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“ Things are now in the way of being soon-in the extremes of << well or ill: I hope and believe the first. Lord Wharton is gone « out of town in a rage; and curses himself and friends for ruining “ themselves in defending lord Marlborough and Godolphin, and s taking Nottingham into their favour. He swears he will meddle o no more during this reign; a pretty speech at sixty-six; and the 6 queen is near twenty years younger, and now in very good « health! Read the Letter to a Whig Lord *." on..
Journal to Stella, June 17, 1712. « To day there will be another Grub: A Letter from the Pre« tender to a Whig Lord. Grub street has but ten days to live; “ then an act of parliament'takes place that ruins it, by taxing “ every halfsheet at a halfpenny."
Ibid. July 19.
* Dr. Birch, in a note on this passage, supposes it to allude to the Letter from the Pretender, which however is not dated till July 8.--It evidently relates to the larger letter.
< BRA It is not very clear whether this letter was addressed to any particular lord, or to a whig lord in general. By what is said p. 123, it seems intended for the earl of Nottingham; but there are some other particulars in it which contradict that supposition. If it was really addressed to an individual, it was probably to Richard Lumley, earl of Scarborough, with whom the cir. cumstances of being of a very ancient family and of not having had any office under the queen will agree.
THE dispute between your lordship and me has, I think, no manner of relation to what in the common style of these times are called principles; wherein both parties seem well enough to agree, if we will but allow their professions. I can truly affirm, that none of the reasonable sober whigs I have conversed with did ever avow any opinion concerning religion or government, which I was not willing to subscribe; so that, according to my judgment, those terms of distinction ought to be dropped, and others introduced in their stead, to denominate men, as they are inclined to peace or war, to the last or the present ministry : for whoever thoroughly considers the matter will find these to be the only differences that divide the nation at present. I am apt to think your lordship would readily allow this, if you were but aware of the consequence I intend to draw : for it is plain, that the making peace and war, as well as the choice of ministers, is wholly in the crown ; and therefore the dispute at present lies altogether between those who would support and those who would violate the royal prerogative. This decision may
scem perhaps too sudden and severe; but I do not see how it can be contested. Give me leave to ask your lordship, whether you are not resolved to oppose the present ministry to the utmost ? and whether it was not chiefly with this design, that, upon the opening of the present session, you gave your vote against any peace till Spain and the West Indies were recovered from the Bourbon family *? I am confident your lordship then believed, what several of your house and party have acknowledged, that the recovery of Spain was grown inipracticable by several incidents, as well as by our utter inability to continue the war upon the former foot. But you reasoned right, that such a vote, in such a juncture, was the present way of ruining the present ministry. For, as her majesty would certainly lay much weight upon a vote of either house, so it was judged that her ministers would hardly venture to act directly against it; the natural consequence of which must be a dissolution of the parliament, and a return of all your friends into a full possession of power. This advantage the lords have over the commons, by being a fixed body of men, where a majority is not to be obtained, but by time and mortality, or new creations, or other methods which I will suppose the present age too virtuous to adınit. Several noble lords, who joined with you in that vote, were but little inclined to disoblige the court, because it suited ill with their circumstances : but the poor gentlemen were told it was
. * A clause to this purpose, proposed by the earl of Nottingham, and seconded by the earl of Scarborough, to be added to an address to the queen, Dec. 7, 1711, was carried by a majority of not above two voices,
the safest part they could act; for it was boldly alleged, that the queen herself was at the bottom of this affair ; and one of your neighbours *, whom the dread of losing a great employment often puts into agonies, was growing fast into a very good courtier, began to cultivate the chief minister, and often expressed his approbation of present proceedings, till that unfortunate day of trial came, when the mighty hopes of a change revived his constancy, and encouraged him to adhere to his old friends. But the event, as your lordship saw, was directly contrary to what your great undertaker had flattered you with. The queen was so far from approving what you had done, that, to show she was in earnest, and to remove all future apprehensions from that quarter, she took a resolute necessary step ot, which is like to make her easy for the rest of her reign ; and which, I am confident, your lordship would not have been one of those to have put her upon, if you had not been most shamefully misinformed. After this, your party had nothing to do but sit down and murmur at so extraordinary an exertion of the prerogative, and quarrel at a necessity, which their own violence, inflamed by the treachery of others, had created. Now, my lord, if an action so indisputably in her majesty's power requires any excuse, we have a very good one at hand. We alleged, that the majority you hardly acquired with so much art and management, partly made up from a certain transitory bench, and partly of those whose nobility began with themselves, was wholly formed
* Charles Seymour, duke of Somerset. + The creation of twelve new peers,
during the long power of your friends ; so that it became necessary to turn the balance, by new creations; wherein, however, great care was taken to increase the peerage as little as possible *, and to make a choice against which no objection could be raised, with relation to birth or fortune, or other qualifications requisite for so high an honour.' - There is no man hath a greater veneration than I for that noble part of our legislature, whereof your lordship is a member; and I will venture to assert, that, supposing it possible for corruptions to go far in either assembly, yours is less liable to them than a house of commons. A standing senate of persons nobly born, of great patrimonial estates, and of pious learned prelates, is not easily perverted from intending the true interest of their prince and country; whereas we have found, by experience, that a corrupt ministry, at the head of a monied faction, is able to procure a majority of whom they please, to represent the people. But then, my lord, on the other side, if it has been so contrived, by tiine and management, that the majority of a standing senate is made up of those who wilfully or otherwise mistake the publick good ; the cure, by common remedies, is as slow as the disease : whereas a good prince, in the hearts of his people, and at the head of a ministry who leaves them to their own free choice, cannot miss a good assembly of commons. Now, my lord, we do assert that this majority of yours has been the workmanship of about twenty
* This promotion was so ordered, that a third part were of those, on whom, or their posterity, the peerage would naturally devolve; and the rest were such, whose merit, birth, and fortune, çould admit of no exception. ' Swift.