Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

ment. A more active prince may perhaps observe, with suspicion, by what degrees an artful servant grows upon his master, from the first unlimited professions of duty and attachment, to the painful representation of the necessity of the royal service, and soon, in regular progression, to the humble insolence of dictating in all the obsequious forms of peremptory submission. The interval is carefully employed in forming connections, creating interests, collecting a party, and laying the foundation of double marriages; until the deluded prince, who thought he had found a creature prostituted to his service, and insignificant enough to be always dependent upon his pleasure, finds him, at last, too strong to be commanded, and too formidable to be removed.

Your grace's public conduct, as a minister, is but the counter-part of your private history; the same inconsistency, the same contradictions. In America we trace you, from the first opposition to the stamp act, on principles of convenience, to Mr. Pitt's surrender of the right; then forward to Lord Rockingham's surrender of the fact; then back again to Lord Rockingham's declaration of the right; then forward to taxation with Mr. Townshend; and, in the last instance, from the gentle Conway's undetermined discretion, to blood and compulsion with the Duke of Bedford: Yet, if we may believe the simplicity of Lord North's eloquence, at the opening of next sessions, you are once more to be the patron of America. Is this the wisdom of a great minister? Or, is it the ominous vibration of a pendulum?" Had you no opinion of your own, my lord? or, was it the gratification of betraying every party with which you have been united, and of deserting every political principle in which you had concurred?

Your enemies may turn their eyes without regret from this admirable system of provincial government,

They will find gratification enough in the survey of your domestic and foreign policy.

If, instead of disowning Lord Shelburne, the British court had interposed with dignity and firmness, you know, my lord, that Corsica would never have been invaded. The French saw the weakness of a distracted ministry, and were justified in treating you with contempt. They would probably have yielded in the first instance, rather than hazard a rupture with this country; but, being once engaged, they cannot retreat without dishonour. Common sense foresees consequences which have escaped your grace's penetration. Either we suffer the French to make an acquisition, the importance of which you have probably no conception of; or we oppose them by an underhand management, which only disgraces us in the eyes of Europe, without answering any purpose of policy or prudence. From secret, indirect assistance, a transition to some more open decisive measures becomes unavoidable; till, at last, we find our. selves principal in the war, and are obliged to hazard every thing for an object, which might have originally been obtained without expence, or danger. I am not yersed in the politics of the north; but this, I believe, is certain, that half the money you have distributed to carry the expulsion of Mr. Wilkes, or even your secretary's share in the last subscription, would have kept the Purks at your devotion. Was it economy, my lord? or did the coy resistance you have constantly met with in the British senate, make you despair of corrupting the Divan? Your friends, indeed, have the first claim upon your bounty; but if five hundred pounds a-year can be spared in pension to Sir John Moore, it would not have disgraced you, to have allowed something to the secret service of the public.

You will say, perhaps, that the situation of affairs at

home demanded and engrossed the whole of your attention. Here, I confess, you have been active. An amiable, accomplished prince ascends the throne under the happiest of all auspices, the acclamations and united affections of his subjects. The first measures of his reigo, and even the odium of a favourite, were not able to shake their attachment. Your services, my lord, have been more successful. Since you were permitted to take the lead, we have seen the natural effects of a system of government at once both odious and contemptible. We have seen the laws sometimes scandalously relaxed, sometimes violently stretched beyond their tone. We have seen the person of the sovereign insulted; and, in profound peace, and with an undisputed title, the fidelity of his subjects brought by his own servants into public question *. Without abilities, resolution, or interest, you have done more than Lord Bute could accomplish, with all Scotland at his heels.

Your grace, little anxious perhaps either for present or future reputation, will not desire to be handed down in these colours to posterity. You have reason to flatter yourself, that the memory of your administration will survive even the forms of a constitution, which your ancestors vainly hoped would be immortal; and as for your personal character, I will not, for the honour of human nature, suppose that you can wish to have it remembered. The condition of the present times is desperate indeed: but there is a debt due to those who come after us; and it is the historian's office to punish, though he cannot correct. I do not give you to posterity as a pattern to imitate, but as an example to deter;

* The wise duke, about this time, exerted all the influence of government to procure addresses to satisfy the king of the fidelity of his subjects. They came in very thick from Scotland; but, after the appearance of this letter, we heard no more of them,

and as your conduct comprehends every thing that a wise or honest minister should avoid, I mean to make you a negative instruction to your successors for ever.

JUNIUS.

LETTER XIII.

ADDRESSED TO

THE PRINTER OF THE PUBLIC ADVERTISER.

SIR,

June 12, 1769. THE Duke of Grafton's friends, not finding it convenient to enter into a contest with Junius, are now reduced to the last melancholy resource of defeated argument, the flat general charge of scurrility and falsehood. As for his style, I shall leave it to the critics. The truth of his facts is of more importance to the public. They are of such a nature, that I think a bare contradiction will have no weight with any man, who judges for himself. Let us take them in the order in which they appear in his last letter.

1. Have not the first rights of the people, and the first principles of the constitution, been openly invaded, and the very name of an election made ridiculous, by the arbitrary appointment of Mr. Luttrell?

2. Did not the Duke of Grafton frequently lead his mistress into public, and even place her at the head of his table, as if he had pulled down an ancient temple of Venus, and could bury all decency and shame under the ruins? Is this the man, who dares to talk of Mr. Wilkes's morals?

3. Is not the character of his presumptive ancestors as strongly marked in him, as if he had descended from them in a direct legitimate line? The idea of his death is only prophetic; and what is prophecy but a narrative preceding the fact ?

4. Was not Lord Chatham the first, who raised him to the rank and post of a minister, and the first whom he abandoned ?

5. Did he not join with Lord Rockingham, and be- ·

tray him?

6. Was he not the bosom friend of Mr. Wilkes, whom he now pursues to destruction?

7. Did he not take his degrees with credit at Newmarket, White's, and the opposition ?

8. After deserting Lord Chatham's principles, and sacrificing his friendship, is he not now closely united with a set of men, who, though they have occasionally joined with all parties, have, in every different situation, and at all times, been equally and constantly detested by this country?

9. Has not Sir John Moore a pension of five hundred pounds a-year?—This may be probably an acquittance of favours upon the turf; but is it possible for a minister to offer a grosser outrage to a nation, which has so very lately cleared away the beggary of the civil list at the expence of more than half a million ?

10. Is there any one mode of thinking, or acting, with respect to America, which the Duke of Grafton has not successively adopted and abandoned ?

11. Is there not a singular mark of shame set upon this man, who has so little delicacy and feeling, as to submit to the opprobrium of marrying a near relation of one who had debauched his wife? In the name of decency, how are these amiable cousins to meet at their uncle's table? It will be a scene in Edipus,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »