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But, without dwelling upon the contemplation of mischiefs wrought by a cunning wicked creature, placed in a station proper only for a wise and virtuous man, I am now to give you my thanks for your generous defence of me in this great adversity. Your behaviour was indeed equally noble during the whole French administration, and your eloquence was of public fervice to your country, when the Prerogative was strained to the utmost, not to exalt our own Sovereign, but to compliment France with the greatness and interest of her, and her people. The intervention of Providence has given us a stand againft the imminent destruction which fuch iniquity and folly had placed before our eyes, and men in great employments can now be safe without depending upon France.
I have mentioned Dunkirk till I am fick; and there are not words to represent the infamous behaviour in a Ministry, to cover so great
and pernicious an imposture upon their country, as the improvement of that port under the pretence of the demolition of it.
You have the honour and happiness to have eminently opposed all the incurfions which these guilty men made upon the greatness of the Crown, and the welfare of the subject, by prosticuting them both to their own selfish designs, and destroying, as far as in them lay, the good nanie of all men of virtue and service.
They have indeed reaped this good, that there can be nothing said of themselves, the worst servants that ever Sovereign employed, but what they had caused to be laid to the charge of those who were their predecessors ; persons whose abilities had raised their country to such a grandeur, that nothing but the unnatural industry of her own ministers could lower, to the helpless condition to which they had reduced it.
These evils could not have been supported, had not the demagogues, by the abuse of power, deafened many in the Legislature against attention to the true interest of themselves and their country ; while an inconfiderable creature, who had the good-will of no man, could manage averfions skilfully enough, to be suffered to destroy all, for fear of an alteration of affairs that might be grateful to an opposite party.
Were the following instance of the harsh and odious disposition in gentlemen to sit determined, before hearing, the concern only of me and mine, it would not be worth troubling the world with so many words on the occafion ; but neither what I now write, nor what you much better spoke, is a case of so little consequence ; and when you undertook it, you knew you were pleading for the rights and liberties of the Commons of England; and I will take upon me to say, that there never was a greater insult on the constitution than this, except one practised by Ff2
the same person, without the least deference to the order of things, the common sense of mankind, the honour of the Crown, or the property of the subject.
It needs not be faid what this greater impudence was, nor who had so little grace as to be guilty of it: it was he who was born in our days for the chastisement and dishonour of them, a tool whose insignificancy makes forrow, occafioned by hin, the subject of laughter, takes all dignity from distress, and renders calamity ridiculous.
As to my own part under the fantastical ty. ranny of the demagogue's administration, could what you said in the House be communicated to the publick, I should have no need of this defence; but fince I have not here the affiftance of your eloquence, I beg the advantage of your name and character: for I know it will be an
every honest man that my cause was good, that you so zealously espoused it; for that admirable talent of speaking, of which you are master, has never been prottituted to serve dishonest purposes; and you have too candid a spirit, not to esteem it a praise, rather than difparagement of your eloquence, that the cause for which you have at any time pleaded needed no art but from the iniquity of its opposers.
The happy ability of explaining the most dif. ficult parts of business to men wholly unac
quainted with negociation, has been as useful io the publick as honourable to yourself. As you have detected the artful, so you have helped the ignorant of your very adversaries, according to their intention to abuse or serve their country.
It has been said, that the greatest art is to hide art; but you have a much better inftrument towards persuasion, the having nothing to conceal; for truth is as certainly the greatest eloquence, as honesty is the best policy. Let those who speak or act against their conscience, obtain their little purposes and applauses; be it ever your commendation, to despise artifice, and practise uprightness. A long course of suffering for your zeal in an honest cause, has gained you the character of an open honest English gentleman, with a capacity which takes off the imputation of weakness from fimplicity of manners, and adds the dignity of knowledge to the beauty of innocence.
As I never entered into political debates with ambitious views, but have brought my desires within the neceflaries and decent conveniencies of life, I am the more jealously tenacious of the little I expect of the world, which is, only to accept of my service to the best of my ability, without loading me with unjust reproach. In this reasonable expectation Mr. Walpole generously lent me his protection; and though he could not persuade my judges to do me justice, he convinced them I deserved a different sen. tence from what they pronounced. But, alas ! they had learned, by long practice, to do thameful things without being ashamed ; and though your arguments could command their assent, it could not make them utter it in my favour. You sent them away, I thank you, with the same thoughts of themselves which you had of them; and whatever force and oppression deter, mined, in the eye of reason and conscience the judges were convict, and the accused man found innocent. I humbly thank
for this affair, and congratulate you on receiving the favour of your Prince * for your service to your country.
As doing good to the publick is the motive of conferring favours, it is, with such as you, the rule in enjoying them. I wish you the posses. fion of all your frank heart desires; and am, with great respect, Sir, your most obliged, most obedient, and most humble fervant,
Mr. Walpole was at that time Paymaster of the Forces, and Privy Counsellor. See p. 432.