« AnteriorContinuar »
Dutch would be then at liberty, and would certainly do whit was incumbent upon them in such a conjuncture; and till that conjuncture happens, we can have no more concern in the war than they: nay farther, in the concluding of that treaty of neutrality, so careful were the Dutch to preserve to themselves a liberty of doing afterwards what they should find proper, that, by an express provision of the treaty, they have reserved to themselves a power of sending the stipulated succours to tl>e Emperor, in cafe they should find it necessary so to do.
Thus, Sir, it appears that the Dutch are so far from having fallen into measures separate from us, that they have continued a heavy charge upon themselves, in order to be ready to join with us in any measure that may hereafter appear necessary for preserving the balance of power in Europe; and for that reason, as well as a great many others, I think it is incumbent upon us to put ourselves in such a condition as may enable us to act that part which Great Britain ought to undertake, in the glorious cause of preserving and securing the liberty of Europe.
Sir Robert Walyok, Feb. 7, 1735.
Prudence and pusillanimity, Sir, are two words, which are easily understood in private life; but in public and in national affairs, it is not so easy to form proper ideas for those two words, and to determine the exact boundaries between them. If a private man should think his honour injured, he may, he ought, to resent it immediately, because, as he has nothing but his own life to lose, his own opinion is a good and sufficient reason for putting it to the venture: but in national quarrels the lives of many thousands are concerned; and those who arc to deliberate and determine in what manner, or how soon, an. injury ought to be resented, are generally those whose lives, in' case of a rupture, will be the last of being brought into danger. For this reason they ought not to depend so much on their own opinion, nor ought they to insist upon such punctilios as piay be insisted on in private life. They ought to consider
the the circumstances of both nations, and they ought to weigh thoroughly the probable consequences; for it may sometimes be the interest of a nation to pocket an affront, or at least to defer their resentment'till they find a more proper opportunity for taking vengeance.
Sir Robert JValpole, Jan. 28, 1738.
It is very easy to talk big, either within doors or without; and considering the spirit of resentment that has been industriously stirred up in the nation, I know it would be mighty popular in us to come to vigorous resolutions immediately, but I do not know if it would be mighty wise. I am sure it would not be wise, as long as there are any hopes of obtaining redress by peaceable means; and even when we are come to an end of all our hopes in this way, we ought not to begin to talk till we are ready to act. In this we ought to follow the example of that fort of animal which is peculiar to this island* and therefore I am not ashamed to recommend its exam- to my countrymen: I mean our brave English bull dog, who alway-s seizes upon his enemy at once, and without making the least noise before hand. Threatening speeches, or even threatening resolutions, are but words. They are vox & prœierea nihil; and therefore the less they are made use of the better: but if any such are ever made use of, they ought to be instantly followed with suitable actions; for if they are not, those who have injured us will despise our menaces, and the whole world will laugh at our folly,
Horace Walpok, Esq. Jan. 28, 1738.
I must fay, that whatever the present character of the nation may be, I think we ought to do nothing rashly, either for preserving or recovering it. A man of real courage and good fense is never jealous of his character, and therefore is not so apt to take things amiss, or so hasty in resenting affronts, as one who has only a brutish temerity, or a false and affected
courage; besides, whatever may be our cafe at present, we ought not to show our teeth till we can bite.
No nation in the world, I believe, ever declared war till they were ready to enter upon action; and as we at present have neither a fleet nor an army ready sufficient for attacking such a powerful nation as Spain, I think we ought not as yet to do any thing that may look like a declaration of war, or even like a resolution to declare war.
Sir Charles Wager, Jan. 28, 1738.
In public life, as well as in private, there are some affronts that cannot by the custom of nations admit of a peaceful accommodation, or of any negociation for that purpose. If a gentleman should be caned in the open street, and should, instead of making a proper return, send a clergyman next morning to the aggressor, to beg that the affair might be made up in an Amicable way, the oppressor might, perhaps, look upon his patic -las a good Christian, but I am sure he would not look upon him as a gentleman, or a man of courage; and therefore he would probably offer no other satisfaction, but such a one as no man of honour could accept of, or, perhaps, and most probably too, he would bully and fay, the fellow deserved what he met with.. A mail of true honour, upon meeting with such an affront, would immediately take his own satisfaction, and that, too, with the very first opportunity.
In public life and in national affairs the cafe is the fame. There are some affronts that may be put by one nation upon another, which ought to be immediately resented in a hostile manner. All attacks or insults ought to be resented in such a manner, when it appears evident that it was done by public authority. When an insult is committed by the subjects of any nation, without an-apparent commission, or other authority under Government, the injured nation may fend Ambassadors to demand satisfaction; and ought not to resent the injury in a hostile manner till the other nation has made the act #
its own, or has taken the guilt upon itself, by denying or unreasonably delaying to punish or give up the offender!. But when the insult or attack appears, from the very nature of it, to have been committed by public authority, satisfaction ought not to be sued for by Ambassadors; it ought to be immediately taken by fleets and armies, properly instructed for that purpose.
Sir TV. Wyndham, March 30, 1738.
My Lords, as the motion the noble Lord has been pleased to make is pretty long, I cannot pretend to remember exactly the words; and as, upon hearing it read, I observed some words which to me seemed not quite so right, I must desire the favour to have the motion in my hand. [The motion being delivered to him, after perusing it, he went on thus:] My Lords* as this is one of the greatest, one of the most important conjunctures that ever happened to this nation, I desire and wish as heartily as the noble Lord who made you this motion, or any Lord can do, that we may be unanimous in the resolution we come to upon this occasion. The greatest part of the noble Lord's motion I highly approve of. There are only a few words towards the latter end which I think ought to have been left out; and as they are, in my opinion, quite unnecessary, I hope the noble Lord will, for the sake of that unanimity he so much desires, agree to leave them out of his motion. The words I mean are, "that it gives us inexpressible concern," with the following, which make the last paragraph but one of the noble Lord's motion. These words, I humbly think, my Lords, are quite unnecessary; and, as they may give offence to some Lords, and may occasion an opposition to a resolution, which would otherwise be unanimously agreed to, I hope the noble Lord will not insist upon their 'standing a part of his motion. But I offer this as my opinion only. I do not make it my motion, because I am resolved to wait till I hear what may be said by other Lords upon this head.' .
My Lords, we have now weathered the point of negotiation, and are fairly launched out in the open sea of a declared War: God grant we may meet with a prosperous gale! We have human probability on our fide, and as we have justice likewise on our fide, we have reason to expect the favour of Providence; therefore I have no doubt of a successful voyage, if we take care to put ourselves under the direction of good pilots. Ministers and negotiators will not, I hope, I am sure they ought not, now be our advisers. We have good Generals; we have brave and experienced Admirals: we must now chuse them for our pilots; we must take their advice; and, if their advice be taken, and vigorously pursued, I shall not hereafter find fault with events, on account of any cross accidents we may meet with in the prosecution of the war. Providence can only direct events: but men can plan; and if the plan be good, if the scheme be well laid, no man ought to find fault with the event. But, if the forming of our schemes for the prosecution of the war be left to ignorant and pusillanimous counsellors, we cannot expect they should be right; and a wrong scheme may be found fault with, even though the event mould, by an extraordinary interposition of Provi-> dence, prove successful.
In the prosecution of the present war, I hope every snap will, in his proper sphere, contribute as much as he can towards the success of his country. My Lords, I am persuaded every man will; because no war was ever entered into with greater unanimity amongst all ranks and degrees of men. We cannot, therefore, justly fay any thing, upon this occasion, of animosities and divisions. If there were ever any animosities or divisions amongst us, they were occasioned by our tamely submitting to so many foreign insults. These His Majesty's declaration of war has put an end to, and nothing can revive them but a slackness . in the prosecution. For this reason I wish they had not been mentioned upon this occasion, I am afraid it is ominous. It looks as if some people were suspicious