Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

will not allow us an oath for the preservation of the former, it may induce many people to think, they ought not to be allowed an oath for the preservation of the latter.

By this time, I hope, my Lord, all the inconveniencies pretended to arise from this Bill have vanished; and therefore I fliall consider some of the arguments brought to shew that it js not necessary. Here I must observe, that most of the arguments made use of for this purpose, are equally strong for a repeal of the laws we have now in being, against admitting Pensioners to fit and vote in the other House. If it be impossible to suppose, that a Gentleman of great estate, and antient family, can, by a pension, be influenced to do what he ought not to do; and if we must suppose that none but such Gentlemen can ever get into the other House, I am sure the laws for preventing Pensioners from having seats in that House* are quite unnecessary, and ought to be repealedi. Therefore, if these arguments prevail with your Lordships to put a negative upon the present Question, I shall expect to see that negative followed by a Motion for the repeal of those laws. Nay, in a few Sessions, I shall expect to see a Bill brought in, for preventing any man's being a Member of the other Houses but such as have some place or pension under the Crown. As an argument for such a Bill, it must be faid, that his Majesty's most faithsul subjects ought to be chosen Members of Parliament, and that those Gentlemen will always be most faithsul to the King that receive the King's money. I shall grant, my Lords, that such Gentlemen will be always the most faithsul, and the most obedient to the Minister -r but for this very reason, 1 should be for excluding them from Parliament. The King's real interest, however much he may be made by his Ministers to mistake it, must always be the fame with the People's; but the Minister's interest is generally distinct from, and often contrary to both: therefore, I (hall always be for exeluding, as much as possible, from Parliament, every man who is under the least inducement to prefer the interest of the Minister,

to to that of both King and People: and this I take to be the cafe of every Gentleman, let his estate and family be what they will, that holds a pension at the will of the Minister.

Those who fay, they depend so much upon the honour, integrity, and impartiality of men of family and fortune, seem to think our Constitution can never be dissolved, as long as we have the shadow of a Parliament. My opinion, my Lord, is so very different, that if ever our Constitution be dissolved, if ever an absolute Monarchy be established in this kingdom, I am convinced it wjll be under that shadow. Our constitution consists in the two Houses of Parliament being a check upon the Crown, as well as upon one another. If that check should ever be removed, if the Crown should, by corrupt means, by places, pensions^ and bribes, get the absolute direction of our two Houses of Parliament, our Constitution will, from that moment, be destroyed. There would be no occasion for the Crown to proceed any farther. It would be ridiculous to lay aside the forms of Parliament; for under that shadow, our King would be more absolute, and might govern more arbitrarily than he could do without it. A Gentleman of family and fortune would not, perhaps, for the fake of a pension, agree to lay aside the forms of Government; because, by his venal service there, he earns his infamous pension, and could not expect the continuance of it, if those forms were laid aside: but a Gentleman of family and fortune may, for the fake of a pension, whilst he is in Parliament, approve of the most blundering measures, consent to the most excessive and useless grants, enact the most oppressive laws, pass the most villainous accounts, acquit the most heinous criminals, and condemn the most innocent persons, at ihe desire of that Minister who pays him his pension. And if a majority of such House of Parliament consisted of such men, would it not be ridiculous in us to talk of our Constitution, or to fay we had any liberty left?

This misfortune, this terrible condition we may be reduced $0 by corruption: as brave, as free a people as we, the Romany

L 3 wer* were reduced to it by the fame means; and to prevent such a horrid catastrophe, is the design of this House.

If people would at all think, if they would consider the consequences of corruption, there would be no occasion, my Lords, for making laws against it. It would appear so horrible, that no man would allow it to approach him. The corrupted ought to consider, that they do not fell their vote, or their country only: these, perhaps, they may disregard; but they sell likewise themselves: they become the bond-flaves of the corrupter who corrupts them, not for their fakes, but for his own. No man ever corrupted another, for the fake of doing him a service. And, therefore, if people would but consider, they would always reject the offer with disdain. But this is not to be expected. The histories of all countries, the history even of our own country shews, it is not to be depended on. The proffered bribe, people think, will fatisfy the immediate cravings of some infamous appetite; and this makes them swallow the alluring bait, though the liberties of their country, the happiness of their posterity, and even their own liberty, evidently depend upon their resusing it. This makes it necessary, in every free State, to contrive, if possible, effectual laws against corruption: and as the laws we now have for excluding Pensioners from the other House, are allowed to be ineffectual, we ought to make a trial, at least, of the remedy now proposed: for though it should prove ineffectual, it will be attended with this advantage, that it will put us upon contriving some other remedy that may be effectual-, and the sooner such a remedy is contrived and applied, the less danger we shall be exposed to of falling into that fatal distemper, from which no free State, where it has once become general, has ever yet recovered.

Earl of Chrjlsrfield) Feb. Z2> 1740.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

IAgree with the Hon. Member who spoke first, (Sir Robert Walpole) that on his Majesty's happy Accession to the Throne, there ought to be no other contention amongst us, than who should most contribute to his service, than who Oiould express their duty and loyalty jn the most respectsul and the most extensive manner. But then I hope he will agree with me, that this is to be done with some regard to those we represent: that this is to be done, consistent with the trust reposed in us; consistent with that frugality which this House is bound to use, whenever the Crown is pleased to call upon it, to exercise its great power of giving money.

Now, notwithstanding what has been urged, I think we shall so far depart from the rule of frugality, as we exceed the revenue granted to his late Majesty, whether that exceeding shall amount yearly to 93,000l. as computed at the highest by the Hon. Member, or to above 130,000l. as I have seen it more truly computed by another. For I remember very well, that the yearly sum of 700,000l. though now thought too little, was not obtained for his late Majesty, without a long and solemn debate; and it was allowed by every one that contended for it, to be an ample Royal revenue. Nor was it asked inconsiderately, and on a sudden; it was asked on mature deliberation, after th« Queen's Civil List branches were found deficient; it was afl&d after many computations had been made of every charge requisite to support the honour and dignity of the Crown, and to maintain the present Royal Family; it was asked, after duly weighing what provision would be sufficient to answer all the ordinary and extraordinary occasions of the Civil Government; what would be sufficient to answer all proper augmentations of falaries, all reasonable and charitable pensions, all secret services at home and abroad, necessary to carry on a just.

[graphic][merged small][ocr errors]

and wise Administration. It was asked by that Hon. Member himself and others, who were entering into great employments, who were going to taste of the Royal bounty, and who therefore could not possibly be suspected to have any design of cramping his Majesty, by a too contracted and narrow revenue.

Nor does the late alteration in the Royal Family call for any increase of expence. For if the establishment for the Queen should be enlarged, whose distinguished character and many princely virtues, taken notice of in your Address, entitle her. to all degrees of grandeur, which any former Queen Consort ever enjoyed; I fay, if her Majesty's establishment should be enlarged, I presume the establishment for Prince Frederick will be much inferior to that settled on his present Majesty when Prince of Wales. Besides, our ardent wishes for his' Majesty's constant residence in these kingdoms, and his Royal intentions of making us a great and happy people, give us hopes, that many personal, many particular expences in the late reign, esT pecially those for frequent journies to Hanover, will be discontinued and entirely cease.

Nor is it any objection to the reasoning of that time, when the 700,000!. was granted to the late King, or to the computation then made, that this sum is faid to have been found, by the experience of past times, to be not answerable to the neces'sities of the Civil Government.

For this experience could not be found in the Queen's reign, because her Civil List branches seldom amounted to 600,000l. commonly to about 550,000!. and sometimes to very little above 500,000l. as appears by accounts formerly la^d befo'rJk this House: and I will not suppose those accounts which were-brought from the Treasury to be otherwise than true, in regard*' to my Hon. Friend.—I ask pardon, I should have faid the Hon. Member, for there is no friendship betwixt usl But he must give me leave to observe, that when he asserts her Civil List Branches amounted to about 700,000l. yearly, he can only

mean

« AnteriorContinuar »