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put himself into this condition long before this time: Since he has not thought fit to do so, it is our duty to endeavour to do it for him; and therefore I shall conclude with moving, that an humble address be presented to his majesty, that he would be graciously pleased to remove the right honourable Sir Robert Walpole, Knight of the most noble order
of the garter, first commissioner for executing the office of treasurer of the exchequer, chancellor and under-treasurer of the exchequer, and one of his majesty's most honourable privy council, from his majesty's presence and councils for ever."
SIR ROBERT WALPOLE'S SPEECH IN
IT has been observed by several gentlemen, in vindication of this motion, that if it should be carried, neither my life, liberty, or estate will be affected. But do the honourable gentlemen consider my character and reputation as of no moment? Is it no imputation to be arraigned before this house, in which I have sat forty years, and to have my name transmitted to posterity with disgrace and infamy? I will not conceal my sentiments, that to be named in parliament as a subject of inquiry, is to me a matter of great con
but I have the satisfaction at the same time to reflect, that the impression to be made depends upon the consistency of the charge and the motives of the prosecutors. Had the charge been reduced to specifick allegations, I should have felt myself called upon for a specifick defence. Had I served a weak or wicked master, and implicitly obeyed his dictates, obedience to his commands must have been my only justifica
tion. But as it has been my good fortune to serve a master, who wants no bad ministers, and would have hearkened to none, my defence must rest on my own conduct. The consciousness of innocence is also sufficient support against my present prosecutors. A further justification is also derived from a consideration of the views and abilities of the prosecutors. Had I been guilty of great enormities, they want neither zeal and inclination to bring them forward, nor ability to place them in the most prominent point of view. But as I am conscious of no crime, my own experience convinces me, that none can be justly imputed. I must therefore ask the gentlemen, from wherice does this attack proceed ? From the passions and prejudices of the parties combined against me, who may be divided into three classes, the
Boys, the riper Patriots, and the Tories. The Tories I can easily forgive, they have unwillingly come into the measure, and they do me honour in thinking it necessary to remove me, as their only obstacle. What is the inference to be drawn from these premises ? that demerit with them ought to be considered as merit with others. But my great and principal crime is my long continuance in office, or, in other words, the long exclusion of those who now complain against me. This is the heinous offence which exceeds all others. I keep from them the possession of that power, those honours and those emoluments, to which they so ardently and pertinaciously aspire. I will not attempt to deny the reasonableness and necessity of a party war; but in carrying on that war, all principles and rules of justice should not be departed from. The tories must confess, that the most obnoxious persons have felt few instances of extrajudicial power. Wherever they have been arraigned, a plain charge has been exhibited against them. They have had an impartial trial, and have been permitted to make their defence; and will they, who have experienced this fair and equitable mode of proceeding,' act in direct opposition to every principle of justice, and establish this fatal precedent of parliamentary inquisition ? and
whom would they conciliate by 'a conduct so contrary to principle and precedent?
Can it be fitting in them, who have divided the publick opinion of the nation, to share it with those who now appear as their competitors? With the men of yesterday, the boys in politicks, who would be absolutely contemptible did not their audacity render them detestable? With the mock patriots, whose practice and professions prove their selfishness and malignity, who threatened to pursue me to destruction, and who have never for a moment lost sight of their object ? These men, under the name of Separatists, presume to call themselves, exclusively, the nation and the people, and under that character, assume all power. In their estimation, the king, lords, and commons are a faction, and they are the government. Upon these principles they threaten the destruction of all authority, and think they have a right to judge, direct, and resist, all legal magistrates. They withdraw from parliament because they succeed in nothing, and then attribute their want of success not to its true cause, their own want of integrity and importance, but to the effect of places, pensions, and corruption. May it not be asked, Are the people on the court side more united than on the other? Are not the Tories, Jacobites, and Patriots equally determined? What makes this strict union? What cements this heterogeneous mass? Party engagements and personal attachments. However different their views and principles, they all agree in opposition. The Jacobites distress the government they would subvert; the tories contend for party prevalance and power. The patriots, for discontent and disappointment, would change the ministry, that themselves might exclusively succeed. They have laboured this point twenty years unsuccessfully; they are impatient of longer delay. They clamour for change of measures, but mean only change of ministers.
In party contests, why should not both sides be equally steady? Does not a whig administration as well deserve the support of the whigs as the contrary
Why is not principle the cement in one as well as the other, especially when they confess, that all is level. led against one man? Why this one man ? Because they think, vainly, nobody else could withstand them. All others are treated as tools and vassals. The one is the corrupter ; the numbers corrupted. But whence this
cry of corruption, and exclusive claim of honourable distinction ? Compare the estates, characters, and fortunes of the commons on one side, with those on the other. Let the matter be fairly investigated. Survey and examine the individuals who usually support the measures of government, and those who are in opposition. Let us see to whose side the balance preponderates. Look round both houses, and see to which side the balance of virtue and talents
preponderates! Are all these on one side, and not on the other? Or are all these to be counterbalanced by an affected claim to the exclusive title of patriotism. Gentlemen have talked a great deal of patriotism. A venerable word, when duly practised. But I am sorry to say, that of late it has been so much hackneyed about, that it is in danger of falling into disgrace. The very idea of true patriotism is lost; and the term has been prostituted to the very worst of purposes. A patriot, sir !-Why patriots spring up like mushrooms! I could raise fifty of them within the four and twenty hours. I have raised many of them in one night. It is but refusing to gratify an unreasonable or an insolent demand, and up starts a patriot. I have never been afraid of making patriots; but I disdain and despise all their efforts. But this pretended virtue proceeds from personal malice, and from disappointed ambition. There is not a man amongst them whose particular aim I am not able to ascertain, and from what motive they have entered into the lists of opposition,
I shall now.consider the articles of accusation which they have brought against me, and which they have not thought fit to reduce to specifick charges; and I shall consider these in the same order as that in which they were placed by the honourable member whe
made the motion. First, in regard to foreign affairs ; secondly, to domestick affairs; and, thirdly, to the conduct of the war.
As to foreign affairs, I must take notice of the uncandid manner in which the gentlemen on the other side have managed the question, by blending numerous treaties and complicated negotiations into one general mass. To form a fair and candid judgment of the subject
, it becomes
necessary not to consider the treaties merely insulated; but to advert to the time in which they were made, to the circumstances and situation of Europe when they were made, to the peculiar situation in which I stand, and to the power which I possessed. I am called repeatedly and insidiously prime and sole minister. Admitting, however, for the sake of argument, that I am prime and sole minister in this country; am I, therefore, prime and sole minister of all Europe ? Am I answerable for the conduct of other countries as well as for that of my own? Many words are not wanting to show, that the particular view of each court occasioned the dangers which affected the publick tranquillity ; yet the whole is char. ged to my account. Nor is this sufficient. Whatever was the conduct of England, I am equally arraigned. If we maintained ourselves in peace, and took no share in foreign transactions, we are reproached for tameness and pusillanimity. If, on the contrary, we interfered in these disputes, we are called Don Quix. otes, and dupes to all the world. If we contracted guarantees, it was asked, why is the nation wantonly burthened? If guarantees were declined, we were reproached with having no allies.
I have, however, sir, this advantage, that all the objections now alleged against the conduct of the ad. ministration to which I have the honour to belong, have already been answered to the satisfaction of a majority of both houses of parliament, and I believe to the satisfaction of a majority of the better sort of people in the nation. I need therefore only repeat a few of these answers that have been made already, which I