Page images
PDF
EPUB

ministration, in relation to military affairs, we have but too much reason to suspect, that parliamentary considerations have of late been the principal causes of favour and disgrace. We have lately too seen new-raised, raw, and undisciplined regiments sent abroad upon the most important services, and others, seemingly much fitter for such services, peaceably encamped at home, for no other reason, as is generally supposed, than the different situations of the respective officers of the several corps. But this, at least, is certain, that in all the new-raised regiments sent to America, there is but one single member of Parliament, which could hardly have been the case of any equal number of regiments in the whole service. And what further induces us to entertain those suspicions is, that this method of augmentation, by one-third the most expensive, and by no means proved to be the most conducive to the service, should be preferred at this time, when an economy, proportioned to the greatness of our expenses, seems particularly requisite; since the war, by our inaction hitherto, and the advantages thereby given to the enemy, may now probably be of long duration, if not of doubtful success. Our distrust of the motives of this augmentation, which creates at once 370 officers, which, by the removals in the army may occasion three times that number of new commissions, ought to be the greater, and our care to prevent the ill effects of it the more vigilant, so near the election of a new Parliament; a crisis, when any increase of influence gained to a minister, may give a decisive and incurable wound to this Constitution. And we cannot forget that an augmentation of 8040 men was likewise made the very year of the elections of the present Parliament, by bringing over eight regiments from Ireland, and by additional men to corps in Britain, which time has since shewn were never intended for foreign service, though they were said to be designed for the preservation of the dominions of the House of Austria, which we then lay under the same engagements both of interest and treaties to defend. The number of officers in Parliament has gradually increased, and is now more considerable than ever ; and though we think the gentlemen of the army as little liable to undue influence as any other body of men, yet we think it would be very imprudent to trust the very fundamentals of our Constitution, the independency of Parliaments, to the uncertain

effects of ministerial favour or resentment. And as it is well known that the four eldest officers of the army (the only officers who have served in any high rank abroad) are now displaced, without any crime having ever been alleged against them, we have great cause to dread that an army thus circumstanced, and thus influenced, would, in each capacity, be fatal to our liberties, since ministerial art in Parliaments can alone destroy the essence of our Constitution, and open violence alone the forms of it.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

John Ward, Lord Ward.
Francis Scott, Duke of Buccleuch.
William Feilding, Earl of Denbigh.
John Fane, Earl of Westmorland.
Scroop Egerton, Duke of Bridgwater.
Brownlow Cecil, Earl of Exeter.
John Campbell, Duke of Greenwich (Duke of Argyll).
Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury.
Henry Howard, Earl of Carlisle.
Richard Temple, Viscount Cobham.
Thomas Foley, Lord Foley.
John Hervey, Earl of Bristol.
Henry Bowes Howard, Earl of Berkshire.
Allen Bathurst, Lord Bathurst.
Hugh Boscawen, Viscount Falmouth,
Robert Ker, Earl of Ker (Duke of Roxburgh).
Sackville Tufton, Earl of Thanet.
George Henry Lee, Earl of Lichfield.
Price Devereux, Viscount Hereford.
Montague Bertie, Earl of Abingdon.
Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort.
Thomas Mansel, Lord Mansel.
Herbert Windsor, Lord Montjoy (Viscount Windsor).
George Parker, Earl of Macclesfield.
Richard Reynolds, Bishop of Lincoln.
Heneage Finch, Earl of Aylesford.
Charles Bruce, Lord Bruce of Whorlton.
Samuel Masham, Lord Masham.
Pbilip_Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield.
John Russell, Duke of Bedford.
William Talbot, Lord Talbot.
John Leveson Gower, Lord Gower.
George Montagu, Earl of Halifax.
Maurice Thompson, Lord Haversham.

CCCXVIII.

FEBRUARY 10, 1741.

The circumstances which led to the Convention of Pardo have been stated above. The Opposition again attempted to extract information on this subject, at Lord Bathurst's instance, by moving for papers. The debate, except in a scanty summary given by Secker, is lost." The motion was rejected by 67 to 46. Just before the debate took place, there had been a sharp conversation in the House on the places in which the Lords were severally entitled to sit.

The following protest is inserted.

ist, Because we thought an inquiry into a transaction of such great importance to the honour, trade, and rights of this nation, not only necessary, but totally free from all the objections usually made to the calling for papers; the Convention having been concluded in January, 1739, and war having been since declared against Spain; so that we cannot conceive, that any discovery prejudicial to this nation, or advantageous to any other, can possibly result from an examination into the minutest particles of that negotiation; but we rather apprehend from the manifest unwillingness of the Administration to lay any such lights before us, that discoveries of another nature would be the necessary consequence of the communication of the Papers called for in this question.

2ndly, Because, when we compare the conduct of the Administration through the whole course of the Spanish affairs, with several circumstances that have accidentally appeared to the public, we conceive every part of that conduct liable to just suspicions of one kind or other. The repeated application of the merchants, both to the Crown and to Parliament, for reparation for their past losses, and future security for their trade, the universal cries of the nation upon their insulted honour and violated rights, the several addresses of Parliament to the Crown, and the gracious answers and assurances given by the Crown in return, seemed all to promise a just (and at that time easy) vengeance by the force of our arms, or an effectual reparation of past and solid security against future injuries, by an advantageous treaty of peace ; whereas a Convention only was concluded, by which a scanty and insufficient reparation for our injured merchants was stipulated, and our most essential and undoubted rights of a free navigation to the West Indies, without search or

[ocr errors]

molestation, was at most referred to the future discussion of plenipotentiaries, if even it was ever mentioned at all.

3rdly, Because it has been asserted in a public paper, dispersed all over Europe by the Court of Spain, that our pretension to a free navigation was never so much as mentioned by our ministers, till the conferences arising in consequence of the Convention ; and that the demand was never made in form till July, 1739, which was after the Convention was broke by the non-payment of the money stipulated on the appointed 24th of May. And though we are far from asserting the contents of such papers to be true, yet, as they cannot but raise some doubt, that alone, in a matter of such great national consequence, seems to be a sufficient reason for a strict inquiry, especially since we cannot see any advantage that could arise to the King of Spain from asserting these facts, if they were not true; but on the other hand we see very strong reasons why the Administration should desire to conceal them, if they are true.

4thly, Because if the bare supposition of cases that may possibly exist, is to be used as an argument why the House should not apply for lights, we conceive that the supposition of other cases equally possible, and it may be more probable, is as good an argument why the House should apply for such informations; consequently, if we suppose that the Convention concluded at Madrid, on the 14th of January, 1739, was originally negotiated and executed at London in August, 1738, with the Spanish minister then residing here, but that upon Spain's inserting in the body of the ratifications of that Convention, an Act obliging our South Sea Company to pay the sum of sixty-eight thousand pounds towards the reparation to be made to our merchants, which Act was then intended to be kept secret, though since discovered by the necessary communication of it to the South Sea Company, and their noncompliance therewith ; if we suppose that thereupon the same treaty was re-executed by our minister at Madrid, who was instructed at the same time to consent to an Act of the same import, but varied only so as to conceal it; and if we further suppose that this sacrifice of the South Sea Company was originally proposed by one English minister to the Spanish minister, and upon his accepting it, rejected in an office-letter by another English minister, though afterwards brought into execution ; and if these suppositions are in

a great measure confirmed by some of Mr. Keen's letters, which have been made public, we conceive such transactions ought not to be buried in oblivion, and the author and his accomplices remain uncensured.

5thly, Because we conceive the argument of its being too late in point of time, can be of no force, and only tends to prove that the House will think no time proper for calling for such papers. Some have been refused to be called for by the House, because they related to the present time, and whilst matters were in transaction, a discovery might be dangerous ; others, because they related to future operations, and there also a discovery of designs might be detrimental. The present motion related to matters entirely passed, which being rejected, we must give up all further hopes of receiving any lights, relating either to past, to present, or to future transactions. Posterity must therefore be convinced, that we have been reduced to the necessity of taking matters in the gross, and of weighing the sum of things, since the particulars are hid from our sight.

Henry Howard, Earl of Carlisle.
Hugh Boscawen, Viscount Falmouth.
John Ward, Lord Ward.
Charles Bruce, Lord Bruce of Whorlton.
John Leveson Gower, Lord Gower.
Allen Bathurst, Lord Bathurst.
John Fane, Earl of Westmorland.
James Compton, Earl of Northampton,
Price Devereux, Viscount Hereford.
Samuel Masham, Lord Masham.
Heneage Finch, Earl of Aylesford.
Richard Temple, Viscount Cobham,
Brownlow Cecil, Earl of Exeter.
George Henry Lee, Earl of Lichfield.
Henry Howard, Earl of Suffolk.
John Campbell, Duke of Greenwich (Duke of Argyll).
Robert Ker, Earl of Ker (Duke of Roxburgh).
Hugh Fortescue, Lord Clinton.
George Parker, Earl of Macclesfield.
Robert Mansel, Lord Mansel.
Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort.

« PreviousContinue »