Gambar halaman

standing forward as the champion of our liberties, had early secured to himself the voice of the nation ; but as he well knew that to be the most objectionable of all claims to the confidence of the faction behind the throne and the King's friends, and the last of all pretensions likely to secure him the reins of government, he must have possessed some other secret, whereby he rose to the summit of power, and there so long bore irresistible sway. What that secret was, no man will expect to have proclaimed, nor otherwise to discover its nature, than by a consideration of the relationship between cause and effect. He who shall duly reflect on those principles of government which sprung up near the throne at the time I have mentioned, and on their having to tbis day lost nothing of their influence, will not find it easy to believe that the faction behind the throne, or any of those who called themselves the King's friends, could have advised a surrender at discretion of the reins of government, together with the key of the treasury, and the patronage of the crown, into the hands of the child and champion of Parliamentary Reformation, possessing the favour of the people, and powers of eloquence to have made the Borough mongers crouch at his feet, and submissively surrender up their usurpations. And if this cannot be believed, what follows but a conviction, that there was a right understanding between the contracting powers, a regu-' lar treaty of cession, and an alliance offensive and defensive; which from thence forward was completely to identify him with them, and to bind them to one common interest, and one common line of action.

Be this, however as it may, the writer was early informed and on high authority, that on Mr. Pitt's stating how he was circumstanced in respect to his own conduct, and how he stood pledged to the people, for a reformation of parliament, he was graciously answered that that matter was left in his hands, to be disposed of as he should think fit. Thus forms at least were preserved, no obstacles arose, the treaty was soon brought to a conclusion, the treasury with its boroughs and all its other dependencies were regularly ceded, and possession was taken. Now, my Lord, as effects must have

correspondent causes, if we turn our eyes to the prosecutions, or rather persecutions of unparalleled severity, of those virtuous reformers Muir,i Palmer, Winterbottom, and others, and to the other ten thousand events which must croud upon our recollection, as marking the character of of Mr. Pitt, from the time he thought popularity no longer useful to him, it will be extremely difficult for us to doubt, as to the nature of the conditions which made the secret articles of the treaty between the facțion behind the throne, and that minister. Can we indeed avoid suspecting that through a vulgar lust of mere delegated power, to be held on such degrading conditions, and for such pernicious purposes, as to exclude all the grand and virtuous parts of ambition, he had sold himself to the faction behind the throne and their allies the faction of the Boroughs.

Have we any other possible key to the idolatry that has ever been paid him by all the harpies of plunder and the children of corruption ? to his immense majorities while in the career of oppression ? to his daring to dispose of millions without the knowledge of parliament? to his declaring that THE CROWN HAD A RIGHT TO LAND IN ENGLAND FOREIGN MERCENARY ARMIES AT HIS DISCRETION? to his influence where personally feared and hated ? to his facility of abdication and resumption of power ? to his burough-monger peerages ? to his contempt for all acts of parliament for specifically appropriating the money granted for the various public services ? to his rancour as an apostate ? to his state prosecutions in 1794 ? to his green bags full of universal suffrage, and his secret committees of borough proprietors and patrons, their deputies and allies for defending the rotten-borough system, and à long et cetera ? and again, to a Rotten Borough war2 which, for its political wickedness and state madness, can no otherwise be accounted for ? and finally to his heading in the face of his disgusted country, the combined factions, in their attempts at screening corruption and infamy ?

1 Mr. Muir, in comparison of whom, as a political and constitutional character, his persecutors were fiends of darkness, although a gentleman bred to the bar, was prior to transportation to Botany Bay, confined amongst the lowest and most profligate felons, in one of the Balast Hulks on the Thames !!!! _ 2 Sce reasons for so calling it in The Constitutional Defence of England, internal and external. p. 99%

But because this minister only bribes others with public money, in the shape of official salaries, and has not been known personally to rob the treasury to fill his own pockets, we are told he is not personally corrupt!!! because while hundreds of government bills are dishonoured for want of cash to pay them, he only accommodateschange-alley members of parliament, with a secret loan of forty thousand pounds of public money without interest, he is not personally corrupt !!! because he himself has been biassed, not with money, but with power, he is not personally corrupt !!! although he is the manager and upholder of a system, by which the nation is robbed of its representation, a robbery, which provides the means whereby it may be robbed of its property to any extent, he is not personally corrupt !!! and notwithstanding he, in that parliamentary court, wherein the cases of liberty and property are chiefly decided, is the regular packer of juries for the crown against the people, by putting upon the jury an immense number of the crown's servants, and keeping in constant pay a very large proportion of the jury, he forsooth is not personally corrupt !!!! He, in short, who as a minister lives, and moves, and has his very being, in a system which for its corruption, may set at defiance the whole world for such another example, is not, we are told, personally corrupt !!!

“ It is,” says Mr. Burke, “by bribing, not so often " by being bribed, that wicked politicians bring ruin " on mankind. Avarice is a rival to the pursuits of " many. Il finds a multitude of checks, and many

opposers, in every walk of life. But the objects of ambition are for the few; and every person who aims “ at indirect profit, and therefore wants other protec« tion than innocence and law, instead of its rival, becomes its instrument. There is a natural allegiance " and fealty due to this domineering paramount evil, from all the vassal vices, which acknowledge its su“ periority, and readily militate under its banners; and

I See a future page, in which will be shewn the mode of packing parliamentary juries.

ve it is under that discipline alone, that avarice is able '

to spread to any considerable extent, or to render “ itself a general public mischief. It is therefore no. “ apology for ministers, that they have not been " bought, &c."1

It is, methinks, a curious coincidence, that this admirable piece of eloquence, in the course of a bitter invective, was actually applied to Mr. Pitt, at that early period of his administration; and that about ten years afterwards this minister should give the orator, for acceptable services, and the orator should accept from this minister, pensions which he sold for thirtyseven thousand pounds, in ready money. With regard to Mr. Pitt's loan of forty thousand pounds to two mem- , bers of parliament without interesi, and at the very period when government bills were daily dishonoured for want of money from the treasury to pay them, 2 and under other very suspicious circumstances (on which perhaps 'I may touch again) I imagine that any impartial man who shall take the trouble to examine and to weigh the evidence, and who shall be capable of drawing thence a rational conclusion, will find it extremely difficult, not to say impossible, to divest the case of very high state criminality, accompanied by the aggravations of gross falsehood, respecting the “solidity of the public resources."

Why it was not so considered by that grand inquest, or jury, to whom it belongs to impeach, or why a select committee of that inquest, consisting in part of Lord Castlereagh, and several other servants in the pay of the crown, seemed more intent on framing an apology for, than on fixing criminality upon the minister, the reader will decide for himself. But it is not necessary for me here to argue the case, as it has been ably done in the weekly Political Registers for June 15th. and 22d.

But I must not part with one passage in the last

I Speech, Feb. 28, 1785.

2 The loan was in the latter end of 1796, and between June 1796, and June 1798, at the victualling office alone, seven hundred and forty two accepted bills were dishonoured; which is more than two a day for two whole years, Sundays not excepted.

mentioned of those weekly papers, without an observa. tion. “ It was a saving," observes the writer of Lord Northington, that a man had better be danned than indemnified, and as his Lordship, doubtless “ meant politically, there can, I think, be little objec« tion to the sentiment. Nevertheless, I am far from " thinking that enough has been done in this case.” In thus thinking, this writer and myself perfectly agree. I presume also that we likewise agree in this, that between indemnifying and impeaching Mr. Pitt, the house of Commons had no possible medium.

That the resolution of the house which was the ground of the impeachment of Lord Melville, as liter ally applies 10 Mr. Pitt as to his Lordship, must be evident on a mere inspection : “ Resolved,That S Lord Melville ),

Shaving been privy

Mr. Pitt " to, and connived at, the withdrawing from the Bank “ of England for purposes, as

... "acknowledged by Mr. Pitt Lord Melville 2

of private ,

S. “ interest or emo

(Mr. Trotter,

Boyd, Ben- ? sums issued

. « lument, to

field, and Co.)

Sto him as Treasurer of the Navy,

and placed by him as First Lord of the Treasury S Sto his

account at the to the Treasurer of the Navy's Bank, “ according to the provisions of the 25. Geo. III. c.31. has been guilty of a gross violation of the law, and a " high breach of duty.

Now we have only to consider whether the plea of state necessity, set up by Mr. Pitt, for bribing-I beg pardon-for * accommodating” two members of parliament with the use of Navy money without interest, while that money was so much wanted in the navy department; and the plea also of MERIT for thereby saving the nation from great mischief, ought to have made so great a distinction as it did, between the case of Lord

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »