Imagens da página

his own friends to try the imputed crimes or mismanagement of himself and his colleagues in office, annexing a very beneficial salary to each of these gentlemen. By this management the public is put into the situation of a traveller at a.Dutch inn. When he complains to the landlord of the extravagance of his bill, he takes it away, and makes a considerable addition to each article, which the unwary stranger is obliged to pay. 'thus when the people require a reduction of places and pensions, the noble Lord answers them with the appointment of half a dozen new Commissioners, with the salary of one thousand pounds per annum.

Sir Philip Jennings Clerke, Nov. i o, 17 80.

Every one, as well as myself, must recollect what pasted on the first day of the session, when the scene was the most-striking that, perhaps, ever was exhibited within these walls, and when the principal actor in that scene, the late Speaker, (Sir Fletcher Norton) gave an example of heroic fortitude equal to any ever displayed by a Roman matron. It requires the pencil of a West, or a Copley, to do it full justice. Being but a bad painter, I must have recourse to poetry, and recall the idea of that scene to the House, by stating, that it strikes me as a strong resemblance of the scene which passed between Paulo Purganti and his wife. The late Speaker, on the first day, fat and heard the noble Lord who moved the question of that day, and the right honourable seconder, (Mr. Fox) anxious for his health, expressive of their care for his constitution, and thence desirous of removing the burden of business off his shoulders. The House heard the right honourable gentleman, the late Speaker, confess, that his constitution was impaired, that his faculties were injured, that he was much the worse for having fat so long in the chair; and yet now, when the right honourable gentleman's friends have expressed a desire of that gentleman's return to the chair, the right honourable gentleman stands up, and, like a Roman ma.-" "' - tron, tron, despising the thorns with which the feat is filled, despising all fears of restless days, sleepless nights, and dull debates, declares himself again willing to undergo the punishment of sittirfg here. Thus the doctor in the tale, like the noble Lord, is laborious in recommending patience to his wife, in giving her receipts for Jter health; but she, with Roman firmness, in spite of all his advice, still urged her wishes and her resolutions, till at length the doctor cried—

I'll do it—but I'll give you warning —
You'll die before to-morrow morning.—

Ar*l then, like the right honourable gentleman on the first day of the session, Paulo Purganti's wife, in defiance of the threatened danger, replied— .-~ , .

Let wanton wives by death be scar'd;
But, to my comfort, I'm prepar'd.

ffi.Courtenay, Nov. 16, 1780.

* - --..,-<".. V.

Sir Hugh Palliser's silence immediately after the sentence of the Court Martial was known, his resignation of his lieutenant-generalship of marines, his retirement from Parliament at that time, and his high tone now, all remind me of a scene between two characters at a play, which I have often laughed at, and doubt not every gentleman present has done the fame. In the play, the Old Batchelor, that I allude to, a blustering being, Noll Bluff, was kicked and disgraced at one period of the plot, which he suffered with the utmost patience, and without attempting to defend himself, or to retaliate on his assailant; but in a subsequent scene, in which a dialogue ensues between the Bully and Sir Joseph, (Sir Joseph Wittol) the former grows angry, and fays, " Death and hell! to be affronted thus! I'll die before I'll suffer it." Sir Joseph endeavours to persuade him not to revive what had disgraced him, an4 what was then past remedy; and asks him, whether he

U 4 was was not «* abused, cuffed, and kicked?" To which the Bully swears, "By the immortal thunder of great guns, 'tis false I" and draws his sword. Sir Joseph begs him not to be in a passion, and says, "Put up, put up.'' The Bully replies, "By Heaven 1 'tis not to be put up !* Sir Joseph says in answer, .« What P The Bully replies, "The affront.'' Sir Joseph then adds, f( That's put up already; thy sword, I mean, put up; put up your sword." This scene, I must confess, strikes me as a strong resemblance of the Vice-admiral's conduct. I advise him, therefore to put up his anger, and think himself well off to rest as he ist

Hon. John Town/hend, Dee. 4, 1780.

A lively French writer has said, that the most melancholy quarter of an hour in the whole twenty-four, is that in which the reckoning is to be paid. This is the time in which the Public are called on to discharge the tremendous reckoning incurred by the American war; and in order to it, gentlemen are desired to impose burdens of the most heavy and galling nature on their constituents. It is now a moment when men naturally examine the items of the bill, and are led to ask themselves, whether in ordering the dishes which have composed their entertainment, they have not thoughtlessly given way to their capricious appetites, rather than consulted their sober reason, and ordered such matters only as their bodily health required. I will venture to fay, that now men have risen from the feast, extravagant beyond all example as it has been, it has not proved salutary or satisfactory to any one that has partook of it. The time of remedy has unfortunately been suffered to escape unused: but you, Sir, I trust, will do me the justice to say, that I objected to the bill of fare originally, and that I stated my reasons for disapproving of the most expensive dishes. That very costly one, an army large beyond all example, has been a particular object of my dislike. A large army was always disagreeable to an Englishman. A large army for no use is still more disgustful. What proof have we that the army existed which we voted, but that most disagreeable of all proofs, the being called upon to pay them? What has that army done for the immense sums that they have cost the public? What are they now doing? A short paragraph would comprehend the history of all their most memorable transactions. In 1778, the army evaojted Philadelphia; in 1779, they evacuated Rhode Island; in 1780, the army was— no man knew where, and doing-— no man knew what. So that the idea of Mr. Bayes, which has hitherto been considered as a ludicrous one, is attempted to be seriously realized, viz. to keep a large army incog.

Sir Charles Bunbury, April 12, 1780.

I am sorry that opulence is to be acquired by getting into Parliament. But so it is, that Members are like the tcnuis vulpercula, or the weazel, which being slender, creeps into the cupboard; but eats so much there, that it cannot get out. So it is with Members of Parliament; they get in sleek and slender, and afterwards, being gorged with places, pensions and douceurs, get such enormous bellies, that they ere scarcely able to get out again. To adopt another comparison: Members come here as into a hencoop, where they feed heartily at the ex pence of freedom. I wish the House of Commons were a kind of ergastulum, to work off these fat, large bellies, that are contracted by the douceurs acquired herein. I wish, Sir, that Members might spend, instead of acquiring fortunes in the public service, and growing fat, (stroking his own belly, and looking at Lord North) "with fair round belly, and good papon lined.''

Mr. Burke, March 8, 1781.

D liberty i

O liberty! O virtue! O my country! has been the incessant pathetic, but fallacious cry, of former Oppositions; the present, I am sure, act on purer motives; they weep over their bleeding country; yet "the patriot eye, in a fine phrenzy rolling," deign to cast a wishful squint on riches and honours enjoyed by the Minister and his venal supporters. If I were not apprehensive of hazarding a ludicrous allusion, which I know is always improper on a serious subject, I would compare their conduct to the sentimental Alderman's in one of Hogarth's prints, who, when his daughter is expiring, wears indeed a parental face of grief and solitude; but it is to secure Jjer diamond ring, which he is drawing gently from her finger.

Mr.Courtenay, Feb. 26, 1781.

The American war, and the continuation of the Ministers in office, go hand in hand; if the former was at an end, the latter would infallibly lose their places, which they consider as their stake. His Majesty's Ministers and the American war are like the porter's breech and the nose of Taliacotius. There is a sympathy between them, which renders them constantlydependent on each other;

When life of parent b—m is out,
Off drops the sympathetic snout.

So with the American war must their places and their pensions very sympathetically expire.

^fr. Burke^ Jpril 28, 1781,

The Minister has said, that we are not to go on with the American war in the same way; we are to alter and contrail the mode of it; but does that make any material difference? I have lead of a Lacedemonian, who, in a war with a neighbouring country, and in a sea engagement swam up to a galley, and laid hold of it with his right hand; the people in the galley cut off his right hand; he then seized hold of it with his left

hand j

« AnteriorContinuar »