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character and credit of our Government. What sort of company some Gentlemen may keep, I do not know; but to me, that keep all sorts of company, the disappointment upon the former Motion's being rejected, appeared evident in the face of every man, who had not reason, upon his own account, or the account of some of his friends, to dread the consequences of that inquiry; and whatever we may think within doors, it will be thought without, nay, it is now generally said, that if some people were not conscious of their own guilt, they would not so vigorously oppose an inquiry: for an innocent man, when he finds himself accused or suspected, will always desire to be brought to a fair and legal trial, that he may have an opportunity to vindicate his character against those whispers that are spread about against him. This, Sir, is the language now held without doors; and the certain confequence will be, that if we let this Session pass over without any inquiry, it will be said, that a Majority of us have been partakers in the guilt, and partners in the plunder of our Country. . From hence, Sir, I must hope, that every innocent man in this House, (and now that one man is gone from amongst us, I hope, all of us are fo) will be for the Question I am now to propose, because I have taken care to prevent its being liable to the two chief objections that seemed to prevail against my last Motion. These were, its being too extensive as to time, and too extensive as to matter. An inquiry for twenty years back was thought to be without precedent, and that it would be such a precedent as might be of dangerous consequence in future times. This was one of the chief objections against it, and an objection which, I believe, had weight with some whose concurrence I hope to be favoured with in this Motion. And the other objection was, its comprehending all our foreign as well as domestic affairs, which must of course have brought all the papers relating to our foreign negotiations before our Committee. To this it was objected, that it would endanger the . discovery of some of the most important secrets of our Govern
ment to our enemies, which might be of the most fatal confe. quence now that we are engaged in one war, and in great likelihood of being soon obliged to engage in another. This likewise seemed to have weight, and, I believe, prevailed with fome Gentlemen to be against my former Motion ; for which reason I shall now only move, That a Committee be appointed to inquire into the conduct of Robert Earl of Orford, during the last ten years of his being First Commissioner of the Treafury, and Chancellor and Under Treasurer of his Majesty's Exchequer.
Sir, I hope the time of inquiry proposed by this Motion will not be thought too extensive ; for considering the chief crime of a domestic nature he has been accused of, our inquiry cannot, I think, be confined within narrower bounds. The crime I mean, is that of applying not only all the favours of the Crown, but even the Public Money, towards gaining a corrupt influence at Elections and in Parliament. This he is generally accused of by the voice of the People without doors and, I believe, there is not a Gentleman in this House that has been chosen in opposition to what was called the Court Interest, who was not sensible of some such practices being carried on against him, before and at the time of his Election. Every Gentleman must be sensible, that it is very difficult to fix such practices upon a Minister, because they are not only carried on in an hidden manner, but by Tools and Under-Agents, who do not appear at the Election as Agents for the Minister, but as Agents for the Court Candidate; and generally spend their money very freely; though it is often known, that neither they nor their Candidate had ever any money of their own to spare : nay, those Agents are often known to be Treasury-Agents, though in the common course of justice it is impossible to prove that they are: it will even be difficult for a Committee of this House, with all the powers we can give them, to trace this practice up to its original source : but, confidering the general fufpicion without doors, and the many strong reasons there are
for for believing that suspicion to be well grounded, we ought cere tainly to aim at it; and if we do, we cannot begin later than the time when canvaffing may be supposed to have begun for the chusing of the last Parliament, which, I reckon, was about ten years ago; for as that Parliament was chosen in the summer 1734, we must suppose that the Candidates, especially where there was like to be an opposition, began to take meafures for securing their interest in the summer 1732, which will just come within the term of ten years, computing back from this time.
For this reason, I hope, this will appear to be the shortest time I could move for : and as it is much shorter than the time proposed by my last Motion, I hope I shall have the concurrence of many Gentlemen who then appeared against me; especially as I have likewise in this taken care to obviate the other objection, of its being too extensive as to the matters proposed to be inquired into; for as this Noble Lord had by none of his Offices any thing to do with foreign affairs, this Motion cannot be said to relate to, or comprehend any affairs of that nature, unless it be supposed, that this Minister directed every other branch of public business, as well as that of the Treasury; which, I am sure, none of his friends will pretend to say, because this would be as great a crime as any he is accused of. This Motion cannot therefore be supposed to relate to any Foreign Affairs, and, consequently, an inquiry into this Nobleman's conduct, cannot be supposed to endanger the discovery of any of the secrets of o’r Government. Nay, if he, whilst he was in office, confined himself to the duty of his office, our inquiry, in pursuance of this Motion, can comprehend but one branch even of our Domestic Affairs, and that branch too, which, of all others, has the least to do with our Foreign Affairs. An inquiry into the conduit of a Secretary of State, a Secretary at War, a Commissioner of the Admiralty, or even the Lord High Chancellor, might be said to have some relation to Foreign Affairs; but I cannot figgest to my
self what a Commissioner of the Treasury can have to do with Foreign Affairs, or how an inquiry into his conduct can have the least relation to any Foreign Affairs whatever: consequently, I hope, this Motion will appear to be quite free from this objection, which seemed to be urged with so much weight against my' former: and as much has in this Session been said, upon former occasions, about the necessity of an immediate inquiry, I shall add no more, but move to resolve, That a Committee be appointed, as I have before-mentioned.
Lord Limerick, March 23, 1741.
The Laws and Liberties we now enjoy, were procured for us by such of our ancestors, as were utter strangers to every fystem but what conduced to honour and virtue. A. Government supported upon any other basis ought not to subsist a moment longer, nor is such a one worth contending for; no, not even by those whose depraved minds are not to be gratified by the corrupteft Government, because those who act or fight for hire only, are always looking out for the best market. So that I hope we shall not let this Session pass without a good Militia Bill; for a standing army, even in time of war, was never yet an object that suited the genius of this Nation, supposing it kept up with the strictest economy, because it is not our natural defence; and I can aver, there hath nothing happened within thefe twelve months and upwards to render it more ac. ceptable: for be it ever To formidable, it cannot be every where, much less can it prevent invasions or insurrections, when, to our late memorable shame, we were twice baffled by a banditti rabble; and, in all probability, we had been served so a third time, but for the presence of his Royal Highness the Duke: whereas a well-armed and well-disciplined Militia, dispersed over the face of this Kingdom, must suppress all risings in the first instance, besides the great benefits we should have of them in every maritime county, to put a stop to that abominable trade of smuggling, without having recourse to a
much more abominable practice, of putting your laws in execution by a military force: a precedent, give me leave to tell you, Sir, that must be fatal to the Liberties of this Kingdom, if not timely prevented.
Sir, the conduct of our late and present Patriots, as they presume to call themselves, proves the necessity there is for some alteration in your Conftitution; because, how inhumane is it for that eloquence, which was given by Providence for its defence and preservation, to be employed in its ruin and destruction! Punishments there are for the thief, the murderer, and the bare-faced traitor ; but alas ! to the grief of all welldisposed minds, there is none for the fordid orator : I say, Sir, there is none for the fordid orator, who shall one day display his eloquence in the cause of his country, to shew his parts and gain attention; and the next shall convince his injured countrymen, that he is a prostitute to venality, and the purchased Nave of a corrupt Ministry. What pity it is that such wretches cannot be brought to condign punishment, without doing violence to the laws of their country, who one day fling out farcasins against the Measures of an Administration, as ruinous and destructive, for no other cause but to be admitted principals in it: and the next day pursue the very fame measures which they had so emphatically exploded, without the least jot or tittle of alteration in the whole ministerial System. Surely, Sir, if there is one of that abject style in being, how can he ftand clear of that occultum quatiente animo tortere flagellum? -Or why should he not expect every moment to be hurled down into that execrable, that most detestable pit, where the worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched !
Sir, I should have no objection to addressing his Majesty, could I perceive the least tendency to restore the Constitution to its ancient purity. The Royal Family upon the Throne, under whom we enjoy so many blessings, found us in pofsession of the Triennial Act; and although it might be proper to repeal it upon an extraordinary occasion, yet to continue