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But, though no man can draw a stroke between the confines of day and night, yet light and darkness are upon the whole tolerably distinguishable. Nor i will it be impossible for a Prince to find out such a mode of Government, and such persons to administer it, as will give a great degree of content to his people; without any curious and anxious research for that abstract, universal, perfect harmony, which while he is seeking, he abandons those means of ordinary tranquillity which are in his power without any research at all.
It is not more the duty than it is the interest of a Prince, to aim at giving tranquillity to his Government. But those who advise him may have an interest in disorder and confusion. If the opinion of the people is against them, they will naturally with that it should have no prévalence. Here it is that the people must on their part fhew themselves sensible of their own value. Their whole importance, in the first instance, and afterwards their whole freedom, is at stake. Their freedom cannot long survive. their importance. Here it is that the natural strength of the kingdom, the great peers, the leading landed gentlemen, the opulent merchants and manufacturers, the substantial yeomanry, muftinterpose, to rescue their Prince, themselves, and their posterity. . We are at present at iffue upon this point. We are in the great crisis of this contention; and the part which men take one way or other, will serve to discriminate their characters and their prin
ciples. ciples. Until the matter is decided, the country will remain in its present confusion. For while a system of Administration is atteinpted, entirely repugnant to the genius of the people, and not conformable to the plan of their Government, every thing must necessarily be disordered for a time, until this system destroys the constitution, or the constitution gets the better of this lystem. .
There is, in my opinion, a peculiar venom and inalignity in this political distemper beyond any that I have heard or read of. In former times the projectors of arbitrary Government attacked only the liberties of their country; a design surely mischievous enough to have fatisfied a mind of the most unruly ambition. But a system unfavourable to freedom may be so formed, as considerably to exalt the grandeur of the State ; and men may find in the pride and splendor of that prosperity some sort of consolation for the loss of their solid privileges. Indeed the increase of the power of the State has often been urged by artful men, as a pretext for some abridgement of the public liberty. But the scheme of the junto under consideration, not only strikes a palsy into every nerve of our free .conftitution, but in the same degree benumbs and stupifies the whole executive power; rendering Government in all its grand operations languid, uncertain, ineffective ; making Ministers fearful of attempting, and incapable of executing, any useful plan of domestic arrangement, or of foreign politicks. It tends to produce neither
the security of a free Government, nor the energy of a Monarchy that is absolute. Accordingly the Crown has dwindled away, in proportion to the unnatural and turgid growth of this excrescence on the Court.
The interior Ministry are sensible, that war is a situation which sets in its full light the value of the hearts of a people; and they well know, that the beginning of the importance of the people must be the end of theirs. For this reason they discover upon all occafions the utmost fear of every thing, which by poffibility may lead to such an event. I do not mean that they manifest any of that pious fear which is backward to commit the safety of the country to the dubious experiment of war. Such a fear, being the tender sensation of virtue, excited, as it is regulated, by reason, frequently shews itself in a seasonable boldness, which keeps danger at a distance, by seeming to despise it. Their fear betrays to the first glance of the eye, its true cause, and its real object. Foreign powers, confident in the knowledge of their character, have not scrupled to violate the most solemn treaties ; and, in defiance of them, to make conquests in the midst of a general peace, and in the heart of Europe. Such was the conquest of Corsica, by the professed enemies of the freedom of mankind, in defiance of those who were formerly its professed defenders. We have had just claims upon the same powers ; rights which ought to have been facred to them as well as to us, as they had their origin in our lenity and
generosity towards France and Spain in the day of their great humiliation. Such I call the ranfom of Manilla, and the demand on France for the East India prisoners. But these powers put a just confidence in their resource of the double Cabinet. These demands (one of them at least) are hastening fast towards an acquittal by prescription. Oblivion begins to spread her cobwebs over all our spirited remonftrances. Some of the most valuable branches of our trade are also on the point of perishing from the same cause. I do not mean those branches which bear without the hand of the vine-dreffer; I mean those which the policy of treaties had formerly secured to us; I mean to mark and distinguish the trade of Portugal, the loss of which, and the power of the Cabal, have one and the fame ära.
If, by any chance, the Ministers who stand before the curtain possess or affect any spirit, it makes little or no impression. Foreign Courts and Ministers, who were among the first to difcover and to profit by this invention of the double Cabinet, attend very little to their remonstrances. They know that those shadows of Ministers have nothing to do in the ultimate disposal of things. Jealousies and animofities are sedulously nourished in the outward Adminiftration, and have been even considered as a caufa fine qua non in its conftitution : thence foreign Courts have a certainty, that nothing can be done by common counsel in this nation. If one of those Ministers officially takes up a
business business with spirit, it serves only the better to signalize the meanness of the rest, and the discord of them all. His collegues in office are in haste to shake' him off, and to disclaim the whole of his proceedings. Of this nature was that astonishing transaction, in which Lord Rochford, our Ambassador at Paris, remonstrated against the attempt upon Corsica, in consequence of a direct authority from Lord Shelburne. This remonftrance the French Minister treated with the contempt that was natural; as he was assured, from the Ambassador of his Court to ours, that these orders of Lord Shelburne were not supported by the rest of the (I had like to have said British) Administration. Lord Rochford, a man of spirit, could not endure this situation. The confequences were, however, curious. He returns from Paris, and comes home full of anger, Lord Shelburne, who gave the orders, is obliged to give up the feals. Lord Rochford, who obeyed these orders, receives them. He goes, however, into another department of the same office, that he might not be obliged officially to acquiesce in one situation under what he had officially remonstrated against in another. At Paris, the Duke of Choiseul considered this office arrangement as a compliment to him ; here it was spoke of as an attention to the de. licacy of Lord Rochford. But whether the compliment was to one or both, to this nation it was the same. By this transaction the con dition of our Court lay exposed in all its naked1o