Imagens da página

an infallible paliport to eternity. What a happiness it is to the House that there is no such frothy orator in it!

Mr. Courtenay, Dec, 12, 1783.

The right honourable gentleman (Mr. Fox) who began the debate, has said a great deal about the late Administration's having been turned out by the secret influence of the Crown. I desire to know what the Administration preceding the last has been turned out for, but for having made a peace, which the right. honourable gentleman had declared must be made at any rate, though he could not make it himself? The right honourable gentleman has of late praised majorities very highly; this has not however been his practice formerly. The right honourable gentleman must either be right or wrong in his newly-adopted opinion of the virtue and merit of majorities. If he is wrong, why so much boasting of glorious majorities? If he is right, he will please to remember that majorities, by the single monosyllable yes, have condemned his conduct for many years together. But this is not the only point in which the right honourable gentleman has changed his opinion. He must give me leave to remind him, that on the division upon Sir John Rous's motion, three sessions fince, he clapped his back to the Lobby door, and exclaimed, “ No Coalition !" yet he soon afterwards found that “no Coalition, no Treasury Bench," and he accommodated himself to the maxim, which he found best suited his advancement. I will beg leave to conclude my speech with the following story;

« There were two neighbouring farmers, who for many “ years had borne the most cordial enmity to each other. So “ great was their antipathy, that each declared they durst not trus themselves in a room with the other. At last, however, * farmer Whighouse fays to farmer Toryman,-Farmei, what “ are you and I about? We are neither of us likely to thrive “ in the world by all this jangling and snarling? I have a s proposal to make to you, by which we may both get money

“ apace,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

o apace, and provide for our numerous and clamorous fami-
6 lies. We have both of us a great deal of dirty work to do,
u and if you will lend me your horses to draw me through the
« mire, I will lend you mine; so let us c'en join our teams to-
“ gether.-Why, neighbour Whighouse, I like your proposal
66 very well, says fariner Toryman, but I fear our horses won't
« draw well together. I ain apt to fear they will find the
“ chains rather galling, and that they will kick, and wince, and
Aart, and run restive.

Never fear that, Mr. Toryman, says Mr. Whighouse,
« we must pat 'em and coax 'em, and feed 'em with good hay
“ and corn, and give fome of them fine trappings, and then
“ never fear but we shall make them so tractable, that we may
“ ride 'em ourselves with ease, though to be sure we are neither
“ of us very light weights.
..^ Now all former animofities were to be forgotten, and
“ upon every occasion they called one another my good friend
“ Mr. Whighouse, and my worthy neighbour Mr. Toryman,
6 This to be sure made the neighbours laugh. But matters
« foon took a serious turn, for these two overgrown farmers
“ began to encroach upon their neighbours, to break down
« their fences, and were proceeding to seize their very deeds
66 and leases, when a worthy gentleman in the neighbourhood,
“ finding how matters were going on, went and informed their
« worthy landlord of their proceedings, who dismifsed them
“.from their farms, in order to make room for better tenants."

Sir Richard Hill, Jan. 20, 1784.

This tax, which the honourable gentleman (Mr. Sheridan) has acted so violent a part against, is not to be considered as a tax on women by the name of women, as the honourable gentleman has stated it to be, but a tax on the property of the master, and, in my opinion, a very fair one. In short, I conceive this maid's tragedy, which the honourable gentleman has given us, and acted on the present occasion, to be rather a' per


formance calculated to expose my right honourable friend, (Mr. Pitt) than a serious matter of fair complaint against the tax, which is imposed with fo light a hand, that no master, or maid, can have real cause to state it as a grievance and a hardship. . ..

Jenkinson, May 10, 1785.

· Undoubtedly the return must, by every unprejudiced man be considered as an inadequate compensation for what we give up in the Irish propositions ; it is the furplus of an hereditary revenue that never will produce à surplus, or if it does, that can at the highest pitch of expectation be rated at more than the enabling us, at soine time or other within the course of the present century, to victual a few frigates with pickled pork and biscuit! This reminds me of Voltaire's account of an unfortunate man, who had lost a leg and an arm in one place, had his nose cut off and his eyes put out in another, had been hung up and cut down in a third, had been imprisoned by the inquisition and condemned to be burnt, and at last found himself chained to the oar as a galley slave, and who nevertheless consoled himself with saying, “ Thank God for all I have suffered! I fhould not otherwise have known the luxury of eating orange chips and pistachio nuts, in the harbour of Conftantinople." Jo i n ' ... Lord North, May 30, 1785,

All the idea of the necessity of a parliamentary reform, I am persuaded, is the mere vapour of a dream, the shadow of a fhade, empty whim and fanciful nothing, from which the right honourable gentleman (Mr. Pitt) endeavours to conjure up something; but I rely on the good sense and sound reason of the majority, trusting that they will break the spell, and prevent the magicians from practising on a subject that ought to be held sacred. Even admitting, for the sake of argument, and I shall not wish to be thought serious in admitting for an moment, that any alteration is actually necessary; yet I shall

contend, contend, that the alteration proposed is not adapted to the feigned evil. I beg to know, where there exists in Europe, or on the face of the globe, a people so happy as those under the British Constitution? Where is there a people so fully in porsession of their rights and liberties? The fact is undeniable; what matter it then, whether persons who fit in this House, the guardians of the public freedom, fit by virtue of having been elected for a burgage tenure, a borough, or county? While the People's rights are secure, and their liberties safe, why is it necessary to go into a minute inquiry how they come to be secure and safe? The means were provided by our ancestors, and have been sanctioned by experience, the test of truth. The right honourable gentleman, like a quack, however, is desirous of having the dose swallowed, whether the patient has any disease or not; and, like a true empiric, will insist upon it that his pill is specific, and will cure patients in all cases, and under all circumstances. The subject is too serious to be ludicrous upon; bụt I will just statę, that the right honourable gentleman reminds me of the Mock Doctor in Moliere's farce. I suppose the Speaker has either feen or read the book, and will recollect, that a man's daughter is supposed to be dumb, and he sends for a physician to cure her. The Doctor comes, and soon 'restores the girl to the use of her tongue, which she exer: cises so fluently, that the father offers him another fee to make her dumb again; when the Doctor replies, “ he can't do that, but if he pleases, he'll undertake to make him deaf.

i Lord. North, April 18, 1985



[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

TY Lords, the liberty of the press is what, I think, ought, to be sacred to every Englishman, and I dare answer for it, will ever be to your Lordships. But, my Lords, though the liberty of the press is in every body's inouth, yet I am afraid there is nothing less understood than the nature of that liberty. My Lords, I have often desired an opportunity of delivering to your Lordships my sentiments, with regard to the liberty of the press; and as that expression has been mentioned in this debate, I think I cannot have a fairer opportunity of doing it than the present; but I hope your Lordships, beforehand, will acquit me of any affectation to appear singular upon this occafion. I do assure you, my Lords, I shall speak iny sentiments, and what occurs to me from the most mature reflection I am able to make upon the nature of our Constitution and Government. . The liberty of the press, my Lords, is by most people, I know, taken for a liberty to publish every indecency of any kind against the most respectable persons and the highest characters; and so strongly does this notion prevail, that a libeller is no sooner prosecuted, than a cry is inmediately set up, that the liberty of the press is endangered. But, my Lords, give me leave to say, that if the liberty of the press confifts in defamation, it were much better we were without any such liberty. My notion, my Lords, is, that the words, The Liberty of the Press, are improperly used to express a right, which is peculiar to the press, of publishing to the world any defamatory mata ter to the prejudice of a superior, inferior, or equal. My Lords, the laws and constitution of England know of no such liberty ; for that would be a liberty destructive of all laws and all conAitutions. How these words came to prevail was, my Lords,


« AnteriorContinuar »