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The nations around us, sir, are already enslaved, that case happens, I am afraid that, in place of and have been enslaved by these very means : Parliament's dismissing the army, the army will by means of their standing armies they have ev- dismiss the Parliament, as they have done hereery one lost their liberties. It is indeed impos- tofore. Nor does the legality or illegality of that sible that the liberties of the people can be pre- Parliament, or of that army, alter the case. For served in any country where a numerous stand with respect to that army, and according to their ing army is kept up. Shall we, then, take any way of thinking, the Parliament dismissed by of our measures from the examples of our neigh- them was a legal Parliament; they were an bors ? No, sir, on the contrary, from their mis- army raised and maintained according to law; fortunes we ought to learn to avoid those rocks and at first they were raised, as they imagined, upon which they have split.
for the preservation of those liberties which they It signifies nothing to tell me, that our army afterward destroyed. is commanded by such gentlemen as can not be It has been urged, sir, that whoever is for the supposed to join in any measures for enslaving Protestant succession must be for continuing the their country. It may be so. I hope it is so! army : for that very reason, sir, I am against I have a very good opinion of many gentlemen continuing the army. I know that neither the now in the army. I believe they would not join Protestant succession in his Majesty's most illusin any such measures. But their lives are un- trious house, nor any succession, can ever be safe certain, nor can we be sure how long they may so long as there is a standing army in the counbe continued in command ; they may be all dis- try. Armies, sir, have no regard to hereditary missed in a moment, and proper tools of power successions. The first two Cesars at Rome did put in their room. Besides, sir, we know the pretty well, and found means to keep their armies passions of men; we know how dangerous it is in tolerable subjection, because the generals and to trust the best of men with too much power. officers were all their own creatures. But how Where was there a braver army than that under did it fare with their successors ?
Was not evJulius Cesar ? Where was there ever an army ery one of them named by the army, without that had served their country more faithfully ? any regard to hereditary right, or to any right? That army was commanded generally by the A cobbler, a gardener, or any man who hapbest citizens of Rome-by men of great fortune pened to raise himself in the army, and could and figure in their country; yet that army en- gain their affections, was made Emperor of the slaved their country. The affections of the solo world. Was not every succeeding Emperor diers toward their country, the honor and integ- raised to the throne, or tumbled headlong into rity of the under officers, are not to be depended the dust, according to the mere whim or mad
By the military law, the administration of phrensy of the soldiers ? justice is so quick, and the punishments so se- We are told this army is desired to be continvere, that neither officer nor soldier dares offer ued but for one year longer, or for a limited term to dispute the orders of his supreme commander; of years. How absurd is this distinction! Is he must not consult his own inclinations. If an there any army in the world continued for any officer were commanded to pull his own father term of years? Does the most absolute monout of this House, he must do it; he dares not arch tell his army, that he is to continue them disobey; immediate death would be the sure any number of years, or any number of months ? consequence of the least grumbling. And if an How long have we already continued our army officer were sent into the Court of Requests, ac- from year to year?
And if it thus continues, companied by a body of musketeers with screw- wherein will it differ from the standing armies ed bayonets, and with orders to tell us what we of those countries which have already submitted ought to do, and how we were to vote, I know their necks to the yoke? We are now come to what would be the duty of this House; I know the Rubicon. Our army is now to be reduced, it would be our duty to order the officer to be or never will. From his Majesty's own mouth taken and hanged up at the door of the lobby. we are assured of a profound tranquillity abroad, But, sir, I doubt much if such a spirit could be and we know there is one at home. If this is found in the House, or in any House of Com- not a proper time, if these circumstances do not mons that will ever be in England.
afford us a safe opportunity for reducing at least Sir, I talk not of imaginary things. I talk of a part of our regular forces, we never can exwhat has happened to an English House of Com- pect to see any reduction. This nation, already mons, and from an English army; and not only overburdened with debts and taxes, must be loadfrom an English army, but an army that was ed with the heavy charge of perpetually supportraised by that very House of Commons, an army ing a numerous standing army; and remain forthat was paid by them, and an army that was ever exposed to the danger of having its liberties commanded by generals appointed by them. and privileges trampled upon by any future king Therefore do not let us vainly imagine that an or ministry, who shall take in their head to do army raised and maintained by authority of Par- so, and shall take a proper care to model the liament will always be submissive to them. If
for that purpose. an army be so numerous as to have it in their power to overawe the Parliament, they will be submissive as long as the Parliament does noth- The bill for continuing the army on the same ing to disoblige their favorite general; but when footing was passed by a large majority.
Philip DORMER STANHOPE, fourth Earl of Chesterfield, was born in 1694. He was equally distinguished for his love of polite literature, the grace of his manners, the pungency of his wit, and the elegance of his literary productions. In later times he has been most known by his Letters to his Son. These, though admirable models of the epistolary style, are disfigured by a profligacy of sentiment which has cast a just odium on his character; while the stress they lay upon mere accomplishments has created a very natural suspicion, among those who have seen him only in that correspondence, as to the strength and soundness of his judgment. He was unquestionably, however, a man of great acuteness and force of intellect. As an orator, Horace Walpole gave him the preference over all the speakers of his day. This may have arisen, in part, from the peculiar dexterity with which he could play with a subject that he did not choose to discuss—a kind of talent which Walpole would be very apt to appreciate. It often happens that weak and foolish measures can be exposed more effectually by wit than by reasoning. In this kind of attack Lord Chesterfield had uncommon power. His fancy supplied him with a wide range of materials, which he brought forward with great ingenuity, presenting a succession of unexpected combinations, that flashed upon the mind with all the liveliness and force of the keenest wit or the most poignant satire. The speech which follows is a specimen of his talent for this kind of speaking. “It will be read with avidity by
" those who relish the sprightly sallies of genius, or who are emulous of a style of eloquence which, though it may not always convince, will never fail to delight."
The speech relates to a bill for granting licenses to gin-shops, by which the ministry hoped to realize a very large annual income. This income they proposed to employ in carrying on the German war of George II., which arose out of his exclusive care for his Electorate of Hanover, and was generally odious throughout Great Britain. Lord Chesterfield made two speeches on this subject, which are here given together, with the omission of a few unimportant paragraphs. It has been hastily inferred, from a conversation reported by Boswell, that these speeches, as here given, were written by Johnson. Subsequent inquiry, however, seems to prove that this was not the fact; but, on the contrary, that Lord Chesterfield prepared them for publication himself.
Lord Chesterfield filled many offices of the highest importance under the reign of George II. In 1728 he was appointed embassador to Holland ; and, by his adroitness and diplomatic skill, succeeded in delivering Hanover from the calamities of war which hung over it. As a reward for his services, he was made Knight of the Garter and Lord Steward of the Royal Household. At a later period he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. This difficult office he discharged with great dexterity and self-command, holding in check the various factions of that country with consummate skill. On his return to England in 1746, he was called to the office of Secretary of State ; but, having become wearied of public employments, he soon resigned, and devoted the remainder of his life to the pursuits of literature and the society of his friends. He now carried on the publication of a series of papers in imitation of the Spectator, entitled the World, in which some of the best specimens may be found of his light, animated, and easy style of writing. Toward the close of his life he became deaf, and suffered from numerous bodily infirmities, which filled his latter days with gloom and despondency. He bore the most emphatic testimony to the folly and disappointment of the course he had led, and died in 1773, at the age of seventy-nine.
OF LORD CHESTERFIELD ON THE GIN ACT, DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS, FEBRUARY
The bill now under our consideration appears | not be in a very great degree promoted by it. to me to deserve a much closer regard than For what produces all kind of wickedness but seems to have been paid to it in the other House, the prospect of impunity on one part, or the sothrough which it was hurried with the utmost licitation of opportunity on the other ? Either precipitation, and where it passed alınost with of these have too frequently been sufficient to out the formality of a debate. Nor can I think overpower the sense of morality, and even of that earnestness with which some lords seem in religion ; and what is not to be feared from them, clined to press it forward here, consistent with when they shall unite their force, and operate the importance of the consequences which may together, when temptations shall be increased, with great reason be expected from it.
and terror taken away? To desire, my Lords, that this bill may be con- It is allowed, by those who have hitherto dissidered in a committee, is only to desire that it puted on either side of this question, that the may gain one step without opposition; that it people appear obstinately enamored of this new may proceed through the forms of the House by liquor. It is allowed on both parts that this stealth, and that the consideration of it may be liquor corrupts the mind and enervates the body, delayed, till the exigences of the government and destroys vigor and virtue, at the same time shall be so great as not to allow time for raising that it makes those who drink it too idle and feethe supplies by any other method.
ble for work; and, while it impoverishes them By this artifice, gross as it is, the patrons of by the present expense, disables them from rethis wonderful bill hope to obstruct a plain and trieving its ill consequences by subsequert indusopen detection of its tendency. They hope, my try. Lords, that the bill shall operate in the same It might be imagined, my Lords, that those manner with the liquor which it is intended to who had thus far agreed would not easily find bring into more general use; and that, as those any occasions of dispute. Nor would any man, who drink spirits are drunk before they are well unacquainted with the motives by which parliaaware that they are drinking, the effects of this mentary debates are too often influenced, suslaw shall be perceived before we know that we pect that after the pernicious qualities of this have made it. Their intent is, to give us a liquor, and the general inclination among the dram of policy, which is to be swallowed before people to the immoderate use of it, had been it is tasted, and which, when once it is swallow- thus fully admitted, it could be afterward ined, will turn our heads.
quired whether it ought to be made more comBut, my Lords, I hope we shall be so cautious mon; whether this universal thirst for poison as to examine the draught which these state em- ought to be encouraged by the Legislature, and pirics have thought proper to offer us; and I am whether a new statute ought to be made, to seconfident that a very little examination will con- cure drunkards in the gratification of their appevince us of the pernicious qualities of their new tites. preparation, and show that it can have no other To pretend, my Lords, that the design of this eflect than that of poisoning the public. bill is to prevent or diminish the use of spirits, is
The law before us, my Lords, seems to be to trample upon common sense, and to violate the effect of that practice of which it is intended the rules of decency as well as of reason. For likewise to be the cause, and to be dictated by when did any man hear that a commodity was the liquor of which it so effectually promotes prohibited by licensing its sale, or that to offer the use ; for surely it never before was conceiv- and refuse is the same action ? ed, by any man intrusted with the administra- It is indeed pleaded that it will be made tion of public affairs, to raise taxes by the de- dearer by the tax which is proposed, and that struction of the people.
the increase of the price will diminish the numNothing, my Lords, but the destruction of all ber of the purchasers ; but it is at the same time the most laborious and useful part of the nation expected that this tax shall supply the expense can be expected from the license which is now of a war on the Continent. It is asserted, thereproposed to be given, not only to drunkenness, fore, that the consumption of spirits will be hin. but to drunkenness of the most detestable and dered; and yet that it will be such as may be exdangerous kind; to the abuse not only of intox- pected to furnish, from a very small tax, a revicating, but of poisonous liquors.
enue sufficient for the support of armies, for the Nothing, my Lords, is more absurd than to re-establishment of the Austrian family, and the assert that the use of spirits will be hindered repressing of the attempts of France. by the bill now before us, or indeed that it will Surely, my Lords, these expectations are not
1743.] LORD CHESTERFIELD AGAINST LICENSING GIN-SHOPS.
47 very consistent; nor can it be imagined that they can purchase nothing else; and then the best are both formed in the same head, though they thing he can do is to drink on till he dies. may be expressed by the same mouth. It is, Surely, my Lords, men of such unbounded behowever, some recommendation of a statesman, nevolence as our present ministers deserve such when, of his assertions, one can be found reason honors as were never paid before : they deserve able or true; and in this, praise can not be de- to bestride a butt upon every sign-post in the nied to our present ministers. For though it is city, or to have their figures exhibit as tokens undoubtedly false that this tax will lessen the where this liquor is to be sold by the license consumption of spirits, it is certainly true that which they have procured. They must be at it will produce a very large revenue—a revenue least remembered to future ages as the “happy that will not fail but with the people from whose politicians" who, after all expedients for raising debaucheries it arises.
taxes had been employed, discovered a new methOur ministers will therefore have the same od of draining the last relics of the public wealth, honor with their predecessors, of having given and added a new revenue to the government. rise to a new fund; not indeed for the payment Nor will those who shall hereaster enumerate of our debts, but for much more valuable pur- the several sunds now established among us, forposes; for the cheering of our hearts under op-get, among the benefactors to their country, the pression, and for the ready support of those debts illustrious authors of the Drinking Fund. which we have lost all hopes of paying. They May I be allowed, my Lords, to congratulate are resolved, my Lords, that the nation which no my countrymen and fellow-subjects upon the endeavors can make wise, shall, while they are at happy times which are now approaching, in its head, at least be very merry; and, since pub- which no man will be disqualified from the priv. lic happiness is the end of government, they seem ilege of being drunk ; when all discontent and to imagine that they shall deserve applause by disloyalty shall be forgotten, and the people, an expedient which will enable every man to lay though now considered by the ministry as ene. his cares asleep, to drown sorrow, and lose in mies, shall acknowledge the leniency of that the delights of drunkenness both the public mis- government under which all restraints are taken eries and his own.
away? Luxury, my Lords, is to be taxed, but vice But, to a bill for such desirable purposes, it prohibited, let the difficulties in executing the would be proper, my Lords, to prefix a preamlaw be what they will. Would you lay a tax on ble, in which the kindness of our intentions the breach of the ten commandments ? Would should be more fully explained, that the nation not such a tax be wicked and scandalous ; be- may not mistake our indulgence for cruelty, nor cause it would imply an indulgence to all those consider their benefactors as their persecutors. who could pay the tax? Is not this a reproach If, therefore, this bill be considered and amendmost justly thrown by Protestants upon the Churched (for why else should it be considered ?) in a of Rome? Was it not the chief cause of the Ref. committee, I shall humbly propose that it shall ormation ? And will you follow a precedent be introduced in this manner : “Whereas, the which brought reproach and ruin upon those that designs of the present ministry, whatever they introduced it? This is the very case now before are, can not be executed without a great numus. You are going to lay a tax, and consequent- ber of mercenaries, which mercenaries can not ly to indulge a sort of drunkenness, which almost be hired without money; and whereas the presnecessarily produces a breach of every one of the ent disposition of this nation to drunkenness inten commandments ? Can you expect the rev- clines us to believe that they will pay more erend bench will approve of this ? I am con- cheerfully for the undisturbed enjoyment of disvinced they will not; and therefore I wish I had tilled liquors than for any other concession that seen it full opon this occasion. I am sure I have can be made by the government; be it enacted, seen it much fuller upon other occasions, in which by the King's most excellent Majesty, that no religion had no such deep concern.
man shall hereafter be denied the right of being We have already, my Lords, several sorts of drunk on the following conditions." funds in this nation, so many that a man must This, my Lords, to trifle no longer, is the have a good deal of learning to be master of them. proper preamble to this bill, which contains only Thanks to his Majesty, we have now among us the conditions on which the people of this kingthe most learned man of the nation in this way. dom are to be allowed henceforward to riot in I wish he would rise up and tell us what name debauchery, in debauchery licensed by law and we are to give this new fund. We have already countenanced by the magistrates. For there is the Civil List Fund, the Sinking Fund, the Aggre- no doubt but those on whom the inventors of gaie Fund, the South Sea Fund, and God knows this tax shall confer authority, will be directed how many others. What name we are to give to assist their masters in their design to encourthis new sund I know not, unless we are to call age the consumption of that liquor from which it the Drinking Fund. It may perhaps enable such large revenues are expected, and to multithe people of a certain foreign territory (Hano- ply without end those licenses which are to pay ver) to drink claret, but it will disable the peo- a yearly tribute to the Crown. ple of this kingdom from drinking any thing else By ihis unbounded license, my Lords, that but gin; for when a man has, by gin drinking, price will be lessened, from the incroase of rendered himself unfit for labor or business, he which the exvectations of the efficacy of this law are pretended; for the number of retailers / your Lordships upon having heard from the new will lessen the value, as in all other cases, and ministry one assertion not to be contradicted. lessen it more than this tax will increase it. It is evident, my Lords, from daily observaBesides, it is to be considered, that at present tion, and demonstrable from the papers upon the the retailer expects to be paid for the danger table, that every year, since the enacting of the which he incurs by an unlawful trade, and will last law, that vice has increased which it was not trust his reputation or his purse to the mer intended to repress, and that no time has been cy of his customer without a profit proportioned so favorable to the retailers of spirits as that to the hazard; but, when once the restraint shall which has passed since they were prohibited. be taken away, he will sell for common gain, It may therefore be expected, my Lords, that and it can hardly be imagined that, at present, having agreed with the ministers in their fundahe subjects himself to informations and penalties mental proposition, I shall concur with them in for less than sixpence a gallon.
the consequence which they draw from it; and The specious pretense on which this bill is having allowed that the present law is ineffectfounded, and, indeed, the only pretense that de- ual, should admit that another is necessary. serves to be termed specious, is the propriety of But, my Lords, in order to discover whether taxing vice; but this maxim of government has, this consequence be necessary, it must first be on this occasion, been either mistaken or per- inquired why the present law is of no force. verted. Vice, my Lords, is not properly to be For, my Lords, it will be found, upon reflection, taxed, but suppressed; and heavy taxes are that there are certain degrees of corruption that sometimes the only means by which that sup- may hinder the effect of the best laws. The pression can be attained. Luxury, my Lords, magistrates may be vicious, and forbear to enor the excess of that which is pernicious only by force that law by which themselves are conits excess, may very properly be taxed, that such demned; they may be indolent, and inclined rathexcess, though not strictly unlawful, may be er to connive at wickedness, by which they are made more difficult. But the use of those things not injured themselves, than to repress it by a which are simply hurtful, hurtful in their own laborious exertion of their authority; or they nature, and in every degree, is to be prohibited. may be timorous, and, instead of awing the viNone, my Lords, ever heard, in any nation, of a cious, may be awed by them. tax upon theft or adultery, because a tax im- In any of these cases, my Lords, the law is no. plies a license granted for the use of that which to be condemned for its inefficacy, since it only is taxed to all who shall be willing to pay it. fails by the defect of those who are to direct its
operations. The best and most important laws During the course of this long debate, I have will contribute very little to the security or hapendeavored to recapitulate and digest the argu- piness of a people, if no judges of integrity and ments which have been advanced, and have con- spirit can be found among them. Even the most sidered them both separately and conjointly; beneficial and useful bill that ministers can posbut find myself at the same distance from con- sibly imagine, a bill for laying on our estates a viction as when I first entered the House. tax of the fifth part of their yearly value, would
In vindication of this bill, my Lords, we have be wholly without effect is collectors could not been told that the present law is ineffectua); be obtained. that our manufacture is not to be destroyed, or I am therefore, my Lords, yet doubtful whethnot this year; that the security offered by the er the inefficacy of the law now subsisting necpresent bill has induced great numbers to sub-essarily obliges us to provide another; for those scribe to the new fund; that it has been ap- that declared it to be useless, owned, at the proved by the Commons; and that, if it be same time, that no man endeavored to enforce found ineffectual, it may be amended another it, so that perhaps its only defect may be that session.
it will not execute itself. All these arguments, my Lords, I shall en- Nor, though I should allow that the law is at deavor to examine, because I am always desir- present impeded by difficulties which can not be ous of gratifying those great men to whom the broken through, but by men of more spirit and administration of affairs is intrusted, and have dignity than the ministers may be inclined to always very cautiously avoided the odium of dis- trust with commissions of the peace, yet it can affection, which they will undoubtedly throw, in only be collected that another law is necessary, imitation of their predecessors, upon all those not that the law now proposed will be of any whose wayward consciences shall oblige them advantage. to hinder the execution of their schemes.
Great use has been made of the inefficacy of With a very strong desire, therefore, though the present law to decry the proposal made by with no great hopes, of finding them in the right, the noble Lord (a member of the Opposition) for I venture to begin my inquiry, and engage in laying a high duty upon these pernicious liquors. the examination of their first assertion, that the High duties have already, as we are informed, present law against the abuse of strong liquors been tried without advantage. High duties are is without effect.
at this hour imposed upon those spirits which I hope, my Lords, it portends well to my in- are retailed, yet we see them every day sold in quiry that the first position which I have to ex- the streets without the payment of the tax re. amine is true ; nor can I forbear to congratulate Iquired, and therefore it will be folly to make