Графични страници
PDF файл

should be then read, or whether the consideration of them should be adjourned to a further day. Mr. Pulteney showed that the amendments were of no manner of consequence, that they had been much insisted upon in another place to raise a clamour and furnish unjust suspicions, and that for these reasons they could not give too quick a despatch to them. The first amendment was defining the number of forces in Great Britain, which the Secretary at War said had been omitted as a thing of no manner of consequence, and had been omitted in former Bills, that the number of the standing army was settled by the Bill of Rights, which tied it down to such forces as should be kept up by consent of Parliament, and that this consent of Parliament appeared in the votes which make provision for such certain numbers of forces.

The debate proceeded chiefly upon the importance or insignificancy of the Lords' amendment, one side insisting upon a further day, on the first supposition, and the other upon an immediate reading, on the last. The second amendment was of the same nature with the first, in another part of the Bill. Upon a division for reading and agreeing with them, the Ayes were 248, Noes 90.

There arose an incident in the debate, which threw the House into a great ferment. Mr. Shippen1 said that the House might very justly desire a longer time for considering a matter of so much moment, and follow the example of the Secret Committee, who had withheld so long their Report for reasons of the same nature. This being mixed with little flirts upon the committee, Mr. Boscawen said he had seen so much of the Report that, if they were willing to proceed immediately in a parliamentary way, after the manner of their ancestors on such occasions, he was ready to stand up in his place, and in the name of the Commons of England to

1 William Shippen (at this time M. P. for Newton, Lancashire) was a firm and undisguised adherent of the Stuarts. The Court endeavoured in vain to buy him over. Of George the First he said "that the King's Speech seemed calculated rather for the meridian of Germany than Great Britain ;" and that "it was a great misfortune he was a stranger both to our language and our constitution." For which he was sent to the Tower, without, however, effecting any change in him. Pope im mortalizes his inflexibility in these lines:

I love to pour out all myself as plain

As honest Shippen or downright Montaigne.

impeach of high treason several lords and some commoners. Shippen replied that the House was very much obliged to him for any such discoveries that he had made, and thought he could not be too speedy in communicating them, and naming the several lords and commoners, whom he would impeach of high treason. Mr. Carter then desired the galleries and lobbies should be cleared and the doors shut. Upon which Mr. Walpole stood up and declared that it had been the intention of the Committee to move some time this week for a day to bring in their Report; but since gentlemen provoked them to it, they were ready to impeach, as soon as the present question was disposed of; that indeed it had taken up a great deal of time to set forth the crimes of those whose whole administration would appear to have been nothing else but a series of treachery and treason; that those who had been employed the last four years, would be shown the most profligate, Frenchified, abandoned ministers. that ever endeavoured to betray their country; that they should be proved traitors by legal methods; that their friends would be ashamed to stand up in the defence of such traitors, when their guilt was laid before them; and that people would wonder they are still permitted to go about the streets. He concluded that whatever might be the expectations of this Report, it would more than answer them, when it came before the House.

Mr. Stanhope then moved, that a message should be immediately sent to the House of Lords but was stopped in his motion by several of his friends, who pulled him down, and by the Speaker, who desired the House to dispose of the Question before them. Upon this the division ensued, which gave both sides time to cool. Nobody afterwards calling upon the Secret Committee, the House proceeded on the orders of the day, and after having read and debated on the Reports of the Committee of Elections, came to the resolutions which you see in the votes. In two divisions the numbers were, Ayes 178, Noes 107. Ayes 174, Noes 105.

This morning Mr. Walpole acquainted the House, that the Secret Committee had prepared their Report; that it was transcribing, and that they desired the House would point a day for receiving it. Upon which Mr. Smith moved for this day se'nnight. Tom Onslow and Lord Guernsey,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

with a few others, proposed Monday se'nnight, but as this was done only with an eye to Guildford horse-race, which this Report it seems will interfere with, the first motion took place.

The Newcastle election was tried before the House, and carried for the petitioners by 5 voices, in a very thin House.

This day (June 2nd) the Duke of Marlborough drew out his battalion of Guards in High Park, and made them a very kind speech upon the subject of their clothing. They heard him with tears in their eyes, cried out all with one voice, God bless the old Corporal their fellow-soldier, and gave him six loud huzzas, which lasted near a quarter of an hour. His Grace promised them a new clothing, (which I hear will be very much better than they ever had,) and to punish those persons who have been guilty in abusing them and him. 1

I have spoken with Mr. S. Stanhope about Mr. Gilbert, who tells me that affair still sticks, though he seems not to know what to impute it to, and upon my speaking of Sir R. Levinge in the manner His Excellency directed, desired me to speak of it to the Duke of Marlborough and my Lord Chancellor, which I will do to-morrow, if I can possibly find an opportunity.

Two of the Secret Committee have told me in confidence that their Report is not yet finished, and will not be for three or four days. I shall, however, observe His Excellency's commands, in speaking to Mr. Walpole upon that head.

We sat so late to-day that I had not time to find out Sir Samuel Garth, but will do it to-morrow.

My Lord-Lieutenant will remember that he gave an ensign's commission in Clayton's regiment to Mr. Shuckborough's son, and that I returned the father's thanks to His

This refers to the Hanover-Shirt Story. See Tindal, vol. v. 425. On the king's birth-day new clothing was delivered to the 1st regiment of Footguards, but the shirts, in particular, were so coarse that the soldiers were much offended. There being many Papists and Jacobites then in the Guards, their discontent was easily increased by the enemies of the government; so that a number of the soldiers had the insolence to throw their shirts into the king's and the Duke of Marlborough's gardens at Whitehall; after which, as they passed through the city to relieve guard at the Tower, they pulled out their shirts to the shopkeepers and passengers, crying out, These are the Hanover shirts, &c. The court being informed of this, and foreseeing the consequences, ordered all the new shirts to be burnt, which was done that very evening.


Excellency on that occasion, who is very highly obliged by it. His Excellency was afterwards informed by a letter, which I showed him from Lord Chancellor Justice Forster, that one Shewbridge, who is recommended as a very honest man, was to have had the profit of that commission by agreement, and that the vacancy was returned by mistake of the Muster-Master General. This has given me a great deal of uneasiness, lest on the one side Mr. Shuckborough should think I have trifled with him, or that Shewbridge should be wronged on the other. My Lord-Lieutenant promised this last gentleman to do what he could to accommodate this matter to his satisfaction, and that, at the worst, he would give him the disposal of the next vacant Colours. I am this day informed there is such a vacancy in Hill's regiment; and if His Excellency pleases to give Shuckborough this lastmentioned commission, it will be to the satisfaction of both parties.

The proper time for fixing the List of Generals will be upon the signing of the establishment. When their numbers are there inserted, and their pay specified, His Excellency may determine who shall be the persons.

I desire you never to forget my most humble duty to my Lord-Lieutenant, and am, sir,

Your most faithful and most
humble servant,




(London,) June 8th, 1715.

About one of the clock this afternoon, Mr. Walpole moved, that the Speaker would issue out his warrant for apprehending such persons as should be named to him by the Secret Committee, in order to be examined. Several precedents were quoted for this purpose; after which Mr. Walpole whispered to the Speaker, who thereupon gave to the Sergeant of the House two warrants, the one for Mr. Prior, and the other for Tom Harley. The former he found, the latter was not to be met with. It was then ordered that the doors should be locked, and that the Sergeant should

stand at the door of the House, and suffer no member to go out. I should have told you, this order was made before the warrants were despatched.

Mr. Walpole then read the Report, which is a history of all the transactions from the first overture of the peace to the conclusion of it. The persons accused in it, are the Lords Bolingbroke, Harley, Strafford, Ormond, with several glances upon the Bishop of London, Lord Lexington, Dartmouth, the Duke of Shrewsbury, Mat. Prior, and Arthur Moore.

Lord Bolingbroke is everywhere loaded with his correspondences with Torcy, in the greatest degree of confidence, and justly suspected of correspondences with the Pretender, by the Abbé Gaultier, whom he often refers to in his letters, as also by his acting extra-provincially, and taking upon himself the other Secretary's office in everything relating to the peace. Several expressions in his letters raised a great many Hear-him's, as these which follow: "The behaviour of the Dutch was the last convulsive pang of an expiring faction."-" I hope we shall avoid all things that may occasion a difference between the French and English ministers.". "The Dutch are like wild beasts caught in a net by England and France, and though they flounce and struggle, the cords of the toils are too hard for them, and when they are tired they will grow tame." In his letters to Prior he begins one, "This comes from Harry to Mat.," and not from the Secretary to the minister; and, speaking of Casshort's expedition on our West Indian Plantations, he says, "This proves an unfortunate contre-temps; we never thought our Colonies would be attacked at this time by Casshort's squadron. We avoided putting in execution what might have annoyed France and Spain more than anything since the beginning of the war." He means perhaps the orders which were given to Sir John Jennings (as the Report mentions in another place) not to attack the Turkey fleet, which passed by him, before the peace was concluded.

In another letter he proposes the expedient for the 9th and 10th articles of the Treaty of Commerce; which expe dient was the 9th article, condemned by the last Parliament, and which, as the Report observes, was the price of Newfoundland and our fishery in those parts. In his letters to Mr. Prior are words to the following purpose: "We

« ПредишнаНапред »