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you. Then you may enforce the act of navigation when it ought to be enforced. You will yourselves open it where it ought still further to be opened. Proceed in what you do, whatever you do, from policy, and not from rancour. Let us act like men, let us act like statesmen, Let us hold some sort of consistent conduct. It is agreed that a revenue is not to be had in America. If we lose the profit, let us get rid of the odium.
On this business of America, I confess I am serious even to sadness. I have had but one opinion concerning it since I sat, and before I sat in parliament. The noble lord* will, as usual, probably, attribute the part taken by me and my friends in this business, to a desire of getting his places. Let him enjoy this happy and original idea. If I deprived him of it, I should take away most of his wit, and all his argument. But I had rather bear the brunt of all his wit, and indeed blows much heavier, than stand answerable to God for embracing a system that tends to the destruction of some of the very best and fairest of his works. But I know the map of England, as well as the noble lord, or as any other person; and I know that the way I take is not the road to preferment. My excellent and honourable friend under me on the floor, has trod that road with great toil for upwards of twenty years together. He is not yet arrived at the noble lord's destination. However, the tracks of my worthy friend are those I have ever wished to follow; because I know they lead to honour. Long may we tread the same road together; whoever may accompany us, or whoever may laugh at us on our journey. I honestly and solemnly declare, I have in all seasons adhered to the system of 1766, for no other reason, than that I think it laid deep in your truest interests— and that, by limiting the exercise, it fixes on the firmest foundations, a real, consistent, well grounded authority in parliament. Until you come back to that system, there will be no peace for England.
* Lord North.
+ Mr. Dowdeswell.
LORD CHATHAM'S SPEECH,
DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS, JANUARY THE 9th, 1770, IN REPLY TO LORD MANSFIELD, on an AMENDMENT TO THE ADDRESS TO THE THRONE.
DISGUSTED with the conduct of the cabinet over which he presided, without the power of control or direction, lord Chatham resigned his place late in the year 1768, and with a mind soured by discontent, and enfeebled by the anguish of disease, retreated from publick life to the privacy of the country, where he resided for nearly two years.
During his retirement, he estranged himself so entirely from the concerns of politicks and the strife of party, that his former lofty pretensions and commanding influence in the state dwindled to insignificance, and he to whom every eye was once directed, attracted, for that time, little regard or attention.
This relaxation, however, produced, very unexpectedly, the restoration of his health, and by a reconciliation with his nearest relative, lord Temple, the solace of whose friendship he seems to have required, his mind, long clouded and oppressed, again shone forth with a brightness and intensity of force, not surpassed in the meridian of its splendid career.
At the meeting of parliament, January 9th 1770, he resumed his seat in the House of Lords, and on the motion for the address to the throne, pronounced one of the most celebrated of his speeches, which, unfortunately, is imperfectly preserved. He commenced it in a very impressive manner. "At my
advanced period of life, my lords, bowing under the weight of my infirmities, I might, perhaps, have stood
excused if I had continued in my retirement, and never taken part again in publick affairs; but the alarming state of the nation calls upon me, indeed forces me to come forward once more, and to execute that duty which I owe to my God, my Sovereign, and my Country." He then entered into a wide examination of the external, as well as internal relations of the country, and drew an able, though exaggerated picture of its situation, and the dangers which threatened it.
He said, that the posture of foreign affairs was highly critical; but he dwelt more on the divisions and distractions which prevailed in every portion of the empire. He lamented those unhappy measures which had alienated the colonies from the mother country, and driven them to such excesses. But he still thought that they should be treated with tenderness; for," these excesses were the mere irruptions of liberty which broke out upon the skin, and were a sign, if not of perfect health, at least of vigorous constitution, and must not be repelled too suddenly, lest they should strike to the heart. That liberty was a plant which deserved to be cherished. That he loved the tree and wished well to every branch of it. That like the vine in Scripture, it had spread from East to West, had embraced whole nations with its branches, and sheltered them under its leaves."
Passing from the discontents of America, he proceeded to notice those which existed at home. The latter he attributed to the conduct of the house of commons in the expulsion of Mr. Wilkes, and conceived that it ought to be distinctly stated as the cause to his majesty. With this design he concluded his speech by moving, as an amendment to the address, “That we will, with all convenient speed, take into our most serious consideration the causes of the discontents which prevail in so many parts of your majesty's dominions, and particularly the late proceedings of the house of commons touching the incapacity of John Wilkes, Esq. expelled by that house to, be re-elected a member to serve in this present parliament; thereby
refusing, by a resolution of one branch of the legislature only, to the subject his common right, and depriving the electors of Middlesex of their free choice of a representative."
This amendment was powerfully resisted by Lord Mansfield. Nothing remains however of his speech except a meagre account of the general course of his argument. He contended" that the amendment violated every form and usage of parliament, and was a gross attack on the privileges of the house of commons. That there never was an instance of the lords inquiring into the proceedings of that house with respect to their own members, much less of their taking upon them to censure such proceedings, or of their advising the crown to take notice of them. If, indeed, it be the purpose of the amendment to provoke a quarrel with the house of commons, I confess said his lordship, it will have that effect certainly, and immediately. The lower house will undoubtedly assert their privileges, and give you vote for vote. I leave it, therefore, to your lordships, to consider the fatal effects which in such a conjuncture as the present, may arise from an open breach between the two houses of parliament."
Lord Chatham immediately arose and delivered the following speech in reply.
His amendment was rejected.
THERE is one plain maxim, to which I have invariably adhered through life: that in every question, in which my liberty, or my property were con cerned, I should consult and be determined by the dictates of common sense. I confess, my lords, that I am apt to distrust the refinement of learning, because I have seen the ablest and the most learned men equally liable to deceive themselves, and to mislead others. The condition of human nature would be lamentable indeed, if nothing less than the greatest learning and talents, which fall to the share of so small