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For J A NU A RY, 1770.
: NUM-BER XXXIV.
To the Editor of the POLITICAL Register.
On the Transactions of Mr. Vaughan, and Mr. Hine, of Exeter,
with his Grace the Duke of Grafton. SIR, T HE extraordinary attempt made by Mr. Vaughan to influi ence the Duke of Grafton, by the tender of a sum of money, under an oath of secrefy, to dispose of the reversion of a place in favour of his son ; and the accusation brought by JUNIUS against the noble duke, of having sold an employment under the government to Mr. Hine, have lately been the general topics of conversation in all public places. Nor does it appear at present, that either of the parties stand acquitted in the eyes of the public, of the crimes laid to their charge.--It will not therefore be improper at this time, to give your readers the sentiments of the ablest political writers, on transactions of this nature. And it may have this good effect-if the noble Duke is innocent in the affair of Mr. Hine, and Mr. Vaughan guilty in his application to his grace : the character of an incorruptible minister, which few statesmen have acquired, will be juftiy merited by the D- of G- , but if the transaction with Mr. Hine in favour of Col. B- Mhall appear to be as heinous an offence against the state as Sam. Vaughan's attempt to corrupt his grace ;-he will appear to be a molt detestable character, and wholly unfit to be intrusted with the administration of public affairs. Those who have hitherto undertaken the defence of the noble duke, rely much upon this circumstance, that he did not receive any pecuniary benefit from this bargain with Mr. Vol. VI.
Hine ; but they have forgot that if Col. B had rendered any service to the minister at the late general election, or at any other time had promoted the cause of administration, for which he was to receive his wages, the very firft opportunity-the paying him in this manner was exactly the same thing, as if the Duke had received it from Hine and paid it to Col. B- , as it was a debt owing by the Duke to the Colonel, which he discharged through the hands of Hine. So that in fact, this transaction was for the Da of G 's emolument. From which it likewise appears, that the detriment arising to a free state from the sale of offices, does not consist in the minister's receiving and pocketing the purchase money ; but in his making use of this fcandalous method to secure to himself a number of creatures. and dependents, who may be bribed to make his will the law of the land on this subject, we have some jndicious remarks in a work, intitled, the Accomplished Senator, written originally in Latin, by Laurence Grimald Gorlikki, Senator and Chancellor of Poland, and translated into English by Mr. Oldisworth in the year 1733.
"There is nothing, says this able politician, in which a government can better employ all its care and caution, than in pre. ferving its employments from being protituted and exposed to fale ; liable to be marketed and exchanged for money, inftead of being made the prizes and rewards of virtue. Nor is it easy to be too strict and rigorous in punishing those, who are bribed and hired to make war against virtue. Avarice is a compendious way of ruining a state. For when the rich and wealihy have plainly gotten the ascendant and advantage over the good and virtuous, every subject and citizen will naturally make it his whole study and endeavour, to improve his fortune rather than his character, and how soon then 'must a state be over-run with effeminacy, fraud, luxury, covetousness, and all other vices whatever! Where this is the case, virtue will soon be trod under foot. The piery of the priest, the bravery of the foldier, the prus, dence; fidelity, and diligence of the fenator, and the civil discipline of the whole body of the people, will be all set aside, to make room for avarice and self-intereft, for shameless and undaunted: impudence, for violence, oppression, injustice, and the most unclean, favage, and barbarous vices. And when a fate is unhappily placed onder 'the direction of a set of corrupt and wicked ministers who carry the lesser employments of that date to market, its affairs can never be well and duly admi. niftered, but it will become difficult to trace the footsteps of juttice and equity, or to discover so much as the least remains, or perhaps even the form of religion in such a govern nient."
If we review history, says another writer, we fall find that brilery and corruption on the part of bad ministers, have not so otten operated bad effects from their personal acceptance of sums of money ;-as in their disposal of the public money and of places of emolument to extend their influence, and to fix themselvese fecurely in the seat of power. Thus it has frequently happened
that a prime minister has refused the most magnificent presents, the largest venal offers on the one hand, while on the other, he has been abundantly profuse in tendering the same temptations to corrupt others. And this reason must ever be assigned for the incompatibility of a minister's conduct, who shall refuse the tene der of a sum of money to corrupt him, and in the same hour shall be bribing twenty persons by the dint of money to forsake the true interest of their country, for a blind attachment to him and his measures that the object is so very confiderable and exó tenfive when the minister bribes, in comparison of iris receiving a bribe ; and that in the end, it amounts to the same thing, and yet saves the reputation of the minister with the unthinking part of mankind. For he who can secure a majority in the House of Cominons in his favour, by the proftitution or fale of public employments, or by the distribution of money, annuities, or pensions, will be able to undermine the conititution fo far, thar the commons in Parliament may vote away the people's money ; and the minister having possession of the public treasure, and knowing in this situation of things, that he is perfe&ly safe from being called to any account for the disposal of it, he may fecurely plunder the coffers of the nation ; and yet to fhew that be is incorruptible, may boldty refuse a personal bribe, and prosecute to ruin, the fool that tenders it. · Indeed it is idle to suppose, in a nation' where mini&erial influence is got to such a height as to bar all legal means of punishing courtiers, that a sum of money will be accepted from an individual by a premier who has the means in his hands of gratifying his avarice, if that be his vice, at the public expence, without putting his reputation in the hands of a private corruptor. This seems to have been the case in the tranfa&ions which have lately been laid before the public. And till Mr. Yustice and the other vindicators will point out a real, public service performed by Col. B e, for the benefit of his country, mericing either a gross sum, or an annual income, independent of his military appointment, the D- of
w ill appear to be a' corruptor and a venal ma r , who had actually received a minifterial benefit from Col.
B r e, which he repaid by giving him the sale of a place, that ought to have been the reward of the fidelity of some inferior servant in that department of the revenue in which the vacancy happened. Nor will a judicious people think otherwise of his refusal of Mr. Vaughan's offer, chan as an artful attempt to cover a multitude of great
o s by the external appearance of virtue and integrity, in a case, where the temptation was by no means adequate to the danger that was to be apprehended from yielding to it. In fine, Sir, the confequence to the nation is much more fatal, to have a' minifter charged with dealing out bribes to all ranks and orders of men, than if he could only be accused of having secretly and privately pocketed a pretty large fee from an individual, for a compliance with a private requeft. Oxford, Dec. 22, 1769.