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was nothing specifically charged against them in the amendment, he must certainly oppose it on principle; much less could it be supposed that he would agree to the implied censure upon himself, which was included in the general requisition for new counsels and new counsellors.
One of the ablest advocates on the fame side observed, that the address was totally unexceptionable in all its parts; that it went 110 farther in its tendency than to carry np to the throne, those expressions 0/ duty and affection, which had ever been the language of parliament in their answer to the speech of the sovereign. There was not a word in the address, which could imply that parliament pledged itself to the support of any particular measure, or to oppose or protect any particular description of men. Along with the usual terms of respect, it contained nothing more than a general profession of union, on the common principle of selfdefence.
On the other hand, the amendment, according to the explanations which had been given in its support, implied a requisition, not only that his majesty would dismiss all his counsellors, whether guilty or guiltless, old or new; but that he would go still farther, and adopt an entirely new system of government. On this he observed, that the constitution had placed the executive power of this government in the sovereign, the official functions of which are performed by persons of his appointment, each of whom is personally responsible for
his conduct in office. It was absolutely necessary, he said, for preserving the due equilibrium prescribed by the constitution, that the prince should have free liberty to appoint those persons to the various executive offices, who appeared to him the most proper to fill them; otherwise the government would degenerate into an aristocracy, and assume the worst vices, without the virtues, of a republic. If the prince were debarred of such a choice, either the nobles would acquire a most dangerous ascendancy over the crown, or the commons, encircling the throne, like a spider's web, with a ministry of their own choosing, would throw every thing into anarchy and confusion, and reduce us to the worst and most despicable state of government.
Neither the course of reasofring, the arguments, nor the assertions of the minister, were sufficient to afford any satisfaction to the other side. They observed, that with his usual ingenuity, he had converted the heaviest charges against his conduct, into the means of actual defence. The criminal neglect and fatal decline of the navy under his administration, illustrated and proved l>y its acknowledged inferiority, and late indelible disgrace, afforded a charge of so alarming and capital a nature, that it seemed to lay him under an indispensable necessity of shewing, either, that it had not declined, or that the grants afforded by parliament were not adequate to its support. But without the smallest trooble of that sort, the minister applies that
[D] 2 very
very inferiority, which constitutes their own grievances -and distutb
"his most deadly crime, to the jus- ances. Such, they said, was
tification of its shameful conse- the mode of reasoning, with
quence, the scandalous flight of which ministers and their advo-'
the British fleet; and tells us with cates, in the present day, dared
the greatest unconcern, that it to insult the understanding of par
would have been madness not to run liament.'
away. •> But they demand proofs of The noble lord, they said, was their incapacity and misconduct, not less ingenious in the excul- Could any proofs upon earth expation of other parts of his con- ceed, or equal, a bare recital of duct. . Administration were en- their acts, and of the consequently guiltless of all those ruinous ces which they produced? Is not consequences, which can only be the unexampled ruin which, generated, by a long conjunction within a few years, their governof evil government and political ment has brought upon a counfolly.' The common union and try, so great, so glorious, and revolt of thirteen colonies, who so flourishing as this was, at the never agreed in any thing else, commencement of the present with the loss of America, he ac- reign, the most conclusive possible counts for in one short sentence, evidence, either, of the most by charging it to the rebellious wretched incapacity, or of wilful disposition of a people, who had design and treachery. But if ever been eminently distinguished every other proof of ignorance, and for their loyajty. If we are incapacity, and of the necessity abandoned, in a manner unex- of demanding from the thronc ampled in history, at this perilous the removal of the present minimoment, without the assistance or sters and counsellors, were wanthope of a single ally, the minister ing, the noble lord himself had comforts us with the assurance just supplied the strongest that that it is no fault of his, but pro- could be given; and what, inceeds merely from the blind folly, deed, might well supersede all or strange ingratitude, of other other evidence. For, after the powers. The loss of our West- long notice he had received from India islands, is by no means to that house, the repeated warnbe charged to the indolence or ings given him by the opposition, neglect of ministry, but to the and the very alarming motives, activity and impudence of D'Es- which every day grew more urtaing, who unexpectedly took gent, for his making a full and them from us. And if Ireland immediate inquiry into the ast'airs, was slipping out of our hands, state, aud condition of Ireland, by a repetition of the fame mea- and duly weighing and considerfures and conduct which lost A- ing the means, for aisording a merica, still our immaculate mi- proper and adequate relief to her nisters were totally free from wants, and providing a remedy blame; for it was easily shewn by for her disorders, he had now this new logic, that the Irish candidly, but inadvertently conthemselves were tlie causes of fessed, that he was equally igno1 rant
rant of the wants, the disorder, and the cure. Could the most inveterate enemy, said they, have urged a better or stronger reason for the dismission of a minister, than was included in that confession? Could any other evidence be so unexceptionable, or establish so full a conviction? Or, after such a confession, was it possible for that house to hesitate a moment in voting for the removal of such a minister?
After very long debates, in which an infinite quantity and variety of public matter was canvassed, the question being put, at a late hour, the proposed amendment was rejected upon a division, by a majority of 233, to 134.
The address was moved for in the House of Lords by the Earl of Chesterfield, and seconded by Lord Grantham, late ambassador at the court of Madrid. The amendment was moved for, and supported with great ability, by the Marquis of Rockingham; who, in a long speech, took a comprehensive view of the general policy of the present reign, as well as of the particular circumIhnces and public transactions of the current year. The debate was supported, on that side, by* the Dukes of Richmond and Grafton, the Earls of Shelburne, Coventry, and Effingbam, with the Lords Camden, and Lyttelton. On the other side, the two great law lords in office, the two new secretaries of state, the noble earl just placed at the head of the board of trade, and the marine minister, bore the weight of the contest. It will be easily seen from a
view of the antagonists, that no advantage could be gained on either side, from any defect of address or ability on the opposite. The debates were accordingly exceedingly interesting, embraced a variety of subjects of the greatest importance, and were carried on, without languor, through a length of time very unusual in thac house. Among other matters, the affairs of Ireland were much agitated; and much unqualified censure passed upon that criminal neglect, as it was called, to which their present dangerous situation was attributed. But no part of our recent public conduct, underwent a more critical investigation, or was more severely condemned, than what related to the disposition and government of the army within the kingdom, and to the means of defence adopted, or supposed to be neglected, during the summer. On this ground, the charges were so numerous, so directly applied, and supported with such ability and knowledge of the subject, particularly by the Duke of Richmond, that the noble lord at the head of that department, notwithstanding his habitual coolness and command of temper, could not but feel some embarrassment; and indeed it would have required such habits of argument, and such a portion of eloquence, as are not often acquired by, nor frequently the lot of military men, to have successfully resisted their effect, and entirely effaced the impression which they made.
As the charge of an . undue
system of government, and the
strictures upon the general policy
of the present reign, were prin
[£>] 3 cipally cipally made in that bouse, the matters arising from those subjects were, ot course, more particularly canvassed there; and brought out much severity and bitterness of reply. The lords in administration, besides an absolute contradiction or denial os every thing advanced on that ground, expressed the utmost astonishment, at the new and extraordinary language now held. They said, that the proposed amendment, along with the comments and explanations by which it was attended, were replete with invective, and in reality a kind of libel upon government. That nothing could be more fallacious or invidious, than the [contrast drawn, and the manner in which it was applied, between the degree of power, prosperity, and pre-eminence, attributed to the nation at the time of his majesty's accession, and the misfortune or danger of the present period.
It must indeed, they said, be acknowledged, however it might be regretted, that too many of the unfortunate facts stated on the other side, were too well established to be controverted; but the deduction drawn from these premises, that our public misfortunes were imputable to the present ministers, did not by any means follow. It would have been more ingenuous to have attributed these misfortunes, in a very great degiee, to our internal divisions, and to that incautious and violent language, which was too frequently held in parliament. But if they were imputable to the present administration, they were equally so to every other during the present reign. Dead
and living ministers, those now in opposition, as well as those in office, must all bear an equal share of the blame. There was scarcely a lord, on the same fide with the noble marquis who moved the amendment, who had not been a member of one administration or other within that period. They had all a share in those public measures, and in the support of that system, as it is affected to be called, which they now so bitterly inveigh against. Even the forbidden ground of America, which is execrated as the source of all our evils and calamities, has been indifferently trodden by every administration since the year
The present ministers had neither passed nor repealed the stamp act. They had not laid on those American duties, by wjiich the seeds of the present rebellion were first sowed. And, whatever the measures were, good or bad, wife or unwise, which they pursued, they only followed up the line, which had already been chalked' out for them by their predecessors. Why then, this sudden and violent cry, "of new counsels and new counsellors?" Or what was meant by new counsels? It was evident from the speech before them, that the object of the present system of government was to pursue the war with vigour and effect: would the noble marquis and his friends have that system changed? Did they wish to have it carried on with the reverie of vigour? Would they recommend tohave it followed with weakness, and conducted without spirit? Jf not, what was the intent or purpose of new counsels I
To this it was answered, that supposing the facts to be fairly listed (which was not, however, in any degree the cafe}, it was a new and extraordinary mode of defence, to bring the errors, vices, or crimes, of former ministers, whether dead or living, in exculpation of the erroneous conduct, and deflructive measures of the present. It must afford much satisfaction to the public, and be a matter of great comfort in their present distresses, to be informed, that their ministers had only obstinately persevered, in despite of reason, warning, and experience, in following up, to the final extremity ot ruin, to foreign and domestic war, and to the dissevering of the empire, certain measures of absurdity and evil, which had been either dreamed of in theory, or attempted in practice, by some of their predecessors. It was, indeed, rather unlucky, that it was only in such instances, that they ever attempted to profit by example. Upon other occasions, the maxims and conduct of their predecessors went for nothing. When it suited their own views, or the purposes of the arbitrary system under which they acted, they not only readily over-stepped all antient and established rules of government, but they could, with as much ease, make long strides beyond the limits of the constitution itself. But they wholly denied the universality of the charge on all the ministers of this reign. Some of them had no share in those measures, except in correcting the ill consequences of them j and none but the present
ministers persevered in direct oppo. sttion to all experience.
The late resignations and appointments afforded an opportunity to the opposition for much animadversion and some satire. They attributed the resignation of the lord president of the council, to his disdain of continuing any longer in office with men, who he found totally incapable of conducting the public business, and of acting up to any fixed rule or principle of conduct. The recent bringing in of a noble lord, to a short epistle of whose writing when formerly in office they directly charged the loss of America, was severely censured in both houses, as a measure which tended to render all reconciliation with the colonies still more desperate.
But the spirit of that system, they said, which had so long governed, and so long disgraced, our public counsels, was peculiarly operative in the business of appointments. When the measures, which eventually led to the loss of America, were first planned under that fatal system, it had been tViought proper to create a new office, under the title of secretary of state for the colonies, in order to give a supposed degree of weight, and the greater eclat, to the intended proceedings. And now, in the fulness of the fame spirit, and according to the true wisdom of that system, when we have no colonies to take care of, and that America no longer forms a part of the British empire, it is thought necessary to create or renew another high and expensive office, by adding, to
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