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us off. Sir, it is impossible for us to get off, eries to Europe, as well as to his country. Let without first recovering that confidence with our us be as merciful as we will, as merciful as any ancient allies which formerly we possessed. This man can reasonably desire, when we come to we can not do, so long as they suppose that our pronounce sentence; but sentence we must procouncils are influenced by our late minister ; nounce. For this purpose, unless we are reand this they will suppose so long as he has ac- solved to sacrifice our own liberties, and the libcess to the King's closet—so long as his conduct erties of Europe, to the preservation of one guilty remains oninquired into and uncensured. It is man, we must make the inquiry. not, therefore, in revenge for our past disasters, i but from a desire to prevent them in future, that The motion was rejected by a majority of two. I am now so zealous for this inquiry. The pun- A second motion was made a fortnight after, for ishment of the minister, be it ever so severe, will an inquiry into the last ten years of Walpole's be but a small atonement for the past. But his administration, which gave rise to another speech impunity will be the source of many future mis- of Mr. Pitt. This will next be given.




INTRODUCTION. Lord Limerick's first motion for an inquiry into the conduct of Walpole was lost chiefly through the absence of Mr. Pulteney from the House during the illness of a favorite daughter. On the return of Pulteney at the end of a fortnight, the motion was renewed, with a variation in one respect, viz., that the inquiry be extended only to the last ten years of Walpole's continuance in office.

On that occasion, Mr. Pitt made the following speech in answer to Mr. Cook Harefield, who had recently taken his seat in the House. In it he shows his remarkable power of reply; and argues with great force the propriety of inquiry, as leading to a decision whether an impeachment should be commenced.

SPEECH, &c. As the honorable gentleman who spoke last This, sir, would be a most convenient doctrine against the motion has not been long in the for ministers, because it would put an end to all House, it is but charitable to believe him sin- parliamentary inquiries into the conduct of our cere in prosessing that he is ready to agree to a public affairs; and, therefore, when I hear it parliamentary inquiry when he thinks the occa- urged, and so much insisted on, by a certain set sion requires it. But if he knew how often such of gentlemen in this House, I must suppose their

I professions are made by those who upon all oc- hopes to be very extensive. I must suppose casions oppose inquiry, he would now avoid them to expect that they and their posterity will them, because they are generally believed to be forever continue in office. Sir, this doctrine insincere. He may, it is true, have nothing to has been so often contradicted by experience, dread, on his own account, from inquiry. But that I am surprised to hear it advanced by genwhen a gentleman has contracted, or any of his tlemen now. This very session has afforded us near relations have contracted, a friendship with a convincing proof that very little foundation exone who may be brought into danger, it is very ists for asserting, that a parliamentary inquiry natural to suppose that such a gentleman's op- must necessarily reveal the secrets of the govposition to an inquiry does not entirely proceed ernment. Surely, in a war with Spain, which from public motives; and if that gentleman fol- must be carried on principally by sea, is the lows the advice of some of his friends, I very government have secrets, the Lords of the Admuch question whether he will ever think the miralty must be intrusted with the most importoccasion requires an inquiry into the conduct of ant of them. Yet, sir, in this very session, we our public affairs.

have, without any secret committees, made inAs a parliamentary inqniry must always be quiry into the conduct of the Lords Commis. founded upon suspicions, as well as upon facts sioners of the Admiralty. We have not only or manifest crimes, reasons may always be found inquired into their conduct, but we have cenfor alleging those suspicions to be without foun- sured it in such a manner as to put an end to dation ; and upon the principle that a parlia- the trust which was before reposed in them. mentary inquiry must necessarily lay open the Has that inquiry discovered any of the secrets secrets of government, no time can ever be of our governnient? On the contrary, the comproper or convenient for such inquiry, because mittee found that there was no occasion to probe it is impossible to suppose a time when the gove into such secrets. They found cause enough for ernment has no secrets to disclose.

censure without it; and none of the Commission

ers pretended to justify their conduct by the as- / perpetrated with so much caution and secrecy, sertion that the papers contained secrets which that it will be difficult to bring them to light ought not to be disclosed.

even by a parliamentary inquiry ; but the very This, sir, is so recent, so strong a proof that suspicion is ground enough for establishing such there is no necessary connection between a par- inquiry, and for carrying it on with the utmost liamentary inquiry and a discovery of secrets strictness and vigor. which it behooves the nation to conceal, that I Whatever my opinion of past measures may trust gentlemen will no longer insist upon this be, I shall never be so vain, or bigoted to that danger as an argument against the inquiry. opinion, as to determine, without any inquiry, Sir, the First Commissioner of the Treasury has against the majority of my countrymen. If I nothing to do with the application of secret serv- sound the public measures generally condemned, ice money. He is only to take care that it be let my private opinions of them be ever so faregularly issued from his office, and that no more vorable, I should be for inquiry in order to conbe issued than the conjuncture of affairs appears vince the people of their error, or at least to furto demand. As to the particular application, it nish myself with the most authentic arguments properly belongs to the Secretary of State, or in favor of the opinion I had embraced. The 'o such other persons as his Majesty employs. desire of bringing others into the same sentiHence we can not suppose the proposed inquiry ments with ourselves is so natural, that I shall will discover any secrets relative to the applica- always suspect the candor of those who, in polition of that money, unless the noble Jord has tics or religion, are opposed to free inquiry. Beacted as Secretary of State, as well as first sides, sir, when the complaints of the people are Commissioner of the Treasury; or unless a great general against an administration, or against part of the money drawn out for secret service any particular minister, an inquiry is a duty has been delivered to himself or persons em- which we owe both to our sovereign and the ployed by him, and applied toward gaining a people. We meet here to communicate to our corrupt influence in Parliament or at elections. sovereign the sentiments of his people. We of both these practices he is most grievously meet here to redress the grievances of the peosuspected, and both are secrets which it very ple. By performing our duty in both respects, much behooves him to conceal. But, sir, it we shall always be enabled to establish the equally behooves the nation to discover them. throne of our sovereign in the hearts of his peoHis country and he are, in this cause, equally, ple, and to hinder the people from being led although oppositely concerned. The safety or into insurrection and rebellion by misrepresentaruin of one or the other depends upon the fate tions or false surmises. When the people comof the question ; and the violent opposition which plain, they must either be right or in error. If this question has experienced adds great strength they be right, we are in duty bound to inquire to the suspicion.

into the conduct of the ministers, and to punish I admit, sir, that the noble lord {Walpole), those who appear to have been most guilty. If whose conduct is now proposed to be inquired they be in error, we ought still to inquire into into, was one of his Majesty's most honorable the conduct of our ministers, in order to convince Privy Council, and consequently that he must the people that they have been misled. We have had a share at least in advising all the ought not, therefore, in any question relating to measures which have been pursued both abroad inquiry, to be governed by our own sentiments. and at home. But I can not from this admit, We must be governed by the sentiments of our that an inquiry into his conduct must necessa- constituents, if we are resolved to perform our rily occasion a discovery of any secrets of vital duty, both as truo representatives of the people, importance to the nation, because we are not to and as faithful subjects of our King. inquire into the measures themselves.

I perfectly agree with the honorable gentleBut, sir, suspicions have gone abroad relative man, that if we are convinced that the public to his conduct as a Privy Counselor, which, if measures are wrong, or that if we suspect them true, are of the utmost consequence to be in- to be so, we ought to make inquiry, although quired into. It has been strongly asserted that there is not much complaint among the people. he was not only a Privy Counselor, but that he But I wholly differ from him in thinking that usurped the whole and sole direction of his Maj- notwithstanding the administration and the minesty's Privy Council. It has been asserted that ister are the subjects of complaint among the he gave the Spanish court the first hint of the people, we ought not to make inquiry into his unjust claim they afterward advanced against conduct unless we are ourselves convinced that our South Sea Company, which was one chief his measures have been wrong. Sir, we can cause of the war between the two nations. And no more determine this question without init has been asserted that this very minister has quiry, thao a judge without a trial can declare advised the French in what manner to proceed any man innocent of a crime laid to his charge. in order to bring our Court into their measures; Common fame is a sufficient ground for an inparticularly, that he advised them as to the nu- quisition at common law; and for the same reamerous army they have this last summer sent son, the general voice of the people of England into Westphalia. What truth there is in these ought always to be regarded as a sufficient assertions, I pretend not to decide. The facts ground for a parliamentary inquiry. are of such a nature, and they must have been But, say gentlemen, of what is this minister accused? What crime is laid to his charge? | suppose our minister, either personally or by othFor, unless some misfortune is said to have hap-ers, has ever corrupted an election, because no pened, or some crime to have been committed, information has been brought against him. Sir, no inquiry ought to be set on foot. Sir, the ill nothing but a pardon, upon the conviction of the posture of our affairs both abroad and at home; offender, has ever yet been offered in this case; the melancholy situation we are in; the distress- and how could any informer expect a pardon, es to which we are now reduced, are sufficient and much less a reward, when he knew that the causes for an inquiry, even supposing the minis- very man against whom he was to inform had ter accused of no particular crime or misconduct. not only the distribution of all public rewards, The nation lies bleeding, perhaps expiring. The but the packing of a jury or a Parliament against balance of power has been fatally disturbed. him ? While such a minister preserves the faShall we acknowledge this to be the case, and vor of the Crown, and thereby the exercise of its shall we not inquire whether it has happened by power, this information can never be expected. mischance, or by the misconduct, perhaps by the This shows, sir, the impotence of the act, malice prepense, of the minister ? Before the mentioned by the honorable gentleman, respectTreaty of Utrecht, it was the general opinion that ing that sort of corruption which is called bribin a few years of peace we should be able to pay ery. With regard to the other sort of corrupoff most of our debts. We have now been very tion, which consists in giving or taking away nearly thirty years in profound peace, at least those posts, pensions, or preserments which dewe have never been engaged in any war but pend upon the arbitrary will of the Crown, the what we unnecessarily brought upon ourselves, act is still more inefficient. Although it would and yet our debts are almost as great as they be considered most indecent in a minister to tell were when that treaty was concluded. Is not any man that he gave or withheld a post, penthis a misfortune, and shall we not make inquiry sion, or preferment, on account of his voting for into its cause?

or against any ministerial measure in Parliament, I am surprised to hear it said that no inquiry or any ministerial candidate at an election; yet, ought to be set on foot unless it is known that is he makes it his constant rule never to give a some public crime has been committed. Sir, post, pension, or preferment, but to those who the suspicion that a crime has been committed vote for his measures and his candidates ; if he has always been deemed a sufficient reason for makes a few examples of dismissing those who instituting an inquiry. And is there not now a vote otherwise, it will have the same effect as suspicion that the public money has been applied when he openly declares it. Will any gentletoward gaining a corrupt influence at elections ? man say that this has not been the practice of Is it not become a common expression, " The the minister ? Has he not declared, in the face flood-gates of the Treasury are opened against a of this House, that he will continue the pracgeneral election ?! I desire no more than that tice ? And will not this have the same effect every gentleman who is conscious that such as if he went separately to every particular man, practices have been resorted to, either for or and told him in express terms, “Sir, if you voto against him, should give his vote in favor of the for such a measure or such a candidate, you motion. Will any gentleman say that this is no shall have the first preferment in the gift of the crime, when even private corruption has such Crown; if you vote otherwise, you must not exhigh penalties inflicted by express statute against pect to keep what you have ??? Gentlemen may it ? Sir, a minister who commits this crime— deny that the sun shines at noon-day; but if they who thus abuses the public money, adds breach have eyes, and do not willfully shut them, or of trust to the crime of corruption; and as the turn their backs, no man will believe them to be crime, when committed by him, is of much more ingenuous in what they say. I think, therefore, dangerous consequence than when committed by that the honorable gentleman was in the right a private man, it becomes more properly the ob- who endeavored to justify the practice. It was ject of a parliamentary inquiry, and merits the more candid than to deny it. But as his arguseverest punishment. The honorable gentleman ments have already been fully answered, I shall may with much more reason tell us that Porte- not farther discuss them. onus was never murdered by the mob at Edin- Gentlemen exclaim, “What will you take burgh, because, notwithstanding the high reward from the Crown the power of preferring or cashas well as pardon proffered, his murderers were iering the officers of the army?" No, sir, this nerer discovered, than tell us that we can not is neither the design, nor will it be the effect of ent possesses the absolute power to prefer or ) and the reason is plain, because we ought first cashier the officers of our army. It is a prerog- to inquire into the management of that revenue, ative which he may employ for the benefit or and punish those who have occasioned the defisafety of the public; but, like other prerogatives, ciency. They will certainly choose to leave the it may be abused, and when it is so abused, the creditors of the Crown and the honor of the naminister is responsible to Parliament. When an tion in a state of suffering, rather than advise officer is preferred or cashiered for voting in fa- the King to make an application which may vor of or against any court measure or candidate, bring censure upon their conduct, and condign it is an abuse of this prerogative, for which the punishment upon themselves. Besides this, sir, minister is answerable. We may judge from another and a stronger reason exists for promotcircumstances or outward appearances—from ing an inquiry. There is a strong suspicion these we may condemn, and I hope we have that the public money has been applied toward still a power to punish a minister who dares to corrupting voters at elections, and members advise the King to preser or cashier from such when elected; and if the civil list be in debt, it motives! Sir, whether this prerogative ought affords reason to presume that some part of this to remain as it is, without any limitation, is a revenue has, under the pretense of secret service question foreign to this debate. But I must ob- money, been applied to this infamous purpose. serve, that the argument employed for it might, I shall conclude, sir, by making a few remarks with equal justice, be employed for giving our upon the last argument advanced against the King an absolute power over every man's prop- proposed inquiry. It has been said that the minerty; because a large property will always give ister delivered in his accounts annually; that the possessor a command over a great body of these accounts were annually passed and apmen, whom he may arm and discipline if he proved by Parliament; and that therefore it pleases. I know of no law to restrain him I would be unjust to call him now to a general hope none will ever exist—I wish our gentlemen account, because the vouchers may be lost, or of' estates would make more use of this power many expensive transactions have escaped bis than they do, because it would tend to keep our memory. It is true, sir, estimates and accounts domestic as well as our foreign enemies in awe. were annually delivered in. The forms of proFor my part, I think that a gentleman who has ceeding made that necessary. But were any of earned his commission by his services (in his these estimates and accounts properly inquired military capacity. I mean), or bought it with his into? Were not all questions of that descripmoney, has as much a property in it as any man tion rejected by the minister's friends in Parliahas in his estate, and ought to have it as well ment ? Did not Parliament always take them secured by the laws of his country. While it upon trust, and pass them without examination ? remains at the absolute will of the Crown, he can such a superficial passing, to call it no must, unless he has some other estate to depend worse, be deemed a reason for not calling him on, be a slave to the minister; and if the officers to a new and general account? If the steward of our army long continue in that state of slavery to an infant's estate should annually, for twenty in which they are at present, I am afraid it will years together, deliver in his accounts to the

our agreeing to the motion. The King at pres· Debt on the accession of George the First, in 1714.


a few nights after, broke open his prison, and hang. Debt at the commencement of the

ed him on the spot where he bad tired. A reward Spanish war, in:1739


of £200 was offered, but the perpetrators could not Decrease daring the peace £7,190,740 be discovered. • The case of Porteous, here referred to, was the 3 It will be recollected that, in consequence of his one on which Sir Walter Scott founded his “ Heart parliamentary opposition to Sir Robert Walpole, Mr. of Midlothian." Porteous had been condemned to Pitt had been bimself dismissed from the army. The death for firing on the people of Edinburgh, but was Duke of Bolton and Lord Cobham had also, for a reprieved at the moment when the execution was similar reason, been deprived of the command of to bave taken place. Exasperated at this, the mob, I their regiments.

I make slaves of us all.

guardians ; and the guardians, through negliThe only method to prevent this fatal conse- gence, or for a share of the plunder, should anquence, as the law now stands, is to make the nually pass his accounts without examination, or best and most constant use of the power we pos- at least without objection ; would that be a reasess as members of this House, to prevent any son for saying that it would be unjust in the inminister from daring to advise the King to make fant, when he came of age, to call his steward a bad use of his prerogative. As there is such | to account ? Especially if that steward had a'strong suspicion that this minister has done so, built and furnished sumptuous palaces, living, we ought certainly to inquire into it, not only for during the whole time, at a much greater exthe sake of punishing him is guilty, but as a ter- pense than his visible income warranted, and yet ror to all future ministers.

amassing great riches ? The public, sir, is alThis, sir, may therefore be justly reckoned ways in a state of infancy; therefore no preamong the many other sufficient causes for the scription can be pleaded against it--not even a inquiry proposed. The suspicion that the civil general release, if there is the least cause for list is greatly in debt is another; for if it is, it supposing that it was surreptitiously obtained. must either have been misapplied, or profusely Public vouchers ought always to remain on recthrown away, which abuse it is our duty both to ord; nor ought any public expense to be incurprevent and to punish. It is inconsistent with red without a voucher-therefore the case of the the honor of this nation that the King should public is still stronger than that of an infant. stand indebted to his servants or tradesmen, Thus, sir, the honorable gentleman who made who may be ruined by delay of payment. The use of this objection, must see how little it avails Parliament has provided sufficiently to prevent in the case before us; and therefore I trust we this dishonor from being brought upon the na- shall have his concurrence in the question. tion, and, if the provision we have made should be lavished or misapplied, we must supply the The motion prevailed by a majority of seven. deficiency. We ought to do it, whether the King A committee of twenty-one was appointed, commakes any application for that purpose or not; I posed of Walpole's political and personal opponents. They entered on the inquiry with great tion from peculators and others, who might wish zeal and expectation. But no documentary to cover their crimes by making the minister a prooss of importance could be found. Witnesses partaker in their guilt." The result of all their were called up for examination as to their trans- inquiries,” says Cooke," was charges so few and actions with the treasury ; but they refused to so ridiculous, when compared with those put fortestisy, unless previously indemnified against the ward at the commencement of the investigation, consequences of the evidence they might be re- that the promoters of the prosecution were themquired to give. The House passed a bill of in- selves ashamed of their work. Success was demnity, but the Lords rejected it, as dangerous found impracticable, and Lord Orford enjoyed his in its tendency, and calculated to invite accusa- honors unmolested."—Hist. of Party, ii., 316.




INTRODUCTION. GEORGE II., when freed from the trammels of Walpole's pacific policy, had a silly ambition of appearing on the Continent, like William III., at the head of a confederate army against France, while he sought, at the same time, to defend and aggrandize his Electorate of Hanover at the expense of Great Britain. In this he was encouraged by Lord Carteret, who succeeded Walpole as prime minister. The King therefore took sixteen thousand Hanoverian troops into British pay, and sent them with a large English force into Flanders. His object was to create a diversion in favor of Maria Theresa, queen of Hungary, to whom the English were now affording aid, in accordance with their guarantee of the Pragmatic Sanc. tion. Two subsidies, one of £300,000 and another of £500,000, had already been transmitted for her relief; and so popular was her cause in England, that almost any sum would have been freely given. But there was a general and strong opposition to the King's plan of shifting the burdens of Hanover on to the British treasury. Mr. Pitt, who concurred in these views, availed himself of this opportunity to come out as the opponent of Carteret. He had been neglected and set aside in the arrangements which were made after the fall of Walpole ; and he was not of a spirit tamely to bear the arrogance of the new min. ister. Accordingly, when a motion was made to provide for the payment of the Hanoverian troops, he delivered the following speech, in reply to Henry Fox, wbo had said that he should continue to vote for these measures till better could be proposed."


SPEECH, &c. Sir, if the honorable gentleman determines to the place most distant from the enemy, least in abandon his present sentiments as soon as any danger of an attack, and most strongly fortified, better measures are proposed, the ministry will had an attack been designed. They have, therequickly be deprived of one of their ablest desend fore, no other claim to be paid, than that they ers; for I consider the measures hitherto pur- left their own country for a place of greater sesued so weak and so pernicious, that scarcely curity. It is always reasonable to judge of the any alteration can be proposed that will not be future by the past ; and therefore it is probable for the advantage of the nation.

that next year the services of these troops will The honorable gentleman has already been in- not be of equal importance with those for which formed that no necessity existed for hiring auxil- they are now to be paid. I shall not, therefore, iary troops. It does not appear that either justice be surprised, if, after such another glorious camor policy required us to engage in the quarrels of paign, the opponents of the ministry be chalthe Continent; that there was any need of forming lenged to propose better measures, and be told an army in the Low Countries; or that, in order that the money of this nation can not be more to form an army, auxiliaries were necessary. properly employed than in hiring Hanoverians to

But, not to dwell upon disputable points, I eat and sleep. think it may justly be concluded that the meas- But to prove yet more particularly that better ures of our ministry have been ill concerted, be measures may be taken—hat more useful troops cause it is undoubtedly wrong to squander the may be retained—and that, therefore, the honpublic money without effect, and to pay armies, orable gentleman may be expected to quit those only to be a show to our friends and a scorn to to whom he now adheres, I shall show that, in our enemies.

hiring the forces of Hanover, we have obstructThe troops of Hanover, whom we are now ex- ed our own designs; that, instead of assisting pected to pay, marched into the Low Countries, the Queen of Hungary, we have withdrawn from sir, where they still remain. They marched to her a part of the allies, and have burdened the

nation with troops from which no service can * See note to Walpole's speech, p. 40. reasonably be expected.

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