Page images
PDF
EPUB

accused? What crime is laid to his charge? | suppose our minister either personally or by oth. For, unless some misfortune is said to have hap- ers, has ever corrupted an election, because no pened, or sume crime to have been committed, information has been brought against him. Sir, no inquiry ought to be set on foot. Sir, the ill nothing but a pardon, upon the conviction of the posture of our affairs both abroad and at home; offender, has ever yet been offered in this case; the melancholy situation we are in; the distress- and how could any informer expect a pardon, es to which we are now reduced, are sufficient and much less a reward, when he knew that the causes for an inquiry, even supposing the minis- very man against whom he was to inform had ter accused of no particular crime or misconduct. not only the distribution of all public rewards, The nation lies bleeding, perhaps expiring. The but the packing of a jury or a Parliament against balance of power has been fatally disturbed. him? While such a minister preserves the faShall we acknowledge this to be the case, and vor of the Crown, and thereby the exercise of its shall we not inquire whether it has happened by power, this information can never be expected. mischance, or by the misconduct, perhaps by the This shows, sir, the impotence of the act, malice prepense, of the minister ? Before the mentioned by the honorable gentleman, respectTreaty of Utrecht, it was the general opinion that ing that sort of corruption which is called bribin a few years of peace we should be able to pay ery. With regard to the other sort of corrupoff most of our debts. We have now beer very tion, which consists in giving or taking away nearly thirty years in profound peace, at least those posts, pensions, or preferments which dewe have never been engaged in any war but pend upon the arbitrary will of the Crown, the what we unnecessarily brought upon ourselves, act is still more inefficient. Although it would and yet our debts are almost as great as they be considered most indecent in a minister to tell were when that treaty was concluded.' Is not any man that he gave or withheld a post, penthis a misfortune, and shall we not make inquiry sion, or preferment, on account of his voting for into its cause?

or against any ministerial measure in Parliament, I am surprised to hear it said that no inquiry or any ministerial candidate at an election; yet, ought to be set on foot unless it is known that he makes it his constant rule never to give a some public crime has been committed. Sir, post, pension, or preferment, but to those who the suspicion that a crime has been committed | vote for his measures and his candidates ; if he bas always been deemed a sufficient reason for makes a few examples of dismissing those who instituting an inquiry. And is there not now a vote otherwise, it will have the same effect as suspicion that the public money has been applied when he openly declares it. Will any gentletoward gaining a corrupt influence at elections ? man say that this has not been the practice of Is it not become a common expression, “The the minister? Has he not declared, in the face flood-gates of the Treasury are opened against a of this House, that he will continue the pracgeneral election ?" I desire no more than that tice? And will not this have the same effect every gentleman who is conscious that such as if he went separately to every particular man, practices have been resorted to, either for or and told him in express terms, “Sir, if you vote against him, should give his vote in favor of the for such a measure or such a candidate, you motion. Will any gentleman say that this is no shall have the first preferment in the gift of the crime, when even private corruption has such Crown; if you vote otherwise, you must not ex. high penalties inflicted by express statute against pect to keep what you have ?" Gentlemen may it? Sir, a minister who commits this crime— deny that the sun shines at noon-day; but if they who thus abuses the public money, adds breach have eyes, and do not willsully shut them, or of trust to the crime of corruption; and as the turn their backs, no man will believe them to be crimo, when committed by him, is of much more ingenuous in what they say. I think, therefore, dangerous consequence than when committed by that the honorable gentleman was in the right a private man, it becomes more properly the ob- who endeavored to justify the practice. It was ject of a parliamentary inquiry, and merits the more candid than to deny it. But as his arguseverest punishment. The honorable gentleman ments have already been fully answered, I shall may with much more reason tell us that Porte- not farther discuss them. ous was never murdered by the mob at Edin- Gentlemen exclaim, "What! will you take burgh, because, notwithstanding the high reward from the Crown the power of preferring or cashas well as pardon proffered, his murderers were iering the officers of the army?" No, sir, this never discovered, than tell us that we can not is neither the design, nor will it be the effect of

our agreeing to the motion. The King at presDebt on the accession of George the First, in 1714

£54,145,363

a few nights after, broke open his prison, and hang. Debt at the commencement of the

ed him on the spot where he had fired. A reward Spanish war, in 1739

£46,954,623

of £200 was offered, but the perpetrators could not Decrease doring the peace ...... £7,190,740 be discovered. * The case of Porteons, here referred to, was the 3 It will be recollected that, in consequence of his Obe on which Sir Walter Scott founded sis " Heart parliamentary opposition to Sir Robert Walpole, Mr. of Midlothian.” Porteous bad been condemned to Pitt bad been himself dismissed from the army. The death for firing on the people of Edinburgh, but was Duke of Bolton and Lord Cobham had also, for a reprieved at the moment when the execution was similar reason, been deprived of the command o to have taken place. Exasperated at this, the mob, I their regiments.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ent possesses the absolute power to prefer or , and the reason is plain, because we ought first cashier the officers of our army. It is a prerog- to inquire into the management of that revenue, ative which he may employ for the benefit or and punish those who have occasioned the defi. safety of the public; but, like other prerogatives, ciency. They will certainly choose to leave the it may be abused, and when it is so abused, the creditors of the Crown and the honor of the naminister is responsible to Parliament. When an tion in a state of suffering, rather than advise officer is preferred or cashiered for voting in fa- the King to make an application which may vor of or against any court measure or candidate, bring censure upon their conduct, and condiga it is an abuse of this prerogative, for which the punishment upon themselves. Besides this, sir, minister is answerable. We may judge from another and a stronger reason exists for promoto circumstances or outward appearances—from ing an inquiry. There is a strong suspicion these we may condemn, and I hope we have that the public money has been applied toward still a power to punish a minister who dares to corrupting voters at elections, and members advise the King to prefer or cashier from such when elected; and if the civil list be in debt, it motives ! Sir, whether this prerogative ought affords reason to presume that some part of this to remain as it is, without any limitation, is a revenue has, under the pretense of secret service question foreign to this debate. But I must ob money, been applied to this infamous purpose. serve, that the argument employed for it might, I shall conclude, sir, by making a few remarks with equal justice, be employed for giving our upon the last argument advanced against the King an absolute power over every man's prop- proposed inquiry. It has been said that the minerty; because a large property will always give ister delivered in his accounts annually; that the possessor a command over a great body of these accounts were annually passed and apmen, whom he may arm and discipline if he proved by Parliament; and that therefore it pleases. I know of no law to restrain him I would be unjust to call him now to a general hope none will ever exist—I wish our gentlemen account, because the vouchers may be lost, or of estates would make more use of this power many expensive transactions have escaped his than they do, because it would tend to keep our memory. It is true, sir, estimates and accounts domestic as well as our foreign enemies in awe. were annually delivered in. The forms of proFor my part, I think that a gentleman who has ceeding made that necessary. But were any of earned his commission by his services (in his these estimates and accounts properly inquired military capacity, I mean), or bought it with his into? Were not all questions of that descripmoney, has as much a property in it as any man tion rejected by the minister's friends in Parliahas in his estate, and ought to have it as well ment ? Did not Parliament always take them secured by the laws of his country. While it upon trust, and pass them without examination ? remains at the absolute will of the Crown, he can such a superficial fassing, to call it no must, unless he has some other estate to depend worse, be deemed a reason for not calling him on, be a slave to the minister; and if the officers to a new and general account? If the steward of our army long continue in that state of slavery to an infant's estate should annually, for twenty in which they are at present, I am afraid it will years together, deliver in his accounts to tho make slaves of us all.

guardians; and the guardians, through negli. The only method to prevent this fatal conse- gence, or for a share of the plunder, should an. quence, as the law now stands, is to make the nually pass his accounts without examination, oi best and most constant use of the power we pos- at least without objection ; would that be a reasess as members of this House, to prevent any son for saying that it would be unjust in the inminister from daring to advise the King to make fant, when he came of age, to call his steward a bad use of his prerogative. As there is such to account ? Especially if that steward had a strong suspicion that this minister has done so, built and furnished sumptuous palaces, living, we ought certainly to inquire into it, not only for during the whole time, at a much greater exthe sake of punishing him if guilty, but as a ter- pense than his visible income warranted, and yet ror to all future ministers.

amassing great riches ? The public, sir, is alThis, sir, may therefore be justly reckoned ways in a state of infancy; therefore no preamong the many other sufficient causes for the scription can be pleaded against it—not even a inquiry proposed. The suspicion that the civil general release, if there is the least cause foi list is greatly in debt is another; for if it is, it supposing that it was surreptitiously obtained mast either have been misapplied, or profusely Public vouchers ought always to remain on rec. thrown away, which abuse it is our duty both to ord; nor ought any public expense to be incur. prevent and to punish. It is inconsistent with red without a voucher—therefore the case of the the honor of this nation that the King should public is still stronger than that of an infant stand indebted to his servants or tradesmen, Thus, sir, the honorable gentleman who made who may be ruined by delay of payment. The use of this objection, must see how little it avails Parliament has provided sufficiently to prevent in the case before us; and therefore I trust we this dishonor from being brought upon the na- shall have his concurrence in the question. tion, and, if the provision we have made should be lavished or misapplied, we must supply the The motion prevailed by a majority of seven de iciency. We ought to do it, whether the King A corumittee of twenty-one was appointed, comunakes any application for that purpose or not; I posed of Walpole's political and personal opper

nents. They entered on the inquiry with great tion from peculators and others, who mighi visa zeal and expectation. But no documentary to cover their crimes by making the minister a proofs of importance could be found. Witnesses partaker in their guilt. The result of all their were called up for examination as to their trans- inquiries," says Cooke, “ was charges so few and actions with the treasury; but they refused to so ridiculous, when compared with those put fortestisy, unless previously indemnified against the ward at the commencement of the investigation, consequences of the evidence they might be re- that the promoters of the prosecution were themquired to give. The House passed a bill of in-selves ashamed of their work. Success was demnity, but the Lords rejected it, as dangerous found impracticable, and Lord Orford enjoyed his in its tendency, and calculated to invite accusa- honors unmolested."--Hist. of Party, ii., 316.

SPEECH

OF LORD CHATHAM ON TAKING THE HANOVERIAN TROOPS INTO THE PAY OF GREAT BRITAIN,

DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, DEC. 10, 1742.

INTRODUCTION. GEORGE II., when freed from the trammels of Walpole's pacific policy, had a silly ambition of appear. ing on the Continent, like William III., at the head of a confederate army against France, while he sought, at the same time, to defend and aggrandize his Electorate of Hanover at the expense of Great Britain. In this he was encouraged by Lord Carteret, who succeeded Walpole as actual minister. The King therefore took sixteen thousand Hanoverian troops into British pay, and sent them with a large English force into Flanders. His object was to create a diversion in favor of Maria Theresa, queen of Hungary, to whom the English were now affording aid, in accordance with their guarantee of the Pragmatic Sanction. Two subsidies, one of £300,000 and another of £500,000, had already been transmitted for her re. lief; and so popular was her cause in England, that almost any sum would have been freely given. But there was a general and strong opposition to the King's plan of shifting the burdens of Hanover on to the British treasury. Mr. Pitt, who concurred in these views, availed himself of this opportunity to come out as the opponent of Carteret. He had been neglected and set aside in the arrangements which were made after the fall of Walpole; and he was not of a spirit tamely to bear the arrogance of the new min ister. Accordingly, when a motion was made to provide for the payment of the Hanoverian troops, ho delivered the following speech, in reply to Henry Fox, who had said that he shou!! "continue to vote for thesc measures till better could be proposed."

SPEECH, &c.

Sir, if the honorable gentleman determines to the place most distant from the enemy, least in abandon his present sentiments as soon as any danger of an attack, and most strongly fortified, better measures are proposed, the ministry will had an attack been designed. They have, therequickly be deprived of one of their ablest defend- fore, no other claim to be paid, than that they ers; for I consider the measures hitherto pur- lest their own country for a place of greater se. sued so weak and so pernicious, that scarcely curity. It is always reasonable to judge of the any alteration can be proposed that will not be future by the past; and therefore it is probable for the advantage of the nation.

that next year the services of these troops will The honorable gentleman has already been in- not be of equal importance with those for which formed that no necessity existed for hiring auxil- they are now to be paid. I shall not, therefore, iary troops. It does not appear that either justice be surprised, if, after such another glorious camor policy required us to engage in the quarrels of paign, the opponents of the ministry be chal. the Continent; that there was any need of forming lenged to propose better measures, and be told an army in the Low Countries; or that, in order that the nioney of this nation can not be more to form an army, auxiliaries were necessary. properly e nployed than in hiring Hanoverians to

But, not to dwell upon disputable points, I eat and sleep. think it may justly be concluded that the meas- But to prove yet more particularly that better ores of our ministry have been ill concerted, be- measures inay be taken—ihat more useful troops eause it is undoubtedly wrong to squander the may be retained—and that, therefore, the honpublic money without effect, and to pay armies, orable gentleman may be expected to quit those only to be a show to our friends and a scorn to to whom he now adheres, I shall show that, in our enemies.

hiring the forces of Hanover, we have obstruct. The troops of Hanover, whom we are now ex-ed our own designs; that, instead of assisting pected to pay, marched into the Low Countries, the Queen of Hungary, we have withdrawn from sir, where they still remain. They marched to her a part of the allies, and have burdened the

nation with troops from which no service can See note to Walpole's speech, p. 40. reasonably be expected.

The advocates of the ministry have, on this those who have advised his Majesty to hire and occasion, affected to speak of the balance of pow. to send elsewhere those troops which should or, the Pragmatic Sanction, and the preservation have been employed for the Queen of Hungary's of the Queen of Hungary, not only as if they assi stance. It is not to be imagined, sir, that were to be the chief care of Great Britain, which bis Majesty has more or less regard to justice (although easily controvertible) might, in com- as King of Great Britain, than as Elector of pliance with long prejudices, be possibly admit- Hanover; or that he would not have sent his ted; but as if they were to be the care of Great proportion of troops to the Austrian army, had Britain alone. These advocates, sir, have spok- not the temptation of greater prosit been laid inen as if the power of France were formidable to dustriously before him. But this is not all that no other people than ourselves ; as if no other may be urged against such conduct. For, can part of the world would be injured by becoming we imagine that the power, that the designs of a prey to a universal monarchy, and subject to France, are less formidable to Hanover than the arbitrary government of a French deputy; Great Britain ? Is it less necessary for the se. by being drained of its inhabitants only to extend curity of Hanover than of ourselves, that the the conquests of its masters, and to make other house of Austria should be re-established it its nations equally wretched; and by being oppressed former splendor and influence, and enabled to with exorbitant taxes, levied by military execu- support the liberties of Europe against the enor. tions, and employed only in supporting the state mous attempts at universal monarchy by France ? of its oppressors. They dwell upon the import- If, therefore, our assistance to the Queen of ance of public faith and the necessity of an exact Hungary be an act of honesty, and granted in observation of treaties, as if the Pragmatic Sanc- consequence of treaties, why may it not be tion had been signed by no other potentate than equally required of Hanover ? If it be an act the King of Great Britain ; as if the public faith of generosity, why should this country alone be were to be obligatory upon ourselves alone. obliged to sacrifice her interests for those of oth.

That we should inviolably observe our treat. ers? or why should the Elector of Hanover exer: ies-observe them although every other nation his liberality at the expense of Great Britain ? should disregard them; that we should show an It is now too apparent, sir, that this great, example of fidelity to mankind, and stand firm this powerful, this mighty nation, is considered in the practice of virtue, though we should stand only as a province to a despicable Electorate; alone, I readily allow. I am, therefore, far from and that in consequence of a scheme formcd advising that we should recede from our stipu- long ago, and invariably pursued, these troops lations, whatever we may suffer in their fulfill- are hired only to drain this unhappy country of ment; or that we should neglect the support of its money. That they have hitherto been of iso the Pragmatic Sanction, however we may be at use to Great Britain or to Austria, is evident present embarrassed, or however disadvanta- beyond a doubt; and therefore it is plain that geous may be its assertion.

they are retained only for the purposes of Hano. But surely, sir, for the same reason that we observe our stipulations, we ought to excite other How much reason the transactions of almost powers also to observe their own; at the least, every year have given for suspecting this absir, we ought not to assist in preventing them surd, ungrateful, and perfidious partiality, it is from doing so. But how is our present conduct not necessary to declare. I doubt not that most agreeable to these principles? The Pragmatic of those who sit in this House can recollect a Sanction was guaranteed, not only by the King great number of instances in point, from the of Great Britain, but by the Elector of Hanover purchase of part of the Swedish dominions, to also, who (if treaties constitute obligation) is the contract which we are now called upon to thereby equally obliged to defend the house of ratify. Few, I think, can have forgotten the Austria against the attacles of any foreign pow- memorable stipulation for the Hessian troops : er, and to send his proportion of troops for the for the forces of the Duke of Wolfenbuttle, which Qneen of Hungary's support.

we were scarcely to march beyond the verge Whether these troops have been sent, those of their own country: or the ever memorable whose province obliges them to possess some treaty, the tendency of which is discovered in knowledge of foreign affairs, are better able to the name. A treaty by which we disunited our. inform the House than myself. But, since we selves from Austria ; destroyed that building have not heard them mentioned in this debate, which we now endeavor, perhaps in vain, to raiso and since we know by experience that none of again ; and weakened the only power to which the merits of that Electorate are passed over in it was our interest to give strength. silence, it may, I think, be concluded that the To dwell on all the instances of partiality distresses of the Queen of Hungary have yet re- which have been shown, and the yearly visits ceived no alleviation from her alliance with which have been paid to that delightful country; Hanover; that her complaints have excited no to reckon up all the sums that have been spent to compassion at that court, and that the justice of aggrandize and enrich it, would be an irksomo her cause has obtained no attention.

and invidious task-invidious to those who are To what can be attributed this negligence of afraid to be told the truth, and irksome to those treaties, this disregard of justice, this defect of who are unwilling to hear of the dishonor and compassion, but to the pernicious counsels of injuries of their conntry. I shall not dwell for

ver.

ther on this unpleasing subject than to express Parliament pays no regard but to the interests my hope, that we shall no longer suffer ourselves of Great Britain. to be deceived and oppressed: that we shall at length perform our duty as representatives of The motion was carried by a considerable the people : and, by refusing to ratify this con- majority ; but Mr. Pitt's popularity was greatly tract, show, that however the interests of Han- increased throughout the country by his resist over have been preferred by the ministers, the ance of this obnoxious measure.

SPEECH OF JORD CHATHAM ON A MOTION FOR AN ADDRESS OF THANKS AFTER THE BATTLE OF DET.

TINGEN, DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, DECEMBER 1, 1743.

INTRODUCTION. The battle of Dettingen was the last in which any Eoglish monarch has appeared personally in the field. It was fought near a village of this name in Germany, on the banks of the Mayn, between Mayence and Frankfort, on the 27th of June, 1743. The allied army, consisting of about thirty-seven thousand En. glish and Hanoverian troops, was commanded, at the time of this engagement, by George II. Previous to his taking the command, it had been brought by mismanagement into a perilous condition, being bemmed in between the River Mayn on the one side and a range of precipitous bills on the other, and there reduced to great extremities for want of provisions. The French, who occapied the opposite side of the Mayn in superior force, seized the opportunity, and threw a force of twenty-three thousand men across the river to cut off the advance of the allies through the defile of Dettingen, and shortly after sent twelve thousand more into their rear, to preclude the possibility of retreat. The position of the French in front was impregnable, and, if they had only retained it, the capture of the entire allied army would have been inevitable. But the eagerness of Grammont, who commanded the French in that quarter, drew him off from his vantage ground, and induced him to give battle to the allies on more equal terms. When the engagement commenced, George II., dismounting from his horse, put himself at the head of his infantry, and led his troops on foot to the charge. "The conduct of the King in this conflict," says Lord Mabon, ** deserves the highest praise; and it was undoubtedly through him and through his son [the Duke of Cumberland), far more than throngh any of his generals, that the day was won.” The British and Hano verian infantry vied with each other under such guidance, and swept the French forces before them with an impetuosity which soon decided the battle, and produced a complete rout of the French army. The exhausted condition of the allies, however, and especially their want of provisions, rendered it impossible for them to pursue the French, who left the field with the loss of six thousand men.

The King, on his return to England, opened the session of Parliament in person; and in reply to his speech, an Address of Thanks was moved, “ acknowledging the goodness of Divine Providence to this nation in protecting your Majesty's sacred person amid imminent dangers, in defense of the common causo and liberties of Europe." In opposition to this address, Mr. Pitt made the following speech. In the for. mer part of it, either from erroneous information or prejudice, he seems unwilling to do justice to the King's intrepidity on that occasion. But the main part of the speech is occupied with an examination,

I. Of Sir Robert Walpole's policy (which was that of the King) in respect to the Queen of Hungary and the balance of power.

IL. Of the conduct of the existing ministry (that of Lord Carteret) in relation to these sabjects.
III. Of the manner in which the war in Germany had been carried on; and,
IV. Of the consequences to be anticipated from the character and conduct of the ministry.

The speech will be interesting to those who bave sufficient acquaintance with the history of the times to enter fully into the questions discussed. It is characterized by comprehensive views and profound reflection on the leading question of that day, the balance of power, and by a high sense of national honor. It has a cortinuous line of argument running throughout it; and shows the error of those who imagine that “Lord Chatham never reasoned.'

SPEECH, &c. From the proposition before the House, sir, | ister (Walpole] betrayed the interests of his we may perceive, that whatever alteration has country by his pusillanimity; our present minbeen, or may be produced with respect to for- ister (Carteret) would sacrifice them by his eign measures, by the late change in administra- Quixotism. Our former minister was for negotion, we can expect none with regard to our do- tiating with'all the world; our present minister mestic affairs. In foreign measures, indeed, a is for fighting against all the world. Our for. most extraordinary change has taken place. mer minister was for agreeing to every tres From one extreme, our admiristration have run though never so dishonorable; our present min to the very verge of another. Our former min-1 ister will give ear to none, though never so rea

« PreviousContinue »