Imagens da página

I commend him for the spirit of inquiry that has actuated him on the present occasion. He is doing only what he has a right to do; and so far am I from entertaining the most disa tant thoughts of the honourable gentleman's clogging the wheels of Government, that I am persuaded he no more clogs them than the fly in the fable, who, settling on the chariot wheel, thought she raised the dust with which she was surrounded; whereas, poor innocent thing, she fixed where she had a right to fix, and did not in the least incommode either the action of the wheels, or the quiet of the person who rode within side.

Lord North, Dec. 2, 1778.

With regard to the noble Lord's apt fimile, it does him honour. His Lordship in this line of debate is known to be an original. Whenever the noble Lord finds himself closely pressed in argument, or fact, it is his known practice to get rid of the question by a joke! His manner is no less curious than his matter; when he was half a sleep, or seemingly quite asleep, he collected a store of wit and humour, from Æsop and Phædrus, and Joe Miller, or some other book equally distinguished for such species of drollery, and, instead of reasoning, is sure to treat the House with a laugh. As to his simile of the fly on the chariot wheel, if the noble Lord and his associates lived in another country, and had their deserts, they would long since have been put upon a proper wheel, such a wheel as the fystem and principles of the noble Lord's government, among other blessings inseperable from despotism, tended to introduce into Great Britain; I would therefore rather be the fly in the fable, than an object of ignominy and detestation upon the wheel of public vengeance.

Honourable Temple Luttrell, Dec. 2, 1778.

The noble Lord (Lord Mulgrave) has sneered at me from a book, called Anticipation, which no one admires more than I do. I possibly may not be so polished as a person who has failed


round the world, and touched where bears were the principal inhabitants, and whose manners the circumnavigator (Lord Mulgrave) seems to have copied with great success.

Honourable Temple Luttrell, Dec. 2, 1778.

[ocr errors]

The honourable gentleman (Mr. Courtenay) is accustoined to turn every thing into ridicule, and has introduced a stile of reasoning every way unsuitable to the gravity and importance of the subjects that come under discussion. If we cannot act with dignity, let us at least debate with decency. I will not attempt to answer the honourable gentleman's arguments, for it is impossible seriously to reply to what, in evert part, has an infusion of ridicule in it. Two of the honourable gentleman's fimilies, however, I must take notice of: the one is, his insinuation that Opposition is envious of those who balk in Court sunshine, and that they desire merely to get into their places. I beg leave to remind the honourable gentleman, that though the lun affords a genial warmth, it also occasions an intemperate heat that taints and infects every thing it reflects on; that this exceflive heat tends to corrupt as well as to cherish, to putrify as well as to animate, to dry and soke up the juices of the body politic, and turn the whole into one mass of corruption. If those therefore who sit near me do not enjoy so genial a warmth as the honourable gentleman, and those who like him keep close to the noble Lord in the blue ribband, (Lord North), I am certain they breathe a purer air, an air less infected, and less corrupt. Another of the honourable gentleman's allusions is not quite a new one: he has talked a great deal of the machine of State, and of the drag-chain of Opposition. I would only observe upon. this, that a drag-chain was never applied but when a machine is going down hill, and then it is applied wisely. As to any thing else the honourable gentleman has said, I shall not offer a reply, but shall fit down


with assuring the honourable gentleman, that the moft serious part of his argument appears to me to be the most ludicrous.

Mr. Sheridan, Feb. 26, 1781.

[ocr errors]

It is a fixed principle in optics, that all objects strike the eye of the beholder differently according to the medium or light through which they are viewed. This inaxim is fully verified by an experiment made in April last, by only moving the right honourable Secretary (Mr. Fox) from the side of the House on which I now stand to the other. Placed where he now is, he views the bill in his hand as calculated to “ remedy all those alarming disorders which have long prevailed, and still continue in the management of the territorial possessions, revenues, and commerce of these kingdoms in the East Indies," &c.

But had such a bill been brought in by Administration when the right honourable gentleman fat on the other side of the House, it would have appeared to him in very different colours indeed. I doubt not but the right honourable gentleman would have viewed it again and again through two glasses which he constantly carries about with him. I mean his mag

nifying glass, and his multiplying glass.
· In the former, his magnifying glass, it would have appeared

big with the most alarming danger of increasing Crown influ-
ence, and of extending ministerial power; which things are
always considered as the huggyboos and rawhead and bloody-
bones, with which the right honourable Secretary used to ter-
rify his present caro sposa (Lord North) before those two per-
fons were joined together in holy matrimony.
· But I mean not here to speak against the coalition, or to
fay any thing personal, as I hope His Majesty's present Mi-
nisters will propose such measures as I shall be able to coalesce

In the latter, his multiplying glass, all the evils which the bill now tended to prevent, with 20,000 more of rapine, injuf

tice, cruelty, violation of rights and charters, weakening of parliamentary faith, &c. would all have danced before his eyes at once.

What is the cause of this difference, since the man viewing, and the object viewed, are identically the fame? It is plainly owing to some strong rays of a fide light that darts from the East, and perhaps a little horizontally from the North, upon the pupil of the right honourable Secretary's eye; so that, without having recourse to the folutions of a Newton, a Priestley, or a Franklin, we may affirm, that it is certainly that same North-east light which had such a powerful effect upon the seeing, or to speak more philosophically, on the visive faculties of the right honourable Secretary. But the right honourable framer of the bill is never without either of the glasses I have mentioned; though, as I observed, things appear very different to him, according to the medium through which he looks, and whether the particles of matter of which he is composed are placed on that side of the House or the other.

Seated on that illustrious bench, on which the sun always shines, when he views the bill through his magnifying glass, in the first place, it much aggrandizes himself, and all his influence as a Minister of State, insomuch that he looks as if he really could carry the India House on his back, as a print just published humorously represents him to be doing.

Secondly, it aggrandizes the seven Commissioners, or holy Emperors, and their eight assistant Directors.

Thirdly, it aggrandizes needy adherents, and raises thein from Lilliputians to Brobdignagians and Patagonians.

As to the right honourable gentleman's multiplying glass, as he at present holds it up to look at the bill, in the first place, it greatly multiplies friends and jobbers, who will stick to him at every pinch-Over shoes, over boots. Secondly, it multiplies all his various interests, all his connections, all his powers, not only at home in this country, but by sea and land, and all


[ocr errors]

over the globe. But when I say that it multiplies all his powers, I must except his intellectual powers and the powers of his eloquence, as I really think these cannot be magnified or multiplied.

Thirdly, which is by far the best of all its multiplying powers, it multiplies the rupees and the guineas, if not to the nation, yet to the happy favourites who are to taste the sweets of the bill for five whole years to coine.

And now leaving optics, I would make an easy transition (at least I would make a transition, whether an easy one or not,) from allegory to the bill itself, the particular parts and clauses of which I shall leave to be discussed by those who are much more equal to fo great a work than I am.

I shall therefore only observe, with regard to the principle and spirit of the bill in general, that they appear to me so exceedingly opposite to the whole genius of the Constitution, and to those benign laws by which it is supported, that the Directors are hardly allowed the privileges which in courts of judicature are granted to felons; for in cases of felony, seizure and confiscation never take place till after conviction; whereas, in the present instance, the parties are not even accused of any specific crime. .

But should the bill pass the House, (the House I hope will pardon the supposition,) it must afford much satisfaction indeed to those who are nearly interested in it, especially to the body of petitioning Directors, that they have a powerful friend in the other House to plead their cause, and to support their rights; I mean the noble protesting Duke at the head of the Treasury Board, who, when the East-India regulating bill was þrought in, just ten years ago, (which bill did not go near so far as the present,) testified his hearty diffent from it in the following strong terms:

1. “ Because it was not only an high and dangerous violation of the yet unquestioned charter of the Company, but a to


« AnteriorContinuar »