« ElőzőTovább »
in the nature of human society, that any form of government, in such circumstances, can long be preserved. In purs, the general contempt of the people is as fatal as their detestation. Such, I am persuaded, would be the necessary effect of any base concession made by the present House of Commons; and, as a qualifying measure would not be accepted, it remains for you to decide, whether you will, at any hazard, support a set of men who have reduced you to this unhappy dilemma, or whether
will gratify the united wishes of the whole people of England, by dissolving the parliament.
Taking it for granted, as I do very sincerely, that you have personally no design against the constitution, nor any view inconsistent with the good of your subjects, I think you cannot hesitate long upon the choice which it equally concerns your interest and your honour to adopt. On one side, you hazard the affections of all your English subjects; you relinquish every hope of repose to yourself, and you endanger the establishment of your family for ever. All this you venture for no object whatsoever, or for such an object as it would be an af. front to you to name. Men of sense will examine your conduct with suspicion; while those who are incapable of comprehending to what degree they are injured, affict you with clamours equally insolent and unmeaning, Supposing it possible that no fatal struggle should ensue, you determine at once to be unhappy, without the hope of a compensation either from interest or ambition. If an English king be hated or despised, he must be unhappy; and this perhaps is the only political truth which he ought to be convinced of without experiment. But, if the English people should no longer confine their resentment to a submissive representation of their wrongs; if, following the glorious example of their ancestors, they should no longer appeal to the creature of the constitution, but to that high Being who gave them the rights of humanity, whose gifts it were sacrilege to surrender, let me ask you, sir, upon what part of your subjects would you rely for assistance?
The people of Ireland have been uniformly plundered and oppressed. In return, they give you every day fresh marks of their resentment. They despise the miserable governor you have sent them *, because he is the creature of Lord Bute; nor is it from any natural confusion in their ideas, that they are so ready to confound the original of a king, with the disgraceful representation of him.
The distance of the colonies would make it impossible for them to take an active concern in your affairs, if they were as well affected to your government, as they once pretended to be to your person. They were ready enough to distinguish between you and your ministers. They complained of an act of the legislature, but traced the origin of it no higher than to the servants of the crown: they pleased themselves with the hope that their sovereign, if not favourable to their cause, at least was impartial. The decisive personal part you took against them, has effectually banished that first distinction from their mindst. They consider you as united with your servants against America; and know how to distinguish the sovereign and a venal parliament on one side, from the real sentiments of the English people on the other. Looking forward to independence, they might possibly receive you for their king ; but, if ever you retire to America, be assured they will give you such a covenant to digest, as the presbytery of Scotland would have been ashamed to offer to Charles the Second. They left their native land in search of freedom, and found it in a desert. Divided as they are into a thousand forms of policy and religion, there is one point in which they all agree: they equally detest the pageantry of a king, and the supercilious hypocrisy of a bishop.
Viscount Townshend, sent over on the plan of being resident governor. The history of his ridiculous administration shall not be lost to the public.
t In the king's speech of 8th November, 1768, it was declared, “ That the spirit of faction had broken out afresh in some of the colonies, and, in one of them, proceeded to acts of violence and resistance to the execution of the laws; that Boston was in a state of disobedience to all law and government, and had proceeded to measures subversive of the constitution, and attended with circumstances that manifested a disposition to throw off their dependence on Great Britain."
It is not then from the alienated affections of Ireland or America, that you can reasonably look for assistance; still less from the people of England, who are actually contending for their rights, and in this great question are parties against you. You are not, however, destitute of every appearance of support: you have all the Jacobites, Nonjurors, Roman Catholics, and Tories of this country, and all Scotland without exception. Considering from what family you are descended, the choice of your friends has been singularly directed; and truly, sir, if you had not lost the Whig interest of England, I should admire your dexterity in turning the hearts of your enemies. Is it possible for you to place any confidence in men, who, before they are faithful to you, must renounce every opinion, and betray every principle, both in church and state, which they inherit from their ancestors, and are confirmed in by their education ? whose numbers are so inconsiderable, that they have long since been obliged to give up the principles and language which distinguish them as a party, and to fight under the banners of their enemies. Their zeal begins with hypocrisy, and must conclude in treachery. At first they deceive; at last they betray. . As to the Scotch, I must suppose your heart and understanding so biassed, from your earliest infancy, in
their favour, that nothing less than your own misfortunes can undeceive you. You will not accept of the uniform experience of your ancestors; and, when once. a man is determined to believe, the very absurdity of the doctrine confirms bim in his faith. A bigotted understanding can draw a proof of attachment to the house of Hanover from a notorious zeal for the house of Stuart, and find an earnest of future loyalty in former rebellions. Appearances are, however, in their favour; so strongly, indeed, that one would think they had forgotten that you are their lawful king, and had mistaken you for a pretender to the crown. Let it be admitted, then, that the Scotch are as sincere in their present professions, as if you were, in reality, not an Englishman, but a Briton of the north. You would not be the first prince, of their native country, against whom they have rebelled, nor the first whom they have basely betrayed. Have you forgotten, sir, or has your favourite concealed from you, that part of our history, when the unhappy Charles (and he too bad private virtues) fled from the open, avowed indignation of his English subjects, and surrendered himself at discretion to the good faith of his own countrymen? Without looking for support in their affections as subjects, he applied only to their honour as gentlemen for protection. They received him, as they would your majesty, with bows, and smiles, and falsehood, and kept him until they had settled their bargain with the English parliament; then basely sold their native king to the vengeance of his enemies. This, sir, was not the act of a few traitors, but the deliberate treachery of a Scotch parliament, representing the nation. A wise prince might-draw from it two lessons, of equal utility to himself. On one side, he might learn to dread the undisguised resentment of a generous people, who dare openly assert their rights,
and who, in a just canse, are ready to meet their sôvereign in the field. On the other side, he would be taught to apprehend something far more formidable; a fawning treachery, against which no prudence can guard, no courage can defend. The insidious smile upon
the cheek would warn him of the canker in the heart. From the uses to which one part of the
has been too frequently applied, you have some reason to expect; that there are no services they would refuse. Here, too, we trace the partiality of your understanding. You take the sense of the army from the conduct of the guards, with the same justice withi which you collect the sense of the people from the representations of the ministry. Your marching regiments, sir, will not make the guards their example, either as soldiers or subjects. They feel, and resent, as they ought to do, that invariable, undistinguishing favour with which the guards are treated *; while those gallant troops, by whom every hazardous, every laborious service is performed, are left to perish in garrisons abroad, or pine in quarters at home, neglected and forgotten. If they had no sense of the great original duty they owe their country, their resentment would operate like patriotism, and leave your cause to be defended by those on whom you have lavished the rewards and honours of their profession. The Prætorian
* The number of commissioned officers in the guards are to the marching regiments as one to eleven; the number of regiments given to the guards, compared with those given to the line, is about three to one, at a moderate computation; consequently, the partiality in favour of the guards, is as thirty-three to one. So much for the officers. The private men have fourpence a day to subsist on, and five hundred lashes if they desert. Under this punishment, they frequently expire. With these encouragements, it is supposed they may be depended upon, whenever a certain person thinks it necessary to butcher his fellow-subjects.