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ledge. Whether he be so or not, let his dispatches, as far as they have appeared, let his measures, as far as they have operated, determine for him. In the former, we have seen strong assertions without proof, declamation without argument, and violent censures without dignity or moderation; but neither correctness in the composition, nor judgment in the design. As for his measures, let it be remembered, that he was called upon to conciliate and unite; and that, when he entered into office, the most refractory of the colonies were still disposed to proceed by the constitutional methods of
petition and remonstrance. Since that period, they have been driven into excesses little short of rebellion. Petitions have been hindered from reaching the throne; and the continuance of one of the principal assemblies rested upon an arbitrary condition *; which, considering the temper they were in, it was impossible they should comply with, and which would have availed nothing as to the general question, if it had been complied with. So violent, and I believe I may call it so unconstitutional, an exertion of the prerogative, to say nothing of the weak injudicious terms in which it was conveyed, gives us as humble an opinion of his lordship’s capacity, as it does of his temper and moderation. While we are at peace with other nations, our military force may perhaps be spared to support the Earl of Hillsborough's measures in America. Whenever that force shall be necessarily withdrawn or diminished, the dismission of such a minister will neither console us for his imprudence, nor remove the settled resentment of a people, who, complaining of an act of the legislature, are outraged by an unwarrantable stretch of prerogative, and, supporting their claims by argument, are insulted with declamation.
* That they should retract one of their resolutions, and erase the entry of it.
Drawing lots would be a prudent and reasonable method of appointing the officers of state, compared to a late disposition of the secretary's office. Lord Rochford was acquainted with the affairs and temper of the southern courts : Lord Weymouth was equally qualified for either department*. By what unaccountable caprice has it happened, that the latter, who pretends to no experience whatsoever, is removed to the most important of the two departments, and the former by preference placed in an office where his experience can be of no use to bim? Lord Weymouth had distinguished himself in his first employment by a spirited, if not judi. cious conduct. He had animated the civil magistrate beyond the tone of civil authority, and had directed the operations of the army to more than military execution. Recovered from the errors of his youth, from the distraction of play, and the bewitching smiles of Burgun. dy, behold him exerting the whole strength of his clear, unclouded faculties in the service of the crown. It was not the heat of midnight excesses, nor ignorance of the laws, nor the furious spirit of the house of Bedford: No, sir, when this respectable minister interposed his authority between the magistrate and the people, and signed the mandate, on which, for aught he knew, the lives of thousands depended, he did it from the deliberate motion of his heart, supported by the best of his judgment.
It has lately been a fashion to pay a compliment to
* It was pretended, that the Earl of Rochford, while ambassador in France, had quarrelled with the Duke of Choiseuil; and that therefore he was appointed to the northern department, out of compliment to the French minister.
the bravery and generosity of the commander in chief*, at the expence of his understanding. They, who love him least, make no question of his courage, while his friends dwell chiefly on the facility of his disposition. Admitting him to be as brave as a total absence of all feeling and reflection can make him, let us see what sort of merit he derives from the remainder of his character. If it be generosity to accumulate in his own person and family a number of lucrative employments; to provide at the public expence, for every creature that bears the name of Manners; and, neglecting the merit and services of the rest of the army, to heap promotions upon his favourites and dependents; the present commander in chief is the most generous man alive. Nature has been sparing of her gifts to this noble lord; but where birth and fortune are united, we expect the noble pride and independence of a man of spirit, not the servile humiliating complaisance of a courtier. As to the goodness of his heart, if a proof of it be taken from the facility of never refusing, what conclusion shall we draw from the indecency of never performing? And if the discipline of the army be in any degree, preserved, what thanks are due to a man, whose cares, notoriously confined to filling up vacancies, have degraded the office of commander in chief into a broker of commissions?
With respect to the navy, I shall only say, that this country is so highly indebted to Sir Edward Hawke, that no expence should be spared to secure to him an honourable and affluent retreat.
The pure and impartial administration of justice is, perhaps, the firmnest bond to secure a cheerful submission of the people, and to engage their affections to gosernment. It is not sufficient that questions of private right or wrong are justly decided, nor that judges are superior to the vileness of pecumiary corruption. Jefferies himself, when the court had no interest, was an upright judge. A court of justice may be subject to another sort of bias more important and pernicious, as it reaches beyond the interest of individuals, and affects the whole community. A judge, under the influence of government, may be honest enough in the decision of private causes, yet a traitor to the public. When a victim is marked out by the ministry, this judge will offer himself to perform the sacrifice. He will not scruple to prostitute his dignity, and betray the sanctity of his office, whenever an arbitrary point is to be carried for government, or the resentment of a court to be gratified.
* The late Lord Granby.
These principles and proceedings, odious and contemptible as they are, in effect are no less injudicious. A wise and generous people are roused by every appearance of oppressive unconstitutional measures, whether those measures are supported only by the power of government, or masked under the forms of a court of justice. Prudence and self-preservation will oblige the most moderate dispositions to make common cause, even with a man whose conduct they censure, if they see him persecuted in a way which the real spirit of the laws will not justify. The facts, on which these remarks are founded, are too notorious to require an application.
This, sir, is the detail. In one view, behold a nation overwhelmed with debt; her revenues wasted; her trade declining; the affections of her colonies ·alienated; the duty of the magistrate transferred to the soldiery; a gallant army, which never fought unwillingly, but against their fellow-subjects, mouldering away for want of the direction of a man of common abilities and spirit; and, in the last instance, the administration of justice become odious and suspected to the whole body of the people. This deplorable scene admits of but one addition, that we are governed by councils, from which a reasonable man can expect no remedy, but poison; no relief, but death.
If, by the immediate interposition of Providence, it were possible for us to escape a crisis so full of terror and despair, posterity will not believe the history of the present times. They will either conclude, that our distresses were imaginary, or that we had the good fortune to be governed by men of acknowledged integrity and wisdom: they will not believe it possible, that their ancestors could have survived, or recovered, from so desperate a condition, while a Duke of Grafton was prime minister, a Lord North chancellor of the exchequer, a Weymouth and a Hillsborough secretaries of state, a Granby, commander in chief, and a Mansfield, chief criminal judge of the kingdom.
THE PRINTER OF THE PUBLIC ADVERTISER.
January 26, 1769. The kingdom swarms with such numbers of felonious robbers of private character and virtue, that no honest or good man is safe; especially as these cow-" ardly base assassins stab in the dark, without having the courage to sign their real names to their malevolent and wicked productions. A writer, who signs himself Junius, in the “ Public Advertiser," of the 21st instant,