« ForrigeFortsett »
They obtained no reversions or pensions, either ing, nor heightened by the colouring of elo coming in or going out, for themselves, their quence. They are the services of a single year. families, or their dependents.
The removal of that administration from In the prosecution of their measures they power, is not to them premature; since they were traversed by an opposition of a new and were in office long enough to accomplish many singular character ; an opposition of place plans of public utility; and, by their persemen and pensioners. They were supported verance and resolution, rendered the way by the confidence of the nation. And having smooth and easy to their successors; having held their offices under many difficulties and left their king and their country in a much discouragements, they left them at the express better condition than they found them. By command, as they had accepted them at the the temper they manifest, they seem to have earnest request, of their royal master. now no other wish, than that their successors
These are plain facts; of a clear and public may do the public as real and as faithful sernature ; neither extended by elaborate reason- vice as they have done.
ON A LATE PUBLICATION, INTITULED, “THE PRESENT
STATE OF THE NATION.”
“ Tite, si quid ego adjuvero curamve levasso,
Quæ nunc te coquit, et versat sub pectore fixa,
ENN. ap. Cic.
Party divisions, whether on the whole ope- of politics, a continua. fire has been kepating for good or evil, are things inseparable upon them; sometimes from the unwieldly from free government. This is a truth which, column of quartos and octavos; sometimes I believe, admits little dispute, having been from the light squadrons of occasional pamestablished by the uniform experience of all phlets and flying sheets. Every month has ages. The part a good citizen ought to take brought on its periodical calumny. The abuse in these divisions, has been a matter of much has taken every shape which the ability of the deeper controversy. But God forbid, that any writers could give it; plain invective, clumsy controversy relating to our essential morals raillery, misrepresented anecdote.* No meshould admit of no decision. It appears to thod of vilifying the measures, the abilities, me, that this question, like most of the others the intentions, or the persons which compose which regard our duties in life, is to be deter- that body, has been omitted. mined by our station in it. Private men may On their part nothing was opposed but pabe wholly neutral, and entirely innocent; but tience and character. It was a matter of the they who are legally invested with public trust, most serious and indignant affliction to persons, or stand on the high ground of rank and dig. who thought themselves in conscience bound to nity, which is trust implied, can hardly in any oppose a ministry, dangerous from its very case remain indifferent, without the certainty constitution, as well as its measures, to find of sinking into insignificance; and thereby in themselves, whenever they faced their advereffect desertirg that post in which, with the saries, continually attacked on the rear by a fullest authority, and for the wisest purposes, set of men who pretended to be actuated by the laws and institutions of their country have motives similar to theirs. They saw that the fixed them. However, if it be the office of plan long pursued with but too fatal a success, those who are thus circumstanced, to take a was to break the strength of this kingdom; by decided part, it is no less their duty that it frittering down the bodies which compose it; should be a sober one. It ought to be circum- by fomenting bitter and sanguinary animosiscribed by the same laws of decorum, and ties, and by dissolving every tie of social affecm balanced by the same temper, which bound tion and public trust. These virtuous men, and regulate all the virtues. In a word, we such I am warranted by public opinion to call ought to act in party with all the moderation them, were resolved rather to endure every which does not absolutely enervate that vigour, thing, than co-operate in that design. A diand quench that fervency of spirit, without versity of opinion upon almost every principla which the best wishes for the public good must of politics had indeed drawn a strong line of evaporate in empty speculation.
separation between them and some others. It is probably from some such motives that However, they were desirous not to extend tho the friends of a very respectable party in this
* History of the Minority. History of the Re. singdom have been hitherto silent. For these peal of the Stamp.
Act. Considerations on Trado Iwo years past, from one and the same quarter and Finance. Political Register, &c. &r.
misiortune by unnecessary bitterness; they mons is swept into this grand reservoir of par wished to prevent a difference of opinion on litics. the commonwealth from festering into ranco- As to the composition, it bears a striking rous and incurable hostility. Accordingly they and whimsical resemblance to a funeral serendeavoured that all past controversies should mon, not only in the pathetic prayer with be forgotten; and that enough for the day which it concludes, but in the style and tenour should be the evil thereof. There is however of the whole performance. It is piteously dolea limit at which forbearanco ceases to be a ful, nodding every now and then towards dul. virtue. Men may tolerate injuries, whilst they ness; well stored with pious frauds, and, like are only personal to themselves. But it is not most discourses of the sort, much better calcuthe first of virtues to bear with moderation the lated for the private advantage of the preacher indignities that are offered to our country. A than the edification of the hearers. piece has at length appeared, from the quarter The author has indeed so involved his subof all the former attacks, which upon every ject, that it is frequently far from being easy public consideration demands an
io comprehend his meaning. It is happy for Whilst persons more equal to this business the public that it is never difficult to fathom his may be engaged in affairs of greater moment, I design. The apparent intention of this author hope I shall be excused, if, in a few hours of a is to draw the most aggravated, hideous, and time not very important, and from such mate- deformed picture of the state of this country rials as I have by me, (more than enough how- which his querelous eloquence, aided by the ever for this purposo,) I undertake to set the arbitrary dominion he assumes ove: fact, is cafacts and arguments of this wonderful perfor- pable of exhibiting. Had he attributed our mance in a proper light. I will endeavour to misfortunes to their true cause, the injudicious state what this piece is; the purpose for which tampering of bold, improvident, and visionary I take it to have been written ; and the effects ministers at one period, or to their supine nego (supposing it should have any effect at all) it ligence and traitorous dissensions at another, must necessarily produce.
the complaint had been just, and might have This piece is called, The present State of the been useful. But far the greater and much Nation. It may be considered as a sort of the worst part of the state which he exhibits is digest of the avowed maxims of a certain poli- owing, according to his representation, not to tical school, the effects of whose doctrines and accidental and extrinsic mischiefs attendant on practices this country will feel long and severely. the nation, but to its radical weakness and It is made up of a farrago of almost every topic constitutional distempers. All this however is which has been agitated in parliamentary de- not without purpose. The author is in hopes, bate, or private conversation, on national affairs that, when we are fallen into a fanatical terfor these last seven years. The oldest contro- rour for the national salvation, we shall then versies are hauled out of the dust with which be ready to throw ourselves, in a sort of precitime and neglect had covered them. Arguments pitate trust, some strange disposition of the ten times repeated, a thousand times answered mind jumbled up of presumption and despair, before, are here repeated again. Public ac- into the hands of the most pretending and forcounts formerly printed and re-printed revolve ward undertaker. One such undertaker at least opce more, and find their old station in this he has in readiness for our service. But let sober meridian. All the common-place lamen- me assure this generous person, that however tations upon the decay of trade, the increase he may succeed in exciting our fears for the of taxes, and the high price of labour and pro- public danger, he will find it hard indeed to visions, we here retailed again and again in engage us to place any confidence in the system the same tone with which they have drawled he proposes for our security. through columns of Gazetteers and Adverti- His undertaking is great. The purpose of sers for a century together. Paradoxes which this pamphlet, and at which it aims directly or affront common sense, and uninteresting barren obliquely in every page, is to persuade the pubtruths which generate no conclusion, are lic of three or four of the most difficult points thrown in to augment unwieldly bulk, without in the world—that all the advantages of the late adding any thing to weight. Because two ac- war were on the part of the Bourbon alliance, cusations are better than one, contradictions that the peace of Paris perfectly consulted the are set staring one another in the face, without dignity and interest of this country; and that even an attempt to reconcile them. And to give the American stamp-act was a master-piece of the whole a sort of portentous air of labour policy and finance; that the only good minister and information, the table of the house of com- this nation has enjoyed since his majesty's
accession, is the Earl of Bute ; and the only speculation into national measures, cannot fail good managers of revenue we have seen are of hastening and completing our ruin. Lord Despenser and Mr. George Grenville ; This author, after having paid his compliand under the description of men of virtue and ment to the shewy appearances of the late war ability, he holds them out to us as the only per- in our favour, is in the utmost haste to tell you sons fit to put our affairs in order. Let not the that these appearances were fallacious, that they reader mistake me: he does not actually name were no more than an imposition.-I fear I these persons; but, having highly applauded must trouble the reader with a pretty long their conduct in all its parts, and heavily cen- quotation, in order to set before him the more sured every other set of men in the kingdom, he clearly this author's peculiar way of conceive then recommends us to his men of virtue and ing and reasoning: ability.
“Happily (the K.) was then advised by Such is the author's scheme. Whether it ministers, who did not suffer them.selves to be will answer his purpose, I know not. But dazzled by the glare of brilliant appearances ; surely that purpose ought to be a wonderfully but, knowing them to be fallacious, they wisely good one, to warrant the methods he has taken resolved to profit of their splendour before our to compass it. If the facts and reasonings in enemies should also discover the imposition.this piece are admitted, it is all over with us. The increase in the exports was found to have The continuance of our tranquillity depends been occasioned chiefly by the demands of our upon the compassion of our rivals. Unable to own fleets and armies, and, instead of bringing secure to ourselves the advantages of peace, we wealth to the nation, was to be paid for by opare at the same time utterly unfit for war. It pressive taxes upon the people of England. is impossible, if this state of things be credited While the British seamen were consuming on abroad, that we can have any alliance; all na- board our men of war and privateers, foreign tions will fly from so dangerous a connection, ships and foreign seamen were employed in lest, instead of being partakers of our strength, the transportation of our merchandize; and they should only become sharers in our ruin. the carrying trade, so great a source of wealth If it is believed at home, all that firmness of and marine, was entirely engrossed by the neumind, and dignified national courage, which tral nations. The number of British ships used to be the great support of this isle against annually arriving in our ports was reduced 1756 the powers of the world, must melt away, and sail, containing 92,559 tons, on a medium of fail within us.
the six years' war, compared with the six years In such a state of things can it be amiss, if I of peace preceding it. The conquest of the aim at holding out some comfort to the nation ; Havannah had, indeed, stopped the remittance another sort of comfort indeed, than that which of specie from Mexico to Spain; but it had this writer provides for it; a comfort, not from not enabled England to seize it: on the conits physician, but from its constitution; if I trary, our merchants suffered by the detention attempt to shew that all the arguments upon of the galleons, as their correspondents in Spain which he founds the decay of that constitution, were disabled from paying them for their goods and the necessity of that physician, are vain sent to America. The loss of the trade to old and frivolous? I will follow the author closely Spain was a farther bar lo an influx of specie ; in his own long career, through the war, the and the attempt upon Portugal had not only peace, the finances, our trade,
and our foreign deprived us of an import of bullion from thence, politics : not for the sake of the particular but the payment of our troops employed in its measures which he discusses; that can be of defence was a fresh drain opened for the dimino use ; they are all decided; their good is all nution of our circulating specie.-The high enjoyed, or their evil incurred: but for the sake premiums given for new loans had sunk the of the principles of war, peace, trade, and price of the old stock near a third of its original finances. These principles are of infinite mo- value, so that the purchasers had an obligation ment. They must come again and again under from the state to re-pay them with an addition consideration; and it imports the public, of all of 33 per cent. to their capital. Every new things, that those of its ministers be enlarged, loan required new taxes to be imposed; new and just, and well confirmed, upon all these taxes must add to the price of our manufactures subjects. What notions this author entertains, and lessen their consumption among foreigners. we shall see presently ; notions in my opinion The decay of our trade must necessarily occavery irrational, and extremely dangerous ; and sion a decrease of the public revenue ; and a dewhich, if they should crawl from pamphlets ficiency of Jur funds must either be made up into counsels, and be realised from private by fresh taxes, which would only add to the
calamity, or our national credit must be de any, even the most essential points, since vic' stroyed, by shewing the public creditors the tory and defeat, though by different ways, inability of the nation to re-pay them their equally conduct us to our ruin? Subjection principal money.-Bounties had already been to France without a struggle will indeed be given for recruits which exceeded the year's less for our honour, but un every principle of wages of the ploughman and reaper; and as our author it must be more for our advantage. these were exhausted, and husbandry stood still According to his representation of things, the for want of hands, the manufacturers were question is only concerning the most easy fall. next to be tempted to quit the anvil and loom France had not discovered, our statesman tells by higher offers.-France, bankrupt France, had us, at the end of that war, the triumphs of deno such calamities impending over her; her dis-, feat, and the resources which are derived from tresses were great, but they were immediate and bankruptcy. For my poor part, I do not wontemporary; her want of credit preserved her from der at their blindness. But the English minisa great increase of debt, and the loss of her ultra- ters saw further. Our author has at length let marine dominions lessened her expenses. Her foreigners also into the secret, and made them colonies had, indeech put themselves into the hands altogether as wise as ourselves. It is their of the English; but the property of her subjects own fuult if (vulgato imperii arcano) they are had been preserved by capitulations, and a way imposed upon any longer. They now are apopened for making her those remittances, which prised of the sentiments which the great can the war had before suspended, with as much seo didate for the government of this great empire curity as in the time of peace. Her armies in entertains; and they will act accordingly. Germany had been hitherto prevented from They are taught our weakness and their own seizing upon Hanover ; but they continued to advantages. encamp on the same ground on which the first He tells the world, t that if France carries battle was fought; and, as it must ever happen on the war against us in Germany, every loss from the policy of that government, the last she sustains contributes to the achievement of troops she sent into the field were always found to her conquest. If her armies are three years be the best, and her frequent losses only served to unpaid, she is the less exhausted by expense. fill her regiments with better soldiers. The con- If her credit is destroyed, she is the less opquest of Hanover became therefore every cam- pressed with debt. If her troops are cut to paign more probable. It is not to be noted, that pieces, they will by her policy (and a wonderthe French troops received subsistence only, ful policy it is) be improved, and will be supfor the last three years of the war; and that, plied with much better men. If the war is although large arrears were due to them at its carried on in the colonies, he tells them that conclusion, the charge was the less during its the loss of her ultramarine dominions lessens continuance."
her expenses, f and ensures her remittances. If any one be willing to see to how much greater lengths the author carries these ideas, Per damna, per cædes, ab ipso he will recur to the book. This is sufficient Ducic opes animumque ferro. for a specimen of his manner of thinking. I believe one reflection uniformly obtrudes itself If so, what is it we can do to hurt her ?-it upon every reader of these paragraphs. For will be all an imposition, all fallacious. Why what purpose in any cause shall we hereafter the result must be--Occidit
, occidit spes omnis contend with France ? can we ever flatter, oure et fortuna nostri nominis. selves that we shall wage a more successful The only way which the author's principles war? If, on our part, in a war the most pros- leave for our escape, is to reverse our condition perous we ever carried on, by sea and by land, into that of France, and to take her losing and in every part of the globe, attended with cards into our hands. But though his princithe unparalleled circumstance of an immense ples drive him to it, his politics will not suffer increase of trade and augmentation of revenue ; him to walk on this ground. Talking at our u a continued series of disappointments, dis- case and of other countries, we may bear to be graces, and defeats, followed by public bank- diverted with such speculations; but in Engruptcy, on the part of France; if all these still land we shall never be taught to look upon the .eave her a gainer on the whole balance, will it annihilation of our trade, the ruin of our credit, not be downright phrenzy in us ever to look the defeat of our armies, and the loss of our ger in the face again, or to contend with her ultramarine dominions, (whatever the author
* P. 67, 8, 9, 10.
* P. 9