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many that voted for it, if their depending upon the truth of these asseverations was not the only reason for their agreeing to so much as a seeming approbation of that infamous convention; but from the consequences, and likewise from the papers, imperfect as they are, laid before us, it now appears, that there was not the least ground for any of these asseverations. It
It appears, that Spain insisted upon having our navigation in the American seas regulated, that is to say, they insisted it should not be free. That Spain insisted upon our South Sea company's paying them a most unjust demand of 68,0001. which reduced the sum they were to pay us by the convention, to 27,0001. and this was not near the value of the ships they had before acknowledged to have been unjustly taken from us, and had actually despatched orders to the West Indies for their restitution, as appears upon the face of the convention itself; so that their agreeing to pay this sum was far from being even a tacit acknowledgment of their having no right to stop and search our ships upon the high seas, and to seize and confiscate them, if they had any of those goods on board, which the Spaniards are pleased to call contraband. It was only an acknowledgment, that some of our ships had been, even upon this footing, unjustly seized, which the Spanish court had expressly acknowledged, long before the convention was thought of. These, sir, were the terms the Spaniards insisted on; and they further insisted, as now plainly appears, that we should keep no squadron at Gibraltar or Port Mahon, notwithstanding their being now a part of the British dominions ; from whence they would, I suppose, have taken occasion in a short time to insist, against us at least, that they had a dominion over the Mediterranean, as well as the American seas, and that our ships should not sail in the former no more than in the latter, but by their leave, and according to such directions, or, if you please, regulations, as they should prescribe. These, I say, sir, were the terms of
the Spaniards insisted on. Unless we should agree to
these hard and dishonourable terms, the Spanish court never showed the least inclination to live in peace with us, as appears from the whole tenour of our negotiations previous to the convention. Can we suppose, that our prime and sole minister was ignorant of this? Can we suppose, that he believed or imagined, that a safe and honourable peace could be concluded with Spain upon the footing of the convention, or upon any other footing, whilst they continued to insist upon such conditions ? What then can we think of the argument he made use of for obtaining from parliament a sort of approbation of his convention ? Must not we conclude, that for this purpose he asserted what he knew to be false? And shall we suffer a man to sit, and to bear the chief sway in the councils of our sovereign, who, in order to impose a dishonourable treaty upon his king and country, asserted in open parliament what he knew to be absolutely false ?
I shall now beg leave, sir, to take notice of some of the most remarkable errours, if not crimes, in our minister's conduct, with regard to foreign affairs. Here too his administration began with a measure that could not but be disagreeable to the people, because it was dishonourable to the nation. It began with a treaty of peace with Spain, by which we agreed to restore the ships we had taken from that nation in an open and just war; and with a negotiation, I shall not say an engagement, to restore Gibraltar and Port Mahon, without stipulating any thing for the advantage of this nation, or obtaining an explanation of those treaties, which even then had begun to be misrepresented on the part of Spain. Soon after this, he entered into that close friendship and correspondence with the court of France, which, to the infinite disadvantage of this nation, has continued ever since, and which has now at last brought the balance of power into the utmost danger, if not to inevitable ruin. Bät the most remarkable and the most pernicious of all his pernicious measures was, the conceit he took into his head in the year 1725, that the house
of Austria was grown too powerful, and ought therefore to be pulled down. This conceit, whether his own, or of French original, made him infuse into his late majesty those frightful notions of the dangerous but impracticable engagements, which the emperour and Spain had entered into, by the treaty concluded between them at Vienna in that year; and this produced the treaty of Hanover, which loaded this nation with the expense of several useless squadrons, a great addition of useless regular troops, and which was the most useless of all, a great body of Hessian troops for several years, and large subsidies to foreign princes, whilst our allies the French, who had certainly more to fear than we had, from that conjunction between the courts of Vienna and Madrid, neither put themselves to any expense, nor picked any quarrels either with Spain or the emperour; but pursued their trade in safety, during the time that our trade to Spain was intirely stopt, and our trade to every other part of the world interrupted by Spanish privateers, fitted out and manned by French subjects.
I need not mention particularly the several negotiations, preliminaries, pacifications, conventions and treaties, which this treaty of Hanover gave birth to : for every negotiation we have carried on, and every treaty we have concluded since that time, may be said to proceed from that original; and every one of them may justly be called a true copy of the original. They have been a perfect series of blunders, and, like a nest of pill boxes from Germany, seem to be enclosed in one another, with nothing but emptiness in any of them; for I defy any man to show me one advantage this nation has reaped from any treaty we have negotiated for twenty years past. From the last treaty, indeed, I mean the convention, it may be said, we have reaped some advantage, because it forced us into a war, which is certainly more eligible than the destructive and dishonourable method of negotiation we had for so many years before been involved in ; and this war might have been attended with a real advantage, if our minister had thought fit to push it,
either with vigour or common discretion; but in the prosecution of the war he has acted, if possible, more weakly or more wickedly, than he did in time of peace. In time of peace he made us become the scoff of the nations around us, by the tediousness and the perplexity of his negotiations. In time of war, he has made us an object of scorn to our enemies, and an object of pity to our friends, by the vastness of his preparations and the pusillanimity of his actions. Our trade has been both oppressed and neglected for the sake of fitting out mighty squadrons, and our squadrons have been sent out, either with orders to do nothing, or without materials proper for doing any thing. By this conduct, sir, our enemies have been enriched with our spoils, and our own people oppressed with armies, which either should not have been raised, or should have been sent out to vindicate the honour of their country. Shall we in this house sit still, and see the councils of our sovereign directed by a minister, who has thus, both in peace and war, exposed our country to scorn and derision?
I beg pardon, sir, for taking up so much of your time: but the subject is so copious, that it is difficult to pick out those facts that are most proper to be mentioned ; and every part of his long administration is full of such oppressive and dangerous schemes, or such unaccountable blunders, that it is not easy
for one who has a true regard for his king and country, to pass any of them over in silence. I have mentioned but a few. What I have mentioned will show that the discontents of the people are far from being groundless; but suppose they were, they would nevertheless be a sufficient foundation for the address I am to propose ; for no man who has been so unfortunate, as to incur the publick hatred, ought to have any share in his majesty's confidence or councils. If his majesty were sensible of it, I am sure, he has such a regard for the affections of his people, that he would not allow such a man to approach his person or palace; and as it is our duty to inform his majesty, how de
testable this minister is to the majority of his people, we ought to take the proper way for giving our sove. reign this information, which is by addressing him to remove such a minister from his councils.
But further, sir, suppose this minister had never been guilty of any crime, errour, or oversight in his publick conduct; suppose the people had all along been perfectly pleased with his administration, yet the very length of it is, in a free country, sufficient cause for removing him. It is a most dangerous thing in a free government, to allow any man to continue too long in the possession of great power. Most com. monwealths have been overturned by this very oversight; and in this country, we know how difficult it has often proved, for our parliament to draw an old favourite from behind the throne, even when he has been guilty of the most heinous crimes. I wish this may not be our case at present ; for though I shall not say, nor have I at present any occasion for show. ing that the favourite I am now complaining of has been guilty of heinous crimes, yet I will say, that there is a very general suspicion against him, that this suspicion is justified by the present situation of our affairs both at home and abroad, and that it is ridiculous to expect, that any proper discovery should be made, as long as he is in possession of all the proofs, and has the distribution of all the penalties the crown can inflict, as well as of all the favours the crown can bestow. Remove him from the king's councils and presence; remove him from those high offices and power he is now possessed of, if he has been guilty of any crimes, the proofs may then be come at, and the witnesses against him will not be afraid to appear. Till you do this, it is impossible to determine, whether he is guilty or innocent; and, considering the universal clamour against him, it is high time to reduce him to such a condition, as that he may be brought to a fair, an impartial, and a strict account. If he were conscious of his being entirely innocent, and had a due regard to the security and glory of his master and sovereign, he would have chosen to have