« ElőzőTovább »
cents six weeks ago, he has tampered with a pitiful portion of a commodity, which ought never to have been touched but in gross; he has given notice to the holders of that stock, of a design formed by government to prevail upon them to surrender it by degrees, consequently has warned them to hold up and enhance the price : so that the plan of reducing the four per cents must either be dropped entirely, or continued with an increasing disadvantage to the public. The minister's sagacity has served to raise the value of the thing he means to purchase, and to sink that of the three per cents, which it is his purpose to sell. In effect, he has contrived. to make it the interest of the proprietor of four per cents to sell out, and buy three per cents in the market, rather than subscribe his stock upon any terms that can possibly be offered by government.
The state of the nation leads us naturally to consider the situation of the king. The prorogation of parliament has the effect of a temporary dissolution. The odium of measures adopted by the collective body sits lightly upon the separate members who composed it. They retire into summer-quarters, and rest from the disgraceful labours of the campaign. But as for the sovereign, it is not so with him. He has a permanent existence in this country; he cannot withdraw himself from the complaints, the discontents, the reproaches of his subjects. They pursue him to his retirement, and invade his domestic happiness, when no address can be obtained from an obsequious parliament to encourage, or console him. In other times, the interest of the king and people of England was, as it ought to be, entirely the same. A new system has not only been adopted in fact, but professed upon principle. Ministers are no longer the public servants of the state, but the private
domestics of the sovereign. One particular class of men* are permitted to call themselves the king's friends, as if the body of the people were the king's enemies; or as if his majesty looked for a resource, or consolation, in the attachment of a few favourites, against the general contempt and detestation of his subjects. Edward, and Richard the Second, made the same distinction between the collective body of the people, and a contemptible party who surrounded the throne. The event of their mistaken conduct might have been a warning to their
Yet the errors of those princes were not without excuse. They had as many false friends as our present gracious sovereign, and infinitely greater temptations to seduce them. They were neither sober, religious, nor demure. Intoxicated with pleasure, they wasted their inheritance in pursuit of it. Their lives were like a rapid torrent, brilliant in prospect, though useless, or dangerous, in its course. In the dull, unanimated existence of other princes, we see nothing but a sickly stagnant water, which taints, the atmosphere without fertilizing the soil. The morality of a king is not to be measured by vulgar rules. His situation is singular. There are faults which do him honour, and virtues that disgrace him. A faultless insipid equality in his character, is neither capable of vice nor virtue in the extreme; but it secures his submission to those persons whom he has been accustomed to respect, and makes him a dangerous instrument of their ambition. Secluded from the world, attached from his infancy to one set of persons, and one set of ideas, he can neither
“An ignorant, mercenary, and servile crew; unanimous in evil, diligent in mischief, variable in principles, constant to flattery, talkers for liberty, but slaves to power; styling themselves the court party, and the prince's only friends."--DAVENANT.
open his heart to new connections, nor his mind to better information. A character of this sort is the soil fittest to produce that obstinate bigotry in politics and religion, which begins with a meritorious sacrifice of the understanding, and finally conducts the monarch and the martyr to the block.
At any other period, I doubt not, the scandalous disorders which have been introduced into the government of all the dependencies in the empire, would have roused the attention of the public. The odious abuse and prostitution of the prerogative, at home, the unconstitutional employment of the military, the arbitrary fines and cominitments by the House of Lords and court of King's Bench, the mercy of a chaste and pious prince, extended cheerfully to a wilful murderer, because that murderer is the brotherof a common prostitute*, would, I think, at any other time, have excited universal indignation. But the daring attack upon the constitution, in the Middlesex election, makes us callous and indifferent to inferior grievances. No man regards an eruption upon the surface, when the noble parts are invaded, and he feels a mortification approaching to his heart. The free election of our representatives in parliament comprehends, because it is, the source and security of every right and privilege of the English nation. The ministry have realized the compendious ideas of Caligula. They know that the liberty, the laws, and property of an Englishman, have in truth but one neck; and that to violate the freedom of election, strikes deeply at them all.
* Miss Kennedy. Her brothers were condemned for the murder of a watchman: The interest of her paramours procured them a pardon.
August 22, 1770. Me. LUTTRELL's services were the chief support and ornament of the Duke of Grafton's administration. The honour of rewarding them was reserved for your lordship. The duke, it seems, had contracted an obligation he was ashamed to acknowledge, and unable to acquit. You, my lord, had no scruples. You accepted the succession with all its encumbrances, and have paid Mr. Luttrell his legacy, at the hazard of ruining the estate.
When this accomplished youth declared himself the champion of government, the world was busy in enqui-. ring what honours, or employments, could be a sufficient recompence to a young man of his rank and fortune, for submitting to mark his entrance into life with the usual contempt and detestation of his country. His noble father had not been so precipitate. To vacate his seat in parliament, to intrude upon a county in which he had no interest, or connection,-to possess himself of another man's right, and to maintain it in defiance of public shame as well as justice, bespoke a degree of zeal, or of depravity, which all the favour of a pious prince could hardly requite. I protest, my lord, there is in this young man's conduct a strain of prostitution, which, for its singularity, I cannot but admire. He has discovered a new line in the human character; he has degraded even the name of Luttrell, and gratified his father's most sanguine expectations.
The Duke of Grafton, with every possible disposition