Page images

C»kr. is a question that has nothing to do in this debate; but IV. I must observe, that the argument made use of for it, might with equal weight be made use of for giving our

•742, king an absolute power over every man's property; for a large property will always give the possessor a command over a great number of men, whom he may arm and discipline if he pleases. I know of no law for restraining it. I hope there never will be any such; and I wish our gentlemen of estates would make more use of this power than they do, because it would contribute towards keeping our domestic as well as our foreign enemies in awe. For my part, I think a gentleman who has earned his commission by his services, (in his military capacity I mean) or bought it with his money, has as much a property in it as any man has in his estate, and ought to have it as well secured by the laws of his country. Whilst it remains at the absolute will of the crown, he must be a slave to the minister, unless he has some other estate to depend on; and if the ossicers of our army long continue in that state of slavery in which they are at present, I am afraid it will make slaves of us all.

"The only method we have for preventing this fatal consequence, as the law now stands, is to make the best and most constant use os the power we have, as members of this house, to prevent any minister's daring to advise the king to make a bad use qf his prerogative; and as there is such a strong suspicion that this minister has done so, we ought certainly to enquire into it, not cnly for the sake of punishing him, if guilty, but as a terror to all suture ministers.

*' This, Sir, may therefore be justly reckoned among the many other sussicient causes for the enquiry proposed: and the suspicion of the civil list's being greatly in debt is another; for if it is, it must either have been misapplied or prosusely thrown away, which it is our duty both to prevent and punish. It is inconsistent with the honour of this nation to have our king stand indebted to his servants or tradesmen; who may be ruined by a delay of payment. The parliament has provided sussiciently for preventing this dishonour being brought upon the nation; and if the provision we have made should be misapplied or lavished, we must supply the deficiency; we ought to do it, whether the king makes any application for that purpose, or no; and the reason

is is very plain, because we ought first to enquire into the Chap* management of that revenue, and punish those who IV. have occasioned the deficiency. They will certainly "^-^r^* chuse to leave the creditors of the crown and the honour '742of the nation in a state of sussering, rather than advise the king to make an application which will bring their conduct into question, and themselves, probably, to condign punishment. Beside this, Sir, there is at present another reason still stronger for promoting an enquiry. As there is a great suspicion that the public money has been applied towards corrupting voters at elections, and in parliament, if the civil list be in debt, it gives reason to presume that some part os this revenue has, under the pretence of secret service money, been applied to that wicked purpose.

"I shall conclude, Sir, with a sew remarks upon the last argument made use of against the enquiry proposed. It has been said, that the minister delivered in his accounts annually; that those accounts have been annually passed and approved of by parliament; and that therefore it would be unjust to call him now to a general account, because the vouchers may now be lost, or many expensive transactions have flipt out of his memory. It is true, Sir, estimates and accounts have been annually delivered in. The forms of proceeding made that necessary; but were any of those estimates or accounts ever properly enquired into? Were not all questions for that purpose rejected by the minister's friends in parliament? Has not the parliament always taken them upon trust, and passed them without examination? Can such a superficial passing, to call it no worse, be deemed a reason for not calling him to a new and general account? If the steward to an insant's estate should annually, for tiventy years together, deliver in his accounts to the guardians; and if the guardians through negligence, or for a share of the plunder, should annually pass his accounts without any examination, or at lealt

t without any objection; would that be a reason for saying, that, it would be unjust in the insant to call his steward to an account when he came of age? especially if that steward had built and surnished sumptuous palaces, and had, during the whole time, lived ata much greater expence than his visible income could afford, and yet nevertheless had amassed great riches. The public, Sir, is

: always


always in a state of insancy; therefore no prescription' can be pleaded against it, nor even a general release, if there appears the least cause to suspect that it was sur1742. reptitioufly obtained. Public vouchers ought always to remain upon record; nor ought there to be any public expence without a proper voucher -, therefore the cafe of the public is still stronger than that of any insant. Thus the Hon. Gentldman who made use of this objection must see of how little avail it can be in the case now before us; and consequently I hope, we shall have his concurrence in the question;

This motion was indeed agreed to, and a committee was appointed; but the measure was rendered abortive by a parliamentary manoeuvre. Several of the persons brought before the committee to be examined, resused to answer, urging, that by their answers they might possibly criminate themselves. This objection being reported to the house, a bill was immediately brought in and passed, to indemnify all persons for the discoveries they made before the committee. When this bill came into the House of Lords, Lord Carteret opposed it most violently, and the bill was thrown out. Some of the ministerial party in the House of Commons affected to be very angry; but all proceedings drops- And the Earl of Orford continued undisturbed during the re-1 mainder of his life'.



Lord Car ter ess Ascendency in the ClosetEnters into the German Measuresfakes the Hanoverian Troops into British PayMr. Pitt's Speech against that MeasureDeath of Lord Wilmington, and Mr. Pelhams Accession to the TreasuryMr. Pitss Speech >.against the Address, at the Commencement of the Session, after the battle of DettingenMr. Pitt's Speech against voting Money for a British Army to serve in FlandersThe .whole Kingdom applauds his Opposition in ParliamentThe Duchess Dowager of Marlborough leaves him a handsome Legacy.

JLORD Carteret, by adopting the politics of Chap. V. the closet, became a favourite in it. He entered **"^r~—/ warmly into the measures of the continent, par-LoidCarticularly those in support of the house of Aus- l"et'? tria against France, for which purpose he took Nation. 16,000 Hanoverian troops into British pay, and marched them into the low countries. Upon the motion for granting the money for the payment of these troops, on the 10th of December, 1742, there was a long debate, in which Mr. Pitt spoke against the motion, in reply to Mr. Henry Fox, at that time surveyor os the board of works, and afterwards Lord Holland, who had spoken for the motion:

Ceup. V '* If the gentlemen, who have spoke in support of this k^~v—fc' motion, are, as they pretend, determined to abandon 1742. their present sentiments as soon as any better measures Mr. Pitt's are proposed, the ministry will quickly be deprived of speech their ablest desenders: for I think the measures which againlhhe have hitherto been pursued, so weak and pernicious, Hanove- tnat- scarcely any alteration can be proposed, that will not nan be for the advantage of the nation, troops. „ They have already been insormed, there was no necessity of hiring auxiliary troops, since it does not yet appear, that either justice or policy required us to engage in the quarrels of the continent, that there was any need of forming an army in the low countries, or that in order to form an army, auxiliaries were necessary.

"But not to dwell upon disputable questions, I think it may be justly concluded, that the measures of our ministry have been ill concerted, because it is undoubtedly wrong to squander the public money without effect, and to pay armies only to be a shew to our friends and a jest to our enemies.

"The troops of Hanover, whom we are now expected to pay, marched into the low countries indeed, and still remain in the same places; they marched to the place most distant from the enemy, least in danger of an attack, and most strongly fortisied, if any attack had been designed; nor have any claim to be paid, but that they left their own country for a place of greater security.

'** It is always reasonable to judge of the suture by the past, and theresore it is probable, that the services of these troops will not, next year, be of equal importance with that for which they are now to be paid: And I shall not be surprized, though the opponents of the ministry should be challenged, after such another glorious campaign, to propose better men, and told, that the money of the nation cannot be more properly employed than in hiring Hanoverians to eat and steep,

"But to prove yet more particularly, that better measures may be taken, and that more usesul troops may be retained, and that therefore the honourable gentlemen may be expected to quit those to whom they now adhere, I shall (hew, that in hiring the forces of Hanover, we have obstructed our designs; that we have, instead of assisting the Queen of Hungary, withdrawn part of the allies from her, and that we have burthened the


« PreviousContinue »