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conclude, a gentleman in office cannot, even in seven years, save much for distributing in ready money at the time of an election. And I really believe, if the fact were narrowly inquired into, it would appear, that the gentlemen in office are as little guilty of bribing their electors with ready money, as any other set of gentlemen in the kingdom.
That there are ferments often raised among the people without any just cause, is what I am surprised to hear controverted, since very late experience may convince us of the contrary. Do not we know what a ferment was raised in the nation towards the latter end of the late queen's reign? And it is well known what a fatal change in the affairs of this nation was introduced, or at least confirmed, by an election coming on while the nation was in that ferment. Do not we know what a ferment was raised in the nation soon after his late majesty's accession? And if an elec tion had then been allowed to come on while the nation was in that ferment, it might perhaps have had as fatal effects as the former; but, thank God, this was wisely provided against by the very law which is now wanted to be repealed.
It has, indeed, been said, that the chief motive for enacting that law, now no longer exists. I cannot admit that the motive they mean was the chief motive; but even that motive is very far from having entirely ceased. Can gentlemen imagine, that in the spirit raised in the nation not above a twelvemonth since, Jacobitism and disaffection to the present government had no share? Perhaps some who might wish well to the present establishment did cooperate; nay, I do not know but they were the first movers of that spirit; but it cannot be supposed that the spirit then raised should have grown up to such a ferment, merely from a proposition which was honestly and fairly laid before the parliament, and left entirely to their determina. tion! No, the spirit was perhaps, begun by those who are truly friends to the illustrious family we have now upon the throne; but it was raised to a much greater height than, I believe, even they designed, by
Jacobites, and such as are enemies to our present esta blishment, who thought they never had a fairer opportunity of bringing about what they have so long and so unsuccessfully wished for, than that which had been furnished them by those who first raised that spirit. I hope the people have now in a great measure come to themselves, and therefore I doubt not but the next elections will show, that when they are left to judge coolly, they can distinguish between the real and the pretended friends to the government. But I must say, if the ferment then raised in the na tion had not already greatly subsided, I should have thought a new election a very dangerous experiment. And as such ferments may hereafter often happen, I must think that frequent elections will always be dangerous; for which reason, in so far as I can see at present, I shall, I believe, at all times think it a very dangerous experiment to repeal the septennial bill.
MR. SANDYS'S SPEECH,
IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, ON HIS MOTION TO ADDRESS HIS MAJESTY FOR THE DISMISSAL OF SIR ROBERT WALPOLE.
No one, perhaps, who has held a distinguished rank in the councils of Britain experienced more obloquy and persecution than Sir Robert Walpole. It was his fate to encounter, in his long ministerial career, an opposition not less powerful in talent, than considerable in numbers, who arraigned his publick conduct with a violence of censure, and assailed his private character with a virulence of aspersion that have scarcely a parallel in the licentiousness of political contention.
It is not difficult to account for this exasperated hostility against him. During the period of his administration the people were pretty nearly divided into two parties, entertaining principles of domestick as well as foreign policy, which, from their wide and essential difference, could not be reconciled.
Sir Robert Walpole had the support of all the weight of regal influence, and was also deeply intrenched in the confidence and attachment of the friends of the protestant succession. To sap authority thus strongly fortified, the opposite party seized on the most popular grounds, and unweariedly en. deavoured to render the administration odious by representing the minister in a light the best calculated to alarm the jealousy and to excite the apprehensions
of the nation.
In the passionate invective of his enemies, he was exhibited to popular detestation as a desperate adventurer battening on the spoils of a treasury impoverished by the drains of his rapacious peculations, and who by an uninterrupted system of criminal and corrupt conduct had vitiated publick morality, extinguished publick spirit, stopped the current of national prosperity, abridged the power, and tarnished the lustre and glory of the British name.
This is not the place, nor are we disposed to enter at large in defence of sir Robert Walpole. It may however be permitted to us transiently to remark that posterity, at least the enlightened portion of it, has already acquitted him of these foul charges, and raised him to a high and honourable renown. The earl of Chatham, once the bitterest of his foes, had the honesty in the decline of his life to recant his former sentiments, and publickly to pronounce an eulogy on the minister and the man. Edmund Burke, more recently did the same, and with even less qualification of praise. The younger Pitt, who not improperly as a minister, has sometimes been compared to him, often avowed an admiration of his talents, and extolled the wisdom of his administration.
These commendations we have particularly selected as proceeding not from any indulgent or overweening partiality to the memory of sir Robert Walpole, but rather as extorted by a sense of candour and truth in the great men by whom they were bestowed, against the settled habit of their opinions, and the force of their early prejudices.
At the meeting of parliament in 1740, the opposition availing themselves of the discontents which prevailed throughout the country, determined to address the throne for the dismissal of sir Robert Walpole. This duty was confided to Mr. Sandys, a zealous partisan and an eloquent debater, who accordingly in the house of commons apprized the minister of the intended motion.
On receiving the intimation, which was totally unexpected, he immediately arose, and with becoming