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shall do in the order of time in which the several transactions happened, and consequently must begin with our refusing to accept of the sole mediation of fered us by Spain, on the breach between that court and the court of France, occasioned by the dismission of the infanta of Spain. * · I hope it will not be said we had any reason to quarrel with France upon that account; and there-, fore, if our accepting of that mediation might have produced a rupture with France, it was not our duty to interfere, unless we had something very beneficial to expect from the acceptance, A reconciliation between the courts of Vienna and Madrid, it is true, was desirable to all Europe, as well as to us, provi, ded it had been brought about without any design to disturb our tranquillity, or the tranquillity of Europe; but both parties were then so high in their demands, that we could hope for no success; and if the negotiation had ended without effect, we might have expected the common fate of arbitrators, the disobliging of both. Therefore, as it was our interest to keep well with both, I must still think it was the most prudent part we could act, to refuse the offered mediation.
The next step of our foreign conduct, exposed to reprehension, is the treaty of Hanover, Sir, if I were to give the true history of that treaty, which no gen. tleman can desire, I should, I am sure I could, fully justify my own conduct; but as I do not desire to justify my own, without justifying his late majesty's conduct, I must observe, that his late majesty had such information, as convinced not only him, but those of his council, both at home and abroad, that some dangerous designs had been formed between the emperour and Spain, at the time of their concluding the treaty at Vienna, in May 1725. Designs, sir, which were dangerous not only to the liberties of this nation, but to the liberties of Europe. They
* Alludes to the intended marriage between the king of France and the infanţa of Spain.
were not only to wrest Gibraltar and Port Mahon from this nation, and force the Pretender upon us, but they were to have Don Carlos married to the emperour's eldest daughter, who would thereby have had a probability of uniting in his person, or in the person of some of his successours, the crowns of France and Spain, with the impartial dignity, and the Austrian dominions.' It was therefore highly reasonable, both in France and us, to take the alarm at such designs, and to think betimes of preventing their being carried into execution. But with regard to us, it was more particularly our business to take the alarm, because we were to have been immediately attacked. I shall grant, sir, it would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for Spain and the emperour joined together to have invaded, or made themselves masters of any of the British dominions; but will it be said, they might not have invaded the king's dominions in Ger. many, in order to force him to a compliance with what they desired of him, as king of Great Britain ? And if those dominions had been invaded on account of a quarrel with this nation, should we not have been obliged, both in honour and interest, to defend them? When we were thus threatened, it was therefore ab. solutely necessary for us to make an alliance with France; and that we might not trust too much to their assistance, it was likewise necessary to form alliances with the northern powers, and with some of the princes in Germany, which we never did, nor ever could do, without granting them immediate subsidies. These measures were therefore, I still think, not only prudent but necessary, and by these measures we made it much more dangerous for the emperour and Spain to attack us, than it would otherwise have been.
But still, sir, though by these alliances we put ourselves upon an equal footing with our enemies, in case of an attack, yet, in order to preserve the tranquillity of Europe, as well as our own, there was something else to be done. We knew that war could not be begun and carried on without money; we
knew that the emperour had no money for that pur. pose, without receiving large remittances from Spain ; and we knew that Spain could make no such remit. tances without receiving large returns of treasure from the West Indies. The only way, therefore, to render these two powers incapable of disturbing the tranquillity of Europe, was by sending a squadron to the West Indies, to stop the return of the Spanish galleons; and this made it necessary, at the same time, to send a squadron to the Mediterranean, for the se. curity of our valuable possessions in that part of the world. By these measures the emperour saw the impossibility of attacking us in any part of the world, because Spain could give him no assistance, either in money or troops ; and the attack made by the Spaniards upon Gibraltar was so feeble, that we had no occasion to call upon our allies for assistance. A small squadron of our own prevented their attacking it by sea; and from their attack by land, we had nothing to fear. They might have knocked their brains out against inaccessible rocks, to this very day, without bringing that fortress into any danger.
I do not pretend, sir, to be a great master of foreign affairs. In that post in which I have the honour to serve his majesty, it is not my business to interfere and as one of his majesty's council, I have but onc voice : but if I had been the sole adviser of the treaty of Hanover, and of all the measures which were taken in pursuance of it, from what I have said I hope it will appear, that I do not deserve to be censured, either as a weak or a wicked minister on that account.
The next measures which incurred censure were the guarantee of the pragmatick sanction by the second treaty of Vienna, and the refusal of the cabinet to assist the house of Austria, in conformity with the articles of that guarantee.
As to the guarantee of the pragmatick sanction, I am really surprised to find that measure objected to.
It was so universally approved of, both within doors and without, that till this very day I think no fault was ever found with it, unless it was that of
being too long delayed. If it was so necessary for sup. porting the balance of power in Europe, as has been in, sisted on in this debate, to preserve entire the dominions of the house of Austria, surely it was not our business to insist upon a partition of them in favour of any of the princes of the empire. But if we had, could we have expected that the house of Austria would have agreed to any such partition, even for the acquisition of our guarantee ? The king of Prussia had, it is true, a claim upon some lordships in Silesia ; but that claim was absolutely denied by the court of Vienna, and was not at that time so much insisted on by the late king of Prussia. Nay, if he had lived till this time, I believe it would not now have been insisted on; for he acceded to that guarantee without any reservation of that claim; therefore, I must look upon this as an objection, which has since arisen from an accident, that could not then be foreseen, or provided against.
I must therefore think, sir, that our guarantee of the pragmatick sanction, or our manner of doing it, cannot now be objected to, nor any person censured by parliament for advising that measure.
In regard to the refusal of the cabinet to assist the house of Austria, though it was prudent and right in us to enter into that guarantee, we were not therefore, obliged to enter into every broil the house of Austria might afterwards lead themselves into ; and therefore, we were not in honour obliged to take any share in the war which the emperour brought upon himself in the year 1733, nor were we in interest obliged to take a share in that war, as long as neither side attempted to push their conquests further than was consistent with the balance of power in Europe, which was a case that did not happen. For the power of the house of Austria was not diminished by the event of that war, because they got Tuscany, Parma, and Placentia, in lieu of Naples and Sicily; nor was the power of France much increased, because Loraine was a province she had taken and kept possession of, during every war in which she had been engaged.
As to the disputes with Spain, they had not then reached such a height, as to make it necessary for us to come to an open rupture. We had then reason to hope, that all differences would be accommodated in an amicable manner; and whilst we have any such hopes, it can never be prudent for us to engage ourselves in war, especially with Spain, where we have always had a very beneficial commerce. These hopes, it is true, sir, at last proved abortive; but I never heard it was a crime to hope for the best. This sort of hope was the cause of the late convention. If Spain had performed her part of that preliminary treaty, I am sure it would not have been wrong in us, to have hoped for a friendly accommodation, and for that end to have waited nine or ten months longer, in which time the plenipotentiaries were, by the treaty, to have adjusted all the differences subsisting between the two nations. But the failure of Spain in performing what had been agreed to by this preliminary, put an end to all our hope, and then, and not till then, it became prudent to enter into hostilities, which were commenced as soon as possible after the expiration of the term limited for the payment of the 95,0001.
Strong and virulent censures have been cast on me for having commenced the war without a single ally ; and this deficiency has been ascribed to the multifarious treaties in which I have bewildered myself. But although the authors of this imputation are well apprised that all these treaties have been submitted to and approved by parliament, yet they are now brought forward as crimes, without appealing to the judgment of parliament, and without proving or declaring that all or any of them were advised by me. A supposed sole minister is to be condemned and punished as the author of all; and what adds to the enormity is, that un attempt was made to convict him uncharged and unheard, without taking into consideration the most arduous crisis which ever occurred in the annals of Europe. Sweden corrupted by France; Denmark tempted and wavering; the landgrave of Hesse