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errors continues still to blunder, and whose age has only added obstinacy to stupidity, is surely the object of abhorrence or contempt, and deserves not that his grey head should preserve him from insults.

Much more is he to be abhorred, who, as he has advanced in age, has receded from virtue, and becomes more wicked with less temptation ; who prostitutes himself for money he cannot enjoy, and spends the remains of his life in the ruin of his country.

But youth is not my only crime! I have been accused of acting a theatrical part. A theatrical part may either imply some peculiarities of gesture, or a dissimulation of my real sentiments, and the adoption of the opinions and language of another man.

In the first sense, the charge is too trifling to be confuted, and deserves only to be mentioned, that it may be despised ; I am at liberty, like every other man, to use my own language : and though I may, perhaps, have some ambition, yet, to please this gentleman, I shall not lay myself under any restraint, nor very solicitously copy his diction, or his mien, however matured by age, or modelled by experience. If any man shall, by charging me with theatrical behaviour, imply that I utter any sentiments but my own, I shall treat him as a calumniator and a villain ; nor shall any protection shelter him from the treatment which he deserves. I shall on such an occasion, without scruple, trample upon all those forms with which wealth and dignity entrench themselves, nor shall anything but age restrain my resentment; age, which always brings one privilege, that of being insolent and supercilious without punishment.

But with regard to those whom I have offended, I am of opinion, that if I had acted a borrowed part, I should have avoided their censure ; the heat that offended them is the ardour of conviction and the zeal for the service of my country, which neither hope nor fear shall influence me to suppress. I will not sit unconcerned while my liberty is invaded, nor look in silence upon public robbery. I will exert my endeavours, at whatever hazard to repel the aggressor, and drag the thief to justice, whoever may protect them in their villainy, and whoever may partake of their plunder, their posterity will for ever continue in office. Sir, this doctrine has been so often contradicted by experience, that I am

surprised to hear it advanced by gentlemen now. This very session has afforded us a convincing proof that very little foundation exists for asserting that a parliamentary enquiry must necessarily reveal the secrets of the government. Surely, in a war with Spain which must necessarily be carried on principally by sea, if the government have secrets, the Lords of the Admiralty must be entrusted with the most important of them. Yet, sir, in this very session we have without any secret committees made enquiry into the conduct of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. We have not only enquired into their conduct, but we have censured it in such manner as to put an end to the trust which was before reposed in them. Has that enquiry discovered any of the secrets of our government ? On the contrary, the committee found there was no occasion to probe into such secrets. They found cause enough for censure without it, and none of the commissioners pretended to justify their conduct by the assertion that papers contained secrets which ought not to be disclosed.

This, Sir, is so recent, so strong a proof that there is no necessary connection between a parliamentary enquiry and a discovery of secrets which it behoves the nation to conceal, that I trust gentlemen will no longer insist upon this danger as an argument against the enquiry. Sir, the First Commissioner of the Treasury has nothing to do with the application of secretservice money. He is only to take care that it be regularly issued from his office and that no more be issued than the conjuncture of affairs appears to demand. As to the particular application, it properly belongs to the Secretary of State, or to such other persons as his Majesty employs, so that we cannot suppose the proposed enquiry will discover any secrets relative to the application of that money unless the noble Lord has acted as Secretary of State, as well as First Commissioner of the Treasury; or unless a great part of the money drawn out for secret service has been delivered to himself or persons employed by him, and applied towards getting a corrupt influence in Parliament or at elections. Of both these practices he is most grievously suspected, and both are secrets which it very much behoves him to conceal. But, Sir, it equally behoves the nation to discover them. His country and he are, in this cause, equally, though oppositely, concerned; for the safety or ruin of one or the other depends upon the fate of the

question, and the violent opposition, which this question has experienced adds great strength to the suspicion.

I admit, Sir, that the noble Lord, whose conduct is now proposed to be enquired into, was one of His Majesty's most honourable Privy Council, and consequently he must have had a share at least in advising all the measures which have been pursued both abroad and at home. But I cannot from this admit, that an inquiry into his conduct must necessarily occasion a discovery of any secrets of vital importance to the nation, because we are not to enquire into the measures themselves.

But, Sir, suspicions have gone abroad relative to his conduct as a Privy Councillor which, if true, are of the utmost consequence to be enquired into. It has been strongly asserted that he was not only Privy Councillor, but that he usurped the whole and sole director of his Majesty's Privy Council. It has been asserted that he gave the Spanish Court the first hint of the unjust claim they afterwards advanced against our South Sea Company, which was one chief cause of the war between the two nations. And it has been asserted, that this very minister has advised the French in what manner to proceed in order to bring our Court into their measures; particularly that he advised them as to the numerous army they have this last summer sent into Westphalia. What truth there is in these assertions I pretend not to decide. The facts are of such a nature, and they must have been perpetrated with so much caution and secrecy, that it will be difficult to bring them to light even by a parliamentary enquiry ; but the very suspicion is ground enough for establishing such enquiry, and for carrying it on with the utmost strictness and vigour.

Whatever my opinion of past measures may be, I shall never be so vain, or bigoted to that opinion, as to determine, without any enquiry, against the majority of my countrymen. If I found the public measures generally condemned, let my private opinions of them be ever so favourable, I should be for enquiry in order to convince the people of their error, or at least to furnish myself with the most authentic arguments in favour of the opinion I had embraced. The desire of bringing others into the same sentiments with ourselves is so natural, that I shall always suspect the candour of those who in politics and religion are opposed to free enquiry. Besides, Sir, when the complaints of the people are general against an administration, or against any particular minister, an enquiry is a duty which we owe both to our Sovereign and the people. We meet here to communicate to our Sovereign the sentiments of his people. We meet here to redress the grievances of the people. By performing our duty in both respects, we shall always be enabled to establish the throne of our Sovereign in the hearts of his people, and to hinder the people from being led into insurrection and rebellion by misrepresentations or false surmises. When the people complain they must either be right or in error. If they be right, we are in duty bound to enquire into the conduct of the ministers, and to punish those who appear to have been most guilty. If they be in error, we ought still to enquire into the conduct of our Ministers in order to convince the people that they have been misled. We ought not, therefore, in any question relating to enquiry, to be governed by our own sentiments. We must be governed by the sentiments of our constituents, if we are resolved to perform our duty both as true representatives of the people or as faithful subjects of our King.

I perfectly agree with the honourable gentleman that if we are convinced that the public measures are wrong, or that if we suspect them to be so, we ought to make enquiry although there is not much complaint among the people ; but I wholly differ from him in thinking that, notwithstanding the administration and the minister are the subjects of complaint among the people, we ought not to make enquiry into his conduct unless we are ourselves convinced that his measures have been wrong. Sir, we can no more determine this question without enquiry than a judge without a trial can declare any man innocent of a crime laid to his charge. Common fame is a sufficient ground for an inquisition at common law, and for the same reason, the general voice of the people of England ought always to be regarded as a sufficient ground for a parliamentary enquiry.

But, say gentlemen, of what is this minister accused ? What crime is laid to his charge ? For, unless some misfortune is said to have happened, or some crime to have been committed no enquiry ought to be set on foot. Sir, the ill posture of our affairs both abroad and at home; the melancholy situation we are in ; the distresses to which we are now reduced, are

sufficient causes for an enquiry even supposing the minister accused of no particular crime or misconduct. The nation lies bleeding, perhaps expiring. The balance of power has been fatally disturbed. Shall we acknowledge this to be the case, and shall we not enquire whether it has happened by mischance, or by the misconduct, perhaps by the malice prepense, of the minister ? Before the Treaty of Utrecht it was the general opinion that in a few years of peace we should be able to pay off most of our debts. We have now been very nearly thirty years in profound peace, at least we have never been engaged in any war but what we unnecessarily brought upon ourselves, and yet our debts are almost as great as they were when that Treaty was concluded. Is not this a misfortune, and shall not we make enquiry into its cause ?

I am surprised to hear it said that no enquiry ought to be set on foot, unless it is known that some public crime has been committed. Sir, the suspicion that a crime has been committed has always been deemed a sufficient reason for instituting an enquiry. And is there not now a suspicion that the public money has been applied towards gaining a corrupt influence at elections? Is it not become a common expression : The flood gates of the Treasury are opened against a general election ” ? I desire no more than that every gentleman who is conscious that such practices have been resorted to, either for or against him, should give his vote in favour of the motion. Will any gentleman say that this is no crime when every private corruption has such high penalties, inflicted by express statute against it? Sir, a minister who commits this crime—who thus abuses the public money, adds breach of trust to the crime of corruption; and as the crime, when committed by him, is of much more dangerous consequence than when committed by a private man, it becomes more properly the object of a parliamentary enquiry, and merits the severest punishment. The honourable gentleman may with much more reason tell us that Porteous was never murdered by the mob at Edinburgh, because, notwithstanding the high reward as well as pardon proffered, his murderers were never discovered, than tell us that we cannot suppose our minister, either personally or by others, has ever corrupted an election, because no information has been brought against him; Sir,

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