Short Stories
All Titles

In Association with Amazon.com

Home > Authors Index > Browse all available works of Samuel Johnson > Text of Debate on the address -- December 4, 2021

A non-fiction by Samuel Johnson

Debate on the address -- December 4, 2021

Title:     Debate on the address -- December 4, 2021
Author: Samuel Johnson [More Titles by Johnson]

DECEMBER 4, 1741.

The king came again to the house of lords, and the commons being sent for, his majesty approved their choice of a president, and made a speech to both houses, in which he represented to them, That their counsel was in a particular manner necessary, as they were engaged in a war with Spain, as the affairs of all Europe were in confusion, by the confederacy of many formidable powers for the destruction of the house of Austria; that both houses of the preceding session had come to the strongest resolutions in favour of the queen of Hungary, but that the other powers who were equally engaged to support her, had not yet acted according to their stipulations; that he had endeavoured to assist her ever since the death of the emperour Charles, and hoped that a just sense of common danger would induce other nations to unite with him; but that in this uncertain situation, it was necessary that Britain should be in a condition of supporting itself and its allies, as any exigency might require. He therefore ordered the estimates for the ensuing year to be laid before the commons.--This speech being under the consideration of the house of lords, lord MILTON spoke in the following manner:

My lords, though the present perplexity of our affairs, the contrariety of opinions produced by it, and the warmth with which each opinion will probably be supported, might justly discourage me from proposing any of my sentiments to this great assembly, yet I cannot repress my inclination to offer a motion, in my opinion, regular and seasonable, and which, if it should appear otherwise to your lordships, will, I hope, though it should not be received, at least be forgiven, because I have never before wearied your patience, or interrupted or retarded your consultations.

But I am very far from imagining that by this motion I can give any occasion to debate or opposition, because I shall propose no innovation in the principles, or alteration of the practice of this assembly, nor intend any thing more than to lay before your lordships my opinion of the manner in which it may be proper to address his majesty.

To return him our humble thanks for his most gracious speech from the throne, and, at the same time, to present unto his majesty our sincere and joyful congratulations on his safe and happy return into this empire.

To observe with the utmost thankfulness the great concern which his majesty has been pleased to express for carrying on the just and necessary war against Spain, which we hope, by the divine blessing upon his majesty's arms, will be attended with success equal to the justice of his cause, and the ardent wishes of his people. That,

His majesty has so truly represented the impending dangers to which Europe is exposed, in the present critical conjuncture, as must awaken, in every one, an attention suitable to the occasion: and we cannot but be fully sensible of the evil consequences arising from the designs and enterprises, formed and carrying on for the subversion or reduction of the house of Austria, which threaten such apparent mischiefs to the common cause.

To acknowledge his imperial goodness in expressing so earnest a desire to receive, and so high a regard for, the advice of his parliament: his majesty, secure of the loyalty and affections of his people, may rely upon that, with the best-grounded confidence; and to assure his majesty, that we will not fail to take the important points, which he has been pleased to mention to us, into our most serious consideration; and, in the most dutiful manner, to offer to his majesty such advice as shall appear to us to be most conducive to the honour and true interest of his crown and kingdoms. To assure his majesty that we have a due sense, how much the present posture of affairs calls upon us for that unanimity, vigour, and despatch, which his majesty has so wisely recommended to us; and to give his majesty the strongest assurances, that we will vigorously and heartily concur in all just and necessary measures for the defence and support of his majesty, the maintenance of the balance and liberties of Europe, and the assistance of our allies.

That as duty and affection to his majesty are, in us, fixed and unalterable principles, so we feel the impressions of them, at this time, so strong and lively in our breasts, that we cannot omit to lay hold on this opportunity of approaching his imperial presence, to renew the most sincere professions of our constant and inviolable fidelity: and to promise his majesty, that we will, at the hazard of all that is dear to us, exert ourselves for the defence and preservation of his sacred person and government, and the maintenance of the protestant succession in his imperial house, on which the continuance of the protestant religion, and the liberties of Britain, do, under God, depend.

My lords, as this address will not obstruct any future inquiries, by any approbation of past measures, either positive or implied, I doubt not but your lordships will readily concur in it, and am persuaded, that it will confirm his majesty's regard for our councils, and confidence in our loyalty.

Lord LOVEL spoke next, to this effect:--My lords, the dangers which have been justly represented by his majesty, ought to remind us of the importance of unusual circumspection in our conduct, and deter us from any innovations, of which we may not foresee the consequences, at a time when there may be no opportunity of repairing any miscarriage, or correcting any mistake.

There appears, my lords, not to be at this time any particular reason for changing the form of our addresses, no privileges of our house have been invaded, nor any designs formed against the publick. His majesty has evidently not deviated from the practice of the wisest and most beloved of our British monarchs; he has, upon this emergence of unexpected difficulties, summoned the senate to counsel and assist him; and surely it will not be consistent with the wisdom of this house to increase the present perplexity of our affairs, by new embarrassments, which may be easily imagined likely to arise from an address different from those which custom has established.

The prospect which now lies before us, a prospect which presents us only with dangers, distraction, invasions, and revolutions, ought to engage our attentions, without leaving us at leisure for disputations upon ceremonies or forms. It ought to be the care of every lord in this house, not how to address, but how to advise his majesty; how to assist the councils of the publick, and contribute to such determinations, as may avert the calamities that impend over mankind, and stop the wild excursions of power and ambition.

We ought to reflect, my lords, that the expectations of all Europe are raised by the convocation of this assembly; and that from our resolutions, whole nations are waiting for their sentence. And how will mankind be disappointed when they shall hear, that instead of declaring war upon usurpers, or imposing peace on the disturbers of mankind, instead of equipping navies to direct the course of commerce, or raising armies to regulate the state of the continent, we met here in a full assembly, and disagreed upon the form of an address.

Let us, therefore, my lords, lay aside, at least for this time, all petty debates and minute inquiries, and engage all in the great attempt of reestablishing quiet in the world, and settling the limits of the kingdoms of Europe.

Then lord CARTERET spoke, in substance as follows:--My lords, there is, I find, at least one point upon which it is probable that those will now agree whose sentiments have hitherto been, on almost every occasion, widely different. The danger of our present situation is generally allowed; but the consequences deduced from it are so contrary to each other, as give little hopes of that unanimity which times of danger particularly require.

It is alleged by the noble lord who spoke last, that since we are now involved in difficulties, we ought only to inquire how to extricate ourselves, and, therefore, ought not to leave ourselves the right of inquiring how we were entangled in them, lest the perplexity of different considerations should dissipate our attention, and disable us from forming any useful determinations, or exerting any vigorous efforts for our deliverance.

But, in my opinion, my lords, the most probable way of removing difficulties, is to examine how they were produced, and, by consequence, to whom they are to be imputed; for certainly, my lords, it is not to be hoped that we shall regain what we have lost, but by measures different from those which have reduced us to our present state, and by the assistance of other counsellors than those who have sunk us into the contempt, and exposed us to the ravages of every nation throughout the world.

That this inquiry, my lords, may be free and unobstructed, it is necessary to address the throne, after the manner of our ancestors, in general terms, without descending to particular facts, which, as we have not yet examined them, we can neither censure nor approve.

It has been objected by the noble lord, that foreign nations will be disappointed by hearing, that instead of menaces of vengeance, and declarations of unalterable adherence to the liberties of Europe, we have wasted our time at this important juncture in settling the form of an address.

That little time may be wasted on this occasion, I hope your lordships will very speedily agree to an address suitable to the dignity of those who make it, and to the occasion upon which it is made; for I cannot but allow, that the present state of affairs calls upon us for despatch: but though business ought, at this time, undoubtedly to be expedited, I hope it will not be precipitated; and if it be demanded that the most important questions be first determined, I know not any thing of greater moment than that before us.

How we shall gratify the expectations of foreign powers, ought not, my lords, to be our first or chief consideration; we ought, certainly, first to inquire how the people may be set free from those suspicions, which a long train of measures, evidently tending to impair their privileges, has raised; and how they may be confirmed in their fidelity to the government, of which they have for many years found no other effects than taxes and exactions, for which they have received neither protection abroad, nor encouragement at home.

But, my lords, if it be necessary to consult the inclinations, and cultivate the esteem of foreign powers, I believe nothing will raise more confidence in our allies, if there be any who are not now ashamed of that name, or more intimidate those whose designs it is our interest to defeat, than an open testimony of our resolution no longer to approve that conduct by which the liberty of half Europe has been endangered; and not to lavish praises on those men, who have in twenty years never transacted any thing to the real benefit of their country, and of whom it is highly probable that they have in the present war stipulated for the defeat of all our attempts, and agreed, by some execrable compact, to facilitate the exaltation of the house of Bourbon.

Upon what facts I ground accusations so atrocious may justly be inquired by your lordships; nor shall I find any difficulty in answering your demand. For, if we extend our view over the whole world, and inquire into the state of all our affairs, we shall find nothing but defeats, miscarriages, and impotence, with their usual consequences, contempt and distrust. We shall discover neither any tokens of that fear among our enemies, which the power of the nation, and the reputation of our former victories, might naturally produce; nor any proofs of that confidence among those whom we still continue to term our allies, which the vigour with which we have formerly supported our confederacies, give us a right to expect. Those whom we once trampled, insult us; and those whom we once protected, give us no credit.

How reasonably, my lords, all nations have withdrawn from us their reverence and esteem, will appear by a transient examination of our late conduct, whether it regarded Europe in general, or influenced only the particular affairs of the British nation; for it will appear beyond possibility of doubt, that whoever has trusted the administration, whether their own country, or any foreign powers, has trusted only to be betrayed.

There is among our allies none whom we are more obliged to support than the queen of Hungary, whose rights we are engaged, by all the solemnities of treaties, to defend, and in whose cause every motive operates that can warm the bosom of a man of virtue. Justice and compassion plead equally on her side, and we are called upon to assist her by our own interest, as well as the general duty of society, by which every man is required to prevent oppression.

What has been the effect of all these considerations may easily be discovered from the present state of the continent, which is ravaged without mercy by the armies of Spain and France. Why all succours have been denied the queen of Hungary, and why the inveterate and hereditary enemies of our nation, are suffered to enlarge their dominions without resistance; why the rivals of our trade are left at full liberty to equip their squadrons, and the persecutors of our religion suffered to overrun those countries from whence only we can hope for assistance, when the hatred which the difference of opinions produces, shall threaten us with invasions and slavery, the whole world has long asked to no purpose, and, therefore, it is without prospect of receiving satisfaction that I engage in the same inquiry.

Yet, since it is our duty to judge of the state of the publick, and a true judgment can be the result only of accurate examination, I shall proceed, without being discouraged by the ill success of former attempts, to discover the motives of our late measures, and the ends intended to be produced by them.

Why the queen of Hungary was not assisted with land-forces, I shall, at present, forbear to ask; that she expected them is, indeed, evident from her solicitations; and, I suppose, it is no less apparent from treaties, that she had a right to expect them; nor am I able to conceive, why subsidies have been paid for troops which are never to be employed, or why foreign princes should be enriched with the plunder of a nation which they cannot injure, and do not defend.

But I know, my lords, how easily it may be replied, that the expenses of a land war are certain, and the event hazardous, and that it is always prudent to act with evident advantage on our side, and that the superiority of Britain consists wholly in naval armaments.

That the fleets of Britain are equal in force and number of ships to the united navies of the greatest part of the world; that our admirals are men of known bravery, and long experience, and, therefore, formidable not only for their real abilities and natural courage, but for the confidence which their presence necessarily excites in their followers, and the terrour which must always accompany success, and enervate those who are accustomed to defeats; that our sailors are a race of men distinguished by their ardour for war, and their intrepidity in danger, from the rest of the human species; that they seem beings superiour to fear, and delighted with those objects which cannot be named without filling every other breast with horrour; that they are capable of rushing upon apparent destruction without reluctance, and of standing without concern amidst the complicated terrours of a naval war, is universally known, and confessed, my lords, even by those whose interest it is to doubt or deny it.

Upon the ocean, therefore, we are allowed to be irresistible; to be able to shut up the ports of the continent, imprison the nations of Europe within the limits of their own territories, deprive them of all foreign assistance, and put a stop to the commerce of the world. It is allowed that we are placed the sentinels at the barriers of nature, and the arbiters of the intercourse of mankind.

These are appellations, my lords, which, however splendid and ostentatious, our ancestors obtained and preserved with less advantages than we possess, by whom I am afraid they are about to be forfeited. The dominion of the ocean was asserted in former times in opposition to powers far more able to contest it, than those which we have so long submissively courted, and of which we are now evidently afraid.

For that we fear them, my lords, they are sufficiently convinced; and it must be confessed, with whatsoever shame, that their opinion is well founded; for to what motive but fear can it be imputed, that we have so long supported their insolence without resentment, and their ravages without reprisals; that we have fitted out fleets without any design of dismissing them from our harbours, or sent them to the sea only to be gazed at from the shores, by those whose menaces or artifice had given occasion to their equipment, and in whom they raised no other emotions than contempt of our cowardice, or pity of our folly?

To what, my lords, can it be attributed, that the queen of Hungary has yet received no assistance from allies thus powerful; from allies whose fleets cover the sea, whose commerce extends to the remotest part of the world, and whose wealth may be justly expected to be proportionate to their commerce. To what can we ascribe the confidence with which the house of Bourbon threatens the ruin of a princess, who numbers among her allies the emperour of Britain?

Nothing is more evident, my lords, than that the queen of Hungary has been disappointed of the advantages which she expected from her friendship with this nation, only by a degree of cowardice too despicable to be mentioned without such terms, as the importance of this debate, and the dignity of this assembly, do not admit; nor is it less certain, from the conduct of her enemies, that they knew what would be our measures, and confided for security in that cowardice which has never yet deceived them.

It cannot, my lords, be asserted, that our ally, however distressed, has yet received the least assistance from our arms; neither the justice of our cause has yet been able to awaken our virtue, nor the inseparable union of her interest with our own, to excite our vigilance.

But, perhaps, my lords, we have had no opportunity of exerting our force; perhaps the situation both of our enemies and ally was such, that neither the one could be protected, nor the other opposed, by a naval power; and, therefore, our inactivity was the effect not of want of courage, but want of opportunity.

Though our ministers, my lords, have hitherto given no eminent proofs of geographical knowledge, or of very accurate acquaintance with the state of foreign countries, yet there is reason to believe that they must at some time have heard or read, that the house of Austria had territories in Italy; they must have been informed, unless their disbursements for secret service are bestowed with very little judgment, that against these dominions an army has been raised by the Spaniards; and they must have discovered, partly by the information of their correspondents, partly by the inspection of a map, and partly by the sagacity which distinguishes them from all past and present ministers, that this army was to be transported by sea from the coast of Spain to that of Italy.

This knowledge, my lords, however attained, might have furnished minds, which have always been found so fruitful of expedients, with a method of hindering the descent of the Spanish troops, for which nothing more was necessary than that they should have ordered admiral Haddock, instead of retiring before the Spanish fleet of war, and watching them only that they might escape, to lie still before Barcelona, where the transports were stationed, with a convoy of only three men of war, and hinder their departure.

I hope it will be observed by your lordships, that though the road of Barcelona is open and indefensible, though the fleet was unprotected by ships of force, and though they lay, as I am informed, beyond the reach of the guns on the fortifications upon the shore, I do not require that Haddock should have destroyed the army and the ships.

I am too well acquainted, my lords, with the lenity of our ministers to the enemies of their country, and am too well convinced of the prudence and tenderness of the restrictions by which the power of our admirals is limited, to expect that our guns should be ever used but in salutations of respect, or exultations on the conclusion of a peace. I am convinced, that our ministers would shudder at the name of bloodshed and destruction, and that they had rather hear that a thousand merchants were made bankrupts by privateers, or all our allies deprived of their dominions, than that one Spanish ship was sunk or burnt by the navies of Britain.

But, my lords, though they are willing to spare the blood of their enemies, yet surely they might have obstructed their enterprises; they might have withheld those whom they were unwilling to strike, and have endeavoured to fright those whom they determined never to hurt.

To speak in terms more adapted to the subject before us: that the fleet of Spain, a fleet of transports with such a convoy, should lie three weeks in an open road, professedly fitted out against an ally united to us by every tie of nature, and of policy, by the solemnity of treaties, and conformity of interest; that it should lie undisturbed almost within sight of a British navy; that it should lie there not only without danger, but without apprehension of danger, has raised the astonishment of every nation in Europe, has blasted the reputation of our arms, impaired the influence of our counsels, and weakened the credit of our publick faith.

There may be some, my lords, that will impute this absurdity of our conduct, this disregard of our interest, this desertion of our alliances, and this neglect of the most apparent opportunities of success, not to cowardice, but treachery; a cause more detestable, as more atrociously criminal.

This opinion, my lords, I think it not necessary to oppose, both because it cannot be charged with improbability, and because I think it may be easily reconciled with my own assertions; for cowardice abroad produces treachery at home, and they become traitors to their country who are hindered by cowardice from the prosecution of her interest, and the opposition of her enemies.

It may however be proper to declare, my lords, that I do not impute this fatal cowardice to those who are intrusted with the command of our navies, but to those from whom they are obliged to receive their instructions, and upon whom they unhappily depend for the advancement of their fortunes.

It is at least reasonable to impute miscarriages rather to those, who are known to have given, formerly, such orders as a brave admiral perished under the ignominious necessity of observing, than to those of whom it cannot be said that any former part of their lives has been stained with the reproach of cowardice; at least it is necessary to suspend our judgment, till the truth shall be made apparent by a rigid inquiry; and it is, therefore, proper to offer an address in general terms, by which neither the actions or counsels of any man shall be condemned nor approved.

It would be more unreasonable to charge our soldiers or our sailors with cowardice, because they have shown, even in those actions which have failed of success, that they miscarried rather through temerity than fear; and that whenever they are suffered to attack their enemies, they are ready to march forward even where there is no possibility of returning, and that they are only to be withheld from conquest by obstacles which human prowess cannot surmount.

Such, my lords, was the state of those heroes who died under the walls of Carthagena; that died in an enterprise so ill concerted, that I ventured, with no great skill in war, and without the least pretence to prescience, to foretell in this house that it would miscarry.

That it would, that it must miscarry; that it was even intended only to amuse the nation with the appearance of an expedition, without any design of weakening our enemies, was easily discovered; for why else, my lords, was the army composed of men newly drawn from the shop, and from the plough, unacquainted with the use of arms, and ignorant of the very terms of military discipline, when we had among us large bodies of troops long kept up under the appearance of a regular establishment; troops of whom we have long felt the expense, but of which the time is not, it seems, yet come, that we are to know the use.

These men, my lords, who have so long practised the motions of battle, and who have given in the park so many proofs of their dexterity and activity, who have at least learned to distinguish the different sounds of the drum, and know the faces and voices of the subaltern officers, at least, might have been imagined better qualified for an attempt upon a foreign kingdom, than those who were necessarily strangers to every part of the military operations, and might have been sent upon our first declaration of war, while the new-raised forces acquired at home the same arts under the same inspection.

But, my lords, whether it was imagined that new forces would be long before they learned the implicit obedience necessary to a soldier; whether it was imagined that it would not be easy on a sudden to collect troops of men so tall and well proportioned, or so well skilled in the martial arts of curling and powdering their hair; or whether it would have been dangerous to have deprived the other house of the counsels and votes of many worthy members, who had at the same time a seat in the senate, and a commission in the army, it was thought necessary to send out raw forces to attack our enemies, and to keep our disciplined troops at home to awe the nation.

Nor did the minister, my lords, think it sufficient to obstruct the expedition to America by employing new-raised troops, unless they were likewise placed under the command of a man, who, though of undoubted courage, was, with respect to the conduct of an army, as ignorant as themselves. It was therefore determined, my lords, that all those officers who had gained experience in former wars, and purchased military knowledge by personal danger, should be disappointed and rejected for the sake of advancing a man, who, as he had less skill, was less likely to be successful, and was, therefore, more proper to direct an expedition proposed only to intimidate the British nation.

That the event was such as might be expected from the means, your lordships need not to be informed, nor can it be questioned with what intentions these means were contrived.

I am very far, my lords, from charging our ministers with ignorance, or upbraiding them with mistakes on this occasion, for their whole conduct has been uniform, and all their schemes consistent with each other: nor do I doubt their knowledge of the consequence of their measures, so far as it was to be foreseen by human prudence.

Whether they have carried on negotiations, or made war; whether they have conducted our own affairs, or those of our ally the queen of Hungary, they have still discovered the same intention, and promoted it by the same means. They have suffered the Spanish fleets to sail first for supplies from one port to another, and then from the coasts of Spain to those of America. They have permitted the Spaniards, without opposition, to land in Italy, when it was not necessary even to withhold them from it by any actual violence; for had the fleet, my lords, been under my command, I would have only sent the Spanish admiral a prohibition to sail, and am sure it would have been observed.

They have neglected to purchase the friendship of the king of Prussia, which might, perhaps, have been obtained upon easy terms, but which they ought to have gained at whatever rate; and, to conclude, we have been lately informed that the neutrality is signed.

Such, my lords, is the conduct of the ministry, by which it cannot be denied that we are involved in many difficulties, and exposed to great contempt; but from this contempt we may recover, and disentangle ourselves from these difficulties, by a vigorous prosecution of measures opposite to those by which we have been reduced to our present state.

If we consider, without that confusion which fear naturally produces, the circumstances of our affairs, it will appear that we have opportunities in our hands of recovering our losses, and reestablishing our reputation; those losses which have been suffered while we had two hundred ships of war at sea, which have permitted three hundred merchant-ships to be taken; and that reputation which has been destroyed when there was no temptation either to a compliance with our enemies, or to a desertion of our friends.

It is well known, my lords, that we make war at present rather with the queen than the people of Spain; and it is reasonable to conclude, that a war carried on contrary to the general good, and against the general opinion, cannot be lasting.

It is certain that the Spaniards, whenever they have been attacked by men acquainted with the science of war, and furnished with necessary stores for hostile attempts, have discovered either ignorance or cowardice, and have either fled meanly, or resisted unskilfully.

It is, therefore, probable, my lords, that either our enemies will desist from the prosecution of a war, which few of them approve; or that we shall, by vigorous descents upon their coasts, and their colonies, the interruption of their trade, and the diminution of their forces, soon compel them to receive peace upon our own terms.

But these advantages, my lords, are only to be expected from a change of conduct, which change can never be produced by a seeming approbation of the past measures. I am therefore of opinion, that we ought to address the throne in general terms, according to the ancient practice of this house.

In considering the address proposed, I cannot but conclude that it is too much diffused, and that it would be more forcible if it was more concise: to shorten it will be no difficult task, by the omission of all the clauses that correspond with particular parts of his majesty's speech, which I cannot discover the necessity of repeating.

In the congratulation to his majesty upon his return to his once glorious dominions, no lord shall concur more readily or more zealously than myself; nor shall I even deny to extend my compliments to the ministry, when it shall appear that they deserve them; but I am never willing to be lavish of praise, because it becomes less valuable by being prodigally bestowed; and on occasions so important as this, I can never consent to praise before I have examined, because inquiry comes too late after approbation.

Lord CHOLMONDELEY rose next, and spoke to this effect:--My lords, if the dangers that threaten our happiness and our safety be such as they have been represented; if ambition has extended her power almost beyond a possibility of resistance, and oppression, elated with success, begins to design no less than the universal slavery of mankind; if the powers of Europe stand aghast at the calamities which hang over them, and listen with helpless confusion to that storm which they can neither avoid nor resist, how ought our conduct to be influenced by this uncommon state of affairs? Ought we not to catch the alarm while it is possible to make preparation against the danger? Ought we not to improve, with the utmost diligence, the important interval? to unite our counsels for the protection of liberty, and exert all our influence against the common enemies of society, the unwearied disturbers of the tranquillity of mankind?

To what purpose, my lords, are the miseries that the present distractions of Europe may bring upon us, so pathetically described, and so accurately enumerated, if they are to produce no effect upon our counsels? And what effect can be wished from them, but unanimity, with that vigour and despatch which are its natural consequences, and that success with which steadiness and expedition are generally rewarded?

It might be hoped, my lords, that those who have so clear a view of our present embarrassments, and whose sagacity and acuteness expose them to a sensibility of future miseries, perhaps more painful than would be excited by any present and real calamities, should not be thus tortured to no purpose. Every passion, my lords, has its proper object by which it may be laudably gratified, and every disposition of mind may be directed to useful ends. The true use of that foresight of future events, with which some great capacities are so eminently endowed, is that of producing caution and suggesting expedients. What advantage, my lords, would it be to navigators, that their pilot could, by any preternatural power, discover sands or rocks, if he was too negligent or too stubborn to turn the vessel out of the danger?

Or how, my lords, to pursue the comparison, would that pilot be treated by the crew, who, after having informed them of their approach to a shoal or whirlpool, and set before them, with all his rhetorick, the horrours of a shipwreck, should, instead of directing them to avoid destruction, and assisting their endeavours for their common safety, amuse them with the miscarriages of past voyages, and the blunders and stupidity of their former pilot?

Whether any parallel can be formed between such ill-timed satire, and wild misconduct, and the manner in which your lordships have been treated on this occasion, it is not my province to determine. Nor have I any other design than to show that the only proper conduct in time of real danger, is preparation against it; and that wit and eloquence themselves, if employed to any other purpose, lose their excellence, because they lose their propriety.

It does not appear, my lords, that the address now proposed includes any approbation of past measures, and therefore it is needless to inquire, on this occasion, whether the conduct of our ministers or admirals deserves praise or censure.

It does not appear, my lords, that by censuring any part of our late conduct, however detrimental to the publick it may at present be imagined, any of our losses will be repaired, or any part of our reputation retrieved; and, therefore, such proceedings would only retard our counsels, and divert our thoughts from more important considerations; considerations which his majesty has recommended to us, and which cannot be more strongly pressed upon us than by the noble lord who opposed the motion; for he most powerfully incites to unanimity and attention, who most strongly represents the danger of our situation.

Of the good effects of publick consultations, I need not observe, my lords, that they arise from the joint endeavour of many understandings cooperating to the same end; from the reasonings and observations of many individuals of different studies, inclinations, and experience, all directed to the illustration of the same question, which is, therefore, so accurately discussed, so variously illustrated, and so amply displayed, that a more comprehensive view is obtained of its relations and consequences, than can be hoped from the wisdom or knowledge of any single man.

But this advantage, my lords, can only be expected from union and concurrence; for when the different members of a national council enter with different designs, and exert their abilities not so much to promote any general purposes, as to obviate the measures, and confute the arguments of each other, the publick is deprived of all the benefit that might be expected from the collective wisdom of assemblies, whatever may be the capacity of those who compose them. The senate thus divided and disturbed, will, perhaps, conclude with less prudence than any single member, as any man may more easily discover truth without assistance, than when others of equal abilities are employed in perplexing his inquiries, and interrupting the operations of his mind.

Thus, my lords, it might be safer for a nation, even in time of terrour and disorder, to be deprived of the counsels of this house, than to confide in the determinations of an assembly not uniform in its views, nor connected in its interests; an assembly from which little can be hoped by those who observe that it cannot, without a tedious debate, prolonged with all the heat of opposition, despatch the first and most cursory part of publick business,--an address to his majesty.

It has been for a long time a practice too frequent, to confound past with present questions, to perplex every debate by an endless multiplication of objects, and to obstruct our determinations by substituting one inquiry in the place of another.

The only question, my lords, now before us is, whether the address which the noble lord proposed, implies any commendation of past measures, not whether those measures deserve to be commended; which is an inquiry not at present to be pursued, because we have not now before us the means of attaining satisfaction in it, and which ought, therefore, to be delayed till it shall be your lordships' pleasure to appoint a day for examining the state of the nation, and to demand those letters, instructions, and memorials, which are necessary to an accurate and senatorial disquisition.

In the mean time, since it is at least as expedient for me to vindicate, as for others to accuse those of whose conduct neither they nor I have yet any regular cognizance, and I may justly expect from the candour of your lordships, that you will be no less willing to hear an apologist than a censurer, I will venture to suspend the true question a few moments, to justify that conduct which has been so wantonly and so contemptuously derided.

That the preservation of the house of Austria, my lords, ought to engage the closest attention of the British nation, is freely confessed. It is evident that by no other means our commerce, our liberty, or our religion can be secured, or the house of Bourbon restrained from overwhelming the universe. It is allowed that the queen of Hungary has a claim to our assistance by other ties than those of interest; that it was promised upon the faith of treaties, and it is demanded by the loudest calls of honour, justice and compassion. And did it not appear too juvenile and romantick, I might add, that her personal excellencies are such as might call armies to her assistance from the remotest corners of the earth; that her constancy in the assertion of her rights might animate every generous mind with equal firmness; and her intrepidity in the midst of danger and distress, when every day brings accounts of new encroachments, and every new encroachment discourages those from whom she may claim assistance from declaring in her favour, might inspire with ardour for her preservation all those in whom virtue can excite reverence, or whom calamities unjustly inflicted can touch with indignation.

Nor am I afraid to affirm, my lords, that the condition of this illustrious princess raised all these emotions in the court of Britain, and that the vigour of our proceedings will appear proportioned to our ardour for her success. No sooner was the true state of affairs incontestably known, than twelve thousand auxiliary troops were hired, and commanded to march to her assistance, but her affairs making it more eligible for her to employ her own subjects in her defence, and the want of money being the only obstacle that hindered her from raising armies proportioned to those of her enemies, she required, that instead of troops, a supply of money might be sent her, with which his majesty willingly complied.

The British ministers in the mean time endeavoured, by the strongest arguments and most importunate solicitations, to animate her allies to equal vigour, or to procure her assistance from other powers whose interest was more remotely affected by her distress: if the effects of their endeavours are not yet manifest, it cannot be imputed to the want either of sincerity or diligence; and if any other powers should be persuaded to arm in the common cause, it ought to be ascribed to the influence of the British counsels.

In the prosecution of the war with Spain, it does not appear, my lords, that any measures have been neglected, which prudence, or bravery, or experience, could be expected to dictate. If we have suffered greater losses than we expected, if our enemies have been sometimes favoured by the winds, or sometimes have been so happy as to conceal their designs, and elude the diligence of our commanders, who is to be censured? or what is to be concluded, but that which never was denied, that the chance of war is uncertain, that men are inclined to make fallacious calculations of the probabilities of future events, and that our enemies may sometimes be as artful, as diligent, and as sagacious as ourselves?

It was the general opinion of the British people, my lords, if the general opinion may be collected from the clamours and expectations which every man has had opportunities of observing, that in declaring war upon Spain, we only engaged to chastise the insolence of a nation of helpless savages, who might, indeed, rob and murder a defenceless trader, but who could only hold up their hands and cry out for mercy, or sculk in secret creeks and unfrequented coasts, when ships of war should be fitted out against them. They imagined that the fortifications of the Spanish citadels would be abandoned at the first sound of cannon, and that their armies would turn their backs at the sight of the standard of Britain.

It was not remembered, my lords, that the greatest part of our trade was carried on in sight of the Spanish coasts, and that our merchants must be consequently exposed to incessant molestation from light vessels, which our ships of war could not pursue over rocks and shallows. It was not sufficiently considered, that a trading nation must always make war with a nation that has fewer merchants, under the disadvantage of being more exposed to the rapacity of private adventurers. How much we had to fear on this account was shown us by the late war with France, in which the privateers of a few petty ports, injured the commerce of this nation, more than their mighty navies and celebrated admirals.

My lords, it would very little become this august assembly, this assembly so renowned for wisdom, and for justice, to confound want of prudence with want of success; since on many occasions the wisest measures may be defeated by accidents which could not be foreseen; since they may sometimes be discovered by deserters, or spies, and sometimes eluded by an enemy equally skilful with ourselves in the science of war.

That any of these apologies are necessary to the administration, I am far from intending to insinuate, for I know not that we have failed of success in any of our designs, except the attack of Carthagena, of which the miscarriage cannot, at least, be imputed to the ministry; nor is it evident that any other causes of it are to be assigned than the difficulty of the enterprise; and when, my lords, did any nation make war, without experiencing some disappointments?

These considerations, my lords, I have thought myself obliged, by my regard to truth and justice, to lay before you, to dissipate those suspicions and that anxiety which might have arisen from a different representation of our late measures; for I cannot but once more observe, that a vindication of the conduct of the ministry is by no means a necessary preparative to the address proposed.

The address which was so modestly offered to your lordships, cannot be said to contain any more than a general answer to his majesty's speech, and such declarations of our duty and affection, as are always due to our sovereign, and always expected by him on such occasions.

If our allies have been neglected or betrayed, my lords, we shall be still at liberty to discover and to punish negligence so detrimental, and treachery so reproachful to the British nation. If in the war against Spain we have failed of success, we shall still reserve in our own hands the right of inquiring whether we were unsuccessful by the superiority of our enemies, or by our own fault; whether our commanders wanted orders, or neglected to obey them; for what clause can be produced in the address by which any of these inquiries can be supposed to be predetermined?

Let us, therefore, remember, my lords, the danger of our present state, and the necessity of steadiness, vigour, and wisdom, for our own preservation and that of Europe; let us consider that publick wisdom is the result of united counsels, and steadiness and vigour, of united influence; let us remember that our example may be of equal use with our assistance, and that both the allies and the subjects of Great Britain will be conjoined by our union, and distracted by our divisions; and let us, therefore, endeavour to promote the general interest of the world, by an unanimous address to his majesty, in the terms proposed by the noble lord.

Lord TALBOT spoke in the following manner:--My lords, after the display of the present state of Europe, and the account of the measures of the British ministers, which the noble lord who spoke against the motion has laid before you, there is little necessity for another attempt to convince you that our liberty and the liberty of Europe are in danger, or of disturbing your reflections by another enumeration of follies and misfortunes.

To mention the folly of our measures is superfluous likewise, for another reason. They who do not already acknowledge it, may be justly suspected of suppressing their conviction; for how can it be possible, that they who cannot produce a single instance of wisdom or fortitude, who cannot point out one enterprise wisely concerted and successfully executed, can yet sincerely declare, that nothing has been omitted which our interest required?

The measures, my lords, which are now pursued, are the same which for twenty months have kept the whole nation in continual disturbance, and have raised the indignation of every man, whose private interest was not promoted by them. These measures cannot be said to be rashly censured, or condemned before they are seen in their full extent, or expanded into all their consequences; for they have been prosecuted, my lords, with all the confidence of authority and all the perseverance of obstinacy, without any other opposition than fruitless clamours, or petitions unregarded. And what consequences have they produced? What but poverty and distractions at home, and the contempt and insults of foreign powers? What but the necessity of retrieving by war the losses sustained by timorous and dilatory negotiations; and the miscarriages of a war, in which only folly and cowardice have involved us?

Nothing, my lords, is more astonishing, than that it should be asserted in this assembly that we have no ill success to complain of. Might we not hope for success, if we have calculated the events of war, and made a suitable preparation? And how is this to be done, but by comparing our forces with that of our enemy, who must, undoubtedly, be more or less formidable according to the proportion which his treasures and his troops bear to our own?

Upon the assurance of the certainty of this practice, upon the evidence, my lords, of arithmetical demonstration, we were inclined to believe, that the power of Britain was not to be resisted by Spain, and therefore demanded that our merchants should be no longer plundered, insulted, imprisoned, and tortured by so despicable an enemy.

That we did not foresee all the consequences of this demand, we are now ready to confess; we did not conjecture that new troops would be raised for the invasion of the Spanish dominions, only that we might be reduced to the level with our enemies. We did not imagine that the superiority of our naval force would produce no other consequence than an inequality of expense, and that the royal navies of Britain would be equipped only for show, only to harass the sailors with the hateful molestation of an impress, and to weaken the crews of our mercantile vessels, that they might be more easily taken by the privateers of Spain.

We did not expect, my lords, that our navies would sail out under the command of admirals renowned for bravery, knowledge, and vigilance, and float upon the ocean without design, or enter ports and leave them, equally inoffensive as a packet-boat, or petty trader.

But not to speak any longer, my lords, in terms so little suited to the importance of the question which I am endeavouring to clear, or to the enormity of the conduct which I attempt to expose; the success of war is only to be estimated by the advantages which are gained, in proportion to the loss which is suffered; of which loss the expenses occasioned by the war are always the chief part, and of which it is, therefore, usual, at the conclusion of a peace, for the conquered power to promise the payment.

Let us examine, my lords, in consequence of this position, the success of our present war against Spain; let us consider what each nation has suffered, and it will easily appear how justly we boast of our wisdom and vigour.

It is not on this occasion necessary to form minute calculations, or to compute the expense of every company of soldiers and squadron of ships; it is only necessary to assert, what will, I hope, not be very readily denied, even by those whom daily practice of absurd apologies has rendered impregnable by the force of truth, that such expenses as have neither contributed to our own defence, nor to the disadvantage of the Spaniards, have been thrown away.

If this be granted, my lords, it will appear, that no nation ever beheld its treasures so profusely squandered, ever paid taxes so willingly, and so patiently saw them perverted; for it cannot, my lords, be proved, that any part of our preparations has produced a proportionate effect; but it may be readily shown how many fleets have been equipped only that the merchants might want sailors, and that the public stores might be consumed.

As to our ill success in America, which has been imputed only to the chance of war, it will be reasonable, my lords, to ascribe to other causes, so much of it as might have been prevented by a more speedy reinforcement of Vernon, or may be supposed to have arisen from the inexperience of our troops, and the escape of the Spaniards from Ferrol.

If our fleets had been sent more early into that part of the world, the Spaniards would have had no time to strengthen their garrisons; had our troops been acquainted with discipline, the attack would have been made with greater judgment; and had not the Spaniards escaped from Ferrol, we should have had no enemy in America to encounter. Had all our ministers and all our admirals done their duty, it is evident that not only Carthagena had been taken, but that half the dominions of Spain might now have owned the sovereignty of the crown of Britain.

This, my lords, may be observed of the only enterprise, which it is reasonable to believe was in reality intended against the Spaniards, if even of this our ministers had not before contrived the defeat. But of all the rest of our armaments it does not appear that any effect has been felt but by ourselves, it cannot be discovered that they even raised any alarms or anxiety either in our enemies or their allies, by whom perhaps it was known that they were only designed as punishments for the merchants of Britain.

That our merchants have already been severely chastised for their insolence in complaining of their losses, and their temerity in raising in the nation a regard for its commerce, its honour, and its rights, is evident from a dreadful list of three hundred ships taken by the Spaniards, some of which were abandoned by their convoys, and others seized within sight of the coasts of Britain.

It may be urged, my lords, that the Spaniards have likewise lost a great number of vessels; but what else could they expect when they engaged in a war against the greatest naval power of the universe? And it is to be remembered, that the Spaniards have this consolation in their misfortunes, that of their ships none have been deserted by their convoys, or wilfully exposed to capture by being robbed of their crews, to supply ships of war with idle hands.

The Spaniards will likewise consider, that they have not harassed their subjects for the protection of their trade; that they have not fitted out fleets only to amuse the populace. They comfort themselves with the hope, that the Britons will soon be reduced to a state of weakness below themselves, and wait patiently for the time in which the masters of the sea shall receive from them the regulation of their commerce and the limits of their navigation.

Nor can it be doubted, my lords, but that by adhering to these measures, our ministers will in a short time gratify their hopes; for whatsoever be the difference between the power of two contending nations, if the richer spends its treasures without effect, and exposes its troops to unhealthy climates and impracticable expeditions, while the weaker is parsimonious and prudent, they must soon be brought to an equality; and by continuing the same conduct, the weaker power must at length prevail.

That this has been hitherto the state of the war between Britain and Spain, it is not necessary to prove to your lordships; it is apparent, that the expenses of the Spaniards have been far less than those of Britain; and, therefore, if we should suppose the actual losses of war equal, we are only wearing out our force in useless efforts, and our enemies grow every day comparatively stronger.

But, my lords, let us not flatter ourselves that our actual losses have been equal; let us, before we determine this question, accurately compare the number and the value of our ships and cargoes with those of the Spaniards, and see on which side the loss will fall.

And let us not forget, what in all the calculations which I have yet seen on either part has been totally overlooked, the number of men killed, or captives in the British and Spanish dominions. Men, my lords, are at once strength and riches; and, therefore, it is to be considered, that the most irreparable loss which any nation can sustain is the diminution of its people: money may be repaid, and commerce may be recovered; even liberty may be regained, but the loss of people can never be retrieved. Even the twentieth generation may have reason to exclaim, How much more numerous and more powerful would this nation have been, had our ancestors not been betrayed in the expedition to Carthagena!

What loss, my lords, have the Spaniards sustained which can be put in balance with that of our army in America, an army given up to the vultures of an unhealthy climate, and of which those who perished by the sword, were in reality rescued from more lingering torments?

What equivalent can be mentioned for the liberty of multitudes of Britons, now languishing in the prisons of Spain, or obliged by hardships and desperation to assist the enemies of their country? What have the Spaniards suffered that can be opposed to the detriment which the commerce of this nation feels from the detention of our sailors?

These, my lords, are losses not to be paralleled by the destruction of Porto Bello, even though that expedition should be ascribed to the ministry. These are losses which may extend their consequences to many ages, which may long impede our commerce, and diminish our shipping.

It is not to be imagined, my lords, that in this time of peculiar danger, parents will destine their children to maritime employments, or that any man will engage in naval business who can exercise any other profession; and therefore the death or captivity of a sailor leaves a vacuity in our commerce, since no other will be ready to supply his place. Thus, by degrees, the continuance of the war will contract our trade, and those parts of it which we cannot occupy, will be snatched by the French or Dutch, from whom it is not probable that they will ever be recovered.

This, my lords, is another circumstance of disadvantage to which the Spaniards are not exposed; for their traffick being only from one part of their dominions to another, cannot be destroyed, but will, after the short interruption of a war, be again equally certain and equally profitable.

It appears, therefore, my lords, that we have hitherto suffered more than the Spaniards, more than the nation which we have so much reason to despise; it appears that our fleets have been useless, and that our troops have been only sent out to be destroyed; and it will, therefore, surely be allowed me to assert, that the war has not been hitherto successful.

I am, therefore, of opinion, my lords, that as the address now proposed, cannot but be understood both by his majesty and the nation, to imply, in some degree, a commendation of that conduct which cannot be commended, which ought never to be mentioned but with detestation and contempt, it will be unworthy of this house, offensive to the whole nation, and unjust to his majesty.

His majesty, my lords, has summoned us to advise him in this important juncture, and the nation expects from our determinations its relief or its destruction: nor will either have much to hope from our counsels, if, in our first publick act, we endeavour to deceive them.

It seems, therefore, proper to change the common form of our addresses to the throne, to do once, at least, what his majesty demands and the people expect, and to remember that no characters are more inconsistent, than those of a counsellor of the king, and a flatterer of the ministry.

Then lord ABINGDON spoke to this effect:--My lords, I have always observed that debates are prolonged, and inquiries perplexed, by the neglect of method; and therefore think it necessary to move, That the question may be read, that the noble lords who shall be inclined to explain their sentiments upon it, may have always the chief point in view, and not deviate into foreign considerations.

[It was read accordingly.]

Lord CARTERET spoke next, to the purpose following:--My lords, I am convinced of the propriety of the last motion by the advantage which it has afforded me of viewing more deliberately and distinctly the question before us; the consideration of which has confirmed me in my own opinion, that the address now proposed is only a flattering repetition of the speech, and that the speech was drawn up only to betray us into an encomium on the ministry; who, as they certainly have not deserved any commendations, will, I hope, not receive them from your lordships. For what has been the result of all their measures, but a general confusion, the depression of our own nation and our allies, and the exaltation of the house of Bourbon?

It is universally allowed, my lords, and therefore it would be superfluous to prove, that the liberties of Europe are now in the utmost danger; that the house of Bourbon has arrived almost at that exalted pinnacle of authority, from whence it will look down with contempt upon all other powers, to which it will henceforward prescribe laws at pleasure, whose dominions will be limited by its direction, and whose armies will march at its command.

That Britain will be long exempted from the general servitude, that we shall be able to stand alone against the whole power of Europe, which the French may then bring down upon us, and preserve ourselves independent, while every other nation acknowledges the authority of an arbitrary conqueror, is by no means likely, and might be, perhaps, demonstrated to be not possible.

How long we might be able to retain our liberty, it is beyond the reach of policy to determine, but as it is evident, that when the empire is subdued, the Dutch will quickly fall under the same dominion, and that all their ports and all their commerce will then be in the hands of the French, it cannot be denied that our commerce will quickly be at an end. We shall then lose the dominion of the sea, and all our distant colonies and settlements, and be shut up in our own island, where the continuance of our liberties can be determined only by the resolution with which we shall defend them.

That this, my lords, must probably, in a few years, be our state, if the schemes of the house of Bourbon should succeed, is certain beyond all controversy; and therefore it is evident, that no man to whom such a condition does not appear eligible, can look unconcerned at the confusion of the continent, or consider the destruction of the house of Austria, without endeavouring to prevent it.

But, my lords, though such endeavours are the duty of all who are engaged in the transaction of publick affairs, though the importance of the cause of the queen of Hungary be acknowledged in the speech to which we are to return an address, it does not appear that the ministers of Britain have once attempted to assist her, or have even forborne any thing which might aggravate her distress.

The only effectual methods by which any efficacious relief could have been procured, were that of reconciling her with the king of Prussia, or that of prevailing upon the Muscovites to succour her.

A reconciliation with the king of Prussia would have been my first care, if the honour of advising on this occasion had fallen to my lot. To have mediated successfully between them could surely have been no difficult task, because each party could not but know how much it was their common interest to exclude the French from the empire, and how certainly this untimely discord must expose them both to their ancient enemy.

As in private life, my lords, when two friends carry any dispute between them to improper degrees of anger or resentment, it is the province of a third to moderate the passion of each, and to restore that benevolence which a difference of interest or opinion had impaired; so in alliances, or the friendships of nations, whenever it unhappily falls out that two of them forget the general good, and lay themselves open to those evils from which a strict union only can preserve them, it is necessary that some other power should interpose, and prevent the dangers of a perpetual discord.

Whether this was attempted, my lords, I know not; but if any such design was in appearance prosecuted, it may be reasonably imagined from the event, that the negotiators were defective either in skill or in diligence; for how can it be conceived that any man should act contrary to his own interest, to whom the state of his affairs is truly represented?

But not to suppress what I cannot doubt, I am convinced, my lords, that there is in reality no design of assisting the queen of Hungary; either our ministers have not yet recovered from their apprehensions of the exorbitant power of the house of Austria, by which they were frighted some years ago into the bosom of France for shelter, and which left them no expedient but the treaty of Hanover; or they are now equally afraid of France, and expect the _pretender_ to be forced upon them by the power whom they so lately solicited to secure them from him.

Whatever is the motive of their conduct, it is evident, my lords, that they are at present to the unfortunate queen of Hungary, either professed enemies, or treacherous allies; for they have permitted the invasion of her Italian dominions, when they might have prevented it without a blow, only by commanding the Spaniards not to transport their troops.

To argue that our fleet in the Mediterranean was not of strength sufficient to oppose their passage, is a subterfuge to which they can only be driven by the necessity of making some apology, and an absolute inability to produce any which will not immediately be discovered to be groundless.

It is known, my lords, to all Europe, that Haddock had then under his command thirteen ships of the line, and nine frigates, and that the Spanish convoy consisted only of three ships; and yet they sailed before his eyes with a degree of security which nothing could have produced but a passport from the court of Britain, and an assured exemption from the danger of an attack.

It may be urged, that they were protected by the French squadron, and that Haddock durst not attack them, because he was unable to contend with the united fleets; but my lords, even this is known to be false: it is known that they bore no proportion to the strength of the British squadron, that they could not have made even the appearance of a battle, and that our commanders could have been only employed in pursuit and captures.

This, my lords, was well known to our ministers, who were afraid only of destroying the French squadron, and were very far from apprehending any danger from it; but being determined to purchase, on any terms, the continuance of the friendship of their old protectors, consented to the invasion of Italy, and procured a squadron to sail out, under pretence of defending the Spanish transports, that their compliance might not be discovered.

All this, my lords, may reasonably be suspected at the first view of their proceedings; for how could an inferiour force venture into the way of an enemy, unless upon security that they should not be attacked? But the late treaty of neutrality has changed suspicion into certainty, has discovered the source of all their measures, and shown that the invasion of Italy is permitted to preserve Hanover from the like calamity.

There is great danger, my lords, lest this last treaty of Hanover should give the decisive blow to the liberties of Europe. How much it embarrasses the queen of Hungary, by making it necessary for her to divide her forces, is obvious at the first view; but this is not, in my opinion, its most fatal consequence. The other powers will be incited, by the example of our ministry, to conclude treaties of neutrality in the same manner. They will distrust every appearance of our zeal for the house of Austria, and imagine that we intend only an hypocritical assistance, and that our generals, our ambassadors, and our admirals, have, in reality, the same orders.

Nothing, my lords, is more dangerous than to weaken the publick faith. When a nation can be no longer trusted, it loses all its influence, because none can fear its menaces, or depend on its alliance. A nation no longer trusted, must stand alone and unsupported; and it is certain that the nation which is justly suspected of holding with its open enemies a secret intercourse to the prejudice of its allies, can be no longer trusted.

This suspicion, my lords, this hateful, this reproachful character, is now fixed upon the court of Britain; nor does it take its rise only from the forbearance of our admiral, but has received new confirmation from the behaviour of our ambassador, who denied the treaty of neutrality, when the French minister declared it to the Dutch. Such now, my lords, is the reputation of the British court, a reputation produced by the most flagrant and notorious instances of cowardice and falsehood, which cannot but make all our endeavours ineffectual, and discourage all those powers whose conjunction we might have promoted, from entering into any other engagements than such as we may purchase for stated subsidies. For who, upon any other motive than immediate interest, would form an alliance with a power which, upon the first appearance of danger, gives up a confederate, to purchase, not a large extent of territory, not a new field of commerce, not a port or a citadel, but an abject neutrality!

But however mean may be a supplication for peace, or however infamous the desertion of an ally, I wish, my lords, that the liberty of invading the queen of Hungary's dominions without opposition, had been the most culpable concession of our illustrious ministers, of whom it is reasonable to believe, that they have stipulated with the Spaniards, that they shall be repaid the expense of the war by the plunder of our merchants.

That our commerce has been unnecessarily exposed to the ravages of privateers, from which a very small degree of caution might have preserved it; that three hundred trading ships have been taken, and that three thousand British sailors are now in captivity, is a consideration too melancholy to be long dwelt upon, and a truth too certain to be suppressed or denied.

How such havock could have been made, had not our ships of war concluded a treaty of neutrality with the Spaniards, and left the war to be carried on only by the merchants, it is not easy to conceive; for surely it will not be pretended, that all these losses were the necessary consequence of our situation with regard to Spain, which, if it exposed the Portugal traders to hazard, did not hinder us from guarding our own coasts.

And yet on our own coasts, my lords, have multitudes of our ships been taken by the Spaniards; they have been seized by petty vessels as they were entering our ports, and congratulating themselves upon their escape from danger.

In the late war with France, an enemy much more formidable both for power and situation, methods were discovered by which our trade was more efficaciously protected: by stationing a squadron at the mouth of the Channel, of which two or three ships at a time cruized at a proper distance on the neighbouring seas, the privateers were kept in awe, and confined to their own harbours, or seized if they ventured to leave them.

But of such useful regulations in the present war there is little hope; for if the publick papers are of any credit, the king of Spain considers the captures of our merchants as a standing revenue, and has laid an indulto upon them as upon other parts of the Spanish trade.

It is, therefore, to little purpose that measures are proposed in this house, or schemes presented by the merchants for the preservation of our commerce; for the merchants are considered as the determined enemies of our minister, who therefore resolved that they should repent of the war into which he was forced by them, contrary to those favourite schemes and established maxims, which he has pursued till the liberties of mankind are almost extinguished.

There are, indeed, some hopes, my lords, that new measures, resolutely pursued, might yet repair the mischiefs of this absurd and cowardly conduct, and that by resolution and dexterity, the ambition of France might once more be disappointed. The king of Prussia appears, at length, convinced that he has not altogether pursued his real interest, and that his own family must fall in the ruin of the house of Austria. The king of Sardinia appears firm in his determination to adhere to the queen of Hungary, and has therefore refused a passage through his dominions to the Spanish troops. The States of Holland seem to have taken the alarm, and nothing but their distrust of our sincerity can hinder them from uniting against the house of Bourbon.

This distrust, my lords, we may probably remove, by reviving, on this occasion, our ancient forms of address, and declaring at once to his majesty, and to all the powers of Europe, that we are far from approving the late measures.

There is another reason why the short addresses of our ancestors may be preferred to the modern forms, in which a great number of particular facts are often comprehended. It is evident, that the addresses are presented, before there can be time to examine whether the facts contained in them are justly stated; and they must, therefore, lose their efficacy with the people, who are sufficiently sagacious to distinguish servile compliance from real approbation, and who will not easily mistake the incense of flattery for the tribute of gratitude.

With regard to the propriety of the address proposed to your lordships, which is, like others, only a repetition of the speech, there is, at least, one objection to it too important to be suppressed.

It is affirmed in the speech, in what particular words I cannot exactly remember, that since the death of the late German emperour, the interest of the queen of Hungary has been diligently and invariably promoted; an assertion which his majesty is too wise, too equitable, and too generous to have uttered, but at the persuasion of his ministers.

His majesty well knows, that no important assistance has been hitherto given to that unhappy princess; he knows that the twelve thousand men, who are said to have been raised for the defence of the empire, those mighty troops, by whose assistance the enemies of Austria were to be scattered, never marched beyond the territory of Hanover, nor left that blissful country for a single day. And is it probable that the queen would have preferred money for troops, had she not been informed that it would be more easily obtained?

Nor was even this pecuniary assistance, though compatible with the security of Hanover, granted her without reluctance and difficulty; of which no other proof is necessary, than the distance between the promise and the performance of it. The money, my lords, is not yet all paid, though the last payment was very lately fixed. Such is the assistance which the united influence of justice and compassion has yet procured from the court of Britain.

Our ministers have been, therefore, hitherto, my lords, so far from acting with vigour in favour of the house of Austria, that they have never solicited the court of Muscovy, almost the only court now independent on France, to engage in her defence. How wisely that mighty power distinguishes her real interest, and how ardently she pursues it, the whole world was convinced in her alliance with the late emperour; nor is it unlikely, that she might have been easily persuaded to have protected his daughter with equal zeal. But we never asked her alliance lest we should obtain it, and yet we boast of our good offices.

Our governours thought it more nearly concerned them to humble our merchants than to succour our allies, and therefore admitted the Spaniards into Italy; by which prudent conduct they dexterously at once gratified the house of Bourbon, embarrassed the queen of Hungary, and endangered the effects of the British merchants, lying at Leghorn; effects which were lately valued at six hundred thousand pounds, but which, by the seasonable arrival of the Spaniards, are happily reduced to half their price.

I hope, therefore, I need not urge to your lordships the necessity of confining our address to thanks and congratulations, because it is not necessary to say how inconsistent it must be thought with the dignity of this house to echo falsehood, and to countenance perfidy.

Then the duke of NEWCASTLE spoke to the following effect:--My lords, the manner in which the noble lord who spoke last expresses his sentiments, never fails to give pleasure, even where his arguments produce no conviction; and his eloquence always receives its praise, though it may sometimes be disappointed of its more important effects.

In the present debate, my lords, I have heard no argument, by which I am inclined to change the usual forms of address, or to reject the motion which has been made to us.

The address which has been proposed, is not, in my opinion, justly chargeable either with flattery to the ministers, or with disingenuity with respect to the people; nor can I discover in it any of those positions which have been represented so fallacious and dangerous. It contains only a general declaration of our gratitude, and an assertion of our zeal; a declaration and assertion to which I hope no lord in this assembly will be unwilling to subscribe.

As an inquiry into the propriety of this address has produced, whether necessarily or not, many observations on the present state of Europe, and many animadversions upon the late conduct, it cannot be improper for me to offer to your lordships my opinion of the measures which have been pursued by us, as well in the war with Spain, as with regard to the queen of Hungary, and to propose my conjectures concerning the events which may probably be produced by the distractions on the continent.

This deviation from the question before us, will at least be as easily pardoned in me as in the noble lords who have exhibited so gloomy a representation of our approaching condition, who have lamented the slavery with which they imagine all the states of Europe about to be harassed, and described the insolence and ravages of those oppressors to whom their apprehensions have already given the empire of the world. For surely, my lords, it is an endeavour no less laudable to dispel terrour, than to excite it; and he who brings us such accounts as we desire to receive, is generally listened to with indulgence, however unelegant may be his expressions, or however irregular his narration.

That the power of the family of Bourbon is arrived at a very dangerous and formidable extent; that it never was hitherto employed but to disturb the happiness of the universe; that the same schemes which our ancestors laboured so ardently and so successfully to destroy, are now formed afresh, and intended to be put in immediate execution; that the empire is designed to be held henceforward in dependence on France; and that the house of Austria, by which the common rights of mankind have been so long supported, is now marked out for destruction, is too evident to be contested.

It is allowed, my lords, that the power of the house of Austria, which there was once reason to dread, lest it might have been employed against us, is now almost extinguished; and that name, which has for so many ages filled the histories of Europe, is in danger of being forgotten. It is allowed, that the house of Austria cannot fall without exposing all those who have hitherto been supported by its alliance, to the utmost danger; and I need not add, that they ought, therefore, to assist it with the utmost expedition, and the most vigorous measures.

It may be suggested, my lords, that this assistance has been already delayed till it is become useless, that the utmost expedition will be too slow, and the most vigorous measures too weak to stop the torrent of the conquests of France: that the fatal blow will be struck, before we shall have an opportunity to ward it off, and that our regard for the house of Austria will be only compassion for the dead.

But these, my lords, I hope, are only the apprehensions of a mind overborne with sudden terrours, and perplexed by a confused survey of complicated danger; for if we consider more distinctly the powers which may be brought in opposition to France, we shall find no reason for despairing that we may once more stand up with success in defence of our religion and the liberty of mankind, and once more reduce those troublers of the world to the necessity of abandoning their destructive designs.

The noble lord has already mentioned the present disposition of three powerful states, as a motive for vigorous resolutions, and a consideration that may, at least, preserve us from despair; and it is no small satisfaction to me to observe, that his penetration and experience incline him to hope upon the prospect of affairs as they now appear; because I doubt not but that hope will be improved into confidence, by the account which I can now give your lordships of the intention of another power, yet more formidable, to engage with us in the great design of repressing the insolence of France.

A treaty of alliance, my lords, has been for some time concerted with the emperour of Muscovy, and has been negotiated with such diligence, that it is now completed, and I doubt not but the last ratifications will arrive at this court in a few days; by which it will appear to your lordships, that the interest of this nation has been vigilantly regarded, and to our allies, that the faith of Britain has never yet been shaken. It will appear to the French, that they have precipitated their triumphs, that they have imagined themselves masters of nations by whom they will be in a short time driven back to their own confines, and that, perhaps, they have parcelled out kingdoms which they are never likely to possess.

It was affirmed, and with just discernment, that applications ought to be made to this powerful court, as the professed adversary of France; and if it was not hitherto known that their assistance had been assiduously solicited, our endeavours were kept secret only that their success might be more certain, and that they might surprise more powerfully by their effects.

Nor have the two other princes, which were mentioned by the noble lord, been forgotten, whose concurrence is at this time so necessary to us: and I doubt not but that the representations which have been made with all the force of truth, and all the zeal that is awakened by interest and by danger, will in time produce the effects for which they were intended; by convincing those princes that they endanger themselves by flattering the French ambition, that they are divesting themselves of that defence of which they will quickly regret the loss, and that they are only not attacked at present, that they may be destroyed more easily hereafter.

But it is always to be remembered, my lords, that in publick transactions, as in private life, interest acts with less force as it is at greater distance, and that the immediate motive will generally prevail. Futurity impairs the influence of the most important objects of consideration, even when it does not lessen their certainty; and with regard to events only probable, events which a thousand accidents may obviate, they are almost annihilated, with regard to the human mind, by being placed at a distance from us. Wherever imagination can exert its power, we easily dwell upon the most pleasing views, and flatter ourselves with those consequences, which though perhaps least to be expected, are most desired. Wherever different events may arise, which is the state of all human transactions, we naturally promote our hopes, and repress our fears; and in time so far deceive ourselves, as to quiet all our suspicions, lay all our terrours asleep, and believe what at first we only wished.

This, my lords, must be the delusion by which some states are induced to favour, and others to neglect the encroachments of France. Men are impolitick, as they are wicked; because they prefer the gratification of the present hour to the assurance of solid and permanent, but distant happiness. The French take advantage of this general weakness of the human mind, and by magnificent promises to one prince, and petty grants to another, reconcile them to their designs. Each finds that he shall gain more by contracting an alliance with them, than with another state which has no view besides that of preserving to every sovereign his just rights, and which, therefore, as it plunders none, will have nothing to bestow.

This, my lords, is the disadvantage under which our negotiators labour against those of France; we have no kingdoms to parcel out among those whose confederacy we solicit; we can promise them no superiority above the neighbouring princes which they do not now possess; we assume not the province of adjusting the boundaries of dominion, or of deciding contested titles: we promise only the preservation of quiet, and the establishment of safety.

But the French, my lords, oppose us with other arguments, arguments which, indeed, receive their force from folly and credulity; but what more powerful assistance can be desired? They promise not mere negative advantages, not an exemption from remote oppression, or an escape from slavery, which, as it was yet never felt, is very little dreaded; they offer an immediate augmentation of dominion, and an extension of power; they propose new tracts of commerce, and open new sources of wealth; they invite confederacies, not for defence, but for conquests; for conquests to be divided among the powers by whose union they shall be made.

Let it not, therefore, be objected, my lords, to our ministers, or our negotiators, that the French obtain more influence than they; that they are more easily listened to, or more readily believed: for while such is the condition of mankind, that what is desired is easily credited, while profit is more powerful than reason, the French eloquence will frequently prevail.

Whether, my lords, our seeming want of success in the war with Spain admits of as easy a solution, my degree of knowledge in military affairs, does not enable me to determine. An account of this part of our conduct is to be expected from the commissioners of the admiralty, by whom, I doubt not, but such reasons will be assigned for all the operations of our naval forces, and such vindications offered of all those measures, which have been hitherto imputed too precipitately to negligence, cowardice, or treachery, as will satisfy those who have been most vehement in their censures.

But because it does not seem to me very difficult to apologize for those miscarriages which have occasioned the loudest complaints, I will lay before your lordships what I have been able to collect from inquiry, or to conjecture from observation; and doubt not but it will easily appear, that nothing has been omitted from any apparent design of betraying our country, and that our ministers and commanders will deserve, at least, to be heard before they are condemned.

That great numbers of our trading vessels have been seized by the Spaniards, and that our commerce has, therefore, been very much embarrassed and interrupted, is sufficiently manifest; but to me, my lords, this appears one of the certain and necessary consequences of war, which are always to be expected, and to be set in our consultations against the advantages which we propose to obtain. It is as rational to expect, that of an army sent against our enemies, every man should return unhurt to his acquaintances, as that every merchant should see his ship and cargo sail safely into port.

If we examine, my lords, the late war, of which the conduct has been so lavishly applauded, in which the victories which we obtained have been so loudly celebrated, and which has been proposed to the imitation of all future ministers, it will appear, that our losses of the same kind were then very frequent, and, perhaps, not less complained of, though the murmurs are now forgotten, and the acclamations transmitted to posterity, because we naturally relate what has given us satisfaction, and suppress what we cannot recollect without uneasiness.

If we look farther backward, my lords, and inquire into the event of any other war in which we engaged since commerce has constituted so large a part of the interest of this nation, I doubt not but in proportion to our trade will be found our losses; and in all future wars, as in the present, I shall expect the same calamities and the same complaints. For the escape of any number of ships raises no transport, nor produces any gratitude; but the loss of a few will always give occasion to clamours and discontent. For vigilance, however diligent, can never produce more safety than will be naturally expected from our incontestable superiority at sea, by which a great part of the nation is so far deceived as to imagine, that because we cannot be conquered, we cannot be molested.

Nor do I see how it is possible to employ our power more effectually for the protection of our trade than by the method now pursued of covering the ocean with our fleets, and stationing our ships of war in every place where danger can be apprehended. If it be urged, that the inefficacy of our measures is a sufficient proof of their impropriety, it will be proper to substitute another plan of operation, of which the success may be more probable. To me, my lords, the loss of some of our mercantile vessels shows only the disproportion between the number of our ships of war, and the extent of the sea, which is a region too vast to be completely garrisoned, and of which the frequenters must inevitably be subject to the sudden incursions of subtle rovers.

The disposition of our squadrons has been such, as was doubtless dictated by the most acute sagacity, and the most enlightened experience. The squadron which was appointed to guard our coasts has been ridiculed as an useless expense; and its frequent excursions and returns, without any memorable attempt, have given occasion to endless raillery, and incessant exclamations of wonder and contempt. But it is to be considered, my lords, that the enemies of this nation, either secret or declared, had powerful squadrons in many ports of the Mediterranean, which, had they known that our coasts were without defence, might have issued out on a sudden, and have appeared unexpectedly in our Channel, from whence they might have laid our towns in ruin, entered our docks, burnt up all our preparations for future expeditions, carried into slavery the inhabitants of our villages, and left the maritime provinces of this kingdom in a state of general desolation.

Out of this squadron, however necessary, there was yet a reinforcement of five ships ordered to assist Haddock, that he might be enabled to oppose the designs of the Spaniards, though assisted by their French confederates, whom it is known that he was so far from favouring, that he was stationed before Barcelona to block them up. Why he departed from that port, and upon what motives of policy, or maxims of war, he suffered the Spaniards to prosecute their scheme, he only is able to inform us.

That the Spaniards have not at least been spared by design, is evident from their sufferings in this war, which have been much greater than ours. Many of our ships have, indeed, been snatched up by the rapacity of private adventurers, whom the ardour of interest had made vigilant, and whose celerity of pursuit as well as flight, enables them to take the advantage of the situation of their own ports, and those of their friends. But as none of our ships have been denied convoys, I know not how the loss of them can be imputed to the ministry; and if any of those who sailed under the protection of ships of war have been lost, the commanders may be required to vindicate themselves from the charge of negligence or treachery.

But this inquiry, my lords, must be, in my opinion, reserved for another day, when it may become the immediate subject of our consultations, with which it has at present no coherence, or to which, at least, it is very remotely related. For I am not able, upon the most impartial and the most attentive consideration of the address now proposed to your lordships, to perceive any necessity of a previous inquiry into the conduct of the war, the transaction of our negotiations, or the state of the kingdom, in order to our compliance with this motion, by which we shall be far from sheltering any crime from punishment, or any doubtful conduct from inquiry; shall be far from obstructing the course of national justice, or approving what we do not understand.

The chief tendency of his majesty's speech is to ask our advice on this extraordinary conjuncture of affairs; a conduct undoubtedly worthy of a British monarch, and which we ought not to requite with disrespect; but what less can be inferred from an alteration of our established forms of address, by an omission of any part of the speech? For what will be imagined by his majesty, by the nation, and by the whole world, but that we did not approve what we did not answer?

The duke of ARGYLE spoke to the following purpose:--My lords, it is with great reason that the present time has been represented to us from the throne as a time of uncommon danger and disturbance, a time in which the barriers of kingdoms are broken down, in contempt of every law of heaven and of earth, and in which ambition, rapine, and oppression, seem to be let loose upon mankind; a time in which some nations send out armies and invade the territories of their neighbours, in opposition to the most solemn treaties, of which others, with equal perfidy, silently suffer, or secretly favour the violation.

At a time like this, when treaties are considered only as momentary expedients, and alliances confer no security, it is evident that the preservation of our rights, our interest, and our commerce, must depend only on our natural strength; and that instead of cultivating the friendship of foreign powers, which we must purchase upon disadvantageous conditions, and which will be withdrawn from us whenever we shall need it; we ought, therefore, to collect our own force, and show the world how little we stand in need of assistance, and how little we have to fear from the most powerful of our enemies.

Our country, my lords, seems designed by nature to subsist without any dependence on other nations, and by a steady and resolute improvement of these advantages with which providence has blessed it, may bid defiance to mankind; it might become, by the extension of our commerce, the general centre at which the wealth of the whole earth might be collected together, and from whence it might be issued upon proper occasions, for the diffusion of liberty, the repression of insolence, and the preservation of peace.

But this glory, and this influence, my lords, must arise from domestick felicity; and domestick felicity can only be produced by a mutual confidence between the government and the people. Where the governours distrust the affections of their subjects, they will not be very solicitous to advance their happiness; for who will endeavour to increase that wealth which will, as he believes, be employed against him? Nor will the subjects cheerfully concur even with the necessary measures of their governours, whose general designs they conceive to be contrary to the publick interest; because any temporary success or accidental reputation, will only dazzle the eyes of the multitude, while their liberties are stolen away.

This confidence, my lords, must be promoted where it exists, and regained where it is lost, by the open administration of justice, by impartial inquiries into publick transactions, by the exaltation of those whose wisdom and bravery has advanced the publick reputation, or increased the happiness of the nation, and the censure of those, however elate with dignities, or surrounded with dependants, who by their unskilfulness or dishonesty, have either embarrassed their country or betrayed it.

For this reason, my lords, it is, in my opinion, necessary to gratify the nation, at the present juncture, with the prospect of those measures, without which no people can reasonably be satisfied; and to pacify their resentment of past injuries, and quiet their apprehensions of future miseries, by a possibility, at least, that they may see the authors of all our miscarriages called to a trial in open day, and the merit of those men acknowledged and rewarded, by whose resolution and integrity they imagine that the final ruin of themselves and posterity has been hitherto prevented.

That the present discontent of the British nation is almost universal, that suspicion has infused itself into every rank and denomination of men, that complaints of the neglect of our commerce, the misapplication of our treasure, and the unsuccessfulness of our arms, are to be heard from every mouth, and in every place, where men dare utter their sentiments, I suppose, my lords, no man will deny; for whoever should stand up in opposition to the truth of a fact so generally known, would distinguish himself, even in this age of effrontery and corruption, by a contempt of reputation, not yet known amongst mankind.

And indeed, my lords, it must be confessed that these discontents and clamours are produced by such an appearance of folly, or of treachery, as few ages or nations have ever known; by such an obstinate perseverance in bad measures, as shame has hitherto prevented in those upon whom nobler motives, fidelity to their trust, and love of their country, had lost their influence.

Other ministers, when they have formed designs of sacrificing the publick interest to their own, have been compelled to better measures by timely discoveries, and just representations; they have been criminal only because they hoped for secrecy, and have vindicated their conduct no longer than while they had hopes that their apologies might deceive.

But our heroick ministers, my lords, have set themselves free from the shackles of circumspection, they have disburdened themselves of the embarrassments of caution, and claim an exemption from the necessity of supporting their measures by laborious deductions and artful reasonings; they defy the publick when they can no longer delude it, and prosecute, in the face of the sun, those measures which they have not been able to support, and of which the fatal consequences are foreseen by the whole nation.

When they have been detected in one absurdity, they take shelter in another; when experience has shown that one of their attempts was designed only to injure their country, they propose a second of the same kind with equal confidence, boast again of their integrity, and again require the concurrence of the legislature, and the support of the people.

When they had for a long time suffered our trading vessels to be seized in sight of our own ports, when they had despatched fleets into the Mediterranean, only to lie exposed to the injuries of the weather, and to sail from one coast to another, only to show that they had no hostile intentions, and that they were fitted out by the friends of the Spaniards, only to amuse and exhaust the nation, they at length thought it necessary to lull the impatience of the people, who began to discover that they had hitherto been harassed with taxes and impresses to no purpose, by the appearance of a new effort for the subjection of the enemy, and to divert, by the expectations which an army and a fleet naturally raise, any clamours at their past conduct'.

For this end, having entered into their usual consultations, they projected an expedition into America, for which they raised forces and procured transports, with all the pomp of preparation for the conquest of half the continent, not so much to alarm the Spaniards, which I conceive but a secondary view, as to fill the people of Britain with amusing prospects of great achievements, of the addition of new dominions to this empire, and an ample reparation for all their damages.

Thus provided with forces sufficient, in appearance, for this mighty enterprise, they embarked them after many delays, and dismissed them to their fate, having first disposed their regulations in such a manner, that it was impossible that they should meet with success.

I can call your lordships to witness, that this impossibility was not discovered by me after the event, for I foretold in this house, that their designs, so conducted, must evidently miscarry.

Nor was this prediction, my lords, the effect of any uncommon sagacity, or any accidental conjecture on future consequences which happened to be right; for to any man who has had opportunities of observing that knowledge in war is necessary to success, and experience is the foundation of knowledge, it was sufficiently plain that our forces must be repulsed.

The forces sent into America, my lords, were newly raised, placed under the direction of officers not less ignorant than themselves, and commanded by a man who never had commanded any troops before; and who, however laudable he might have discharged the duty of a captain, was wholly unacquainted with the province of a general.

Yet was this man, my lords, preferred, not only to a multitude of other officers, to whom experience must have been of small advantage, if it did not furnish them with knowledge far superiour to his, but to five and forty generals, of whom I hope the nation has no reason to suspect that any of them would not gladly have served it on an occasion of so great importance, and willingly have conducted an expedition intended to retrieve the honour of the British name, the terrour of our arms, and the security of our commerce.

When raw troops, my lords, with young officers, are to act under the command of an unskilful general, what is it reasonable to expect, but what has happened--overthrow, slaughter, and ignominy? What but that cheap victories should heighten the insolence, and harden the obstinacy of our enemies; and that we should not only be weakened by our loss, but dispirited by our disgrace; by the disgrace of being overthrown by those whom we have despised, and with whom nothing but our own folly could have reduced us to a level.

The other conjecture which I ventured to propose to your lordships, with regard to the queen of Hungary, was not founded on facts equally evident with the former, though experience has discovered that it was equally true. It was then asserted, both by other lords and myself, that money would be chosen by that princess as an assistance more useful than forces; an opinion, which the lords who are engaged in the administration vigorously opposed. In consequence of their determination, forces were hired, for what purpose--let them now declare, since none but themselves have yet known.

That at least they were not taken into our pay for the service for which they were required, the succour of the house of Austria, is most evident, unless the name of armies is imagined sufficient to intimidate the French, as the Spaniards are to be subdued by the sight of fleets. They never marched towards her frontiers, never opposed her enemies, or afforded her the least assistance, but stood idle and unconcerned in the territories of Hanover; nor was it known that they existed by any other proof than that remittances were made for their pay.

Such, my lords, was the assistance, asked with so much solicitude, and levied with so much expedition, for the queen of Hungary; such were the effects of the zeal of our illustrious ministers for the preservation of that august house, to whose alliance we are perhaps indebted for the preservation of our religion and our liberties, and to which all Europe must have recourse for shelter from the oppression of France.

When this formidable body of men was assembled, my lords, and reviewed, they were perhaps found too graceful and too well sorted to be exposed to the dangers of a battle; and the same tenderness that has so long preserved our own forces from any other field than the park, might rescue them from the fatigues of accompanying the active hussars in their incursions, or the steady Austrians in their conflicts.

Whatever was the reason, my lords, it is certain that they have been reserved for other opportunities of signalizing their courage; and they slept in quiet, and fattened upon the wealth of Britain, while the enemies of our illustrious, magnanimous, and unfortunate ally, entered her territories without opposition, marched through them uninterrupted, and rather took possession than made conquests.

That in this condition of her affairs, the queen would refuse an offer of twelve thousand men; that when she was driven from one country to another, attended by an army scarcely sufficient to form a flying camp, she would not gladly have accepted a reinforcement so powerful, let those believe, my lords, who have yet never been deceived by ministerial faith.

The real designs of the ministry, my lords, are sufficiently obvious, nor is any thing more certain, than that they had, in requiring this mock assistance for the queen of Hungary, no other design than that of raising her expectations only to deceive them; and to divert her, by confidence in their preparations, from having recourse to more efficacious expedients, that she might become, without resistance, the slave of France.

For this purpose they determined to succour her with forces rather than with money, because many reasons might be pretended, by which the march of the forces might be retarded; but the money, my lords, when granted, must have been more speedily remitted.

At last the queen, weary with delays, and undoubtedly sufficiently informed of those designs, which are now, however generally discovered, confidently denied, desired a supply of money, which might be granted without leaving Hanover exposed to an invasion. With this demand, which they had no pretence to deny, they have yet found expedients to delay their compliance. For it does not appear that the whole sum granted has yet been paid; and it would well become those noble lords, whose offices give them an opportunity of observing the distribution of the publick money, to justify themselves from the suspicions of the nation, by declaring openly what has been remitted, and what yet remains to be disbursed for some other purpose.

Is it not, therefore, evident, my lords, that by promising assistance to this unhappy princess, the ministry intended to deceive her? That when they flattered her with the approach of auxiliary forces, they designed only to station them where they might garrison the frontiers of Hanover? And that when they forced her to solicit for pecuniary aid, they delayed the payment of the subsidy, that it might not be received till it could produce no effect?

This, my lords, is not only evident from the manifest absurdity of their conduct upon any other supposition, but from the general scheme which has always been pursued by the man whose dictatorial instructions regulate the opinions of all those that constitute the ministry, and of whom it is well known, that it has been the great purpose of his life to aggrandize France, by applying to her for assistance in imaginary distresses from fictitious confederacies, and by sacrificing to her in return the house of Austria, and the commerce of Britain.

How then, my lords, can it be asserted by us, that the house of Austria has been vigilantly supported? How can we approve measures, of which we discover no effect but the expense of the nation? A double expense, produced first by raising troops, which though granted for the assistance of the Austrians, have been made use of only for the protection of Hanover, and by the grant of money in the place of these troops, which were thus fallaciously obtained, and thus unprofitably employed!

For what purpose these forces were in reality raised, I suppose no man can be ignorant, and no man to whom it is known can possibly approve it. How then, my lords, can we concur in an address by which the people must be persuaded, that we either are deceived ourselves, or endeavour to impose upon them; that we either dare not condemn any measures, however destructive, or that, at least, we are in haste to approve them, lest inquiry should discover their tendency too plainly to leave us the power of applauding them, without an open declaration of our own impotence, or disregard for the welfare of the publick.

The complaints of the people are already clamorous, and their discontent open and universal; and surely the voice of the people ought, at least, to awake us to an examination of their condition. And though we should not immediately condemn those whom they censure and detest, as the authors of their miseries, we ought, at least, to pay so much regard to the accusation of the whole community, as not to reject it without inquiry, as a suspicion merely chimerical.

Whether these complaints and suspicions, my lords, proceed from real injuries and imminent dangers, or from false accusations and groundless terrours, they equally deserve the attention of this house, whose great care is the happiness of the people: people equally worthy of your tenderness and regard, whether they are betrayed by one party or another; whether they are plundered by the advocates of the administration, under pretence of supporting the government, or affrighted with unreasonable clamours by the opponents of the court, under the specious appearance of protecting liberty. The people, my lords, are in either case equally miserable, and deserve equally to be rescued from distress.

By what method, my lords, can this be effected, but by some publick assurance from this house, that the transactions of the nation shall no longer be concealed in impenetrable secrecy; that measures shall be no longer approved without examination; that publick evils shall be traced to their causes; and that disgrace, which they have hitherto brought upon the publick, shall fall for the future only upon the authors of them.

Of giving this assurance, and of quieting by it the clamours of the people; clamours which, whether just or not, are too formidable to be slighted, and too loud not to be heard, we have now the most proper opportunity before us. The address which the practice of our ancestors requires us to make to his majesty, may give us occasion of expressing at once our loyalty to the crown, and our fidelity to our country; our zeal for the honour of our sovereign, and our regard for the happiness of the people.

For this purpose it is necessary that, as we preserve the practice of our ancestors in one respect, we revive it in another; that we imitate those in just freedom of language whom we follow in the decent forms of ceremony; and show that as we preserve, like them, a due sense of the regal dignity, so, like them, we know likewise how to preserve our own, and despise flattery on one side, as we decline rudeness on the other.

A practice, my lords, has prevailed of late, which cannot but be allowed pernicious to the publick, and derogatory from the honour of this assembly; a practice of retaining in our address the words of the speech, and of following it servilely from period to period, as if it were expected that we should always adopt the sentiments of the court; as if we were not summoned to advise, but to approve, and approve without examination.

By such addresses, my lords, all inquiries may be easily precluded; for the minister by whom the speech is compiled, may easily introduce the most criminal transactions in such a manner, as that they may obtain the approbation of this house; which he may plead afterwards at our bar, when he shall be called before it, and either involve us in the disgrace of inconsistency, and expose us to general contempt, or be acquitted by our former suffrages, which it would be reproachful to retract, and yet criminal to confirm.

It is not necessary, my lords, on this occasion to observe, what all parties have long since acknowledged, when it did not promote their interest to deny it, that every speech from the throne is to be considered as the work of the minister, because it is generally written by him; or if composed by the king himself, must be drawn up in pursuance of the information and counsel of the ministry, to whom it is, therefore, ultimately to be referred, and may consequently be examined without any failure of respect to the person of the prince.

This ought, however, to be observed, my lords, that it may appear more plainly how certainly this practice may be imputed to the artifices of ministers, since it does not promote the honour of the prince, and manifestly obstructs the interest of the people; since it is a practice irrational in itself, because it is inconsistent with the great purpose of this assembly, and can, therefore, serve no other purpose than that of procuring indemnity to the ministers, by placing them out of the reach of future animadversion.

Let not, my lords, the uninterrupted continuance of this practice for some reigns be pleaded in its defence; for nothing is more worthy of the dignity of this house, than to prevent the multiplication of dangerous precedents. That a custom manifestly injurious to the publick has continued long, is the strongest reason for breaking it, because it acquires every year new authority and greater veneration: if when a nation is alarmed and distracted, a custom of twenty years is not to be infringed, it may in twenty years more be so firmly established, that many may think it necessary to be supported, even when those calamities are incontestably felt, which, perhaps, now are only feared.

I shall, therefore, my lords, propose, that of the address moved for, all be left out but the first paragraph; it will then be more consistent with the honour of your lordships, with our regard for the people, and with our duty to the crown, and hope no lord will refuse his concurrence.

Lord HARDWICKE rose next, and spoke to the following effect:--My lords, upon an attentive consideration of the address now proposed, I am not able to discover any objections which can justly hinder the unanimous concurrence of this assembly, since there is not any proposition contained in it either dangerous or uncertain.

The noble lords who have opposed this motion with the most ardent vehemence, are very far from denying what is asserted in it; they readily grant that designs are concerted by many formidable powers against the house of Austria, and that the consequences of the ruin of that family must extend to the utmost parts of Europe, and endanger the liberties of Britain itself; that the power of France will then be without a rival, and that she may afterwards gratify her ambition without fear and without danger.

Nor is it, my lords, less obvious in itself, or less generally allowed, that this is a time which demands the most active vigour, the most invariable unanimity, and the most diligent despatch; that nothing can interrupt the course of our common enemies but the wisest counsels, and the most resolute opposition; and that upon our conduct at this great conjuncture may probably depend the happiness and liberty of ourselves, our allies, and our posterity.

All this, my lords, is allowed to be apparently and indisputably true; I am, therefore, at a loss to conceive what can be the occasion of the debate in which some of your lordships have engaged. As the causes of the calamities which are said to threaten us are not assigned in the address, we shall leave ourselves at full liberty to charge them upon those who shall appear from future inquiries to deserve so heavy an accusation.

If the ministers of the court have, by any inconstancy in their measures, or folly in their negotiations, given an opportunity to the enemies of Europe to extend their influence, or endangered either our own interest, or that of our allies; if they have by oppression or negligence alienated from his majesty the affections of his people, or the confidence of his confederates, nothing that is contained in the address now before us can be produced by them in justification of their conduct, or secure them from accusation, censure, and punishment.

If the war, my lords, has been hitherto carried on with clandestine stipulations, or treacherous compacts; if our admirals have received orders to retire from the coast of Spain, only to give our enemies an opportunity of invading the dominions of the queen of Hungary, or have, without directions, deserted their stations, and abandoned the protection of our commerce and our colonies; we shall, notwithstanding this address, retain in our hands the privilege of inquiring into their conduct, and the power, if it be found criminal, of inflicting such penalties as justice shall require.

I know not, therefore, my lords, upon what motives the debate is continued, nor what objections they are which hinder our unanimity, at a time when all petty controversies ought to be forgot, and all nominal distinctions laid aside; at a time when general danger may justly claim general attention, and we ought to suspend the assertion of our particular opinions, and the prosecution of our separate interests, and regard only the opposition of France, the support of our allies, and the preservation of our country.

The noble lords who have offered their sentiments on this occasion, have very diffusely expatiated on the miseries that impend over us, and have shown uncommon dexterity and acuteness in tracing them all to one source, the weakness or dishonesty of the British ministry.

For my part, my lords, though, perhaps, I believe that many circumstances of the present distress are to be imputed to accidents which could not be foreseen, and that the conduct of the ministry, however sometimes disappointed of the effects intended by it, was yet prudent and sincere, I shall at present forbear to engage in their defence, because the discussion of a question so complicated must necessarily require much time, and because I think it not so useful to inquire how we were involved in our present difficulties, as by what means we may be extricated from them.

The method by which weak states are made strong, and by which those that are already powerful, are enabled to exert their strength with efficacy, is the promotion of union, and the abolition of all suspicions by which the people may be incited to a distrust of their sovereign, or the sovereign provoked to a disregard of his people. With this view, my lords, all addresses ought to be drawn up, and this consideration will be sufficient to restrain us from any innovations at a time like this.

If it should be granted, my lords, that the ancient method were better adapted to the general intention of addresses, more correspondent to the dignity of this house, and liable to fewer inconveniencies than that which later times have introduced, yet it will not follow that we can now safely change it.

Nothing in the whole doctrine of politicks is better known, than that there are times when the redress of grievances, inveterate and customary, is not to be attempted; times when the utmost care is barely sufficient to avert extreme calamities, and prevent a total dissolution; and in which the consideration of lighter evils must not be suffered to interrupt more important counsels, or divert that attention which the preservation of the state necessarily demands.

Such, my lords, is the present time, even by the confession of those who have opposed the motion, and of whom, therefore, it may be reasonably demanded, why they waste these important hours in debates upon forms and words?

For that only forms and words have produced the debate, must be apparent, even to themselves, when the fervour of controversy shall have slackened; when that vehemence, with which the most moderate are sometimes transported, and that acrimony, which candour itself cannot always forbear, shall give way to reflection and to reason. That the danger is pressing, and that pressing dangers require expedition and unanimity, they willingly grant; and what more is asserted in the address?

That any lord should be unwilling to concur in the customary expressions of thankfulness and duty to his majesty, or in acknowledgments of that regard for this assembly with which he asks our assistance and advice, I am unwilling to suspect; nor can I imagine that any part of the opposition to this proposal can be produced by unwillingness to comply with his majesty's demands, and to promise that advice and assistance, which it is our duty, both to our sovereign, our country, and ourselves, to offer.

That those, my lords, who have expressed in terms so full of indignation their resentment of the imaginary neglect of the queen of Hungary's interest, have declared the house of Austria the only bulwark of Europe, and expressed their dread of the encroachments of France with emotions which nothing but real passion can produce, should be unwilling to assert their resolution of adhering to the Pragmatick sanction, and of defending the liberties of the empire, cannot be supposed.

And yet, my lords, what other reasons of their conduct can be assigned either by the emperour, or the people, or the allies of Britain; those allies whose claim they so warmly assert, and whose merits they so loudly extol? Will it not be imagined in foreign courts, that the measures now recommended by the emperour, are thought not consistent with the interest of the nation? Will it not be readily believed, that we propose to abandon those designs of which we cannot be persuaded to declare our approbation?

What will be the consequence of such an opinion artfully propagated by France, and confirmed by appearances so likely to deceive, may easily be foreseen, and safely predicted. The French will prosecute their schemes with fresh ardour, when they dread no longer any interruption from the only nation able to resist them; and it is well known, my lords, how often confidence, by exciting courage, produces success.

Nor, indeed, can the success of their endeavours, thus animated and quickened, be easily doubted, since the same appearances that encourage them will intimidate their enemies. Our allies will then think no longer of union against the general enemy; they must imagine their united force insufficient, and the only emulation amongst them will quickly be, which shall first offer his liberty to sale, who shall first pay his court to the masters of the world, and merit mercy by a speedy submission.

Thus, my lords, will the house of Austria, that house so faithful to Britain, and so steady in its opposition to the designs of the French ambition, be finally sunk in irrecoverable ruin, by those who appear to please themselves with declamations in its praise, and resolutions for its defence; and who never speak of the French without rage and detestation.

If on this occasion, my lords, we should give any suspicion of unusual discontent, what could be concluded but that we are unwilling any longer to embarrass ourselves with remote considerations, to load this nation with taxes for the preservation of the rights of other sovereigns, and to hazard armies in the defence of the continent? What can our allies think, but that we are at present weary of the burdensome and expensive honour of holding the balance of power in our hands, are content to resign the unquiet province of the arbiters of Europe, and propose to confine our care henceforward to our immediate interest, and shut up ourselves in our own island?

That this is the real design of any of those noble lords who have opposed the motion, I do not intend to insinuate; for I doubt not but they believe the general interest both of this nation and its allies, most likely to be promoted by the method of address which they recommend, since they declare that they do not think our state desperate, and confess the importance of the affairs on which we are required by his majesty to deliberate, to be such, that nothing ought to repress our endeavours but impossibility of success.

Such is the knowledge and experience of those noble lords, that the hopes which I had formed of seeing the destructive attempts of the French once more defeated, and power restored again to that equipoise which is necessary to the continuance of tranquillity and happiness, have received new strength from their concurrence, and I shall now hear with less solicitude the threats of France.

That the French, my lords, are not invincible, the noble duke who spoke last has often experienced; nor is there any reason for imagining that they are now more formidable than when we encountered them in the fields of Blenheim and Ramillies. Nothing is requisite but a firm union among those princes who are immediately in danger from their encroachments, to reduce them to withdraw their forces from the countries of their neighbours, and quit, for the defence of their own territories, their schemes of bestowing empires, and dividing dominions.

That such an union is now cultivated, we have been informed by his majesty, whose endeavours will probably be successful, however they may at first be thwarted and obstructed; because the near approach of danger will rouse those whom avarice has stupified, or negligence intoxicated; thus truth and reason will become every day more powerful, and sophistry and artifice be in time certainly detected.

When, therefore, my lords, we are engaged in consultations which may affect the liberties of a great part of mankind, and by which our posterity to many ages may be made happy or miserable; when the daily progress of the enemies of justice and of freedom ought to awaken us to vigilance and expedition, and there are yet just hopes that diligence and firmness may preserve us from ruin, let us not waste our time in unnecessary debates, and keep the nations of Europe in suspense by the discussion of a question, the decision of which may be delayed for years, without any manifest inconvenience. Let us not embarrass his majesty by an unusual form of address, at a time when he his negotiating alliances, and forming plans for the rescue of the empire.

Nothing, my lords, is more remote from the real end of addresses, than a representation of them as made only to the minister; for if there be any commerce between a prince and his subjects, in which he is the immediate agent, if his personal dignity be interested in any act of government, I think it is not to be denied, that in receiving the addresses of the two houses, he assumes a peculiar and distinct character, which cannot be confounded with his council or ministry.

The duke of ARGYLE rose again, and spoke to this effect:--My lords, if there was now any contest amongst us for superiority of regard to his majesty, of zeal for his honour, or reverence of his person, I should not doubt of proving that no lord in this house can boast of more ardour, fidelity, or respect than myself; and if the chief question now amongst us related to the terms in which he deserves to be addressed by us, I should be unwilling that any man should propose language more submissive and reverend, or more forcible and comprehensive than myself.

But addresses, however they may for present purposes be represented as regarding the personal character of the king, are in reality nothing more than replies to a speech composed by the minister, whose measures, if we should appear to commend, our panegyrick may, in some future proceeding, be cited against us. Every address, therefore, ought to be considered as a publick record, and to be drawn up, to inform the nation, not to mislead our sovereign.

The address now proposed, is, indeed, equally indefensible to whomsoever it may be supposed to relate. If it respects the people, it can only drive them to despair; if it be confined to the sovereign, our advice, not our panegyrick, is now required, and Europe is to be preserved from ruin, not by our eloquence, but our sincerity. Respect to his majesty, my lords, will be best shown by preserving his influence in other nations, and his authority in his own empire. This can only be done by showing him how the one has been impaired, and how the other may be in time endangered.

By addresses like this which is now proposed, my lords, has his majesty been betrayed into an inadvertent appro bation of measures pernicious to the nation, and dishonourable to himself, and will now be kept ignorant of the despicable conduct of the war, the treacherous connivance at the descent of the Spaniards upon the dominions of the queen of Hungary, and the contempt with which every nation of the continent has heard of the neutrality lately concluded. By addresses like this, my lords, have the rights of the nation been silently given up, and the invaders of liberty, and violators of our laws, preserved from prosecution; by such addresses have our monarchs been ruined at one time, and our country enslaved at another.

Lord HARRINGTON spoke next, in the following manner:--My lords, it is necessary to explain that treaty of neutrality which has been mentioned by some lords as an act to the last degree shameful, an act by which the nation has been dishonoured, and the general liberties of Europe have been betrayed; a representation so distant from the truth, that it can only be imputed to want of information.

This treaty of neutrality, my lords, is so far from being reproachful to this nation, that it has no relation to it, being made by his majesty not in the character of emperour of Britain, but elector of Hanover, nor is any thing stipulated by it but security of the dominions of Hanover, from the invasion of the French for a single year.

What part of this transaction, my lords, can be supposed to fall under the cognizance of this assembly? Or with what propriety can it be mentioned in our debates, or produce an argument on either side? That the dominions of Britain and Hanover are distinct, and independent on each other, has often been asserted, and asserted with truth; and I hope those who so studiously separate their interest on all other occasions, will not now unite them only to reflect maliciously on the conduct of his majesty.

I do not, indeed, charge any lord with a design so malignant and unjust; having already asserted it as my opinion, that these reproaches were produced only by ignorance of the true state of the affair, but cannot with equal readiness allow that ignorance to be wholly blameless.

It is necessary, my lords, in common life, to every man who would avoid contempt and ridicule, to refrain from speaking, at least from speaking with confidence, on subjects with which he has not made himself sufficiently acquainted. This caution, my lords, is more necessary when his discourse tends to the accusation or reproach of another, because he can then only escape contempt himself by bringing it, perhaps unjustly, on him whom he condemns. It is more necessary still, to him who speaks in the publick council of the nation, and who may, by false reflections, injure the publick interest; and is yet more indispensably required in him who assumes the province of examining the conduct of his sovereign.

Lord ISLAY spoke in substance as follows:--'My lords, it appears that all those who have spoke on either side of the present question, however they may generally differ in their opinions, agree at least in one assertion, that the time which is spent in this debate might be far more usefully employed, and that we, in some degree, desert the great cause of liberty, by giving way to trifling altercations. This, indeed, is an argument of equal force for a concession on either side; but, as in affairs of such importance, no man ought to act in a manner contrary to the convictions of his own reason, it cannot be expected that we should be unanimous in our opinions, or that the dispute should be determined otherwise than by the vote.

I have, indeed, heard no arguments against the motion, which require long consideration; for little of what has been urged, has, in my opinion, been very nearly connected with the question before us, which is not whether the ministers have pursued or neglected the interest of the nation, whether the laws have been violated or observed, the war timorously or magnanimously conducted, or our negotiations managed with dexterity or weakness, but whether we shall offer to his majesty the address proposed.

In this address, my lords, it has never yet been proved that any assertions are contained either false or uncertain in themselves, or contrary to the dignity of this assembly; that any act of cowardice or treachery, any crime, or any errour, will be secured by it from detection and from punishment.

That this, my lords, may appear more plainly, I move that the motion may be read; nor do I doubt but that the question will, by a closer examination, be speedily decided.

[The motion being again read, in order to put the question.]

Lord BATHURST spoke to the effect following:--My lords, I know not why the noble lord should expect, that by reading the motion, a more speedy determination of the question would be produced; for if the repeated consideration of it operates upon the minds of the lords that have opposed it, in the same manner as upon mine, it will only confirm their opinion, and strengthen their resolution.

We are required, my lords, to join in an address of thanks to his majesty for his endeavours to _maintain_ the balance of power; in an address, that implies a falsehood open and indisputable, and which will, therefore, only make us contemptible to our fellow-subjects, our allies, and our enemies.

What is meant, my lords, by the balance of power, but such a distribution of dominion, as may keep the sovereign powers in mutual dread of each other, and, by consequence, preserve peace; such an equality of strength between one prince, or one confederacy and another, that the hazard of war shall be nearly equal on each side? But which of your lordships will affirm, that this is now the state of Europe?

It is evident, my lords, that the French are far from imagining that there is now any power which can be put in the balance against their own, and therefore distribute kingdoms by caprice, and exalt emperours upon their own terms.

It is evident, that the continuance of the balance of power is not now to be perceived by its natural consequences, tranquillity and liberty; the whole continent is now in confusion, laid waste by the ravages of armies, subject to one sovereign to-day, and to-morrow to another: there is scarcely any place where the calamities of war are not felt or expected, and where property, by consequence, is not uncertain, and life itself in continual danger.

One happy corner of the world, indeed, is to be found, my lords, secured from rapine and massacre, for one year at least, by a well-timed neutrality, of which, on what terms it was obtained, I would gladly hear, and whether it was purchased at the expense of the honour of Britain, though the advantages of it are confined to Hanover.

But as I am not of opinion, my lords, that the balance of power is preserved by the security of Hanover; or that those territories, however important, will be able to furnish forces equivalent to the power of France, I cannot agree to promise, in an address of this house, to assist his majesty in _maintaining_ the balance of power, though I shall cheerfully give my concurrence in every just and vigorous effort to _restore_ it.

But, as it may be urged, that any direct expressions of discontent may be too wide a deviation from the common forms, which for a long time have admitted nothing but submission and adulation, I shall only venture to propose that we may, at least, contract our address, that if we do not in plain language declare all our sentiments, we may, however, affirm nothing that we do not think; and I am confident, that all the praises which can be justly bestowed on the late measures, may be comprised in a very few words.

It has been insinuated, that this change of our style may, perhaps, surprise his majesty, and raise in him some suspicions of discontent and disapprobation; that it may incline him to believe his measures, either not understood by us, or not applauded, and divert him from his present schemes, by the necessity of an inquiry into the reasons of our dislike.

And for what other purpose, my lords, should such a change of our style be proposed? Why should we deny on this occasion the encomiastick language which has been of late so profusely bestowed, but to show that we think this time too dangerous for flattery, and the measures now pursued, such as none but the most abject flatterers can commend?

I should hope, that if it be asked by his majesty to what cause it is to be imputed, that the address of this house is so much contracted, there would be found some amongst us honest enough to answer, that all which can be said with truth is contained in it, and that flattery and falsehood were not consistent with the dignity of the lords of Britain.

I hope, my lords, some one amongst us would explain to his majesty the decency as well as the integrity of our conduct, and inform him that we have hinted our discontent in the most respectful manner; and where there was sufficient room for the loudest censure, have satisfied ourselves with modest silence, with a mere negation of applause.

Should we, my lords, in opposition to the complaints of our countrymen, to the representations of our allies, and all the conviction which our reason can admit, or our senses produce, continue to act this farce of approbation, what can his majesty conceive, but that those measures which we applaud, ought to be prosecuted as the most effectual and safe? And what consequence but total ruin can arise from the prosecution of measures, by which we are already reduced to penury and contempt?

Lord CHOLMONDELEY spoke next to the following purpose:--My lords, it is never without grief and wonder that I hear any suspicion insinuated of injustice or impropriety in his majesty's measures, of whose wisdom and goodness I have so much knowledge, as to affirm, with the utmost confidence, that he is better acquainted than any lord in this assembly with the present state of Europe; so that he is more able to judge by what methods tranquillity may be reestablished; and that he pursues the best methods with the utmost purity of intention, and the most incessant diligence and application.

That the justest intentions may be sometimes defeated, and the wisest endeavours fail of success, I shall readily grant; but it will not follow, that we ought not to acknowledge that wisdom and integrity which is exerted in the prosecution of our interest, or that we ought not to be grateful for the benefits which were sincerely intended, though not actually received.

The wisdom of his majesty's counsels, my lords, is not sufficiently admired, because the difficulties which he has to encounter are not known, or not observed. Upon his majesty, my lords, lies the task of teaching the powers of the continent to prefer their real to their seeming interest, and to disregard, for the sake of distant happiness, immediate acquisitions and certain advantages. His majesty is endeavouring to unite in the support of the Pragmatick sanction those powers whose dominions will be enlarged by the violation of it, and whom France bribes to her interest with the spoils of Austria; and who can wonder that success is not easy in attempts like this?

In such measures we ought, doubtless, to endeavour to animate his majesty, by an address, at least not less expressive of duty and respect than those which he has been accustomed to receive; and, therefore, I shall concur with the noble lords who made and supported the motion.

[The question, on a division, passed in the affirmative, Content, 89. Not Content, 43.]

[The end]
Samuel Johnson's Writing: Debate on the address