Page images

contradictory, and all confused and perplexed. Hence the loss of Minorca. If his head produced such effects when he acted only an under part, what may we expect from it, where he is the supreme director? It is not that the noble lord cannot write with sufficient perspicuity, where the question is to destroy his majesty's subjects. There I confess the power of his eloquence-there he is quite intelligible-there he can inspire the soldiers with alacrity. I wish the ministry joy of such a superintendant of the military department, but I am sorry I cannot pay my country the same compliment.


(Afterwards Earl of Guildford,)

Was born in 1732. He succeeded Mr. C. Townshend as chancellor of the exchequer, and in 1770 was made first lord of the treasury, in which situation he continued till the close of the American war. He died in 1792. His speeches are in general, like the following, short, shrewd, and lively, and quite free from the affectation of oratory. He spoke like a gentleman, like a man of sense and business, who had to explain himself on certain points of moment to the country, and who in doing this did not think that his first object was to shew how well he could play the orator by the hour. The following masterly character is given of him by Burke. "He was a man of admirable parts; of general knowledge; of a versatile understanding, fitted for every sort of business; of infinite wit and pleasantry; of a delightful temper; and with a mind most perfectly disinterested. But it would be only to degrade myself by a weak adulation, and not to honour the memory of a great man, to deny that he wanted something of the vigilance and spirit of command that the time required."

On the same Subject.

LORD NORTH said, that no amendment being proposed to the address, he concluded it had no imperfection. But though no objection is made to the address, occasion

has been taken from the words of the speech, to arraign the general conduct of the ministry. It is insinuated, that their measures have raised such discontents and incurable jealousies among the people, that the king must go to war with only half his subjects. I wish the gentlemen had been a little more cautious and moderate in their expressions. Is it credible, that on account of any political squabble among ourselves, the people will abandon their lawful sovereign? But, say you, who can second the operations of those who have degraded their sovereign, by a pitiful contest with the governor of Buenos Ayres? In answer to this, you will allow me to observe, that the intrinsic value of Falkland Island could not be deemed a sufficient cause of war, and that it was therefore a proper object of negociation. This, which cannot be denied, being granted, what could be more prudent, than to leave an opening for accommodation, by allowing the king of Spain to avow or disavow, as he thought proper, the act of the governor of Buenos Ayres? Indeed, if Britain had thrown herself into the arms of France, as a mediator, there would have been some ground of cavil. But where has the gentleman picked up his intelligence? He says, that more knowledge of the actual state of affairs may be gathered from a common newspaper, than from the king's speech. May I presume to assert, that he must have owed this anecdote to these oracles of truth. I think I may, without vanity, pretend to as much knowledge of the matter as the honourable gentleman, and yet, I protest, the affair is an entire secret to me.-Great Britain has not employed France as a mediator, for she has no need of a mediator. But we have not secured all the British possessions from danger, and provided against every sudden blow from the enemy? It may be so.-For what wisdom can, with so few troops, render us every where invulnerable? The hon. gentleman who made this objection, could not, I believe, with all his sagacity and military talents, succeed in such an arduous task. Here, therefore, he is as unfor

to me.

tunate, as in his attack upon the imaginary prophecy, concerning the duration of peace, which he attributes I made no such prophecy. I only said, that such and such advantages would accrue to Great Britain, if the peace lasted ten years. I ventured, on the strength of calculation, to specify the quantity of the national debt, which would in that time be paid off.


In Answer to Lord North,

SAID, the minister has thought proper to disclaim the prophecy of a ten years' peace. I am not surprised at it. Nor will I be so ungenerous to add to the catalogue of his transgressions, a false charge. The real sins for which he has to answer are so many, that were I an enemy, I could not wish for the least exaggeration. For this reason, and for the honour of my own character, he may be assured that I will never quote his oracular sayings, his gospel, except where I am sure of the text. Will he then believe me, when I tell him, that I took down his words! Here they are without any marks of forgery, and with all the visible characters of authenticity. Have we here no antiquarian to be consulted? Shall I then send for my ink-merchant, to determine the point, by the colour of his own manufacture? Or will the noble lord trust to my honour? I hope he is a man of honour.

[ocr errors]


Was born at Dublin, January 1, 1730. His father was a respectable attorney, and a Protestant. He received his school education under Abraham Shackleton, a Quaker; and whenever Mr. Burke afterwards visited Ireland, he always went to see his old tutor. In 1746, he entered as a scholar at Trinity College, which he left, after taking his bachelor's degree, in 1749. Not long after, he became candidate for the professorship of logic, at Glasgow, but did not succeed. In 1753, he entered himself of the Inner Temple, but he did not apply very closely to the study of the law, and supported himself by writing for the booksellers. In 1756, he published his Vindication of Natural Society, and in 1757, his Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful. He was first brought into parliament for the borough of Wendover, by the interest of lord Rock ingham, to whom he had been private secretary. He soon after published his Thoughts on the Causes of the Present Discontents. În 1774, he was invited by the citizens of Bristol to become one of their representatives; but at the next election, he was rejected by them, for having supported the free trade of Ireland and the Catholic claims, and was returned for Malton, in Yorkshire. The rest of his political life is too well known to need recapitulating here. The part he took against the French revolution was the most important and memorable event of his life. He withdrew from parliament in 1794, leaving his seat for Malton to his son, who died shortly after. This hastened his death, which happened in July, 1797. The best character of him, and perhaps the finest that ever was drawn of any man, is that by Goldsmith, in his poem of Retaliation.

On the State of the Criminal Laws of the Kingdom.

He observed, there was reason sufficient for either abolishing, or regulating the power :* but in defence of it, it has been said, there is no complaint of any late abuse of it. This, said he, I flatly deny. The power has been egregiously abused in the case of John Almon. Why was he singled out and persecuted before the rest Of punishing for libels. 11


of his brethren? He, whose guilt, if any, was only nominal?-Why was not the original publisher, and others, who had no excuse to alledge, first brought to justice? Here, I believe, every man discovers malice. Mr. Almon had been active in promoting measures not very agreeable to the ministry. He had published certain journals, which contained anecdotes that some people, high in office and power, could wish to have buried in eternal oblivion. It was resolved to punish him for these acts of temerity. Hold was therefore laid of this slender twig. But what ensued? The court dare not make use of the strange verdict procured against him. The only cause which the attorney-general has been able to carry against libellers, he cannot turn to any account. In the late reign, no mortifying repulses were received from juries, even when a dangerous rebellion raged in the very heart of the realm. Government was sufficiently respected to maintain its authority. Shebbear was, without any difficulty, punished with imprisonment and pillory; and many other delinquents.

Even so lately as the beginning of his present majesty's reign, before the minds of men were soured by the interposition of undue influence, the laws had not lost their force. The forty-fifth number of the NorthBriton, that poor milk-and-water paper, is an undeniable proof. What then has wrought so sudden a change in the temper and disposition of the people, that they now countenance the most audacious and wicked libels? "Are the courts of justice depraved and impure, and do they, out of spite and malice, contradict and oppose them? Where shall we look for the origin of this relaxation of the laws, and of all government? How comes this Junius to have broke through the cobweb of the law, and to range uncontroled, unpunished, through the land? The myrmidons of the court have been long, and are still pursuing him in vain. They will not spend their time upon you or me. No; they disdain such vermin, when the mighty boar of the forest has

« PreviousContinue »