« ПредишнаНапред »
The last speech which Lord Hardwicke ever delivered in CHAP, the House of Peers as Chancellor, was at the close of the CXXXA
2. Objections — Political. 1756. These treaties were considered in three lights:
1. A measure to kindle — to invite — a general war upon the Continent.
2. A measure singly for the defence of the German dominions.
3. A preventive measure.
1. The first Light.
No colour for it .
Made against no power — offensive to no power.
It has been explained to him in its true light — in the most amicable, confidential manner.
Communicated to his minister.
A Treaty of Defence against whatsoever power shall be the aggressor against the King or any of his allies.
Qui capit illefacit.
Whoever shall attack, becomes subject to this diversion, if the King thinks fit to make the requisition.
France — Sweden.
The party who makes the requisition, and who is to pay the subsidy, has the right to fix the place of the diversion.
Some of the dominions of Sweden almost as much within the vicinity as those of Prussia.
Sweden the most liable to the seduction of France — has ships of war. This is a most convenient check.
The King of Prussia a great and most respectable power — a prince of great parts and penetration. Not governed by passions of affection or resentment, but by his interest, judged of by his prudence. Apt to cast his eyes about to all quarters.
Would he like to give occasion to a French army to march into the empire on the one side, and a Russian army on the other?
•2d Light. A Measure singly for the Defence of Hanover.
That is one object — not the sole one. *
1. Defence of his Majesty's kingdoms.
2. of his German dominions,
3. of his allies.
It is even not for the defence of the German dominions at all, unless attacked on account of a British interest — a British cause — to be restrained in the very terms of the article — the most cautions, limited article that ever was penned.
3d Light. A preventive Measure. This was said to be the most delusive pretence of all.
'Twas necessary to give harsh epithets to this way of stating it, because it is the true light, and the most justifiable one of all. A rule in controversy to do so.
A great minister, who is dead,—much lamented, saw it in this light—in prospert of an American war approaching.
Would you not, if possible, prevent a general war upon the Continent?
Is that most likely to be done by being totally unprovided, only having a certain strength there?
Declared to offend nobody, to defend against any body.
CHAP session of 1756, when the disagreeable task was assigned to him of throwing out the Militia Bill. Hostilities with
This question answers itself.
This treaty takes its rise naturally out of the treaty of 1742 — is built upon it.
State how this stands.
Can any man doubt whether the German dominions were comprised in that?
No article for totis viribus.
This new treaty takes its rise out of the 7th article.
But when it came to a subsidy of 500,000/. per ann. for 55,000 men, the King
But I will go farther. Suppose, for a moment, that there should break out a war on the Continent.
This may happen whether you will or not.
No man of sense or integrity will maintain that you are, by your present circumstances, absolved from your defensive alliances.
How, then, will you perform them when called upon? Can you send your national troops? No. These troops and the Hessians must be your resort. No man of sense or integrity will say that you can quite separate yourselves from the Continent, A commercial kingdom must have connections there.
Obj. 1. These troops to act by way of diversion only.
Aks. That diversion may be made in Sweden — in the Netherlands — against any power which shall join in the war against you — in the country of any prince who may join with France in attacking Hanover.
Obj. 2. The 7th article of this treaty speaks of the proximity of the country wherein the diversion may be made.
Ans. Only says probably — does not fix it to be there.
Obj. Russia will, if in any remote place, require subsistence for these troops. Ans. Will have no right to it. What may be done by way of douceur is another question.
Obj. 12th article big with another subsidy, for passage through the territories of Poland.
Ans. Nothing like it. Is it probable that Poland will refuse the passage to a Russian army? Look on their situation — their circumstances the influence of Russia there. Asked no subsidy, nor made any difficulty of it, in 1747.
Suppose, for a moment, should be refused. They may be brought by sea — embarked at Riga in Livonia — landed at Lubeck — at Kiel, the capital of the Duke of Holstein. He is Great Prince of Russia— would be refuse a Russian army? At Slade, in the King's own dominions.
. Have now gone through.
Will not attempt to speak to your passions — will appeal to your unbiassed judgments. What is there criminal — what is there impolitic in this treaty? France had now commenced: the Duke of Richelieu had CHAP.
• • • • cxxxv
sailed on his expedition against Minorca; serious appre-
Where is the ground, I should have said the shadow of pretence, for the strong
Saying of one of the most able writers, — Mr. Chillingworth,
"Passionate expressions and vehement assertions are no arguments, unless it
be of the weakness of the cause that is defended by them, or of the man that
As true a dilemma as ever was stated. Here it cannot be "of the men" that defend it — I know their abilities — only the other branch of the dilemma left — " the cause that is defended," etc.
But, for God's sake, from whence proceeds all that unprovoked, unprecedented invective? Have ministers in an instant changed their shapes? their natures?
One month panegyrised into angels — the next transformed into monsters. This is not in the nature of things; not in the nature of measures — must proceed from some secret latent cause, which I will not pretend to explain.
The preient Administration.
Are there not amongst them persons whose breasts glow with as much love for their country — are as popular in it — have as great a stake in the hedge of it; — as free from the least suspicion of corruption — from seeking to profit by the distresses of their country, as any that were ever known in this kingdom?
Bit I go further. How void of colour, of shadow, is the impotent menace thrown out — the calling upon the judicial capacity of parliament?
The thunder of your Lordships' justice is a tremendous thing — not wantonly to be played with.
Cannot people please themselves with courting power, unless it comes armed with vindictive judicial inflictions?
Puts me in mind of what I have read somewhere — I am not sure whether in my Lord Bacon or not. 'Tis in one of the moralisers upon the Heathen Mythology. He draws a moral out of the known fable of Jupiter and Semele.
'Tis this: "Whoever courts power, armed with the thunder of vindictive inflictions, it is ten to one but he is the first to suffer by it himself."—IS Pari. Hist. 643.
CHAP, the Upper House. When it had been ably supported by CXXXV- Earl Stanhope and the Duke of Bedford, the Lord Chancellor left the woolsack, and delivered a very ingenious Hard- pleading against it, of which we have a full report corrected •peech'in and circulated by himself. He first tried to show that the orLo d"Se was unconstitutional, and dangerous to the just preroagainst the gative of the Crown, comparing it with the Militia Bill proBi'il''" posed, and at last carried, without the royal assent, in the Long Parliament. "The scale of power," said he, "in this government has long been growing heavier on the democratical side. I think .that this would throw a great deal of weight into it. What I contend for is, to preserve the limited monarchy entire, and nothing can do that but to preserve the counterpoise." He next attached very undue weight to the omission of a clause to take awav a writ of certiorari, to remove into the King's Bench proceedings against persons employed in the militia, whereby "the Judges of that. Court would be made inspectors-general of this army." But he afterwards boldly and forcibly contended that it was much better that a state should be defended by a certain portion of the population who should permanently take to arms as a profession, than that all the citizens in rotation should embrace a military life. "For my own part," said he, " I never was more convinced of any proposition than of this, that a nation of merchants, manufacturers, artizans, and husbandmen defended by an army, is vastly preferable to a nation of soldiers. It is a self-evident proposition that, being educated and trained to arms, must give a distaste for all civil occupations. Amongst the common people it introduces a love of idleness, of sports, and at last of plunder. Consider, my Lords, the case of the northern parts of Scotland, and what you have been doing there for several years past. The practice and habit of arms made that people idle, averse to the labours of agriculture as well as the confinement of a factory, — followers of sports,— next of thieving,—and last, of rebellion, as a more extensive source of plunder. I say a more extensive source of plunder, because I have always been of opinion that the love of thieving and rapine has been one main ingredient in the Highland insurrections as well as Jacobitism and clanship. In order to cure CHAP, this mischief, and to lead or compel them to be industrious, cxxxv< you have been obliged to disarm them by law. After having pursued these maxims, of which you are beginning to feel the benefit, will your Lordships now, by a new law, endeavour to introduce the same disposition and habit into the common people of England hitherto remarkable for their love of industry and their love of order?"* He likewise very strenuously opposed a clause in the bill, which, though petitioned against by the Dissenters, had passed without disapprobation from the established clergy, enacting, after the example of Switzerland and other Protestant states on the Continent, that the militia should be exercised on Sundays after divine service. "If this institution," said he, "be established among us by a law, I will venture to foretell that, notwithstanding the injunction to go to church there will be a constant fair and scene of jollity in the several parishes where those exercises are kept, and the face of religion will soon be abolished in this country."
The bill was rejected by a majority of 59 to 23, but its rejection materially contributed to the overthrow of the administration,— now at hand.
Parliament being prorogued in a few days, Newcastle tried May 27. to strengthen himself by fresh negotiations with borough Admiral proprietors and with popular leaders, but news arrived of the Byng's re. retreat of Admiral Byng without an effort to relieve Port St. tr^ith Philip's, and of the entire loss of Minorca. The nation was lieving in a greater ferment than at the time of the Excise bill. Not without reason, the loss and disgrace so deplored were ascribed to the inefficiency of the present head of the government, and fdthough he was strong in numbers in the House of Commons, and could do what he chose in the House of Lords, no one would join him. f
• 15 Pari. Hist. 706—769.
f When the defects of the Reform Bill are considered, the working of the old system should not be forgotten, — a striking instance of which is, that it imposed upon the King and the nation for several years, as prime minister the Duke of Newcastle, a man disliked and despised by both. I suppose this was the weakest administration that ever was entrusted with power in a free country. Lord Hardwicke was the only man of any capacity for business in the cabinet; and, after all, he was more of a lawyer than a statesman. Lord Waldegrave