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now united with me and mine, upon a principle which, I trust, will make our union indissoluble. It is not to possess, or divide, the emoluments of government; but, if possible, to save the state. Upon this ground we met; upon this ground we stand, firm and inseparable. No ministerial artifices, no private offers, no secret seduction, can divide us. United as we are, we can set the profoundest policy of the present ministry, their grand, their only arcanum of government, their divide et impera, at defiance.
I hope an early day will be agreed to for considering the state of the nation. My infirmities must fall heavily upon me, indeed, if I do not attend my duty that day. When I consider my age, and unhappy state of health, I feel how little I am personally interested in the event of any political question. But I look forward to others, and am determined, as far as my poor ability extends, to convey to them who come after me, the blessings which I cannot hope to enjoy myself.
MR. MURRAY'S SPEECH,
AFTERWARDS LORD MANSFIELD, ON A BILL INTRODUCED
INTO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS DECEMBER THE ELEVENTH, 1742, TO PREVENT THE ENSURANCE OF FRENCH SHIPS, &c. DURING THE WAR.
To indulge the liberal curiosity which we know has eagerly sought the legal and parliamentary speeches of the late Earl Mansfield, we have directed a very careful and extensive research into the multifarious repositories of fugitive literature. But this range of inquiry has been rewarded with such slender acquisitions, that it has served to confirm the apprehension we entertained when we undertook it, that these glorious productions of his genius and of his learning had met with the sinister fate common to the eloquence of the imes.
As far as we are able to determine, it appears that, of all his forensick pleadings, not one has been faithfully reported. The substance, indeed, of many of them may be had, but naked and deformed, without any of the life, or grace, or elegance of diction by which they were confessedly distinguished in the delivery. We reject, therefore, the whole of these unseemly, crude, and defective reports, as the mere husks from which has escaped, in the careless process of preservation, every particle of the etherial spirit originally infused into his speeches.
This neglect of his legal, has not been redeemed by any superiour attention to his parliamentary eloquence. For though upwards of half a century he took a leading part in the more important debates of
the two houses, there is a very small number of his real speeches extant. Of the meagre skeletons of the stenographer, and of the plausible impositions of venal writers, enough may be found. We have culled a few speeches that are indubitably genuine, and which perhaps, are the only remaining monuments of bis eloquence, except his judicial decisions, some of which are interspersed with the sublimest effusions of the art.
The speech here inserted, was delivered on the eleventh of December, 1747, on a bill brought into the house of commons to prevent the ensurance of French ships, and their lading, during the continuance of the war with that power. Though in this speech we do not discern much of the mellifluence of the silver tongued Murray,” yet we at once recognize in it the accustomed subtlety of his argumentation, and the profound and pertinent knowledge which he uniformly brought into discussion.
The correct views exhibited in the speech of an exceedingly interesting doctrine of commercial policy give it a solidity of value not to be impaired by any comparative deficiency of rhetorical drapery.
ALTHOUGH I have very little hopes of succeeding in opposition to what the honourable gen. tleman has proposed, yet, as I have the honour of a seat in this assembly, I think the duty I owe to my country obliges me to give my sentiments openly and freely upon the subject, because, I see we are about to do what we have often done upon like occa. sions. We are going to make a regulation under popular pretences, which, in my opinion, will ruin a very beneficial branch of trade we are now in possession of, I may say, without a rival, and will transfer it to our greatest rival and most dangerous enemy. This, I say, sir, we have often done before, of which I could give a multitude of instances, but shall men
tion only a few, in order to show how cautious we ought to be of making any new regulations or prohibitions with respect to trade, however plausible the pretences may be that are offered for inducing our approbation.
In the reign of Charles II. our landed gentlemen, especially those in the west, found that the produce of their estates, such as cattle, sheep, swine, butter, and cheese, was very much lowered in its price by the importation of such commodities, especially from Ireland. Though it is the general interest of every country, where there is any trade or manufacture, to have the price of those commodities as cheap as possible, because it lessens the price of labour, and consequently enables them to undersell their rivals at every foreign market ; yet the imaginary private interest of our landed gentlemen prevailed, in spite of the court, over the general interest of the country, and a law was made for prohibiting the importation of all such commodities. I say, sir, the imaginary interest of the landed gentlemen; for it is certainly their real interest to encourage by all possible means the trade, manufactures, and commerce, of their country: but this is a future distant interest, which strikes very few men so strongly as that which is present ; and therefore the present imaginary interest then prevailed over that which was real, but future, What was the consequence? As to the black cattle and swine, the Irish being thus prevented from im. porting them into England, where formerly they were fattened up and killed, the breeders of such cattle and swine were forced to fatten them up themselves, to salt what they could not find vent for at home, and to sell their salt beef and pork, as well as their butter and cheese, to the French, who were then just beginning to set up manufactories, and to plant their sugar colonies, neither of which they could so easily or so soon have done, had they not been supplied with these provisions from Ireland.
This was, sir, the fatal consequence of our wise regulation with respect to Irish black cattle, swine,
butter, and cheese ; but, with respect to sheep, the consequence was still more fatal : for, the Irish being prevented from bringing their sheep to England, and being unable to make any thing of them when killed at home, or to send them dead or alive to any foreign market, they kept them running in their sheep walks, and increasing in number every year, merely for the sake of the wool, by which that commodity was rendered much cheaper in Ireland than it was in England, which produced two consequences fatal to our trade and manufactures ; for, first, by the cheapness of wool in Ireland, great quantities of it were stolen away to France, rotwithstanding the utmost we could do to prevent it, and sold there as cheap as the same commodity could be sold in England, which laid the first and chief foundation of all their woollen manufactures; and, secondly, by the cheapness of wool in Ireland the people there were enabled to set up woollen manufactures of their own, which soon came to vie with those of England ; so that our merchants found themselves rivalled and undersold at all foreign markets by the Irish, which led us into the com. mitting of another most egregious solecism in our politicks with regard to our trade.
As I have said, sir, the merchants, who exported our woollen manufactures, soon found themselves ri. valled and undersold at most foreign markets by the Irish; this obliged them to endeavour to beat down the price of our manufactures here at home; and the reason they assigned for so doing was their being un. dersold by the Irish abroad, which of course raised a popular clamour against allowing the Irish to export any woollen manufactures. As
As every set of tradesmen, and indeed every particular tradesman, would be glad to have a monopoly in what he deals in, it was no way surprising to hear such a clamour raised among our manufacturers and unthinking people here at home ; and if we could by a law prevent every nation in the world from carrying on any woollen manufactures, I shall grant, that it would have been right to have prohibited the exportation of woollen