Imagens da página

Parliaments to their present length, hath, I fear, been productive of many political misfortunes, subsequent to that alteration. Yet, if ever the good people of South-Britain deserved a triennial holiday, it is for that steady loyalty they have fo lately shewn, in opposition to those of the Northern Parts of this Kingdom; who have also distinguished themselves, but not at all to their honour or credit. The Repealing of the Septennial Act would bring us a little nearer to that happy situation of Independency, which Annual Parliaments would undoubtedly compleat.

Thus, such as now think it ill policy to be unattached, or unfashionable to be disengaged, may then come to have nobler views, than to prostitute their legislative trust, conferred upon them by their Constituents; who, in all probability, could be no otherwise influenced in their choice, (for so short a period) but merely from a personal regard. As I am one of those that shall be ever proud of being so unfashionably degagée, as to detest nothing so much as an attachment to any side, or set of men whatsoever ; fo, according to that laudable practice of our ancestors, I shall wait to see some of the many grievances we labour under first redressed, before I can give my afsent to the Address moved for,

Major Selwyn, Nov. 18, 1746.

ABOUT the latter end of May, or the beginning of June, the Ministry were acquainted with the fate of Falkland Island. At that time they learned, that the Governor of Buenos Ayres had fent a frigate or two, to warn our troops to quit the Island; that our Commanding Officer had threatened to fire upon them if they would not depart; that the Spaniards, in consequence, declared their resolution of employing force ; and that there was no doubt they would put their threat in execution. Where their pride is concerned, the Spaniards are tenacious of their words: and it could not be supposed, that the Governor of Buenos Ayres would, in this case, belie the character of his nation. But who is this Governor, this mighty Potentate, against whom the King of Great Britain is going to draw his sword ? I will tell the House. When at Gibraltar, in an inferior station I confess, I happened in an excursion to meet this Governor, this Don Francisco de Buccarelli, whom our Ministers consider as great and formidable, For a Spaniard, he was not a bad companion ; but I do not believe he had, at that time, the most distant hope of ever en. tering into a competition with the King of Great-Britain. But our Ministers were made for rendering absurdity fashionable. As they have, for these two years, degraded their Royal Master by a quarrel with a wretched Libeller, so now they commit his dignity in a contest with a little Spanish Officer. The terrible foes that rouse his vengeance, are John Wilkes, and my old friend Buccarelli. How much inore honourable would it have been, to have at once considered the King of Spain as the aggressor, as the delinquent? It is evident, from the coolness and deliberation with which Buccarelli acted, that he acted under the authority, and by the express command of the King of Spain. If he had not, he would have, ere now, forfeited his head. Why then did not our Ministers, upon the first intelligence, deem this 'act of hostility the most explicit and effectual Declaration of War? Why did they not immediately arm the nation, and prepare for striking as decisive a blow, as that which secured us the superiority of the late war? This step would have brought into our ports their ships and failors, and effectually ruined their Marine. Of this truth no person of common sense can entertain the least doubt. In· stead of adopting this vigorous measure, they let the affair sleep

for three or four months, as if time had no wings. And, when at last waked out of their lethargy, what have they done? What harbours have they improved ? What forts have they re'paired? What cities have they fortified ? Have they strengthened the lines at Quebec ? Have they secured that spot, which, if taken by the enemy, will ruin our fishery, if it is not already ruined by their indolence, timidity, or ignorance? Have you taken any Measures for defending those Sugar Islands, which, from their situation, are exposed to the insults of the enemy? What precautions have you taken for the safety of Minorca? I know, that when the troops from Ireland arrive, the garrison will consist of nine battalions. But whosoever told you this number would be sufficient, knows nothing of the service. I am confident, that every Officer of judgment and experience, will coincide with me in opinion. You see then where you are vulnerable. More instances might be' pointed out; but that were impiety! I should hold niyself inexcusable for what I have already said, were I not sensible that our enemies know them as well as we do. Such then is the situation of this country, to which our Minister, in the course of last Session, promised a ten years peace. I stood up in my place, and ventured to call his prophecy in question; I gave my reasons, but they were called the suggestions of faction. The Minister, trusting to his own fagacity and foresight, paid no regard to the forebodings of the gallant Admiral, who now fits at the head of the Marine Department. The illustrious feaman, than whom I know not a better Officer, nor a more excellent citizen, declared, that whoever occupied next year the place then held by him, would be forced to call for an augmentation of fix thoufand failors. These words shew that I was not fingular in my opinion, and that other respectable persons felt the approach of war. I know not what the opinion of the Minister may be, but I still continue of the fame. I smell war; a calamity which might have been easily prevented, had our negociators acted with spirit and resolution in the affair of Corsica. I happened then to be at Paris; and can with the greatest truth affirm, that the French would have deemed your interposition the part of a friend. Tired and exhausted with such an effusion of blood and treasure, they would have thanked you for any honourable pretence to withdraw from that scene of so many disasters. But you acted then like poltroons, and pol


troons always bring upon themselves a succession of insults, And now, that like bullies, you hector and blufter, and run swaggering about, what will you do? Where is there a man among you who can make the proper arrangements for war ? Whom will you appoint Commander in Chief? He, alas ! who could fill that office with dignity and ability, is no more; and no friend of Britain will refuse his memory a tear. For when shall we see his like again? Regardless of money, and studious only of true glory, he sought the applause and affection of his country, and he acquired them. His honour (the late Marquis of Granby) and integrity were unquestioned: his courage, which was of the most ardent and decisive kind, and covered him with laurel, so much the more honourable, that he did not employ the weight and authority thence derived to his own private emolument, but for the public good. Such virtue, rare at any time, was to be doubly prized in such an age as this. Such talents might have given life and vigour to our military counsels. But, snatched away when we most needed his heart and his hand, he is, alas ! no more.

It is, however, some consolation under this distress, that we have such an able Secretary at War. His superior talents will make us amends for the loss of so great a character. That clearners for which his dispatches are so remarkable, is a sufficient earnest for his future atchievements. In the last war, some of his letters to the Governor of Gibraltar were, if I remember right, unintelligible, some were contradictory, and all confused and perplexed. Hence the loss of Minorca. If his head produced such effects, when he acted only an under part, what may we expect from it, where he is the supreme director? It is not that the Noble Lord cannot write with sufficient perspicuity, where the question is to destroy his Majesty's subjects. There I confess the power of his eloquence. There he is quite intelligible. There he can inspire the soldiers with alacrity. I wish the Ministry joy of such a superintendant of the military Yol. I.

department; department; but I am sorry I cannot pay my country the fame compliment.

Colonel Barré, Nov. 13, 1770.

The Noble Lord at the head of the Treasury (Lord North) is the greatest of all Contractors ;-he is a Contractor for men; - a Contractor for your flock, Mr. Speaker, (addressing himself to the Chair); a Contractor for the Representatives of the people. The Noble Lord proposed to give a place of a thoufand a year, provided a Noble Duke would prevail on the most insignificant Member in that House to vacate his feat in Parliament.

The Noble Duke behaved like a man upon the occasion; like a friend, like a brother: he rejected the villainous propofition that Noble Lord had the assurance to make.

I am not acquainted with the Noble Lord. I have never spoken to him ; I have never had the honour of being introduced to him ; but I sincerely wish him to save his country and his own life. I exhort him to call off his butchers and ravagers from the Colonies; to retire with the rest of his Majesty's evil advisers from the public government, and make way for honest and wiser Counsellors; to turn from his wickedness and live; it is not yet too late to repent.

Lord George Gordon, April 13, 1778.

THERE is but one answer I have to give, as applicable to Administration in a body. Opposition are well warranted to reply to them in the words of a celebrated author, (Swift's Gulliver) a little altered and enlarged; where, at the conclusion of his well-known Travels, he says, he could bear them well enough in some respects; he could make allowances for their incapacity, ignorance, folly, corruption, love of place, and emolument; he could pity them for their blunders, their wants, weakneses, and gross stupidity; he felt for their miserable fituation, knowing not whether to rush headlong on certain ruin,


« AnteriorContinuar »