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DISCONTENTS. 271 most unruly ambition. But a fyftem unfavourable to freedom may be fo formed, as considerably to exalt the grandeur of the ftate; and men may find in the pride and splendour of that prosperity some sort of confolation for the loss of their folid privileges. Indeed the increase of the power of the state has often been urged by artful men, as a pretext for fome abridgement of the publick liberty. But the scheme of the junto under confideration, not only strikes a palsy into every nerve of our free conftitution, but in the same degree benumbs and stupifies the whole executive power; rendering government in all its grand operations languid, uncertain, ineffective; making ministers fearful of attempting, and incapable of executing, any useful plan of domestick arrangement, or of foreign politicks. It tends to produce neither the security of a free government, nor the energy of a monarchy that is abfolute, Accordingly the crown has dwindled away, in proportion to the unnatural and turgid growth of this excrefcence on the court. . The interiour ministry are sensible, that war is, a situation which sets in its full light the value of the hearts of a people; and they well know, that the beginning of the importance of the people must be the end of theirs. For this reason they discover upon all occasions the utmost fear of every thing, which by poffibility may lead to such an event. I do not mean that they manifest any of that pious fear which is backward to commit the safety of the country to the dubious experiment of war. Such a fear, being the tender fensation of virtue, excited, as it is regulated, by reason, frequently shews itfelf in a seasonable boldness, which keeps danger at a distance, by seeming to defpise it. Their fear betrays to the first glance of the eye, its true cause, and its real object. Foreign powers, confident in the knowledge of their • character, have not scrupled to violate the moft folemn treaties; and, in defiance of them, to make conquests in the midst of a general peace, and in the heart of Europe. Such was the conquest of Corfica, by the profeffed enemies of the freedom of mankind, in defiance of those who were formerly its profeffed defenders. We have had just claims upon the fame powers; rights which ought to have been facred to them as well as to us, as they had their origin in our lenity and generosity towards France and Spain in the day of their great humiliation. Such I call the ranfom of Manilla, and the demand on France for the East India prifoners. But these powers put a just confidence in their resource of the double cabinet. These demands (one of them at least) are hastening faft towards an acquittal by prescription. Oblivion begins to fpread her cobwebs over all our fpirited remonftrances. Some of the most valuable branches of our trade are also on the point of perifhing
from the same cause. I do not mean those branches which bear without the hand of the vine-dreffer';
I mean those which the policy of treaties had for- merly secured to us; I mean to mark and distin
guish the trade of Portugal, the loss of which, and the power of the cabal, have one and the same æra.
If, by any chance, the ministers who stand before the curtain poffefs or affect any spirit, it makes little or no impression. Foreign courts and ministers, who were among the first to discover and to profit by this invention of the double cabinet, attend very little to their remonstrances. They know that those shadows of ministers have now thing to do in the ultimate disposal of things. Jealousies and animofities are sedulously nourished in the outward administration, and have been even considered as a cau safine qua non in its conftitution: thence foreign courts have a certainty, that no : thing can be done by common counsel in this na.tion. “If one of those ministers officially takes up a business with spirit, it serves only the better to : signalize the meanness of the rest, and the discord... of them all. His colleagues in office are in hafte to?" shake him off, and to disclaim the whole of his proceedings. Of this nature was that astonishing
transaction, in which Lord Rochford, our ambas- fador at Paris, remonstrated against the attempt : - upon Corsica, in consequence of a direct authority ... VOL. II.. . T
ON THE CAUSE OF from Lord Shelburne. This remonftrance the French minister treated with the contempt that was natural; as he was assured, from the ambassador of his court to ours, that there orders of Lord Shelburne were not supported by the rest of the (I had like to have said British) administration. Lord Rochford, a man of spirit, could not endure this situation. The consequences were, however, .curious. He returns from Paris, and comes home full of anger. Lord Shelburne, who gave the orders, is obliged to give up the seals. Lord Rochford, who obeyed these orders, receives them. He goes, however, into another department of the fame office, that he might not be obliged officially to acquiesce in one situation under what he had officially remonstrated against in another. At Paris, the Duke of Choiseul considered this office arrangement as a compliment to him: here it was fpoke of as an attention to the delicacy of Lord
Rochford. But whether the compliment was to .. one or both, to this nation it was the fame. By
this transaction the condition of our court lay expored in all its nakedness. Our office correfpondence has lost all pretence to authenticity; Britith
policy is brought into derifion in those nations, ..that a.while ago trembled at the power of our
arms, whilst they looked up with confidence to the equity, firmness, and candour, which ihone in all
our negotiations. I represent this matter exactly in the light in which it has been universally received.
Such has been the aspect of our foreign politicks, under the influence of a double cabinet. With sucht an arrangement at court, it is impoffible it should have been otherwise. Nor is it poffible that this (cheme should have a better effect upon the govern: ment of our dependencies, the first, the deareft; and most delicate objects, of the interiour policy of this empire. The colonies know, that adminiftration is separated from the court, divided within itself, and detested by the nation. The double cas binet has, in both the parts of it, shewn the most malignant dispositions towards them, without being able to do them the smallest mischief.
They are convinced, by sufficient experience, that no plan, either of lenity or rigour, can be pursued with uniformity and perseverance. Therefore they turn their eyes entirely from Great Britain, where they have neither dependence on friendship, nor apprehenfion from enmity. They look to themselves, and their own arrangements. They grow every day into alienation from this country; and whilft they are becoming disconnected with our government, we have not the confolation to find, that they are even friendly in their new independence. Nothing can equal the futility, the weaknefs, the-rashness, the timidity, the perT%