward did in the most absolute manner, and Je admitted as any evidence of the fact. Every without any conditions. We wanted nothing one knows that in Parliament the King's speech from Spain but a relinquishment of the pretense is considered as the speech of the minister; and she had just begun, or, I believe, hardly begun, surely a minister is not to be allowed to bring to set up, in an express manner, with regard to bis own speech as an evidence of a fact in his searching and seizing our ships in the American own justification. If it be pretended that his seas; and this we did not obtain, perhaps did late Majesty had some sort of information, that not desire to obtain, by the Treaty of Seville." such engagements had been entered into, that By that treaty we obtained nothing ; but we ad.' very pretense furnishes an unanswerable argu- vanced another step toward that danger in which ment for an inquiry. For, as the information Europe is now involved, by uniting the courts of now appears to have been groundless, we ought France and Spain, and by laying a foundation to inquire into it; because, if it appears to be for a new breach between the courts of Spain such information as ought not to have been be- and Vienna. lieved, that minister ought to be punished who I grant, sir, that our ministers appear to have advised his late Majesty to give credit to it, and been forward and diligent enough in negotiating, who, in consequence, has precipitated the nation and writing letters and memorials to the court into the most pernicious measures.
upon the Sinking Fund took place in the year 1729,
when the interest of a sum of £1,250,000, required s The Excise Scheme of Sir Robert Walpole was for the current service of the year, was charged on simply a warehousing system, under which the du that fund, instead of any new taxes being imposed ties on tobacco and wine were payable, not when upon the people to meet it. The second encroachthe articles were imported, but when they were ment took place in the year 1731, when the income taken out to be consumed. It was computed, that, arising from certain duties which had been imposed in consequence of the check which this change in in the reign of William III., for paying the interest the mode of collecting the duties on these articles due to the East India Company, and which were would give to smuggling, the revenue would derive now no longer required for that purpose, in conse an increase which, with the continuance of the salt quence of their interest being reduced, was made tax (revived the preceding year), would be amply use of in order to raise a sum of £1,200,000, instead sufficient to compensate for the total abolition of of throwing such income into the Sinking Fund, as the land tax. The political opponents of Sir Rob ought properly to have been done. A third perverert Walpole, by representing his proposition as a sion of this fund took place in the year 1733, before scheme for a general excise, succeeded in raising so the introduction of the Excise Scheme. In the pre. violent & clamor against it, and in rendering it so vious year the land tax had been reduced to one unpopalar, that, much against his own inclination, he shilling in the pound; and, in order to maintain it was obliged to abandon it. It was subsequently at the same rate, the sum of £500,000 was taker: approved of by Adam Smith; and Lord Chatham, at from the Sinking Fụnd and applied to the services of a later period of his life, candidly acknowledged, that the year. In 1734 the sam of £1,200,000, the whole his opposition to it was founded in misconception. produce of the Sinking Fand, was taken from it; and For an interesting account of the proceedings rela. in 1735 and 1736, it was anticipated and alienated.tive to the Excise Scheme, see Lord Hervey's Mem. Sinclair's Hist. of the Revenue, vol. i., p. 484, et seq. oirs of the Court of George II., chaps. viii. and ix. Coxe's Walpole, chap. xl.
6 See Lord Hervey's Memoirs of the Court of 8 Here Lord Chatham was mistaken. It is now George II., vol i., p. 203,
certainly known that secret engagements did exis:
of Spain; but, from all my inquiries, it appears At the time this treaty was entered into, we that they never rightly understood (perhaps they wanted nothing from the Emperor upon our own would not understand) the point respecting which account. The abolition of the Ostend Company they were negotiating. They suffered themwas a demand we had no right to make, nor was selves to be amused with fair promises for ten it essentially our interest to insist upon it, be- long years; and our merchants plundered, our cause that Company would have been more hos- trade interrupted, now call aloud for inquiry. tile to the interests both of the French and Dutch If it should appear that ministers allowed them. East India trades than to our own; and if it had selves to be amused with answers which no man been a point that concerned us much, we might of honor, no man of common sense, in such cirprobably have gained it by acceding to the Vien- cumstances, would take, surely, sir, they must na treaty between the Emperor and Spain, or by have had some secret motive for being thus guaranteeing the Pragmatic Sanction, which we grossly imposed on. This secret motive we may
perhaps discover by an inquiry; and as it must and there is no reason to doubt that the most im- be a wicked one, if it can be discovered, the portant of them were correctly stated by Walpole. They were said to have been to the effect, that the parties ought to be severely punished. Emperor should give in marriage his daughters, the
But, in excuse for their conduct, it is said that two arch-dachesses, to Don Carlos and Don Philip, our ministers had a laudable repugnance to inthe two Infants of Spain; that he should assist the volving their country in a war. Sir, this repugKing of Spain in obtaining by force the restitution nance could not proceed from any regard to of Gibraltar, if good offices would not avail; and their country. It was involved in a war. Spain that the two courts should adopt measures to place was carrying on a war against our trade, and the Pretender on the throne of Great Britain. The that in the most insulting manner, during the fact of there having been a secret treaty, was placed whole time of their negotiations. It was this beyond doubt by the Austrian embassador at the court of London having shown the article relating very repugnance, at least it was the knowledge to Gibraltar in that treaty, in order to clear the Em- of it which Spain possessed, that at length made peror of having promised any more than his good 10 By the second Treaty of Vienna, concluded on offices and mediation upon that head. (Coxe's His- the 16th of March, 1731, England guaranteed the tory of the House of Austria, chap. xxxvii.) With Pragmatic Sanction on the condition of the sup. reference to the stipulation for placing the Pretend pression of the Ostend Company, and that the archer on the throne of Great Britain, Mr. J. W. Croker, duchess who succeeded to the Austrian dominions to a note to Lord Hervey's Memoirs of the Court of should not be married to a prince of the house of Teorge II., vol. i., p. 78, says that its existence “is Boarbon, or to a prince so powerful as to endanger rery probable;" but that it is observable that Lord the balance of Europe.-Coxe's House of Austria Kervey, who revised his Memoirs some years after chap. Ixxxviii. he 29th of March, 1734, wbeo Sir Robert Walpole as. 11 By the Treaty of Seville, concluded between rested in the House of Commons that there was sach Great Britain, France, and Spain, on the 9th of Sep. e socament, and who was so long in the full confi-tember, 1729, and shortly after acceded to by Hol. dsxe of Walpole, speaks very doubtfully of it. land, all former treaties were confirmed, and the
On the 2d of August, 1718, the Emperor Charles several contracting parties agreed to assist each . promulgated a new law of succession for the in other in case of attack. The King of Spain revoked beritance of the house of Austria, under the name the privileges of trade which he had granted to the the Pragmatic Sanction. In this he ordained that, subjects of Austria by the Treaty of Vienna, and in the event of his having no male issue, his own commissioners were to be appointed for the final daughters should succeed to the Austrian throne, in adjustment of all commercial difficulties between preference to the daughters of his elder brother, as Spain and Great Britain. In order to secure the previonsly provided; and that such succession should succession of Parma and Tuscany to the Infant Doc be regulated according to the order of primogeni. Carlos, it was agreed that 6000 Spanish troops tare, so that the elder should be preferred to the should be allowed to garrison Leghorn, Porto Fer younger, and that she should inherit his entire do- rajo, Parma, and Placentia. This treaty passed over minions
ic sotal silence the claim of Spain lo Gibraltar.
it absolutely necessary for us to commence the event declare against them, otherwise they would
If ministers had at first iasisted properly not then have dared to attack the Emperor; for and peremptorily upon an explicit answer, Spain Muscovy, Poland, Germany, and Britain would would have expressly abandoned her new and have been by much an over-match for them. It i asolent claims and pretensions. But by the was not our preparations that set bounds to the long experience we allowed her, she found the ambition of France, but her getting ail she want. fruits of those pretensions so plentiful and so ed at that time for herself, and all she desired for gratifying, that she thought them worth the haz- her allies. Her own prudence suggested that ard of a war. Sir, the damage we had sustained it was not then a proper time to push her views became so considerable, that it really was worth further ; because she did not know but that the that hazard. Besides, the court of Spain was spirit of this nation might overcome (as it since convinced, while we were under such an admin- has with regard to Spain) the spirit of our ad. istration, that either nothing could provoke us to ministration; and should this have happened, the commence the war, or, that if we did, it would house of Austria was then in such a condition, be conducted in a weak and miserable manner. that our assistance, even though late, would have Have we not, sir, since found that their opinion been of effectual service. was correct ? Nothing, sir, ever more demand- I am surprised, sir, to hear the honorable gened a parliamentary inquiry than our conduct in tleman now say, that we gave up nothing, or the war.
The only branch into which we have that we acquired any thing, by the infamous Con. inquired we have already censured and con- vention with Spain. Did we not give up the demned. Is not this a good reason for inquiring freedom of our trade and navigation, by submitinto every other branch ? Disappointment and ting it to be regulated by plenipotentiaries ? ill success have always, till now, occasioned a Can freedom be regulated without being conparliamentary inquiry. Inactivity, of itself, is a fined, and consequently in some part destroyed ? sufficient cause for inquiry. We have now all | Did we not give up Georgia, or some part of it, these reasons combined. Our admirals abroad by submitting to have new limits settled by plendesire nothing more; because they are conscious ipotentiaries? Did we not give up all the repthat our inactivity and ill success will appear to aration of the damage we had suffered, amount proceed, not from their own misconduct, but ing to five or six hundred thousand pounds, for from the misconduct of those by whom they were the paltry sum of twenty-seven thousand pounds ? employed.
This was all that Spain promised to pay, after I can not conclude, sir, without taking notice deducting the sixty-eight thousand pounds which of the two other foreign measures mentioned by we, by the declaration annexed to that treaty, the honorable gentleman. Our conduct in the allowed her to insist on having from our South year 1734, with regard to the war between the Sea Company, under the penalty of stripping Emperor and France, may be easily accounted them of the Assiento Contract, and all the privi. for, though not easily excused. Ever since the leges to which they were thereby entitled. Even last accession of our late minister to power, we this sum of twenty-seven thousand pounds, or seem to have had an enmity to the house of Aus- more, they had before acknowledged to be due tria. Our guarantee of the Pragmatic Sanction on account of ships they allowed to have been was an effect of that enmity, because we enter- unjustly taken, and for the restitution of which ed into it when, as hath since appeared, we had they had actually sent orders: so that by this no intention to perform our engagement; and by infamous treaty we acquired nothing, while we that false guarantee we induced the Emperor to gave up every thing. Therefore, in my opinion, admit the introduction of the Spanish troops into the honor of ibis nation can never be retrieved, Italy, which he would not otherwise have done.12 unless the advisers and authors of it be censured The preparations we made in that year, the ar- and punished. This, sir, can not regularly be mies we raised, and the fleet we fitted out, were done without a parliamentary inquiry. not to guard against the event of the war abroad, By these, and similar weak, pusillanimous, but against the event of the ensuing elections at and wicked measures, we are become the ridihome. The new commissions, the promotions, cule of every court in Europe, and have lost the and the money laid out in these preparations, confidence of all our ancient allies. By these were of admirable use at the time of a general measures we have encouraged France to extend election, and in come measure atoned for the her ambitious views, and now at last to attempt Joss of the excise scheme. Bat France and her carrying them into execution. By bad econoallies were well convinced, that we would in no my, by extravagance ia our domestic measures,
we have involved oursel:es in such distress at 1a See Walpole's explanation of his reason for re- home, that we are most wholly incapable of enmaining neutral, in bis speech, page 39. Although tering into % war; while by weakness or wickEngland remained neatral during the progress of edr.css in our foreign measures, we have brought these hostilities, she augmented her naval and mii. the affairs of Eurone sito such distress that it is itary forces, “ in order,” said Mr. Pe ham, in the main esiplo for us to avoid it. Sir, we course of the debate, "to be ready te pui & siup to the arms of the victorious side, in case their erbi. bent ieer trought upon a dangerous precipice. tion should lead them to push their viniqueow forener nere voci w find ourselves; and shall we trust than was consonant with the triance of power is to the ki tafely or by the same guide who has Europe.”—Parl. Hist. vol xii. p. 419.
leš Ce sul Sir, it iq impossible for hirn to lead as off. Sir, it is impossible for us to get off, eries to Europe, as well as to his country. Let withont first recovering that confidence with our us be as merciful as we will, as merciful as any Eacient allies which formerly we possessed. This man can reasonably desire, when we come to SA can not do, so long as they suppose that our pronounce sentence, but sentence we must pro cjuncils are influenced by our late minister; nounce. For this purpose, unless we are reand this they will suppose so long as he has ac- solved to sacrifice our own liberties, and the lib. cess to the King's closet—so long as his conduct erties of Europe, to the preservation of one guilty remains uninquired into and uncensured. It is man, we must make the inquiry. not, therefore, in revenge for our past disasters, but from a desire to prevent them in future, that The motion was rejected by a majority of two I am now so zealous for this inquiry. The pun- A second motion was made a fortnight after, for ishment of the minister, be it ever : o severe, will an inquiry into the last ten years of Walpole's be but a small atonement for the past. But his administration, which gave rise to another speech impunity will be the source of many future mis- of Mr. Pitt. This will next be given.
OF LORD CHATHAM ON A MOTION TO INQUIRE INTO THE CONDUCT OF SIR ROBERT WAI
POLE, DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, MARCH 23, 1742.
INTRODUCTION. LORD LIMERICK's first motion for an inquiry into the conduct of Walpole was lost chiefy through the absence of Mr. Pulteney from the House during the illness of a favorite daughter. On the return of Palte. jey at the end of a fortnight, the motion was renewed, with a variation in one respect, viz., that the in. fairy be extended only to the last ten years of Walpole's continuance in office.
On that occasion, Mr. Pitt made the following speech in answer to Mr. Cook Harefield, who had re. rently taken his seat in the House. In it he shows bis remarkable power of reply; and argues with great force the propriety of inquiry, as leading to a decision whether an impeachment should be commenced.
SPEECH, &c. As the honorable gentleman who spoke last This, sir, would be a most convenient doctrine against the motion has not been long in the for ministers, because it would put an end to all douse, it is but charitable to believe him sin- parliamentary inquiries into the conduct of our Jere in professing that he is ready to agree to a public affairs; and, therefore, when I hear it parliamentary inquiry when he thinks the occa- urged, and so much insisted on, by a certain set sion requires it. But if he knew how often such of gentlemen in this House, I must suppose their professions are made by those who upon all oc- hopes to be very extensivo. I must suppose casions oppose inquiry, he would now avoid them to expect that they and their posterity will them, because they are generally believed to be forever continue in office. Sir, this doctrine insincere. He may, it is true, have nothing to has been so often contradicted by experience, dread, on his own account, from inquiry. But that I am surprised to hear it advanced by gen. when a gentleman has contracted, or any of his tlemen now. This very session has afforded us near relations have contracted, a friendship with a convincing proof that very little foundation exone who may be brought into danger, it is very ists for asserting, that a parliamentary inquiry natural to suppose that such a gentleman's op- must necessarily reveal the secrets of the govposition to an inquiry does not entirely proceed ernment. Surely, in a war with Spain, which from public motives ; and if that gentleman fol- must be carried on principally by sea, if the lows the advice of some of his friends, I very government have secrets, the Lords of the Ad. much question whether he will ever think the miralty must be intrusted with the most import occasion requires an inquiry into the conduct of ant of them. Yet, sir, in this very session, we our public affairs.
have, without any secret committees, made in. As a parliamentary inquiry must always be quiry into the conduct of the Lords Commisfuanded upon suspicions, as well as upon facts sioners of the Admiralty. We have not only or manifest crimes, reasons may always be found inquired into their conduct, but we have cen for alleging those suspicions to be without foun- sured it in such a manner as to put an end to dation; and upon the principle that a parlia- the trust which was before reposed in them. mentary inquiry must necessarily lay open the Has that inquiry discovered any of the secrete secrets of government, no time can ever be of our government? On the contrary, the com. proper or convenient for such inquiry, because mittee found that there was no occasion to probe it is impossible to suppose a time when the gov- into such secrets. They found cause enough for entrent has no secrets to disclose.
censure without it and none of the Commission
ers pretended to justify their conduct by the as- perpetrated with so much caution and secrecy, sertion that the papers contained secrets which that it will be difficult to bring them to light ought not tu be disclosed.
even by a parliamentary inquiry; but the very This, sir, is so recent, so strong a proof that suspicion is ground enough for establishing such there is no necessary connection between a par- inquiry, and for carrying it on with the utmust liamentary inquiry and a discovery of secrets strictness and vigor. which it behooves the nation to conceal, that I Whatever my opinion of past measures may trust gentlemen will no longer insist upon this be, I shall never be so vain, or bigoted to that danger as an argument against the inquiry. opinion, as to determine, without any inquiry, Sir, the First Commissioner of the Treasury has against the majority of my countrymen. If I nothing to do with the application of secret serv- found the public measures generally condemned, ice money. He is only to take care that it be let my private opinions of them be ever so fa. regularly issued from his office, and that no more vorable, I shonld be for inquiry in order to conbe issued than the conjuncture of affairs appears vince the people of their error, or at least to furto demand. As to the particular application, it nish myself with the most authentic arguments properly belongs to the Secretary of State, or in favor of the opinion I had embraced. The o such other persons as his Majesty employs. desire of bringing others into the same senti. Hence we can not suppose the proposed inquiry ments with ourselves is so natural, that I shall will discover any secrets relative to the applica- always suspect the candor of those who, in polition of that money, unless the noble lord has tics or religion, are opposed to free inquiry. Beicted as Secretary of State, as well as First sides, sir, when the complaints of the people are Commissioner of the Treasury; or unless a great general against an administration, or against part of the money drawn out for secret service any particular minister, an inquiry is a duty has been delivered to himself or persons em- which we owe both to our sovereign and the ployed by him, and applied toward gaining a people. We meet here to communicate to our corrupt influence in Parliament or at elections. sovereign the sentiments of his people. We Of both these practices he is most grievously meet here to redress the grievances of the peosuspected, and both are secrets which it very ple. By performing our duty in both respects, much behooves him to conceal. But, sir, it we shall always be enabled to establish the equally behooves the nation to discover them. throne of our sovereign in the hearts of his peoHis country and he are, in this cause, equally, ple, and to hinder the people from being led although oppositely concerned. The safety or into insurrection and rebellion by misrepresenta ruin of one or the other depends upon the fate tions or false surmises. When the people com. of the question; and the violent opposition which plain, they must either be right or in error. If this question has experienced adds great strength they be right, we are in duty bound to inquire to the suspicion.
into the conduct of the ministers, and to punish I admit, sir, that the noble lord (Walpole), those who appear to have been most guilly. If whose conduct is now proposed to be inquired they be in error, we ought still to inquire into into, was one of his Majesty's most honorable the conduct of our ministers, in order to convince Privy Council, and consequently that he must the people that they have been misled. We have had a share at least in advising all the ought not, therefore, in any question relating to measures which have been pursued both abroad inquiry, to be governed by our own sentiments. and at home. But I can not from this admit, We must be governed by the sentiments of our that an inquiry into his conduct must necessa- constituents, if we are resolved to perform our rily occasion a discovery of any secrets of vital duty, both as true representatives of the people, importance to the nation, because we are not to and as faithful subjects of our King. inqaire into the measures themselves.
I perfectly agree with the honorable gentle. But, sir, suspicions have gone abroad relative man, that if we are convinced that the public to his conduct as a Privy Counselor, which, if measures are wrong, or that if we suspect them true, are of the utmost consequence to be in to be so, we ought to make inquiry, although quired into. It has been strongly asserted that there is not much complaint among the people. he was not only a Privy Counselor, but that he But I wholly differ from him in thinking that usurped the whole and sole direction of his Maj- notwithstanding the administration and the min. esty's Privy Council. It has been asserted that ister are the subjects of complaint among the be gave the Spanish court the first hint of the people, we ought not to make inquiry into his unjust claim they afterward advanced against conduct unless we are ourselves convinced that our South Sea Company, which was one chief his measures have been wrong. Sir, we can cause of the war between the two nations. And no more determine this question without in, si has been asserted that this very minister has quiry, than a judge without a trial can declare advised the French in what manner to proceed any man innocent of a crime laid to his charge. in order to bring our Court into their measures; Common fame is a sufficient ground for an inparticularly, that he advised them as to the nu- quisition at common law; and for the same reamerous army they have this last summer sent son, the general voice of the people of England into Westphalia. What truth there is in these ought always to be regarded as a sufficien. assertions, I pretend not to decide. The facts ground for a parliamentary inquiry. are of such a nature, and they must have been But, say gentlemen, of what is this ministe