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litical simile, was justly applicable to the King. His counsellors had managed so dexterously as to keep a set of Ministers about him, extremely well calculated to subdue his ambition, and, by a loss of a considerable part of his territories, to banish from his breast the lust of power and dominion.
Lord North proposed a system of regulations tending to give to Ireland the benefit . of a free trade. Burke, though often transported by the warmth of his temper into too great violence of invective against the Minister, yet, from the liberality of his enlightened mind, was not wanting in doing him justice, when his measures appeared to him beneficial and his conduct meritorious. He approved of the regulations respecting Ireland if they should be agreeable to that country. They were received with great gratitude and applause by the Irish, who censured the English Opposition for giving only a silent acquiescence to the resolutions,
instead of supporting them by the force of their eloquence.
Burke wrote a letter to his friends in Ireland, in vindication of his own conduct. He represented, that · till the Minister had been driven to some serious attention to the affairs of Ireland, by the measures adopted in that kingdom, his conduct had been extremely dilatory, indecisive, and equivocal: and that the Minority were justly incensed at him for having so grossly sacrificed the honour of the nation and the dignity of Parliament, as to refuse to afford any substantial relief to the Irish nation, till their own spirited exertions had made every thing that could be done by Great Britain to gratify them appear not an act of choice, but of necessity:
Among various subjects of attack against the conduct of Administration, the waste of public money was one of the most important. Although Lord North's individual
THAN OF PUBLIC
integrity has never been impeached ; although it never has been alledged that there was any defalcation of national treasure for his own use; it is certain that many of those employed under him made so immense fortunes as implied MORE OF PUBLIC MONEY
SERVICE DONE. Besides the actual servants of Government, those who had contracts with it had much greater profits than would have arisen from a fair competition. Certain contractors were allowed terms much more advantageous than those on which others would have supplied the requisite articles equally well, Burke reprobated this profusion, both as an unnecessary, and consequently unjust expenditure of the people's money, and as a source of corrupt influence to the Crown. The waste and the influence he considered as mutually acting and re-acting on each other : that as the waste increased influence, so the influence increased the facility of waste. He had very strenuously, in a preceding session, supported a motion for excluding contractors from a seat in the
house. He now took a general review not only of the expenditure of the public revenue by the Ministers of the time, but of the general establishments, considering the various places in detail, to ascertain their public utility. After enlarging on the topics, and entering into a history and discussion of finance in other countries, he gave notice, that after the Christmas holidays he should propose a plan for the reduction of the public expenditure.
The very enormous expence of our establishments from the war, and from 'waste continuing to increase, the imposts began to be severely felt in the nation. The subject now awakened the attention both of the inhabitants of the metropolis and of the different counties in the kingdom. Yorkshire and London, the chief county and the chief city of the kingdom, the principal districts of landed and of monied property, took the lead in expressing aların from an expenditure by which they were so much affected. The city of London and the
county of York each petitioned the House of Commons to adopt some plan for the reduction of expence. Other cities, counties, and towns followed this example, and established a committee of correspondence for promoting the comn:on cause.
The eyes of all were anxiously turned towards Burke, all expected his plan of reform.
On the lith of February, 1780, he communicated to the House of Commons his • plan of reform in the constitution of several parts of the public oeconomy.” This speech is replete with financial principle, accurate information as to the detail of establishments, their object and use, and embellished with all the beauties of eloquence. It is the speech of wisdom, selecting from the stores of knowledge what might be practically beneficial. The orations of Burke, especially those on great and comprehensive questions, abound in general observations, drawn from the most profound philosophy; which have the double merit of being in their place specially applicable to the object