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taken zeal for particular persons and families, as they ever did in defence of what they thought most dear and interesting to themselves.
It naturally fills us with resentment, to see such a temper insulted and abused. In reading the history of a free people, whose rights have been invaded, we are interested in their cause. Our own feetings tell us how they ought to have submitted, and at what moment it would have been treachery to themselves not to have resisted. How much warmer will be our resentment, if experience should bring the fatal example home to ourselves.
The situation of this country is alarming enough to rouse the attention of every man, who pretends to a concern for the public welfare. Appearances justify suspicion; and when the safety of a nation is at stake, suspicion is a just ground of inquiry. Let us enter into it with candour and decency. Respect is due to the station of ministers; and, if a resolution must at last be taken, there is none so likely to be supported with firmness, as that which has been adopted with moderation.
The ruin or prosperity of a state depends so much upon the administration of its government, that, to be acquainted with the merit of a ministry, we need only observe the condition of the people. If we see them obedient to the laws, prosperous in their industry, united at home, and respected abroad, we may reasonably presúme, that their affairs are conducted by men of experience, abilities, and virtue. If, on the contrary, we see an universal spirit of distrust and dissatisfaction, a rapid decay of trade, dissensions in all parts of the empire, and a total loss of respect in the eyes of foreign powers, we may pronounce, without hesitation, that the government of that country is weak, distracted, and corrupt. The multitude, in all countries, are patient to a certain point. Ill usage may rouse their indignation, and hurry them into excesses; but the original fault is in government. Perhaps there never was an instance of a change, in the circumstances and temper of a whole nation, so sudden an extraordinary as that which the misconduct of ministers bas, within these few years, produced in Great Britan.' When our gracious sovereign ascended the throne, we were a flourishing and a contented people. If the personal virtues of a king could have insured the happiness of his subjects, the scene could not have altered so entirely as it has done. The idea of uniting all parties, of trying all characters, and distributing the offices of state by rotation, was gracious and benevolent to an extreme, though it has not yet produced the many salutary effects which were intended by it. To say nçthing of the wisdom of such a plan, it, undoubtedly, arose from an unbounded goodness of heart, in which folly had no share. It was not a capricious partiality to new faces: it was not a natural turn for low intrigue; nor was it the treacherous amusement of double and triple negociations. No, sir, it arose from a continued anxiety, in the purest of all possible hearts, for the general welfare. Unfortunately for us, the event has not been answerable to the design. After a rapid succession of changes, we are reduced to that state, which hardly any change can mend. Yet, there is no extremity of distress, which, of itself, ought to reduce a great nation to despair. It is not the disorder, but the physician; it is not a casual concurrence of calamitous circumstances; it is the pernicious hand of government which alone can make a whole people desperate.
Without much political sagacity, or any extraordinary depth of observation, we need only mark how the principal departments of the state are bestowed, and
look no farther for the true cause of every mischief that befals us.
The * finances of a nation, sinking under its debts and expences, are committed to a young nobleman already ruined by play. Iutroduced to act under the auspices of Lord Chatham, and left at the head of affairs by that nobleman's retreat, he became minister by accident; but, deserting the principles and professions which gave him a moment's popularity, we see him, from every honourable engagement to the public, an apostate by design. As for business, the world yet knows nothing of his talents or resolution; unless a wayward, wavering inconsistency be a mark of genius, and caprice a demonstration of spirit. It may be said, perhaps, that it is his grace's province, as surely it is his passion, rather to distribute than to save the public money; and that, while Lord North is chancellor of the exchequer, the first lord of the treasury may be as thoughtless and extravagant as he pleases. I hope, however, he will not rely too much on the fertility of Lord North's genius for finance. His lordship is yet to give us the first proof of his abilities: it inay be candid to suppose, that he has hitherto voluntarily concealed his talents; intending, perhaps, to astonish the world when we least expect it, with a knowledge of trade, a choice of expedients, and a depth of resources, equal to the necessities, and far beyond the hopes, of his country. He must pow exert the whole power of his capacity, if he
* The Duke of Grafton took the office of secretary of state, with an engagement to support the Marquis of Rockingham's administration. He resigned, however, in a little time, under pretence that he could not act without Lord Chatham, nor bear to see Mr Wilkes abandoned; but that, under Lord Chatham, he would act in any office. This was the signal of Lord Rockinghan's dismission. When Lord Chatham came in, the duke got possession of the treasury. Reader, mark the consequence!
would wish us to forget, that, since he has been in office, no plan has been formed, no system adhered to, nor any one important measure adopted for the relief of public credit. If his plan for the service of the current year be not irrevocably fixed on, let me warn him to think seriously of consequences, before he ventures to increase the public debt. Outraged and oppressed as we are, this nation will not bear, after a six years peace, to see new millions borrowed, without an eventual diminution of debt, or reduction of interest. The attempt might rouse a spirit of resentment, which might reach beyond the sacrifice of a minister. As to the debt upon the civil list, the people of England expect that it will not be paid without a strict inquiry how it was incurred. If it must be paid by parliament, let me advise the chancellor of the exchequer to think of some better expedient than a lottery. To support an expensive war, or in circumstances of absolute necessity, a lottery may perhaps be allowable; but, besides that it is at all times the very worst way of raising money upon the people, I think it ill becomes the royal dignity to have the debts of a king provided for, like the repairs of a country bridge, or a decayed hospital. The management of the king's affairs in the House of Commons cannot be more disgraced than it has been. A * leading minister repeatedly called down for absolute ignorance; ridiculous motions ridiculously withdrawn; deliberate plans disconcerted, and a week's preparation of graceful oratory lost in a moment, give us some, though not adequate, idea of Lord North's parliamentary abilities and influence. Yet, before he had the misfortune of being chancellor of the exchequer, he was neither an object
This happened frequently to poor Lord North.
of derision to his enemies, nor of melancholy pity to his friends.
A series of inconsistent measures has alienated the colonies from their duty as subjects, and from their natural affection to their common country. When Mr. Grenville was placed at the head of the treasury, he felt the impossibility of Great Britain's supporting such an establishment as her former successes had made indispensable, and at the same time of giving any sensible relief to foreign trade, and to the weight of the public debt. He thought it equitable, that those parts of the empire, which had benefited most by the expences of the war, should contribute something to the expences of the peace; and he had no doubt of the constitutional right vested in parliament to raise the contribution. But, unfortunately for his country, Mr. Grenville was at any rate to be distressed because he was minister, and Mr. Pitt* and Lord Camden were to be the patrons of America, because they were in opposition. Their declaration gave spirit and argument to the colonies; and while, perhaps, they meant no more than the ruin of a minister, they, in effect, divided one half of the empire from the other.
Under one administration, the stampt-act is made; under the second it is repealed; under the third, in spite of all experience, a new mode of taxing the colonies is invented, and a question revived which ought to have been buried in oblivion. In these circumstances a new office is established for the business of the plantations, and the Earl of Hillsborough called forth, at a most critical season, to govern America. The choice at least announced to us a man of superior capacity and know
* Yet Junius has been called the partizan of Lord Chatham!