« AnteriorContinuar »
is too large a fum for any Administration to have expended, without a previous authority from Parliament; and that, I am sure, was never asked for : what the present age may think of such a sum, I do not know, but I am sure our ancesters, even of the very last age, would have been extremely shy of loading the people with at least six-pence in the pound upon all the lands in Great-Britain, for building houses for the Officers belonging to the Admiralty: and I must think it a little extraordinary to see Ministers, of their own heads, undertake to do that, which even Parliaments of old would scarcely have thought of doing. It is true, that Parliaments have of late become very good-natured; they have put great confidence in Ministers, and have generally, I shall not say blindly, approved of all ministerial measures : this may, perhaps, have made Ministers presume a little farther than they would otherwise have done ; but I am very sure, that till very lately, no Minister would have dared to have drawn the nation into such an expence, without an authority from Parliament for so doing.
Sir William Wyndham, Feb. 24, 1735.
That there are discontents among the people, Sir, and that those discontents are too general, I shall readily agree; but whether they are owing to disaffection, I shall not pretend to determine ; I am su e they are not owing to reason: for there is no country in the world where the liberties and properties of the subjects are facredly prcferved, nor are more there any subjects who pay less for the ease and security they enjoy, than the subjects of this kingdom: but there are some men who seem to think they ought to pay nothing, nor be at any trouble, for preserving to themselves the blessings of peace and security. To please such men, or to prevent their being dissatisfied, is impoffible ; for government must always be expensive, some men must be employed for managing and transacting the affairs of the society; and some must now and then expose themselves to danger for the defence of the society: and it is both reason
able and necessary, that those who spend their whole time, or a great part of their time in government affairs, as well as those who venture their lives for the preservation of others, should be rewarded by those, who by their means are enabled to prosecute their own private affairs with safety, and without interruption. There are other men, and those not a few, who are so fond of novelty and change, that they are continually wishing for public convulsions and revolutions : such men are of so odd a temper, that they become dissatisfied with the security they enjoy; and a long uninterrupted course of public happiness, renders them completely miserable ; and there are others who never can be pleased, unless they have the entire direction of all public affairs; therefore when they are not employed, and chiefly employed, they are continually spreading virulent libels and seditious pamphlets against those that are ; by which means many unwary persons are caught, and are made to believe that the nation is ruined and undone ; though every man in the nation, who is tolerably frugal and industrious, finds himself in an easy and thriving condition.
Col. Mordaunt, Feb. 3, 1738.
I hate, Sir, all expedients, and I disdain all Ministers (looking at Sir Robert Walpole) who use them. Some Ministers, Sir, there are, who live upon expedients, and who cannot do their dirty work without them. Expedients, Sir, in the hands of weak Ministers, are the inftruments of defeating the most beneficial, and promoting the most destructive measures.
Mr. Pulteney, May 12, 1738.
Though the manner in which the Honourable Gentleman who spoke last delivered himself may well excuse me from faying any thing in answer to a speech so very unparliamentary, and so very inconsistent with all the rules of common decency; yet I think I ought to thew so much regard to the House as to declare, that I abhor dirty expedients as much the Honourable
THE Gentleman would be thought to do: as for his common-place railing against Ministers, it gives me very little trouble, fo long as I am conscious I do not deserve to have it applied to me. Were I ambitious of shewing my wit, I might have a fair opportunity of doing it, by railing against mock-patriots as much as the Honourable Gentleman has been pleased- to do against corrupt Ministers, and both perhaps might be equally instructive to the House. But, railing of all kinds, Sir, has always been looked upon as the last expedient of disappointed ambition, and a poor expedient it is. Were I one who for many years had unsuccessfully endeavoured, by all the arts that malice and falfhood could suggest, to work myself into those posts and dignities that I outwardly affected to despise, I know not how far, Sir, my temper might be soured, as to make use of such an expedient; but really, Sir, if I did, I should make but a very poor figure in the world.
Sir Robert Walpole, May 12, 1738.
The measures which the Gentleman who spoke last (Sir William Wyndham) and his friends may pursue, afford me no uneasiness. The minds of the nation and his Majesty, are pbliged to them for pulling off the mask. We can be upon our guard, Sir, againft open rebellion, but it is hard to guard against secret treason. The faction I speak of, Sir, never fat in this House; they never joined in any public measure of the government, but with a view to distress it, and to serve a popish interest. The Gentleman who is now the mouth of this faction was looked upon as the head of these traitors, who 25 years ago, conspired the destruction of their country, and of the Royal Family, to set up a Popish Pretender upon the Throne. He was seized by the vigilance of the then government, and pardoned by its clemency: but all the use he has ungratefully made of that clemency, has been to qualify himself according to law, that he and his party may, some time or other, have an opportunity to overthrow all law.
I am afraid, Sir, that the Honourable Gentleman (Sir Wile liam Wyndham) and his friends, will not be so good as their word, to withdraw themselves from Parliament, for I remember that, in the case of a favourite Prelate who was impeached of Treason, the same Gentleman, and his faction, made the fame resolution. They then went off like Traitors as they were, Sir, but their retreat had not the detestable effect they expected and wished, and therefore they returned. Ever since, Sir, they have persevered in the same treasonable intention of serving that interest by distressing Government. But I hope their behaviour will unite all the true friends of the present happy Establishment of the Crown in his Majesty's Person and Family, more firmly than ever ; and that the Gentlemen who, with good intentions, have been deluded into the like measures, will awake from their delusion, since the Trumpet of Rebellion is now founded.
Sir Robert Walpole, March 13, 1739.
After what had passed last Sessions, and after the repeated declarations of the Honourable Gentleman who spoke last, (Mr. Pulteney) and his friends, I little thought that we should have this Session been again favoured with their company. I am always pleased, Sir, when I see Gentlemen in the way of their duty, and glad that these Gentlemen have returned to theirs ; though, to say the truth, I was in no great concern left the service either of his Majesty, or the Nation, should suffer by their absence. I believe the Nation is generally sensible, that the many useful and popular Acts which passed towards the end of last Session, were greatly forwarded and facilitated by the secession of those Gentlemen ; and if they are returned only to oppose and perplex, I shall not at all be sorry if they secede again.
Sir Robert Walpole, June 14, 1739.
I MUST own, Sir, I can see but one reason for raising, at this present juncture, this additional number of troops; and that is, to strengthen the hands of the Minister against the next Election, by giving him the power of disposing of Commissions to the fons, brothers, nephews, cousins, and friends of such as have interests in Boroughs, into some of which, perhaps, troops may be sent to procure the free election of their Members, in imitation of the late Czarina sending her troops into Poland to secure the free election of a King.
But still there is one thing more fatal than all I have yet named, that must be the consequence of so great a body of troops being kept on foot in England, and will be the finishing stroke to all our Liberties. For as the towns in England will not be able much longer to contain quarters for them, most of those who keep public houses, being nearly ruined by foldiers billetted on them ; so on pretence of the necessity of it, barracks will be built for quartering them, which will be as so many fortresses, with strong garrisons in them, erected in all parts of England, which can fend to nothing but by degrees to subdue and enslave the kingdom.
But if ever this scheme should be attempted, it will be incumbent on every Englishman to endeavour to prevent it by all methods; and as it would be the last stand that could ever be made for our Liberties, rather than suffer it to be put in execution, it would be our duty to draw our swords, and never put them up till our Liberties are secured, and the authors of our intended Navery brought to condign puniflıment.
Lord Gage, Nov. 29, 1739.
NorwITHSTANDING the bad success of my last Motion, for inquiring into the late conduct of our public affairs, it shall not discourage me from offering another of the same nature; because, I think, our making some sort of inquiry, during this Seffion of Parliament, absolutely necessary for quieting the minds of the People, and for restoring, in some degree, the