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CONDUCT OF THE MINORITY,
PARTICULARLY IN THE
LAST SESSION OF PARLIAMENT ;
THE DUKE OF PORTLAND
TO HIS GRACE
THE DUKE OF PORTLAND.
MY DEAR LORD,
paper, which I take the liberty of sending to your Grace, was, for the greater part, written during the last session. A few days after the prorogation some few observations were added. I was resolved however to let it lie by me for a considerable time; that in viewing the matter at a proper distance, and when the sharpness of recent impressions had been worn off, I might be better able to form a just estimate of the value of my first opinions.
I have just now read it over very coolly and deliberately. My latest judgment owns my first sentiments and reasonings, in their full force, with regard both to persons and things.
During a period of four years, the state of the world, except for some few and short intervals, has filled me with a good deal of serious inquietude. I considered a general war against jacobins and jacobinism, as the only possible chance. of saving Europe (and England as included in Europe) from a truly frightful revolution. For
this I have been censured, as receiving through weakness, or spreading through fraud and artifice, a false alarm. Whatever others may think of the matter, that alarm, in my mind, is by no means quieted. The state of affairs abroad is not so much mended, as to make me, for one, full of confidence. At home, I see no abatement whatsoever in the zeal of the partisans of jacobinism towards their cause, nor any cessation in their efforts to do mischief. What is doing by Lord Lauderdale on the first scene of Lord George Gordon's actions, and in his spirit, is not calculated to remove my apprehensions. They pursue their first object with as much eagerness as ever, but with more dexterity. Under the plausible name of peace, by which they delude or are deluded, they would deliver us unarmed, and defenceless, to the confederation of jacobins, whose center is indeed in France, but whose rays proceed in every direction throughout the world. I understand that Mr. Coke, of Norfolk, has been lately very busy in spreading a disaffection to this war (which we carry on for our being) in the county in which his property gives him so great an influence. It is truly alarming to see so large a part of the aristocratick interest engaged in the cause of the new species of democracy, which is openly attacking, or secretly undermining, the system of property by which mankind has hitherto been governed.
But we are not to delude ourselves. No man can be connected with a party which professes publickly to admire, or may be justly suspected of secretly abetting, this French Revolution, who must not be drawn into its vortex, and become the instrument of its designs.
What I have written is in the manner of ароlogy. I have given it that form, as being the most respectful; but I do not stand in need of any apology for my principles, my sentiments, or my conduct. I wish the paper I lay before your Grace, to be considered as my most deliberate, solemn, and even testamentary protest against the proceedings and doctrines which have hitherto produced so much mischief in the world, and which will infallibly produce more, and possibly greater. It is my protest against the delusion, by which some have been taught to look upon this jacobin contest at home, as an ordinary party squabble about place or patronage; and to regard this jacobin war abroad as a common war about trade or territorial boundaries, or about a political balance of power among rival or jealous states: above all, it is my protest against that mistake or perversion of sentiment, by which they, who agree with us in our principles, may on collateral considerations be regarded as enemies; and those who, in this perilous crisis of all human affairs, differ from us fundamentally and practically, as