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against him; that he desired no favor, but simply a fair hearing; and concluded by laying his hand on his breast, and declaring, in the words of his favorite Horace, that he was "conscious of no crime, and dreaded no accusation." At the end of two days the motion was made; and such was the eagerness of public expectation, that the galleries were filled before daybreak, and many of the members took their places in the House at six o'clock in the morning to secure themselves a seat. At one o'clock, when the debate opened, nearly five hundred members of Parliament were present.
On bringing forward his motion, Sandys, in a speech of great length and considerable ability, went over all the charges which from time to time had been urged against the minister. As to none of them did he attempt any new proofs; and nearly all were of that general nature which would certainly justify inquiry, but hardly authorize any decisive action. His main argument, after all, was, that Walpole had been at the head of affairs for twenty years, and that the people were tired of him as a minister, and hated him as a man. He ended by saying, "I have not, at present, any occasion for showing that the Favorite I am now complaining of has been guilty of heinous crimes, yet I will say that there is a very general suspicion against him; that this suspicion is justified by the present situation of our affairs both at home and abroad; and that it is ridiculous to expect that any proper discovery should be made as long as he is in possession of all the proofs, and has the distribution of all the penalties the crown can inflict, as well as of all the favors the crown can bestow. Remove him from the King's councils and presence; remove him from those high offices and power he is now possessed of. If he has been guilty of any crimes, the proofs may then be come at, and the witnesses against him will not be afraid to appear. Till you do this, it is impossible to determine whether he is guilty or innocent; and, considering the universal clamor against him, it is high time to reduce him to such a condition that he may be brought to a fair, an impartial, and a strict account. If he were conscious of his being entirely innocent, and had a due regard to the security and glory of his master and sovereign, he would have chosen to have put bimself into this condition long before this time. Since he has not thought fit to do so, it is our duty to endeavor to do it for him; and, therefore, I shall conclude with moving, “That an humble address be presented to his Majesty, that he would be graciously pleased to remove the right honorable Sir Robert Walpole, knight of the most noble order of the garter, first commissioner for executing the office of treasurer of the excheq. uer, chancellor and under-treasurer of the exchequer, and one of his Majesty's most honorable privy council, from his Majesty's presence and councils forever.'”
A few days after, Walpole made a speech of four hours, in reply to Sandys and others, by whom he had been attacked. We have only an imperfect outline of his argument in the speech given below, but there is reason to believe that the introductory part and the conclusion are very nearly in his own words.
It has been observed by several gentlemen, in terity with disgrace and infamy? I will not vindication of this motion, that if it should be | conceal my sentiments, that to be named in Parcarried, neither my life, liberty, nor estate will liament as a subject of inquiry, is to me a matter be affected. But do the honorable gentlemen of great concern. But I have the satisfaction, consider my character and reputation as of no at the same time, to reflect, that the impression moment? Is it no imputation to be arraigned to be made depends upon the consistency of the before this House, in which I have sat forty charge and the motives of the prosecutors. years, and to have my name transmitted to pos- Had the charge been reduced to specific alle.
gations, I should have felt myself called upon for 1 In quoting the words of Horace (Epistle I., 61), a specific defense. Had I served a weak or Walpole gave them thus:
wicked master, and implicitly obeyed his dicNil conscire sibi, nulli pallescere culpa.
tates, obedience to his commands must have been Pulteney, who sat by, cried out, “Yonr Latin is as
my only justification. But as it has been my bad as your logic !" “Nullá pallescere culpa !"
good fortune to serve a master who wants no Walpole defended his quotation, and offered to bet a guinea on its correctness. The question was ac
bad ministers, and would have hearkened to cordingly referred to Sir Nicholas Hardinge, clerk none, my defense must rest on my own conduct. of the House, whose extraordinary erudition was ac. The consciousness of innocence is also a suffi. knowledged by all, and he at once decided in favor cient support against my present prosecutors. of Pulteney. Walpole tossed him the guinea, and A further justification is derived from a considPulteney, as he caught it, held it up before the eration of the views and abilities of the prosecu. House, exclaiming, “ It is the only money I have re tors. Had I been guilty of great enormities, ceived from the treasury for many years, and it shall they want neither zeal and inclination to bring be the last." He kept the gainea to the end of his
them forward, nor ability to place them in the life, as a memento of this occurrence, and left it to
most prominent point of view. But as I am conhis children, with a paper stating how it was won, and adding, “This guinea I desire may be kept as
scious of no crime, my own experience convinces an heirloom. It will prove to my posterity the use | me that none can be justly im puted. of knowing Latin, and will encourage them in their I must therefore ask the gentlemen, From learning." It is now deposited in the medal-room whence does this attack proceed ? From the of the British Museum.
I passions and prejudices of the parties combined
against me, who may be divided into three class-, be asked on this point, Are the people on the es, the Boys, the riper Patriots, and the Tories.' court side more united than on the other? Are The Tories I can easily forgive. They have un. not the Tories, Jacobites, and Patriots equally willingly come into the measure; and they do determined ? What makes this strict union ? me honor in thinking it necessary to remove me, What cements this heterogeneous mass ? Party as their only obstacle. What, then, is the infer- engagements and personal attachments. Howence to be drawn from these premises ? That ever different their views and principles, they all demerit with my opponents ought to be consid- agree in opposition. The Jacobites distress the ered as merit with others. But my great and government they would subvert; the Tories conprincipal crime is my long continuance in office; tend for party prevalence and power. The Paor, in other words, the long exclusion of those triots, from discontent and disappointment, would who now complain against me. This is the hei-change the ministry, that themselves may exnous offense which exceeds all others. I keep clusively succeed. They have labored this point from them the possession of that power, those twenty years unsuccessfully. They are impahonors, and those emoluments, to which they so tient of longer delay. They clamor for change ardently and pertinaciously aspire. I will not of measures, but mean only change of ministers. attempt to deny the reasonableness and necessity. In party contests, why should not both sides of a party war; but in carrying on that war, all be equally steady? Does not a Whig adminisprinciples and rules of justice should not be de-tration as well deserve the support of the Whigs parted from. The Tories must confess that the as the contrary? Why is not principle the cemost obnoxious persons have felt few instances ment in one as well as the other; especially of extra-judicial power. Wherever they have when my opponents confess that all is leveled been arraigned, a plain charge has been exhib- against one man? Why this one man ? Be. ited against them. They have had an impartial cause they think, vainly, nobody else could withtrial, and have been permitted to make their de stand them. All others are treated as tools and sense. And will they, who have experienced vassals. The one is the corrupter; the numthis fair and equitable mode of proceeding, act bers corrupted. But whence this cry of corrupin direct opposition to every principle of justice, tion, and exclusive claim of honorable distincand establish this fatal precedent of parliament tion? Compare the estates, characters, and forary inquisition? Whom would they conciliate tunes of the Commons on one side with those on by a conduct so contrary to principle and pre- | the other. Let the matter be fairly investigated. cedent?
Survey and examine the individuals who usually Can it be fitting in them (the Tories), who support the measures of government, and those have divided the public opinion of the nation, to who are in opposition. Let us see to whose side share it with those who now appear as their the balance preponderates. Look round both competitors? With the men of yesterday, the Houses, and see to which side the balance of virbors in politics, who would be absolutely con- tue and talents preponderates! Are all these temptible did not their audacity render them de- on one side, and not on the other? Or are all testable? With the mock patriots, whose prac- these to be counterbalanced by an affected claim tice and professions prove their selfishness and to the exclusive title of patriotism? Gentlemen malignity; who threatened to pursue me to de- have talked a great deal of patriotism. A venstruction, and who have never for a moment lost erable word, when duly practiced. But I am sight of their object? These men, under the sorry to say that of late it has been so much name of Separatists, presume to call themselves hackneyed about, that it is in danger of falling exclusively the nation and the people, and under into disgrace. The very idea of true patriotism that character assume all power. In their es. is lost, and the term has been prostituted to the timation, the King, Lords, and Commons are a very worst of purposes. A patriot, sir! Why, faction, and they are the government. Upon patriots spring up like mushrooms! I could these principles they threaten the destruction of raise fifty of them within the four-and-twenty all authority, and think they have a right to hours. I have raised many of them in one night. judge, direct, and resist all legal magistrates. It is but refusing to gratify an unreasonable or They withdraw from Parliament because they an insolent demand, and up starts a patriot. I succeed in nothing; and then attribute their want have never been afraid of making patriots; but of success, not to its true cause, their own want I disdain and despise all their efforts. This preof integrity and importance, but to the effect of tended virtue proceeds from personal malice and places, pensions, and corruption. May it not disappointed ambition. There is not a man
among them whose particular aim I am not able i By the Boys be means Pitt, Lyttleton, &c., who to ascertain, and from what motive they have were recently from college, with an ardent love of entered into the lists of opposition. liberty, and much under the influence of Pulteney I shall now consider the articles of accusation and others of more mature age, who were the “riper
which they have brought against me, and which Patriots."
they have not thought fit to reduce to specific • This refers to a secession from the House head. ed by Wyndham, after the debate on the Spanish
ish charges; and I shall consider these in the same convention in 1739. It placed those who withdrew in a very awkward and even ridiculous position, ency some months after, when war was declared from wbich they were glad to escape with consist- against Spain.
order as that in which they were placed by the I hope it will not be said we had any reason honorable member who made the motion. First, to quarrel with France upon that account; and in regard to foreign affairs; secondly, to domestic therefore, if our accepting of that mediation affairs; and, thirdly, to the conduct of the war. might have produced a rupture with France, it
I. As to foreign affairs, I must take notice of was not our duty to interfere unless we had the uncandid manner in which the gentlemen on something very beneficial to expect from the acthe other side have managed the question, by ceptance. A reconciliation between the courts blending numerous treaties and complicated ne- of Vienna and Madrid, it is true, was desirable gotiations into one general mass.
to all Europe as well as to us, provided it had To form a fair and candid judgment of the been brought about without any design to dissubject, it becomes necessary not to consider the turb our tranquillity or the tranquillity of Europe. treaties merely insulated ; but to advert to the But both parties were then so high in their detime in which they were made, to the circum-mands that we could hope for no success; and stances and situation of Europe when they were if the negotiation had ended without effect, we made, to the peculiar situation in which I stand, might have expected the common fate of arbiand to the power which I possessed. I am call-trators, the disobliging of both. Therefore, as ed repeatedly and insidiously prime and sole min- it was our interest to keep well with both, I ister. Admitting, however, for the sake of ar- must still think it was the most prudent part wo gument, that I am prime and sole minister in could act to refuse the offered mediation. this country, am I, therefore, prime and sole The next step of our foreign conduct, exposed minister of all Europe ? Am I answerable for to reprehension, is the treaty of Hanover. Sir the conduct of other countries as well as for that if I were to give the true history of that treaty, of my own ? Many words are not wanting to which no gentleman can desire I should, I am show, that the particular view of each court oc- | sure I could fully justify my own conduct. But casioned the dangers which affected the public as I do not desire to justify my own without justranquillity; yet the whole is charged to my actifying his late Majesty's conduct, I must obcount. Nor is this sufficient. Whatever was serve that his late Majesty had such information the conduct of England, I am equally arraigned. as convinced not only him, but those of his counIf we maintained ourselves in peace, and took cil, both at home and abroad, that some dangerno share in foreign transactions, we are reproach-ous designs had been formed between the Emed for tameness and pusillanimity. If, on the peror and Spain at the time of their concluding contrary, we interfered in these disputes, we are the treaty at Vienna, in May, 1725; designs, called Don Quixotes, and dupes to all the world. sir, which were dangerous not only to the liberIf we contracted guarantees, it was asked why ties of this nation, but to the liberties of Europe. is the nation wantonly burdened? If guarantees They were not only to wrest Gibraltar and Port were declined, we were reproached with having Mahon from this nation, and force the Pretender no allies.
upon us; but they were to have Don Carlos marI have, however, sir, this advantage, that all ried to the Emperor's eldest daughter, who the objections now alleged against the conduct would thereby have had a probability of uniting of the administration to which I have the honor in his person, or in the person of some of his sucto belong, have already been answered to the cessors, the crowns of France and Spain, with satisfaction of a majority of both houses of Par- the imperial dignity and the Austrian dominions. liament, and I believe to the satisfaction of a It was therefore highly reasonable, both in France majority of the better sort of people in the na- and us, to take the alarm at such designs, and tion. I need, therefore, only repeat a few of these to think betimes of preventing their being caranswers that have been made already, which I ried into execution. But with regard to us, it shall do in the order of time in which the sev- was more particularly our business to take the eral transactions happened ; and consequently alarm, because we were to have been immedimust begin with our refusing to accept of the ately attacked. I shall grant, sir, it would have sole mediation offered us by Spain, on the breach been very difficult, if not impossible, for Spain between that court and the court of France, occasioned by the dismission of the Infanta of
4 Spain now turned her resentment against En. Spain.
gland, and settled her differences with the Emperor
of Germany on terms so favorable to the latter, as 9 The Infanta of Spain was betrothed to Louis to awaken suspicions (which were confirmed by se. XV., king of France, when four years old, and was cret intelligence) that some hidden compact had sent to Paris to be educated there. At the end of | been made, for conjointly attacking the dominions of two years, Louis broke off the engagement and sent | England. To counteract this, England, in 1725, her back to Madrid. This indignity awakened the united with France, Prussia, Denmark, and Holland, keenest resentment at the Spanish court, which in an opposing league, by a compact called the sought to involve England in the quarrel by offering treaty of Hanover, from the place where it was to make her sole mediator in respect to existing made. The evidence of these facts could not then differences between Spain and the Emperor of Ger be brought forward to defend the ministry; and many, thus throwing Spain entirely into the hands hence the treaty of Hanover, and the consequent of England. The English government, for the real expenditures on the Continent, were extremely un. sons here assigned by Walpole, wisely rejected the popular in England. But subsequent disclosures mediation, and this was now imputed to him as a have made it nearly or quite certain, that every crime.
| thing here alleged by Walpole was strictly true.
and the Emperor joined together, to have invaded of the cabinet to assist the house of Austria, in or made themselves masters of any of the Brit. conformity with the articles of that guarantee.5 ish dominions. But will it be said they might As to the guarantee of the Pragmatic Sancnot have invaded the King's dominions in Ger- tion, I am really surprised to find that measure many, in order to force him to a compliance with objected to. It was so universally approved of, what they desired of him as King of Great Brit- both within doors and without, that till this very ain? And if those dominions had been invaded day I think no fault was ever found with it, un. on account of a quarrel with this nation, should less it was that of being too long delayed. If we not have been obliged, both in honor and in- it was so necessary for supporting the balance terest, to defend them? When we were thus of power in Europe, as has been insisted on in threatened, it was therefore absolutely necessary this debate, to preserve entire the dominions of for us to make an alliance with France; and the house of Austria, surely it was not our busithat we might not trust too much to their assist- ness to insist upon a partition of them in favor ance, it was likewise necessary to form allian- of any of the princes of the empire. But if we ces with the northern powers, and with some of had, could we have expected that the house of the princes in Germany, which we never did, Austria would have agreed to any such partition, nor ever could do, without granting them imme- even for the acquisition of our guarantee? The diate subsidies. These measures were, there- | King of Prussia had, it is true, a claim upon fore, I still think, not only prudent, but necessa- some lordships in Silesia; but that claim was ry; and by these measures we made it much absolutely denied by the court of Vienna, and more dangerous for the Emperor and Spain to was not at that time so much insisted on by the attack us, than it would otherwise have been. late King of Prussia. Nay, if he had lived till
But still, sir, though by these alliances we put this time, I believe it would not now have been ourselves upon an equal footing with our ene- insisted on; for he acceded to that guarantee mies in case of an attack, yet, in order to pre- without any reservation of that claim; therefore serve the tranquillity of Europe as well as our I must look upon this as an objection which has own, there was something else to be done. We since arisen from an accident that could not then knew that war could not be begun and carried be foreseen or provided against. on without money ; we knew that the Emperor I must therefore think, sir, that our guarantee had no money for that purpose without receiving of the Pragmatic Sanction, or our manner of dolarge remittances from Spain; and we knew that ing it, can not now be objected to, nor any perSpain could make no such remittances without son censured by Parliament for advising that receiving large returns of treasure from the West measure. In regard to the refusal of the cabIndies. The only way, therefore, to render these inet to assist the house of Austria, though it was two powers incapable of disturbing the tranquil- prudent and right in us to enter into that guarlity of Europe, was by sending a squadron to the antee, we were not therefore obliged to enter West Indies to stop the return of the Spanish into every broil the house of Austria might aftergalleons; and this made it necessary, at the ward lead themselves into. And therefore, we sanie time, to send a squadron to the Mediter- were not in honor obliged to take any share in ranean for the security of our valuable posses- the war which the Emperor brought upon him. sions in that part of the world. By these meas- self in the year 1733 ; nor were we in interest ures the Emperor saw the impossibility of at- obliged to take a share in that war as long as tacking us in any part of the world, because neither side attempted to push their conquests Spain could give him no assistance either in larther than was consistent with the balance of money or troops; and the attack made by the power in Europe, which was a case that did not Spaniards upon Gibraltar was so feeble, that we happen. For the power of the house of Aushad no occasion to call upon our allies for assist- tria was not diminished by the event of that war, ance. A small squadron of our own prevented because they got Tuscany, Parma, and Placentheir attacking it by sea, and from their attack tia in lieu of Naples and Sicily; nor was the by land we had nothing to fear. They might power of France much increased, because Lorhave knocked their brains out against inaccessible rocks to this very day, without bringing that
5 Charles VI., emperor of Germany, having no
male issue, made an instrument called a Pragmatic fortress into any danger.
Sanction, by wbich all his hereditary estates were I do not pretend, sir, to be a great master of
to devolve on his female descendants. To give this foreign affairs. In that post in which I have the
instrument greater force, he induced nearly all the honor to serve his Majesty, it is not my business powers of Europe (and England among the rest, for to interfere; and as one of his Majesty's council, reasons assigned by Walpole) to unite in a guar. I have but one voice. But if I had been the antee for carrying it into effect. But this, although sole adviser of the treaty of Hanover, and of all designed to secure Austria against a partition be. the measures which were taken in pursuance of
tween various claimants, in case of his death, was it, from what I have said I hope it will appear
certainly not intended to pledge England or any that I do not deserve to be censured either as a
other power to interfere in all the quarrels in which
the Emperor might engage. When he became inweak or a wicked minister on that account.
volved in war with France, therefore, in 1733, by The next measures which incurred censure supporting Augustus for the vacant throne of Powere the guarantee of the Pragmatic Sanction land, against the remonstrances of Walpole, the latby the second treaty of Vienna, and the refusal ter was under no obligation to afford him aid.
raine was a province she had taken and kept | English counsels ?? And if to English counsels, possession of during every war in which she had why are they to be attributed to one man ? been engaged.
I II. I now come, sir, to the second head, the As to the disputes with Spain, they had not conduct of domestic affairs. And here a most then reached such a height as to make it neces- heinous charge is made, that the nation has been sary for us to come to an open rupture. We had burdened with unnecessary expenses, for the sole then reason to hope, that all differences would purpose of preventing the discharge of our debts be accommodated in an amicable manner; and and the abolition of taxes. But this attack is while we have any such hopes, it can never be more to the dishonor of the whole cabinet counprudent for us to engage ourselves in war, espe- cil than to me. If there is any ground for this cially with Spain, where we have always had a imputation, it is a charge upon King, Lords, very beneficial commerce. These hopes, it is and Commons, as corrupted, or imposed upon. true, sir, at last proved abortive; but I never And they have no proof of these allegations, but heard it was a crime to hope for the best. This affect to substantiate them by common fame and sort of hope was the cause of the late Conven- public notoriety! tion. If Spain had performed her part of that No expense has been incurred but what has preliminary treaty, I am sure it would not have been approved of, and provided for, by Parliabeen wrong in us to have hoped for a friendly ment. The public treasure has been duly apaccommodation; and for that end to have waited plied to the uses to which it was appropriated nine or ten months longer, in which time the by Parliament, and regular accounts have been plenipotentiaries were, by the treaty, to have annually laid before Parliament, of every article adjusted all the differences subsisting between of expense. If by foreign accidents, by the disthe two nations. But the failure of Spain in putes of foreign states among themselves, or by performing what had been agreed to by this their designs against us, the nation has often preliminary, put an end to all our hopes, and been put to an extraordinary expense, that exthen, and not till then, it became prudent to en- pense can not be said to have been unnecessary; ter into hostilities, which were commenced as because, is by saving it we had exposed the balsoon as possible after the expiration of the term ance of power to danger, or ourselves to an atlimited for the payment of the £95,000.6 tack, it would have cost, perhaps, a hundred
Strong and virulent censures have been cast times that sum before we could recover from on me for having commenced the war without a that danger, or repel that attack. single ally; and this deficiency has been ascrib- In all such cases there will be a variety of ed to the multifarious treaties in which I have opinions. I happened to be one of those who bewildered myself. But although the authors thought all these expenses necessary, and I had of this imputation are well apprised, that all the good fortune to have the majority of both these treaties have been submitted to and ap- houses of Parliament on my side. But this, it proved by Parliament, yet they are now brought seems, proceeded from bribery and corruption. forward as crimes, without appealing to the judg- Sir, if any one instance had been mentioned, if ment of Parliament, and without proving or de- it had been shown that I ever offered a reward claring that all or any of hem were advised by to any member of either House, or ever threatme. A supposed sole minister is to be condemn-ened to deprive any member of his office or emed and punished as the author of all ; and what ployment, in order to influence his vote in Paradds to the enormity is, that an attempt was liament, there might have been some ground for made to convict him uncharged and unheard, this charge. But when it is so generally laid, without taking into consideration the most ar- I do not know what I can say to it, unless it be duous crisis which ever occurred in the annals to deny it as generally and as positively as it has of Europe. Sweden corrupted by France; Den- ! ? This critical juncture was occasioned by the mark tempted and wavering ; the Landgrave of recent death of the Emperor Charles VI. Under the Hesse Cassel almost gained; the King of Prus- Pragmatic Sanction, his Austrian possessions fell to sia, the Emperor, and the Czarina, with whom his daughter Maria Theresa, queen of Hungary; alliances had been negotiating, dead; the Aus- but were claimed in part by Spain, though chiefly trian dominions claimed by Spain and Bavaria ;
by the Elector of Bavaria, supported by France. the Elector of Saxony hesitating whether he
Frederick of Prussia, afterward called the Great,
wbo had just succeeded his father, was fluctuating shonld accede to the general confederacy plan
between France and the Queen; but offered to sup. ned by France; the court of Vienna irresolute
port the latter if she would cede to him Silesia. and indecisive. In this critical juncture, if France
Walpole, who wished to defeat the plans of France, enters into engagements with Prussia, and if the advised her to yield to this demand, though unjust, Queen of Hungary hesitates and listens to France, and thus prevent a general war. Her ministers were are all or any of those events to be imputed to weak and irresolute, and the affairs of Europe were
in utter confusion. The proud spirit of the Queen 6 This is the only point on which Walpole is tame soon decided the question. She refused the surrenand weak. It is exactly the point where, if he had der of Silesia, was attacked by Frederick and the acted a manly part eighteen months before, his de- French, and was on the brink of ruin; when she fense would bave been most triumphant. He knew made, seven months after this speech was deliverthere was no ground for a war with Spain; and be ed, her celebrated appeal for support to the Diet of ought to have beld to the truth on that point, even | Hungary, by which, in the words of Johnson, "The at the sacrifice of his office.
| Queen, the Beauty, set the world in arms.”