[ocr errors]

the noble earl's being fully rewarded for brought in on a sudden, nor was the House his services, and the impropriety of doing taken by surprize. On the contrary, some that at the end of 16 years, which should days elapsed, and notice was previously have been done in his life-time ; and pre- given, not by an address at midnight, but suming on that ground, that his sovereign, in open day, that such a Bill was intended as well as the nation, looked upon it that to be brought in, and the motion was carhe had made a provision for the deceased ried nem. con. both in respect of the vote earl, fully adequate to his services. I will for paying the noble earl's debts, and for tell the noble and learned lord what came settling an annuity on his family. And as within my own knowledge, which will be a to the real sentiments of his Majesty, he complete answer to every suggestion of had already given an indisputable proof of this kind. When I had the honour of oc- what they were, though allusions of a concupying a very high post in the same ad- trary tendency had been thrown out; a ministration with ihe deceased earl, his declaration within his own positive knowstate of health was indifferent, and his life ledge, and which endeared his Majesty to thought to be in danger.

Soon after his him more than ever. It made him love recovery, I had the honour of an inter- and admire him as a benevolent prince, as view with his Majesty; and the conversa- really the king and father of his people ; tion turning on the illness of the earl of and every way worthy of a dominion over Chatham-1 shall never forget the words, their affections, as well as their persons. nor the gracious manner in which they Admiral Hawke and prince Ferdinand were delivered : “ If he had died,” said of Brunswick had been alluded to by the his Majesty, " I should have looked upon learned lord, as having essentially served myself bound to make a provision for his this country; most certainly they had, and family."

undoubtedly their merit as professional His lordship made use of several rea- men was unquestionable ; but to whom sons, to shew that the affair of the duke of ought it to be ultimately ascribed ? To che Marlborough was very dissimilar in a va- earl of Chatham ; the one was his admiral, riety of respects, and that no one parti- the other his general. The battles they cular properly applied as to the two cases, fought were battles of his planning; and but the acknowledged merits of the noble so far from their individual merits lessening duke and the deceased earl. He observed, that of the deceased earl, or diminishing that much had been said on the danger of the value of his services, they went directly establishing precedents. There were but to increase and enhance both. two, should the present Bill pass, since the The noble duke who rose first, pointed Conquest. He wished there were more ; out the necessity of introducing economy and he was sure there never was a fitter into the state ; the noblé duke's argutime, when encouragements ought to be ment was unanswerable in point of prinheld out, to stimulate men to great and ciple, and the spirit of it was pursued in glorious actions, than the present. He the present Bill. True economy, both rewould, besides, wish their lordships to respecting the public and individuals, which collect, that the deceased earl received his required the same measure, was to spare, death blow in the service of his country; not waste. It consisted in a fitness of exhe received it in that House, whilst he was pence; in a proper liberality, guarded by endeavouring to assist in warding off the a becoming prudence and frugality. The danger which threatened Great Britain. times called for the exertion of the first He was sorry to behold the present oppo- rate abilities in the public service. Such, sition, because it betrayed symptoms which a mark of national attention as the present portended no good, and looked as if the Bill manifested, would encourage able men seeds of envy were not exterminated. He to step forward, and do their utmost to was in hopes, envy would have died with merit and gain the applause of their counthe noble earl, and have slept with him in try. Narrow notions of interest, fear of

leaving their families unprovided for, and The noble and learned lord had said, such sort of ideas, wbich swayed men's that the Bill originated at midnight, and minds and prevented them from venturing that the King was in some measure obliged forth, would be done away, in consequence to comply with the request in the Address of parliament's affording a proof, that the voted by the other House ; he had it in nation considered itself as the guardian of his power to set the noble lord right, and to the families of those who had essentially contradict the assertion. The Bill was not served it, when they were no more. His

his grave.

lordship concluded with an high eulogium of the constitution or the state, but on the on the many public and private virtues of contrary, might materially serve the latter the deceased earl; and it was with dif- without violating the former. There was ficulty we could determine, whether he this difference between the present case acquitted himself best as a sound reasoner, and that of the duke of Marlborough, an affectionate and warm friend, or an able which prevented them from being consiadvocate.

dered as ultimately tending to the same Lord Ravensworth spoke against the effect. When the queen's message, in Bill. He said, if the noble earl had fully 1702, was delivered to the Commons, the merited such favours, why had not his earl of Marlborouglı had been then just friends generously moved for them in his created a duke, and he was in a great delife-time, that he might have enjoyed gree of personal favour with his sovereign, them? The nation, allowing it owed a and in possession of high posts and emogreat deal to the deceased earl, was not luments. Parliament were perfectly deindebted to his family. He came into fensible in acting with suitable caution. pırliament with him, upwards of 40 years At present there could be no danger since, and was acquainted with him when of establishing a bad custom; because in the possession of all his powers of ora- parliament had their eyes open, and tory. He was ready to confess his great would at all times be able to see where abilities as a public speaker, and though pretences were only created, or where the he could not deny that they convinced the claim was sufficiently well founded to conmajority, both without and within doors, fer a similar favour. His lordship acknow. they had never convinced him that he was ledged the infinite obligations of this counproperly qualified as a statesinan to direct try to the deceased earl. He only recol. the affairs of this country. He had al- | lected one instance in his public conduct ways considered the deceased earl's talents, which tended to lessen those obligations, and that daring spirit of enterprize, on and that was a few years since, when his which his reputation was chiefly built, as a lordship, in the character of minister, set very great misfortune to this country. up the authority of a proclamation over Even the successes of our arms under his that of an act of parliament. That glaring direction of the state machine, were not error, he confessed, he never could forsufficient to alter his opinion. He consi- give; but when he said so, he meant dered those successes as ruinous, and he merely as a public man, for notwithstandcould not but still think, that the enor-ing any weight he might lay upon this mous debt incurred during his lordship’s circumstance, the services of the deceased administration, led us into those difficulties earl were sufficiently important and conwhich were the true cause of our present spicuous to warrant the passing of the preperilous situation. In fine, they came into sent Bill; and he could not but wonder at parliament together, and sat in the other the opposition given to it on the score of House for 14 years, and he was persuaded, æconomy; for let the noble duke but turn that it would have been happy for this his attention or recollection to the snug country, if the deceased earl had never and lucrative sinecures enjoyed by some aspired to a public station; for though not lords living, whose ancestors had taken the immediate, he was the mediate cause advantage of their situation as ministers, of all our subsequent misfortunes. and he would find, that two or three of

The Earl of Radnor defended the Bill their sinecures would purchase the fee upon one of the grounds on which the last simple of the paltry 4,000l. per annum, poble lord stated his chief objection, which about which his grace has said so much. was, that the noble earl was no more, to His lordship apologized to the House for whose memory the annuity was a grateful having given it so much trouble, and in tribute. The noble lord, he observed, said, so unprepared, indigested a manner; de he should not have objected had the noble claring, that he had delivered his sentiearl been living ; but that was an essential ments merely as they arose in his mind difference in the case now. In his opinion, since his entering the House ; and he felt the argument made directly the other it incumbent upon him to say thus much way; for however reluctant he might be for two reasons; first, because he thought to heap honours and emoluments on the the Bill in point of retrospect, extremely living, especially at a time when the ex- proper as an act of national gratitude to ample of gratitude could not from the na- wards the memory of a faithful and able ture of things operate, either to the injury servant, and no less necessary at this cri

tical season, as an encouragement to the thàt the deceased earl was infallible ; that exertion of abilities in the public service. his opinions were always well founded, or His lordship added, with some degree of his parliamentary declarations always conenergy, that if the Bill should meet with sonant and justifiable. He had more than an opposition, sufficient to defeat its real once himself, weak and inferior as he conobjects, or that it should happen to be to- j fessedly was in point of oratory to the detally rejected, he would enter a protest on ceased earl, opposed his arguments in that their lordships' Journals, in which the main House. He was convinced the late earl reasons, those of precedent and economy, had held out erroneous doctrines occaso forcibly urged by the noble dake, should sionally, but he could not therefore agree be stated; a mnotive which, if it should that his services to his country did not prevail in this instance, would, he believ- merit what the present Bill proposed. ed, be neglected in every other.

The noble earl, whose memory the nation Lord Lyttelton rose, he said, to set the were unanimous in honouring, to an exnoble lord right respecting the error he traordinary vigour of mind, added a most had imputed to the deceased earl, an error sovereign contempt of money; he had which had never happened in the manner gone through offices which generally servhis lordship had stated. So far from lord ed to enrich his predecessors, without deChatham attempting to defend the pro- riving a shilling advantage from his situaclamation, he had offered to answer for it tion. When he was paymaster general, with his life, and pleaded in excuse the a subsidy to the king of Sardinia passed dire necessity which occasioned it. This through his hands. The usual perquisite was the true state of that matter; and if amounted to more than 20,0001. "The his 'recollection did not mislead him, he noble earl refused to touch it. The whole heard the deceased earl make use of the sum was found in the bank years after'strong expression, of being willing to ex- wards; it was then offered to the earl of piate by his head, if the parliament did Chatham as his right; the earl nobly renot think that the particular necessity was fused it, and the money was applied to the an ample justification. He was, iť was public service. This act alone was suffitrue, but a boy at the time, but he could cient to mark the noble-mindedness of the not forget the desponding state the nation earl's character, and to recommend him was in, and the unsuccessful efforts which to the favour of all who were capable of had been made in order to remove it; he admiring what was great and superior to recollected, that lord Chatham, then Mr. the common conduct of mankind. A great Pitt, was at the time but little known' but deal had been said about precedent, and as a public speaker; yet by the mere the ill example the passing of the Bill force of his abilities, accompanied by an would create. Good God! was this counalmost unparalleled integrity, he at once try so desperately reduced, so totally lost broke the parties which would have held to its ancient spirit,' that it was no longer him back from participating in the public capable of rewarding the services of its counsels, and soon united all ranks of peo- best subjects? Were the minds of lords so ple; restoring at the same time energy to depraved, that they were ready to confess government, and destroying, or at least they trembled at granting an annuity of silencing faction, by which means affairs 4,0001. to a family, the father of which had soon took a favourable turn ; in so much, restored the empire from the most abject that victory was soon brought to our side, and wretched condition, to a state of emi. till at length our enemies were abashed, nence, to a state of the most exalted ho. the national spirit rouzed, our prowess ac- nour and glory! Let noble lords turn to koowledged and felt, and our glory esta- the history of Greece, let them recollect blished in every quarter of the globe; the conduct of the Athenians respecting those powers who had in the outset assured Aristides. Years after that patriot was no themselves of success, having been obliged more, it was discovered that his widow and to sue with the most abject and mortifying family were in distress; the state assemhumility for peace. These were facts well bled, and in gratitude to the memory of known, not only to their lordships, but to Aristides, who had essentially served his all the world; they were matter of histo-country, made a noble provision for his rical record, being of that degree of cre- family. Was the British empire less gratedibility, as indeed not to admit of, or at ful than Athens ? or was she less capable least, call for any species of proof. of doing justice to merit than that petty

He said, he was far from contending, state ?

He hoped no noble lord would impute scribe to. Mr. Locke spoke clearly and what he had offered as arising from blind fully upon the point. Ministers always zeal, or any improper predilection, for all act at their peril; they must, in cases of he meant was no more than this; that great emergency, take such steps as the when the noble earl's services were fairly exigency of affairs required, without hesiestimated and balanced against whatever tating as to the strict legality of their might by his strongest opponents be ob- measures: and they must afterwards stand jected to his conduct, he doubted not, but the judgment of parliament, and abide by justice and public gratitude would unite in the censure and applause of tae legislative preponderating the scale in favour of the branches of the state. I looked upon it, Bill. He hoped the noble lords who had said his lordship, to be such a case of neopposed the Bill, would re-consider the cessity, as that stated by that truly great foundation of it, and if they did not find it man, which justifies the interposition of agreeable to them to vote for it, would at the prerogative, between the laws and the least suffer it to be carried without a divi. people; a right to preserve, not to enslave sion, and without a negative.

or destroy ; a right, I shall ever maintaio The Earl of Radnor said, he always the constitutional exercise of; end the understood the matter of the proclamation abuse of which, I shall ever be as anxious to be otherwise. He did not pretend to to resist and punish: in short, I believed contradict the facts now stated; but he the safety of the state to be at stake. I should ever think, that a proclamation was advised its salvation, and can never be not sufficiently valid to supersede an act persuaded, when I did so, that I was comiof parliament, and be the urgency ever mitting a crime. Having the honour to so pressing, it was, in his opinion, esta- be then in a very high post, (lord chanblishing a very pernicious precedent: not- cellor) I was more particularly consulted; withstanding therefore what the noble lord and if it was an error, I was solely to had said, the impression on his mind was blame. As soon as parliament met, an not removed.

indemnity was proposed; for my part, I Lord Camden rose to explain this busi- was against it; because I thought it unneness relative to the proclamation. He cessary. I was then persuaded, I acted began by confessing, that he was princi- right; nor have I had since any reason to pally concerned in issuing the proclama- retract my first opinion. His lordship tion, and if there was any blame due, it owned that his defence on the occasion was rather merited by him than his de- was a bold one; he had declared the is. ceased friend. The fact was, the harvest suing the proclamation was a strictly justihad failed throughout Europe; there being fiable act of prerogative, an act of preroa short crop, and a rapid exportation, gative not only warranted by particular there was the strongest reason to appre necessity, but supported upongeneral prinhend, that the consequence would be a ciples. Bold as his defence was, he was still famine within the kingdom. A council willing to maintain it; and he assured the was immediately called, as without some noble earl the fact was strictly as he had speedy remedy, a dearth was looked upon stated it; and in order to set him further to be inevitable: for no parliament was right, respecting the conduct of the deceased then sitting or likely to sit for forty days. noble earl, he assured him, he had been It was debated in council what was the misinformed; for he well recollected, in wisest step to take, and it was resolved to the course of the debate, when his lordissue a proclamation, laying an embargo ship was pressed for his opinion, his answer on the shipping, and preventing any corn was, “ If I must speak, I thiok the profrom being exported. That measure was clamation was illegal.” His lordship pursued from an idea that the day could renewed his argument in support of the never come, when parliament would se- present Bill; and after a variety of praises riously censure the only line of conduct of the deceased earl, spoke particularly possible to be adopted, in order to save of the noble contempt of money for which the nation from being starved. He had, he had been remarkable. His family had he declared, at the time consulted that suffered by it materially; and latterly, the great philosopher and politician Mr. Locke; noble earl had, in consequence of that whose Treatise on Government was one contempt, been almost left without a serof the wisest books ever published; he vant to attend his person. And so far did not know a single line of that work was his pension from being an ample prowhich he would not most willingly sub- vision, it was little belter than a clear

[ocr errors]

2000l. per ann. His lordship went more to the highest pitch of fame and prosat large into the affair of the earl of perity. He healed those factions, and Chatham's refusal of the office perquisites restored unanimity; and by that means upon the subsidy, than lord Lyttelton, rendered the exertions of the nation irreand declared that when the earl, in Mr. sistible; and he made no doubt if God Charles Townshend's chancellorship of had prolonged his life, and restored to the exchequer, refused to take it, he was him his talents, but he would once more scarcely master of a thousand pounds. have saved the British empire, if called

The Duke of Richmond begged leave into power. The two noble lords who to differ from the two noble lords who opposed the Bill, said, that his services spoke last, in respect to the conduct of had ceased, since he ceased to act in a the deceased earl, concerning the embargo ministerial capacity; the contrary was well laid on the exportation of corn, contrary known : at the very instant when the stroke to the express orders of an act of parlia- of death overtook him, he was in the act ment. The conduct of the learned lord of attempting to save his country from (Camden) was precisely as he stated the ruin which he saw impending; and it; but that of the deceased earl very which he feared, if not timely prevented, different; for instead of acknowledging must involve it in certain destruction. the illegality of the proclamation, he per- His lordship observed, that the objections sisted to the last in defending it; and he to the Bill were supported on two grounds; remembered that as well as the noble and the danger of the precedent, and the dislearned lord, who now faithfully stated tressed state of the public finances. As the transaction, so far as he was concerned to the first, there was nothing more evihimself, he treated a parliamentary indem- dent, than that the precedent must of nenification as totally nugatory and unnecessity prove serviceable to the state ; and cessary.

could be attended with no bad conseThe Earl of Shelburne rose, and spoke quence; and as to the second, it fell of to the qusstion at large. He said in parcourse. His lordship then went into the ticular, that no man ever regarded money history of the motives which induced the less than the deceased earl; and ridi. Commons, in queen Anne's time, to reculed the argument of the learned lord fuse making the duke of Marlborough's who spoke first, for supposing that the de- annuity perpetual, in the first instance, ceased earl had performed no services for which he attributed to factious motives his country, because he was not in actual and Tory principles. Even a Tory maemployment: he said, he continually turn- jority, in the other House, had now ed his thoughts to the service of his coun- joined in an unanimous vote for the pretry, whenever his state of health would sent Bill. Was there a party or descrippermit him; and that he imagined no man tion of men, or even an individual in the who had observed the conduct of public nation, who had not at some one period affairs for some years past, would be easily applauded his conduct, and courted him? persuaded to believe, that remaining in His merits were acknowledged, by every office was performing any service for his side, in each House ; whence, then, could country. As a further proof of the ge- the present opposition originate? If the nerous disposition of the deceased earl

, state of the finances were the real objecand how much he was above every selfish tion, which he much doubted, their situamotive, when put in competition with the tion could not be mended, but by the exergood of his country, he assured their lord- tion of such men (if any such there were) ships, that there was not any one time, and how could their lordships expect that from his last resignation to his death, in men of abilities would come forward, into which he might not have come into difficult situations, to the neglect of their power, and that on his own terms. He own immediate concerns, while the fate was courted and adulated by every party of this Bill, should it receive a negative, and description of men; he resisted them would present to them so mortifying a all; and always acted a disinterested and proof of national ingratitude ? independent part. He despised faction, He begged leave to assure the noble whether in a court or elsewhere; and duke (of Richmond), that however people always set his face against the narrow might differ, as to the propriety of the prejudices of party. At a time, when proclamation, the urgent necessity of the this country was in a desponding state; measure was so apparent, that there was when it was torn by factions, he raised it not a second opinion in council, when the [VOL. XIX. ]


« ElőzőTovább »