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the revenue to the object. Where the difficulty of and those a sort of favourites : they have been collection, from the nature of the country, and of directed by the opinion of one or two merchants, the revenue establishment, is so very notorious, it who were to merit in flatteries, and to be paid in was their policy to hold out as few temptations to contracts; who frequently advised, not for the smuggling as possible, by keeping the duties as general good of trade, but for their private adnearly as they could on a balance with the risk. vantage. During the administration of which On these principles they made many alterations in this author complains, the meetings of merchants the port duties of 1764, both in the mode and in upon the business of trade were numerous and the quantity. The author has not attempted to publick; sometimes at the house of the Marquis prove them erroneous. He complains enough to of Rockingham; sometimes at Mr. Dowdeswell's; shew that he is in an ill humour, not that his ad- sometimes at Sir George Savile's, an house always versaries have done amiss.
open to every deliberation favourable to the liberty As to the regulations which were merely relative or the commerce of his country. Nor were these to commerce, many were then made ; and they meetings confined to the merchants of London. were all made upon this principle, that many of Merchants and manufacturers were invited from the colonies, and those some of the most abound all the considerable towns in England. They ing in people, were so situated as to have very conferred with the ministers and active members few means of traffick with this country. It became of parliament. No private views, no local interests therefore our interest to let them into as much prevailed. Never were points in trade settled upon foreign trade as could be given them without in- a larger scale of information. They who attended terfering with our own; and to secure by every these meetings well know, what ministers they method the returns to the mother country. With- were who heard the most patiently, who compreout some such scheme of enlargement, it was ob- hended the most clearly, and who provided the vious that any benefit we could expect from these most wisely. Let then this author and his friends colonies must be extremely limited. Accordingly still continue in possession of the practice of exaltmany facilities were given to the trade with the ing their own abilities, in their pamphlets and in foreign plantations, and with the southern parts the newspapers. They never will persuade the of Europe. As to the confining the returns to publick, that the merchants of England were in a this country, administration saw the mischief and general confederacy to sacrifice their own interests folly of a plan of indiscriminate restraint. They to those of North America, and to destroy the applied their remedy to that part where the dis- vent of their own goods in favour of the manuease existed, and to that only: on this idea they factures of France and Holland. established regulations, far more likely to check Had the friends of this author taken these means the dangerous, clandestine trade with Hamburgh of information, his extreme terrours of contraband and Holland, than this author's friends, or any of in the West India islands would have been greatly their predecessors, had ever done.
quieted, and his objections to the opening of the The friends of the author have a method surely ports would have ceased. He would have learned, a little whimsical in all this sort of discussions. from the most satisfactory analysis of the West They have made an innumerable multitude of India trade, that we have the advantage in every commercial regulations, at which the trade of essential article of it; and that almost every reEngland exclaimed with one voice, and many of striction on our communication with our neighbours which have been altered on the unanimous there, is a restriction unfavourable to ourselves. opinion of that trade. Still they go on, just as Such were the principles that guided, and the before, in a sort of droning panegyrick on them authority that sanctioned, these regulations. No selves, talking of these regulations as prodigies of man ever said, that, in the multiplicity of regulawisdom; and, instead of appealing to those who tions made in the administration of their predeare most affected and the best judges, they turn cessors, none were useful : some certainly were so; round in a perpetual circle of their own reason- and I defy the author to shew a commercial reguings and pretences ; they hand you over from one lation of that period, which he can prove, from of their own pamphlets to another : “See,” say any authority except his own, to have a tendency they, “this demonstrated in The Regulations of beneficial to commerce, that has been repealed. “the Colonies.” “See this satisfactorily proved So far were that ministry from being guided by a “ in The Considerations." By and by we shall spirit of contradiction or of innovation. have another ; “See for this The State of the The author's attack on that administration, for “ Nation.” I wish to take another method in their neglect of our claims on foreign powers, is vindicating the opposite system. I refer to the by much the most astonishing instance he has petitions of merchants for these regulations; to given, or that, I believe, any man ever did give, their thanks when they were obtained ; and to of an intrepid effrontery. It relates to the Manilla the strong and grateful sense they have ever since ransom; to the Canada bills; and to the Russian expressed of the benefits received under that treaty. Could one imagine, that these very administration.
things, which he thus chooses to object to others, All administrations have in their commercial have been the principal subject of charge against regulations been generally aided by the opinion of his favourite ministry? Instead of clearing them some merchants ; too frequently by that of a few, of these charges, he appears not so much as to
have heard of them; but throws them directly when nothing was concluded under that of the upon the administration which succeeded to that favourites of this author. of his friends.
2. This transaction was, in every step of it, It is not always very pleasant to be obliged to carried on in concert with the persons interested, produce the detail of this kind of transactions to and was terminated to their entire satisfaction. the publick view. I will content myself therefore They would have acquiesced perhaps in terms with giving a short state of facts, which, when the somewhat lower than those which were obtained. author chooses to contradict, he shall see proved, The author is indeed too kind to them. He will, more, perhaps, to his conviction, than to his liking. however, let them speak for themselves, and shew The first fact then is, that the demand for the Ma- what their own opinion was of the measures purnilla ransom had been in the author's favourite sued in their favour.+ In what manner the execuadministration, so neglected as to appear to have tion of the convention has been since provided for, been little less than tacitly abandoned. At home, it is not my present business to examine. no countenance was given to the claimants; and 3. The proprietors had absolutely despaired of when it was mentioned in parliament, the then being paid, at any time, any proportion of their leader did not seem, at least, a very sanguine ad- demand, until the change of that ministry. The vocate in favour of the claim. These things made merchants were checked and discountenanced ; it a matter of no small difficulty to resume and they had often been told, by some in authority, of press that negociation with Spain. However, so the cheap rate at which these Canada bills had clear was our right, that the then ministers resolv- been procured; yet the author can talk of the ed to revive it; and so little time was lost, that composition of them as a necessity induced by the though that administration was not completed un- change in administration. They found themselves til the ninth of July 1765, on the 20th of the fol- indeed, before that change, under a necessity of lowing August, General Conway transmitted a hinting somewhat of bringing the matter into parstrong and full remonstrance on that subject to liament; but they were soon silenced, and put in the Earl of Rochfort. · The argument, on which mind of the fate which the Newfoundland business the court of Madrid most relied, was the derelic- had there met with. Nothing struck them more tion of that claim by the preceding ministers. than the strong contrast between the spirit, and However, it was still pushed with so much vigour, method of proceeding, of the two administrations. that the Spaniards, from a positive denial to pay, 4. The Earl of Halifax never did, nor could, offered to refer the demand to arbitration. That refuse to sign this convention ; because this conproposition was rejected; and the demand being vention, as it stands, never was before him.I still pressed, there was all the reason in the world The author's last charge on that ministry, with to expect its being brought to a favourable issue ; regard to foreign affairs, is the Russian treaty of when it was thought proper to change the adminis-commerce, which the author thinks fit to assert, tration. Whether under their circumstances, and was concluded on terms the Earl of Buckingin the time they continued in power, more could “ hamshire had refused to accept of, and which be done, the reader will judge; who will hear “ had been deemed by former ministers disadvanwith astonishment a charge of remissness from tageous to the nation, and by the merchants those very men, whose inactivity, to call it by no “ unsafe and unprofitable." worse a name, laid the chief difficulties in the Both the assertions in this paragraph are equally way of the revived negociation.
groundless. The treaty then concluded by Sir As to the Canada bills, this author thinks pro- George Macartney was not on the terms which per to assert, * “ that the proprietors found them the Earl of Buckinghamshire had refused. The “ selves under a necessity of compounding their Earl of Buckinghamshire never did refuse terms, « demands
upon the French court, and accepting because the business never came to the point of “ terms which they had often rejected, and which refusal, or acceptance; all that he did was, to “ the Earl of Halifax had declared he would receive the Russian project for a treaty of com
sooner forfeit his hand than sign.” When I merce, and to transmit it to England. This was know that the Earl of Halifax says so, the Earl in November 1764; and he left Petersburgh the of Halifax shall have an answer; but I persuade January following, before he could even receive myself that his Lordship has given no authority an answer from his own court. The conclusion for this ridiculous rant. In the mean time, I shall of the treaty fell to his successor. Whoever will only speak of it as a common concern of that be at the trouble to compare it with the treaty of ministry.
1734, will, I believe, confess, that, if the former In the first place, then, I observe, that a con- ministers could have obtained such terms, they vention, for the liquidation of the Canada bills, were criminal in not accepting them. was concluded under the administration of 1766 ; But the merchants “ deemed them unsafe and
“ see great reasons to be thankful, for having been supported by † " They are happy in having found in your zeal for the dig. "a minister, in whose publiek affections, in whose wisdom and “nity of this nation, the means of liquidating their claims, and "activity, both the national honour, and the interest of indi. " of concluding wito the court of France a convention for the final “ viduals, bave been at once so well supported and secured," “satisfaction of their demands; and have given us commission, Thanks of the Canada Merchants to General Conway, London, " in their names, and on their behalf, most earnestly to entreat April 28, 1766. " your acceptance of their grateful acknowledgments. Whether See the Convention itself, printed by Owen and Harrison, " they consider themselves as Britons, or as men more particu. Warwick-lane, 1766 ; particularly the articles two and thirteen. "Jarly profiting by your generous and spirited interposition, they S P. 23
“unprofitable.” What merchants ? As no treaty | power, I have great reason to believe it is very ever was more maturely considered, so the opinion much from the heart. It must be owned too that of the Russia merchants in London was all along after he has drawn such a picture, such a shocking taken ; and all the instructions sent over were in picture, of the state of this country, he has great exact conformity to that opinion. Our minister faith in thinking the means he prays for sufficient there made no step without having previously to relieve us : after the character lie has given of consulted our merchants resident in Petersburgh, its inhabitants of all ranks and classes, he has who, before the signing of the treaty, gave the great charity in caring much about them; and most full and unanimous testimony in its favour. indeed no less hope, in being of opinion, that In their address to our minister at that court, such a detestable nation can ever become the among other things they say, “ It
care of Providence. He has not even found five " additional satisfaction to your excellency, to good men in our devoted city. " receive a publick acknowledgment of the entire "He talks indeed of men of virtue and ability. " and unreserved approbation of every article in But where are his men of virtue and ability to be " this treaty, from us who are so immediately and found ? Are they in the present administration ?
so nearly concerned in its consequences.” This Never were a set of people more blackened by this was signed by the consul-general, and every Bri- author. Are they among the party of those (no tish merchant in Petersburgh.
small body) who adhere to the system of 1766 ? The approbation of those immediately concern- These, it is the great purpose of this book to ed in the consequences is nothing to this author. calumniate. Are they the persons who acted He and his friends have so much tenderness for with his great friend, since the change in 1762, people's interests, and understand them so much to his removal in 1765 ? Scarcely any of these better than they do themselves, that, whilst these are now out of employment; and we are in pospoliticians are contending for the best of possible session of his desideratum. Yet I think he hardly terms, the claimants are obliged to go without any means to select, even some of the highest of them, terms at all.
as examples fit for the reformation of a corrupt One of the first and justest complaints against world. the administration of the author's friends, was He observes, that the virtue of the most exemthe want of vigour in their foreign negociations. plary prince that ever swayed a sceptre Their immediate successors endeavoured to correct never warm or illuminate the body of his people, that errour, along with others; and there was “ if foul mirrors are placed so near him as to scarcely a foreign court, in which the new spirit “ refract and dissipate the rays at their first that had arisen was not sensibly felt, acknowledg- emanation.” Without observing upon the proed, and sometimes complained of. On their com- priety of this metaphor, or asking how mirrors ing into administration, they found the demolition come to have lost their old quality of reflecting, of Dunkirk entirely at a stand : instead of demoli- and to have acquired that of refracting and tion, they found construction ; for the French were dissipating rays, and how far their foulness will then at work on the repair of the jettees. On account for this change; the remark itself is the remonstrances of General Conway, some parts common and true : no less true, and equally surof these jettees were immediately destroyed. The prising from him, is that which immediately Duke of Richmond personally surveyed the place, precedes it ; +" it is in vain to endeavour to check and obtained a fuller knowledge of its true state “the progress of irreligion and licentiousness, by and condition than any of our ministers had done; “punishing such crimes in one individual, if others and, in consequence, had larger offers from the equally culpable are rewarded with the honours Duke of Choiseul than had ever been received. “ and emoluments of the state.” I am not in But, as these were short of our just expectations the secret of the author's manner of writing; but under the treaty, he rejected them. Our then it appears to me, that he must intend these ministers, knowing that, in their administration, reflections as a satire upon the administration the people's minds were set at ease upon all the of his happy years. Were ever the honours and essential points of public and private liberty, and emoluments of the state more lavishly squandered that no project of theirs could endanger the con- upon persons scandalous in their lives than during cord of the empire, were under no restraint from that period ? In these scandalous lives, was there pursuing every just demand upon foreign na- any thing more scandalous than the mode of tions.
punishing one culpable individual? In that indiThe author, towards the end of this work, falls vidual, is any thing more culpable than his having into reflections upon the state of publick morals in been seduced by the example of some of those this country: he draws use from this doctrine, by very persons by whom he was thus persecuted ? recommending his friend to the king and the pub- The author is so eager to attack others, that he lick, as another Duke of Sully; and he concludes provides but indifferently for his own defence. I the whole performance with a very devout prayer. believe, without going beyond the page I have
The prayers of politicians may sometimes be now before me, he is very sensible, that I have sincere; and as this prayer is in substance, that the sufficient matter of further, and, if possible, of author, or his friends, may be soon brought into heavier, charge against his friends, upon his own
. P. 46.
principle. But it is because the advantage is too and all misapplication in the expenditure of pubgreat, that I decline making use of it. I wish the lick money. author had not thought that all methods are lawful I admit that, in this flourishing state of things, in party. Above all he ought to have taken care there are appearances enough to excite uneasiness not to wound his enemies through the sides of his and apprehension. I admit there is a cankerworm country. This he has done, by making that mon in the rose; strous and overcharged picture of the distresses of
medio de fonte leporum our situation. No wonder that he, who finds this
Surgit amari aliquid, quod in ipsis floribus angat. country in the same condition with that of France at the time of Henry the Fourth, could also find There is nothing else than a spirit of discona resemblance between his political friend and nexion, of distrust, and of treachery among publick the Duke of Sully. As to those personal resem
men. It is no accidental evil ; nor has its effect blances, people will often judge of them from been trusted to the usual frailty of nature; the their affections: they may imagine in these clouds distemper has been inoculated. The author is whatsoever figures they please; but what is the sensible of it, and we lament it together. This conformation of that eye which can discover a re- distemper is alone sufficient to take away consemblance of this country and these times to those siderably from the benefits of our constitution and with which the author compares them ? France, a situation, and perhaps to render their continuance country just recovered out of twenty-five years of precarious. If these evil dispositions should spread the most cruel and desolating civil war that perhaps much farther they must end in our destruction; was ever known. The kingdom, under the veil for nothing can save a people destitute of publick of momentary quiet, full of the most atrocious and private faith. However, the author, for the political, operating upon the most furious fanatical, present state of things, has extended the charge by factions. Some pretenders even to the crown; and much too widely; as men are but too apt to take those who did not pretend to the whole, aimed at the measure of all mankind from their own parthe partition of the monarchy. There were almost ticular acquaintance. Barren as this age may be in as many competitors as provinces; and all abetted the growth of honour and virtue, the country does by the greatest, the most ambitious, and most not want, at this moment, as strong, and those enterprising power in Europe. No place safe not a few, examples as were ever known, of an from treason; no, not the bosoms on which the unshaken adherence to principle, and attachment most amiable prince that ever lived reposed his to connexion, against every allurement of interest. head; not his mistresses ; not even his queen. As Those examples are not furnished by the great to the finances, they had scarce an existence, but alone; nor by those, whose activity in publick as a matter of plunder to the managers, and of affairs may render it suspected that they make grants to insatiable and ungrateful courtiers. such a character one of the rounds in their ladder
How can our author have the heart to describe of ambition ; but by men more quiet, and more in this as any sort of parallel to our situation ? To be the shade, on whom an unmixed sense of honour sure, an April shower has some resemblance to a alone could operate. Such examples indeed are water-spout; for they are both wet: and there is not furnished in great abundance amongst those some likeness between a summer evening's breeze who are the subjects of the author's panegyrick. and an hurricane ; they are both wind : but who He must look for them in another camp. He, who can compare our disturbances, our situation, or our complains of the ill effects of a divided and hefinances, to those of France in the time of Henry ? terogeneous administration, is not justifiable in Great Britain is indeed at this time wearied, but labouring to render odious in the eyes of the not broken, with the efforts of a victorious foreign publick those men, whose principles, whose maxims war; not sufficiently relieved by an inadequate of policy, and whose personal character, can alone peace, but somewhat benefited by that peace, and administer a remedy to this capital evil of the age; infinitely by the consequences of that war. The neither is he consistent with himself, in constantly powers of Europe awed by our victories, and lying extolling those whom he knows to be the authors in ruins upon every side of us. Burthened indeed of the very mischief of which he complains, and we are with debt, but abounding with resources.
which the whole nation feels so deeply. We have a trade, not perhaps equal to our wishes, The persons who are the objects of his dislike but more than ever we possessed. In effect, no and complaint are many of them of the first pretender to the crown; nor nutriment for such families, and weightiest properties, in the kingdom; desperate and destructive factions as have formerly but infinitely more distinguished for their untainted shaken this kingdom.
honour public and private, and their zealous but As to our finances, the author trifles with us. sober attachment to the constitution of their counWhen Sully came to those of Fr ce, in what try, than they can be by any birth, or any station. order was any part of the financial system? or what If they are the friends of any one great man system was there at all? There is no man in office rather than another, it is not that they make his who must not be sensible that ours is, without the aggrandizement the end of their union ; or because act of any parading minister, the most regular and they know him to be the most active in caballing orderly system perhaps that was ever known; the for his connexions the largest and speediest emobest secured against all frauds in the collection, luments. It is because they know him, by personal
experience, to have wise and enlarged ideas of ability; and if they choose a vote for that purpose, the publick good, and an invincible constancy in perhaps it would not be quite impossible for them adhering to it; because they are convinced, by the to procure it. But, if the disease be this distrust whole tenour of his actions, that he will never and disconnexion, it is easy to know who are negociate away their honour or his own: and sound, and who are tainted; who are fit to restore that, in or out of power, change of situation will us to health, who to continue and to spread the make no alteration in his conduct. This will give contagion. The present ministry being made up to such a person in such a body, an authority and of draughts from all parties in the kingdom, if respect that no minister ever enjoyed among his they should profess any adherence to the convenal dependents, in the highest plenitude of his nexions they have left, they must convict thempower; such as servility never can give, such as selves of the blackest treachery. They therefore ambition never can receive or relish.
choose rather to renounce the principle itself, and This body will often be reproached by their to brand it with the name of pride and faction. adversaries, for want of ability in their political This test with certainty discriminates the opinions transactions; they will be ridiculed for missing of men. The other is a description vague and many favourable conjunctures, and not profiting of unsatisfactory. several brilliant opportunities of fortune; but they As to the unfortunate gentlemen who may at must be contented to endure that reproach; for any time compose that system, which, under the they cannot acquire the reputation of that kind of plausible title of an administration, subsists but for ability without losing all the other reputation they the establishment of weakness and confusion; they possess.
fall into different classes, with different merits. I They will be charged too with a dangerous spirit think the situation of some people in that state may of exclusion and proscription, for being unwilling deserve a certain degree of compassion; at the same to mix in schemes of administration, which have time that they furnish an example, which, it is to no bond of union, or principle of confidence. be hoped, by being a severe one, will have its efThat charge too they must suffer with patience. fect, at least, on the growing generation ; if an If the reason of the thing had not spoken loudly original seduction, on plausible but hollow preenough, the miserable examples of the several tences, into loss of honour, friendship, consistency, administrations constructed upon the idea of syste- security, and repose, can furnish it. It is possible matick discord would be enough to frighten them to draw, even from the very prosperity of ambition, from such monstrous and ruinous conjunctions. examples of terrour, and motives to compassion. It is however false, that the idea of an united ad- I believe the instances are exceedingly rare of ministration carries with it that of a proscription men immediately passing over a clear, marked line of any other party. It does indeed imply the ne- of virtue into declared vice and corruption. There cessity of having the great strong holds of govern- are a sort of middle tints and shades between the ment in well-united hands, in order to secure the two extremes; there is something uncertain on predominance of right and uniform principles; of the confines of the two empires which they first having the capital offices of deliberation and exe- pass through, and which renders the change easy cution of those who can deliberate with mutual and imperceptible. There are even a sort of confidence, and who will execute what is resolved splendid impositions so well contrived, that, at the with firmness and fidelity. If this system cannot very time the path of rectitude is quitted for ever, be rigorously adhered to in practice, (and what men seem to be advancing into some higher and system can be so ?) it ought to be the constant nobler road of publick conduct. Not that such aim of good men to approach as nearly to it as impositions are strong enough in themselves; but possible. No system of that kind can be formed, a powerful interest, often concealed from those which will not leave room fully sufficient for heal. whom it affects, works at the bottom,
and secures ing coalitions: but no coalition, which, under the the operation. Men are thus debauched away specious name of independency, carries in its from those legitimate connexions, which they had bosom the unreconciled principles of the original formed on a judgment, early perhaps but sufdiscord of parties, ever was, or will be, an healficiently mature, and wholly unbiassed. They do ing coalition. Nor will the mind of our Sovereign not quit them upon any ground of complaint, for ever know repose, his kingdom settlement, or his grounds of just complaint may exist, but upon the business order, efficiency, or grace with his people, Aattering and most dangerous of all principles, until things are established upon the basis of some that of mending what is well. Gradually they set of men, who are trusted by the publick, and are habituated to other company; and a change who can trust one another.
in their habitudes soon makes a way for a change This comes rather nearer to the mark than the in their opinions. Certain persons are no longer author's description of a proper administration, so very frightful, when they come to be known under the name of men of ability and virtue, which and to be serviceable. As to their old friends, the conveys no definite idea at all; nor does it apply transition is easy ; from friendship to civility; specifically to our grand national distemper. “Ail from civility to enmity: few are the steps from parties pretend to these qualities. The present dereliction to persecution. ministry, no favourites of the author, will be ready People not very well grounded in the principles enough to declare themselves persons of virtue and of publick morality find a set of maxims in office