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lars, very necessary to be understood before we enter into the detail of so important a matter.
I shall therefore, in the first place, endeavour to encourage a free and full deliberation, without animo. sities and heats. In the next place, I shall endeavour to make an inquiry into the nature and source of the unnatural and dangerous divisions that are now on foot within this isle, with some motives showing that it is our interest to lay them aside at this time. Then I shall inquire into the reasons which have induced the two nations to enter into a treaty of union at this time, with some considerations and meditations with relation to the behaviour of the lords commissioners of the two kingdoms in the management of this great concern. And lastly, I shall propose a method, by which we shall most distinctly, and without confusion go through the several articles of this treaty, without unnecessary repetitions or loss of time. And all this with all deference, and under the correction of this honourable house.
My lord chancellor, the greatest honour that was done unto a Roman, was to allow him the glory of a triumph; the greatest and most dishonourable punishment was that of parricide. He that was guilty of parricide was beaten with rods upon his naked body, till the blood gushed out of all the veins of his body; then he was sewed up in a leathern sack called a culeus, with a cock, a viper, and an ape, and thrown headlong into the sea.
My lord, patricide is a greater crime than parricide, all the world over.
In a triumph, my lord, when the conqueror was riding in his triumphal chariot, crowned with laurels, adorned with trophies, and applauded with huzzas! there was a monitor appointed to stand behind him, to warn him not to be high minded, nor puffed up with overweening thoughts of himself; and to his chariot were tied a whip and a bell, to remind him that for all his glory and grandeur, he was accountable to the people for his administration, and would be punished, as other men, if found guilty.
The greatest honour amongst us, my lord, is to represent the sovereign's sacred person in parliament; and in one particular it appears to be greater than that of a triumph, because the whole legislative power seems to be wholly entrusted with him. If he give the royal assent to an act of the estates, it becomes a law obligatory upon the subject, though contrary or without any instructions from the sovereign. If he refuse the royal assent to a vote in parliament, it cannot be a law, though he has the sovereign's particular and positive instructions for it.
His grace the duke of Queensbury, who now represents her majesty in this session of parliament, hath had the honour of that great trust as often, if not more, than any Scotchman ever had. He hath been the favourite of two successive sovereigns, and I cannot but commend his constancy and perseverance, that notwithstanding his former difficulties and unsuccessful attempts, and maugre some other specialities not yet determined, that his grace has yet had the resolu tion to undertake the most unpopular measures last. If his grace succeed in this affair of a union, and that it prove for the happiness and welfare of the nation, then he justly merits to have a statue of gold erected for himself; but if it shall tend to the entire destruction and abolition of our nation, and that we, the nation's trustees, will go into it, then I must say, that a whip and a bell, a cock, and a viper, and an ape, are but too small punishments for any such bold, unnatural undertaking and complaisance.
That I may pave a way, my lord, to a full, calm, and free reasoning upon this affair, which is of the last consequence unto this nation, I shall mind this honourable house, that we are the successours of our noble predecessors who founded our monarchy, framed our laws, amended, altered, and corrected them from time to time, as the affairs and circumstances of the nation did require, without the assistance or advice of any foreign power or potentate; and who, during the time of two thousand years, have handed them down to us a free, independent nation, with the
hazard of their lives and fortunes. Shall not we then argue for that which our progenitors have purchased for us at so dear a rate, and with so much immortal honour and glory? God forbid. Shall the hazard of a father unbind the ligaments of a dumb son's tongue, and shall we hold our peace when our patria is in danger? I speak this, my lord, that I may encourage every individual member of this house to speak his mind freely; there are many wise and prudent men amongst us, who think it not worth their while to open their mouths; there are others, who can speak very well, and to good purpose, who shelter themselves under the shameful cloak of silence from a fear of the frowns of great men and parties. I have observed, my lord, by my experience, the greatest number of speakers in the most trivial affairs; and it will always prove so, while we come not to the right understanding of the oath de fideli, whereby we are bound not only to give our vote but our faithful advice in parliament, as we should answer to God. And in our ancient laws, the representatives of the honourable barons and the royal boroughs are termed spokesmen. It lies upon your lordships, therefore, particularly to take notice of such, whose modesty makes them bashful to speak. Therefore, I shall leave it upon you, and conclude this point with a very memorable saying of an honest private gentleman to a great queen, upon occasion of a state project, contrived by an able statesman and the favourite to a great king, against a peaceful obedient people, because of the deversity of their laws and constitutions: "If at this time thou hold thy peace, salvation shall come to the people from another place; but thou and thy house shall perish." I leave the application to each particular member of this house.
My lord, I come now to consider our divisions. We are under the happy reign, blessed be God, of the best of queens, who has no evil design against the meanest of her subjects; who loves all her people, and is equally beloved by them again; and yet, that under the happy influence of our most excellent queen,
there should be such divisions and factions, more dangerous and threatening to her dominions than if we were under an arbitrary government, is most strange and unaccountable. Under an arbitrary prince all are willing to serve, because all are under a necessity to obey, whether they will or not. He chooses there. fore whom he will, without respect to either parties or factions; and if he think fit to take the advices of his councils or parliaments, every man speaks his mind freely, and the prince receives the faithful advice of his people, without the mixture of self designs. If he prove a good prince, the government is easy; if bad, either death or a revolution brings a deliverance: whereas here, my lord, there appears no end of our misery, if not prevented in time. Factions are now become independent, and have got footing in councils, in parliaments, in treaties, in armies, in incorporations, in families, among kindred; yea, man and wife are not free from their political jars.
It remains, therefore, my lord, that I inquire into the nature of these things; and since the names give us not the right idea of the thing, I am afraid I shall have difficulty to make myself well understood.
The names generally used to denote the factions, are whig and tory; as obscure as that of guelfs and ghibelines; yea, my lord, they have different significations, as they are applied to factions in each kingdom. A whig in England is a heterogeneous creature: in Scotland he is all of a piece. A tory in England is all of a piece, and a statesman: in Scotland he is quite otherwise; an anticourtier and antistatesman.
A whig in England appears to be somewhat like Nebuchadnezzar's image, of different metals, different classes, different principles, and different designs; yet, take them all together, they are like a piece of some mixed drugget of different threads; some finer, some coarser, which after all make a comely appearance, and an agreeable suit. Tory is like a piece of loyal home-made English cloth, the true staple of the nation, all of a thread; yet if we look narrowly into it, we shall perceive a diversity of colours, which,
according to the various situations and positions, make various appearances. Sometimes tory is like the moon in its full; as appeared in the affair of the bill of occasional conformity. Upon other occasions, it appears to be under a cloud, and as if it were eclipsed by a greater body; as it did in the design of calling over the illustrious princess Sophia. However, by this we may see their designs are to out-shoot whig in his own bow.
Whig, in Scotland, is a true blue presbyterian, who, without considering time or power, will venture his all for the kirk, but something less for the state. The greatest difficulty is how to describe a Scots tory. Of old, when I knew them first, tory was an honest hearted comradish fellow, who, provided he was maintained and protected in his benefices, titles, and dignities, by the state, he was the less anxious who had the government and management of the church; but now, what he is since jure divino came in fashion, and that christianity, and by consequence salvation, comes to depend upon episcopal ordination, I profess I know not what to make of him; only this I must say for him, that he endeavours to do by opposition, that which his brother in England endeavours by a more prudent and less scrupulous method.
Now, my lord, from these divisions, there has got up a kind of aristocracy, something like the famous triumvirate at Rome; they are a kind of undertakers and pragmatick statesmen, who, finding their power and strength great, and answerable to their designs, will make bargains with our gracious sovereign; they will serve her faithfully, but upon their own terms; they must have their own instruments, their own measures. This man must be turned out, and that man put in, and then they will make her the most glorious queen in Europe.
Where will this end, my lord? Is not her majesty in danger by such a method? Is not the monarchy in danger? Is not the nation's peace and tranquillity in danger? Will a change of parties make the nation more happy? No, my lord. The seed is sown, that