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THE PRINTER OF THE PUBLIC ADVERTISER.
November 15, 1769. I ADMIT the claim of a gentleman, who publishes in the Gazetteer, under the name of Modestus. He has some right to expect an answer from me; though, I think, not so much from the merit or importance of his objections, as from my own voluntary engagement. I had a reason for not taking notice of him sooner, which, as he is a candid person, I believe he will think sufficient. In my first letter, I took for granted, from the time which had elapsed, that there was no intention to censure, nor even to try, the
persons concerned in the rescue of General Gapsel; but Modestus having since either affirmed, or strongly insinuated, that the offenders might still be brought to a legal trial, any attempt to prejudge the cause, or to prejudice the minds of a jury, or a court-martial, would be highly improper.
A man, more hostile to the ministry than I am, would not so often remind them of their duty. If the Duke of Grafton will not perform the duty of his station, why is he minister? I will not descend to a scurrilous altercation with any man; but this is a subject_too important to be passed over with silent indifference. If the gentlemen, whose conduct is in question, are not brought to a trial, the Duke of Grafton shall hear from me again.
The motives on which I am supposed to have taken
up this cause, are of little importance, compared with the facts themselves, and the observations I have made upon them. Without a vain profession of integrity, which, in these times, might justly be suspected, I sball show myself, in effect, a friend to the interests of my countrymen, and leave it to them to determine, whether I am moved by a personal malevolence to three private gentlemen, or merely by a hope of perplexing the ministry; or, whether I am animated by a just and honourable purpose of obtaining a satisfaction to the laws of this country, equal, if possible, to the violation they have suffered.
HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF GRĂFTON.
November 29, 1769. Though my opinion of your grace's integrity was but little affected by the coyness with which you received Mr.Vaughan's proposals, I confess I give you some credit for your discretion. You had a fair opportunity of displaying a certain delicacy, of which you had not been suspected, and you were in the right to make use of it. By laying in a moderate stock of reputation, you undoubtedly meant to provide for the future necessities of your character, that, with an honourable resistance upon record, you might safely indulge your genius, and yield to a favourite inclination with security. But you have discovered your purposes too soon; and,
instead of the modest reserve of virtue, have shown us the termagant chasity of a prude, who gratifies her passions with distinction, and prosecutes one lover for a rape, while she solicits the lewd embraces of another.
Your cheek turns pale; for, a guilty conscience tells you, you are undone. Come forward, thou virtuous minister, and tell the world, by what interest Mr. Hine has been recommended to so extraordinary a mark of his majesty's favour; what was the price of the patent he has bought, and to what honourable purpose the purchase money has been applied. Nothing less than many thousands could pay Colonel Burgoyne's expences at Preston. Do
prosecute such a creature as Vaughan, while you are basely setting up
the royal patronage to auction? Do you dare to complain of an attack upon your honour, while you are selling the favours of the crown, to raise a fund for corrupting the morals of the people? And, do you think it possible such enormities should escape without impeachment? It is, indeed, highly your interest to maintain the present House of Commons. Having sold the nation to you in gross, they will undoubtedly protect you in the detail; for, while they patronize your crimes, they feel for
HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF GRAFTON.
December 12, 1769. I FIND, with some surprise, that you are not supported as you deserve. Your most determined advocates have scruples about them, which you are unacquainted with; and, though there be nothing too hazardous for your grace to engage in, there are some things too infamous for the vilest prostitute of a newspaper to defend. * In what other manner shall we account for the profound, submissive silence, which you and your friends have observed upon a charge, which called immediately for the clearest refutation, and would have justified the severest measures of resentment? I did not attempt to blast your character by an indirect, ambiguous insinuation; but candidly stated to you a plain fact, which struck directly at the integrity of a privy-counsellor, of a first commissioner of the treasury, and of a leading minister, who is supposed to enjoy the first share in his majesty's confidence.+ In every one of these capacities, I employed the most moderate terms to charge you with treachery to your sovereign, and breach of trust in your office. I accused you of having sold a patent place in the collection of the customs at Exeter to one Mr. Hine, who, unable, or unwilling, to deposit the
* From the publication of the preceding to this date, not one word was said in defence of the Duke of Grafton. But vice and impudence soon recovered themselves, and the sale of the royal favour was openly avowed and defended. We acknowledge the piety of St. James's, but what is become of its morality?
† And by the same means preserves it to this hour.
whole purchase-money himself, raised part of it by contribution, and has now a certain Doctor Brooke quartered upon the salary for one hundred pounds a year.No sale by the candle was ever conducted with greater formality. I affirm, that the price at which the place was knocked down, (and which, I have good reason to think, was not less than three thousand five hundred pounds,) was, with your connivance and consent, paid to Colonel Burgoyne, to reward him, I presume, for the decency of his deportment at Preston; or to reimburse him, perhaps, for the fine of one thousand pounds, which, for that very deportment, the court of King's Bench thought proper to set upon him. It is not often that the chief justice and the prime minister are so strangely at variance in their opinions of men and things.
I thank God, there is not in human nature a degree of impudence daring enough to deny the charge I have fixed upon you. Your courteous secretary*, your confidential architect t, are silent as the grave. Even Mr. Rigby's countenance fails him. He violates his second nature, and blushes whenever he speaks of you. Perhaps the noble colonel himself will relieve you. No man is more tender of his reputation. He is not only nice, but perfectly sore, in every thing that touches his honour. If any man, for example, were to accuse him of taking his stand at a gaming-table, and watching, with the soberest attention, for a fair opportunity of engaging a drunken young nobleman at piquet, he would undoubtedly consider it as an infamous aspersion upon his character, and resent it like a man of honour. Acquitting him, therefore, of drawing a regular and
* Tommy Bradshaw. † Mr. Taylor. He and George Ross, the Scotch agent and worthy confident of Lord Mansfield, managed the business.