Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

I shall say the less of him, because his near relation to

you
makes

you more particularly acquainted with his merits. But I should appear little acquainted with them, or little sensible of them, If I could utter his name on this occasion without expressing my esteem for his character. I am not afraid of offending a most learned body, and most jealous of its reputation for that learning, when I say he is the first of his profession. It is a point settled by those who settle every thing else; and I must add, (what I am enabled to say from my own long and close observation) that there is not a man, of any profession, or in any situation, of a more erect and independent spirit; of a more proud honour; a more manly mind

; a more firm and determined integrity. Assuire yourselves, that the names of two such men will bear a great load of prejudice in the other scale, before they can be entirely outweighed.'

Then follows his account of the comparative authority of the supporters and the opponents of the repeal of the act in

question :

< With this mover and this seconder agreed the whole House of Commons; the whole House of Lords; the whole bench of Bishops; the King; the Ministry; the Opposition; all the distinguished clergy of the establishment; all the eminent lights (for they were consulted) of the Dissenting churches. This according voice of national wisdom ought to be listened to with reverence. To say that all these descriptions of Englishmen unanimously concurred in a scheme for introducing the Catholic religion, or that none of them understood the nature and effects of what they were doing, so well as a few obscure clubs of people, whose names you never heard of, is shamelessly absurd. Surely it is paying a miserable compliment to the religion we profess, to suggest, that every thing eminent in the kingdom is indifferent, or even adverse to that religion, and that its security is wholly abandoned to the zeal of those, who have

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

nothing but their zeal to distinguish them. In weighing this unanimous concurrence of whatever the nation has to boast of, I hope you will recollect, that all these concurring parties. do by no means love one another enough to agree in any point, which was not both evidently, and importantly, right."

1

During the year 1780, affairs in America, and indeed in Europe, wore a more favourable appearance to Britain. Charlestown and the whole province of South Carolina. were reduced; and the British forces made every exertion that courage and conduct could produce. Still, however, the Americans exhibited no signs of submission. The authority of Britain was acknowledged in no part, but those occupied by her forces. A hatred of the mother country was generally prevalent throughout the colonies. In Europe, Admiral Rodney had, by a signal victory over the Spanish fleet, displayed the valour and superior skill of the British navy. He led his victorious fleet to the West

Indies, and there maintained the pre-eminence of our fleets by considerable advantages, a prelude to

a decisive victory, equalling any in the former annals of British glory, though since equalled by the victories of the present war, of the present year, and of the present month.* The efforts of Rodney could not have been successful, but with a force that shewed that the First Lord of the Admiralty was not inattentive to his duty; and that Burke, in his imputation of negligence and incapacity to Lord Sandwich, was a party speaker, not an impartial thinker.

From the commencement of the American war, Holland had leaned to the colonies, and had supplied them with stores. After France and Spain had become hostile to Britain, she had also supplied those nations with warlike stores, contrary to the general principles of neutrality and particular treaties subsisting between her and Britain.

* Written Oct. 19, 1797

Various remonstrances on this subject häd been made to the Dutch, which were disregarded. The Ministry,

The Ministry, therefore, resolving to imitate the example of the illustrious Pitt during the former war, gave orders for the seizure of ships laden with contraband goods. This order was rigorously executed; the Dutch ships were searched, and contraband articles taken from them; the full value being paid to the owners. The Dutch, very unreasonably, complained of this proceeding. The British seeing them hostilely inclined, in order to put their disposition to the test, demanded succours stipulated by treaty. To this the States-General returned no satisfactory answer. It appeared evident that Holland had determined to abandon Britain, and join her enemies. The northern

powers entered into an association for promoting a scheme that altered the received law of nations concerning the right of neutral states to carry naval stores to the belligerent powers, and notified to the states .at war, that they had prepared an armed force for

« AnteriorContinuar »