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rent of private corruption, as no private heredit- | pendence. The infusion of health which I now ary fortune could resist. My Lords, not saying allude to would be to permit every county er bat wbat is within the knowledge of us all, the elect one member more, in addition to their pres. corruption of the people is the great original ent representation. The knights of the shire: cause of the discontents of the people themselves, approach nearest to the constitutional represen. of the enterprise of the Crown, and the notorious tation of the county, because they represent the decay of the iternal vigor of the Constitution. soil. It is not in the little dependent boroughs, For this great evil some immediate remedy must it is in the great cities and counties that the be provided ; and I confcss, my Lords, I did hope strength and vigor of the Constitution residcs; that his Majesty's servants would not have suf- and by them alone, if an unhappy question should fered so many years of peace to relapse without ever arise, will the Constitution be honestly and paying some attention to an object which ought firmly defended. It would increase that strength. to engage and interest us all. I flattered my because I think it is the only security we have self I should see some barriers thrown up in against the profligacy of the times, the corrupdefense of the Constitution; some impediment tion of the people, and the ambition of the formed to stop the rapid progress of corruption. | Crown. I doubt not we all agree that suniething must be I think I have weighed every possible objec. done. I shall offer my thoughts, such as they tion that can be raised against a plan of this naare, to the consideration of the House; and I ture; and I confess I see but one which, to me, wish that every noble Lord that hears me would carries any appearance of solidity. It may be be as ready as I am to contribute his opinion to said, perhaps, that when the act passed for unit. this important service. I will not call my own ing the two kingdoms, the number of persons sentiments crude and undigested. It would be who were to represent the whole nation in Paranfit for me to offer any thing to your Lordships liament was proportioned and fixed on forever. which I had not well considered; and this sub- | That this limitation is a fundamental article, and ject, I own, has not long occupied my thoughts. can not be altered without hazarding a dissoluI will now give them to your Lordships without tion of the Union. reserve.
My Lords, no man who hears me can have a Whoever understands the theory of the En- greater reverence for that wise and important glish Constitution, and will compare it with the act than I have. I revere the memory of that fact, must see at once how widely they differ. great prince (King William III.) who first formWe most reconcile them to each other, if we ed the plan, and of those illustrious patriots why wish to save the liberties of this country; we carried it into execution. As a contract, every most reduce our political practice, as nearly as article of it should be inviolable; as the common possible, to our principles. The Constitution in- basis of the strength and happiness of two na tended that there should be a permanent relation tions, every article of it should be sacred. I between the constituent and representative body hope I can not be suspected of conceiving a of the people. Will any man affirm that, as the thought so detestable as to propose an advantHouse of Commons is now formed, that relation age to one of the contracting parties at the exis in any degree prescrved? My Lords, it is pense of the other. No, my Lords, I mean that not preserved; it is destroyed. Let us be cau- the benefit should be universal, and the consent tious, however, how we have recourse to violent to receive it unanimous. Nothing less than a expedients.
most urgent and important occasion should perThe boroughs of this country have properly suade me to vary even from the letter of the act: enough been called “the rotten parts” of the but there is no occasion, however urgent, howConstitution. I have lived in Cornwall, and, ever important, that shouid ever induce me to without entering into any invidious particularity, depart from the spirit of it. Let that spirit be have seen enough to justify the appellation. But religiously preserved. Let us follow the prinin my judgment, my Lords, these boroughs, cor- ciple upon which the representation of the two rupt as they are, must be considered as the nat- countries was proportioned at the Union ; and ural infirmity of the Constitation. Like the in- when we increase the number of representatives firmities of the body, we must bear them with for the English counties, let the shires of Scot. patience, and submit to carry them about with land be allowed an equal privilege. On these as. The limb is mortified, but the amputation terms, and while the proportion limited by the might be death.
Union is preserved by the two nations, I apprc. Let us try, my Lords, whether some gentler hend that no man who is a friend to either will remedies may not be discovered. Since we can Bot cure the disorder, let us endeavor to infuse This is the first distinct proposal that was ever mich a portion of new health into the Constitu made for a reform of Parliament. It left the bor. tion as may enable it to support its most invet.
ough system as it was, in all its rottenness, and rate diseases.
aimed to “infuse a portion of new health into the
Constitution," sufficient to counteract the evil, by in. The representation of the counties is, I think,
creasing the representation from the counties. The still preserved pure and uncorrupted. That of
plan was never taken up by later reformers The the greatest cities is upon a footing equally re- rotten part was amputated in 1839, as Lord Chat spectable; and there are many of the larger bam himself predicted it would be before the expi trading towns which still preserve their inderation of a century.
object to an alteration su necessary for the secu- | this ground we met; upon this ground we stand rity of both. I do not speak of the authority of firm and inseparable. No ministerial artiform, the Legislature to carry such a measure into ef- no private offers, no secret seduction, can divide fect, because I imagine no man will dispute it.us. United as we are, we can set the profo-ind But I would not wish the Legislature to inter- est policy of the present ministry, their grand pose by an exertion of its power alone, without their only arcanum of government, their divid. the cheerful concurrence of all parties. My ob- et impera, '10 at defiance. ject is the happiness and security of the two na. I hope an early day will be agreed to foi Lions, and I would not wish to obtain it without considering the state of the nation. My infirm their mutual consent.
ities must fall heavily upon me, indeed, if I de My Lords, besides my warm approbation of not attend to my duty that day. When I con. the motion made by the noble Lord, I have a sider my age and unhappy state of health, I feel natural and personal pleasure in rising up to how little I am personally interested in the erent second it. I consider my seconding his Lord of any political question. But I look forward to ship's motion (and I would wish it to be consid- others, and am determined, as far as my poor ered by others) as a public demonstration of that ability extends, to convey to them who come cordial union which I am happy to affirm subafter me the blessings which I can not hope to sists between us, of my attachment to those prin- enjoy myself. ciples which he has so well defended, and of my respect for his person. There has been a time, my Lords, when those who wished well to nei- It was impossible to resist the motion, and ther of us, who wished to see us separated for therefore the Duke of Graston yielded to it with ever, found a sufficient gratification for their the best grace possible, naming two days from malignity against us both. But that time is that time, January 24th, as the day for the enhappily at an end. The friends of this country quiry. He afterward deferred it until February will, I doubt not, hear with pleasure that the 2d; but, finding it impossible to resist the press noble Lord and his friends are now united with ure, he resigned on the 28th of January, 1770 me and mine upon a principle which, I trust, Lord North took his place. The administrawill make our union indissoluble. It is not to tion now became more decidedly Tory than be possess, or divide the emoluments of govern- fore. Lord North continued at the head of the mwnt, but, if possible, to save the state. Upon | government for about twelve years.
OF LORD CHATHAM ON A MOTION CALLING FOR PAPERS IN RELATION TO THE SEIZURE OF THE
FALKLAND ISLANDS BY SPAIN, DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS, NOVEMBER 22, 1770.
INTRODUCTION. The Falkland Islands, lying about three hundred miles east of the Straits of Magellan, were discovered by the English in the days of Queen Elizabeth, but so dreary and Heterring was their appearance, that no steps were taken for their settlement during the next two hundred years. At length, in 1765, they were occupied in form by the British government, who soon after erected a small block-house, named Fort Egmont, on one of the islands, and there stationed a few troops. This gave much offense to the court of Spain, which claimed all the Magellanic regions; and, after sundry protests, Buccarelli, the governor of Buenos Ayres, sent an expedition which drove the English from the islands in the early part of 1770. It is a remarkable fact, as already mentioned, that Lord Chatham predicted this event at the close of the preceding Parliament, very near the month in which the Spanish fleet arrived at the Falkland Islands "I do now pledge myself,” said he, "to this honorable House for the truth of what I am going to assert that, at this very hour that we are sitting together, a blow of hostility has been struck against us by our old inveterate enemies in some quarter of the world."
When the intelligence of this seizure reached England, the whole nation was fired at the indignity of fered to the British flag, and in every quarter the utmost eagerness was manifested to vindicate the na tional honor. Lord Chatham, who had always cherished a strong antipathy and contempt for the Bpan iards, shared largely in these feelings. Accordingly, when the Duke of Richmond moved for papers or this subject, he made the following speech, in which he first considers the outrage committed by Spain and then expatiates on the want of spirit exhibited by the ministry, their neglect of naval and military preparations, the depressed condition of the country, and some of the causes which had led to this resnit
SPEECH, &c.' My LORDS,- I rise to give my hearty assent to the motion made by the noble Duke. By his 10 Divide and rule.
Grace's favor I have been permitted to see it, This speech is anderstood to have been report before it was offered to the House. I have sally ed by Sir Philip Francis
considered the necessity of obtaining from the
King's servants a communication of the papers has denied, i sull affirm that it was the word we described in the motion, and I am persuaded made use of; but if he had used any other, I am that the alarming state of facts, as well as the sure every noble Lord will agree with me, that strength of 1 Jasoning with which the noble Duke his meaning was exactly what I have expressed has urged and enforced that necessity, must have it. Whether he said course or train is indiffer. been powerfully felt by your Lordships. What ent. He told your Lordships that the negotia.
mean to say upon this occasion may seem, per- tion was in a way that promised a happy and bars, :o extend beyond the limits of the motion honorable conclusion. His distinctions are mean, befort as. But I flatter myself, my Lords, that frivolous, and puerile. My Lords, I do not un1 I am honored with your attention, it will ap- derstand the exalted tone assumed by that noble pear that the meaning and object of this question Lord. In the distress and weakness of this counare naturally connected with considerations of try, my Lords, and conscious as the ministry the most extensive national importance. For ought to be how much they have contributed to entering into such considerations, no season is that distress and weakness, I think a tone of improper, no occasion should be neglected. modesty, of submission, of humility, would be. Something must be done, my Lords, and imme- come them better; “quædam cause modestiam diately, to save an injured, insulted, undone desiderant." Before this country they stand as country; if not to save the state, my Lords, at the greatest criminals. Such I shall prove them least to mark out and drag to public justice those to be; for I do not doubt of proving, to your servants of the Crown, by whose ignorance, neg. Lordships' satisfaction, that since they have been lect, or treachery this once great, flourishing intrusted with the King's affairs, they have done people are reduced to a condition as deplorable every thing that they ought not to have done, and at home as it is despicable abroad. Examples hardly any thing that they ought to have done. are wanted, my Lords, and should be given to The noble Lord talks of Spanish punctilios in the world, for the instruction of future times, the lofty style and idiom of a Spaniard. We are even though they be useless to ourselves. I do to be wonderfully tender of the Spanish point of not mean, my Lords, nor is it intended by the honor, as if they had been the complainants, as motion, to impede or embarrass a negotiation if they had received the injury. I think be which we have been told is now in a prosperous would have done better to have told us what train, and promises a happy conclusion. care had been taken of the English honor. My
(Lord Weymouth.- I beg pardon for inter- Lords, I am well acquainted with the character rupting the noble Lord; but I think it necessary of that nation—at least as far as it is representto remark to your Lordships that I have not said ed by their court and ministry, and should think a single word tending to convey to your Lord this country dishonored by a comparison of the ships any information or opinion with regard to English good faith with the punctilios of a Spanthe state or progress of the negotiation. I did, iard. My Lords, the English are a candid, an with the utmost caution, avoid giving to your ingenuous people. The Spaniards are as mean Jordships the least intimation upon that matter.] and crafty as they are proud and insolent. The
I perfectly agree with the noble Lord. I did integrity of the English merchant, the generous not mean to refer to any thing said by his Lord-spirit of our naval and military officers, would ship. He expressed himself, as he always does, be degraded by a comparison with their merwith moderation and reserve, and with the great chants or officers. With their ministers I have est propriety. It was another noble Lord, very often been obliged to negotiate, and never met high in office, who told us he understood that with an instance of candor or dignity in their the negotiation was in a favorable train.
proceedings; nothing but low cunning, trick, (Earl of Hillsborough.- I did not make use and artifice. After a long experience of their of the word train. I know the meaning of the want of candor and good faith, I found myself word too well. In the language from which it compelled to talk to them in a peremptory, de. was derived, it signifies protraction and delay, cisive language. On this principle I submitted which I could never mean to apply to the press my advice to a trembling council for an immeont negotiation.
diate declaration of a war with Spain. Your This is the second time that I have been in- Lordships well know what were the consequen. terrupted. I submit to your Lordships whether ces of not following that advice. Since, how. this be fair and candid treatment. I am sure it ever, for reasons unknown to me, it has been is contrary to the orders of the House, and a thought advisable to negotiate with the court of gross violation of decency and politeness. ISpain, I should have conceived that the great listen to every noble Lord in this House with and single object of such a negotiation would attention and respect. The noble Lord's design have been, to obtain complete satisfaction for in interrupting me is as mean and unworthy as the injury done to the crown and people of Enthe manner in which he has done it is irregular gland. But, if I understand the noble Lord, the and disorderly. He flatters himself that by break- only object of the present negotiation is to find ing tice thread of my discourse, he shall confuse a salvo for the punctilious honor of the Span. ine in my argument. But, my Lords, I will not iards. The absurdity of such an idea is of it submit to this treatment. I will not be interrapted. When I have concluded, let him an
: Some causes call for modesty •wer me, if he can. As to the word which he
3 In 1761. See p. 63
self insupportable. But, my Lords, I object to country ever produced (it is hardly necessary to our negotiating at all, in our present circum- mention the name of Sir Walter Raleiga), sacristances. We are not in that situation in which ficed by the meanest prince that ever sat upon the a great and powerful nation is permitted to ne- throne, to the vinilictive jealousy of that haughty gotiate. A foreign power has forcibly robbed court. James the First was base enough, ai his Majesty of a part of his dominions. Is the the instance of Gondomar, to suffer a sentence sland restored ? Are you replaced in statu quo? against Sir Walter Raleigh, for another supposed Is that had been done, it might then, perhaps, offense, to be carried into execution almost twelve have heen justifiable to treat with the aggressor years after it had been passed. This was the upon the satisfaction he ought to make for the pretense. His real crime was, that he had mor. insult offered to the Crown of England. But tally offended the Spaniards, while he acted by will you descend so low? Will you so shame. the King's express orders, and under his comfully betray the King's honor, as to make it mat- mission. ter of negotiation whether his Majesty's posses. My Lords, the pretended disavowal by the sions shall be restored to him or not?
court of Spain is as ridiculous as it is false. If I doubt not, my Lords, that there are some your Lordsbips want any other proof, call for important mysteries in the conduct of this affair, 1 your own officers who were stationed at Falkwhich, whenever they are explained, will ac- land Island. Ask the officer wbo commanded count for the profound silence now observed by the garrison, whether, when he was summoned the King's servants. The time will come, my to surrender, the demand was made in the name Lords, when they shall be dragged from their of the Governor of Buenos Ayres or of his Cath concealments. There are some questions which, olic Majesty ? Was the island said to belong sooner or later, must be answered. The minis- to Don Francisco Buccarelli or to the King of try, I find, without declaring themselves explic. Spain ? If I am not mistaken, we have heen in itly, have taken pains to possess the public with possession of these islands since the year 1764 an opinion, that the Spanish court have con- or 1765. Will the ministry assert, that, in all stantly disavowed the proceedings of their gov- that time, the Spanish court have never once ernor; and some persons, I see, have been shame claimed them? That their right to them has less and daring enough to advise his Majesty to never been urged, or mentioned to our mi stry? support and countenance this opinion in his speech If it has, the act of the Governor of Buenos from the throue. Certainly, my Lords, there Ayres is plainly the consequence of our refusal never was a more odious, a more infamous false. to acknowledge and submit to the Spanish claims hood imposed on a great nation. It degrades For five years they negotiate; when that fails the King's honor. It is an insult to Parliament. they take the island by force. If that measure His Majesty has been advised to confirm and had arisen out of the general instructions con. give currency to an absolute falsehood. I beg stantly given to the Governor of Buenos Ayr?: your Lordship's attention, and I hope I shall be why should the execution of it have been defe. understood, when I repeat, that the court of red so long ? Spain's having disavowed the act of their gov. My Lords, if the falsehood of this pretended ernor is an absolute, a palpable falsehood. Let disavowal had been confined to the court of me ask, my Lords, when the first communica. Spain, I should have admitted it without contion was made by the court of Madrid of their cern. I should have been content that they being apprised of the taking of Falkland's Isl. themselves had left a door open for excuse and and, was it accompanied with an offer of instant accommodation. The King of England's honor restitution, of immediate satisfaction, and the is not touched till he adopts the falsehool delivpunishment of the Spanish governor ? If it was ers it to his Parliament, and adopts it as he own. not, they have adopted the act as their own, and I can not quit this subject without comparing the very mention of a disavowal is an impudent the conduct of the present ministry with that of insult offered to the King's dignity. The King a gentleman (Mr. George Grenville) who is now of Spain disowns the thief, while he leaves him no more. The occasions were similar. The unpunished, and profits by the theft. In vulgar French had taken a little island from us (in 1764 English, he is the receiver of stolen goods, and called Turk's Island. The minister then at the ought to be treated accordingly.
head of the treasury (Mr. Grenville) took the If your Lordships will look back to a period business upon himself. But he did not negoof the English history in which the circumstan- tiate. He sent for the French embassador and ces are reversed, in which the Spaniards were made a peremptory demani A courier was the complainants, you will see how differently dispatched to Paris, and returned in a few days, they succeeded. You will see one of the ablest with orders for instant restitution, not only of men, one of the bravest officers this or any other the island, but of every thing that the Englis!
subjects had lost. • History confirms this statement. Adolphus says
Such, then, my Lords, are the circumstu nce: that when Lord Weymouth inquired " whether Griwaldi had instructions to disavow the conduct of SA similar measure of spirit was adopted ty the Buccarelli, he received an answer in the negative." same minister with the Spaniards, wbo had driven --Vol. i., p. 431. It was not until January 22d, 1771, our settlers from Honduras, to whom fourteen days nearly three months after, that the disavowal was bad been allowed; upon which, all was instantly made See Adolphus, i.. 435.
J and amicably adjusted
of our diffe.ence with Spain ; and in this situa. Spain. My Lords, 1 disclaim such counsels, and tion, we are told that a negotiation has been 1 beg that this declaration may he remembered entered into; that this negotiation, which must Let us have peace, my Lords, but let it be hon. have commeaced near three months ago, is still crable, let it be secure. A patched-up peaco Sepending, and that any insight into the actual | will not do. It will not satisfy the nation, state of it will impede the conclusion. My Lords, though it may be approved of by Parliament. I am not, for my own part, very anxious to draw i distinguish widely between a solid peace, and from the ministry the information which they the disgraceful expedients by which a war may take so much care to conceal from us. I very be deferred, but can not be avoided. I am as sell know where this honorable negotiation will tender of the effusion of human blood as the no. ond-where it must end. We may, perhaps, be ble Lord who dwelt so long upon the miseries of able to patch up an accommodation for the pres. war. If the bloody politics of some noble Lords ent, but we shall have a Spanish war in six had been followed, England, and every quarter months. Some of your Lordships may, perhaps, of his Majesty's dominions would have been glut. remember the Convention. For several success. ted with blood—the blood of our own o puntry. ive years our merchants had been plandered; no men. protection given them; no redress obtained for My Lords, I have better reasons, perhaps, than them. During all that time we were contented many of your Lordships for desiring peace upon to complain and to negotiate. The court of the terms I have described. I know the strength Madrid were then as ready to disown their offi- and preparation of the house of Bourbron; I know eers, and as unwilling to punish them, as they the defenseless, unprepared condition of this are at present. Whatever violence happened country. I know not by what misnanagement was always laid to the charge of one or other we are reduced to this situation ; but when 1 of their West India governors. To-day it was consider who are the men by whom a war, in ths Governor of Cuba, to-morrow of Porto Rico, the outset at least, must be conducted, can I but Carthagena, or Porto Bello. If in a particular wish for peace ? Let them not screen them. instance redress was promised, how was that selves behind the want of intelligence. They promise kept? The merchant who had been had intelligence : I know they had. If they had robbod of his property was sent to the West In- not, they are criminal, and their excuse is their dies, to get it, if he could, out of an empty chest. crime. But I will tell these young ministers the At last, the Convention was made ; but, though true source of intelligence. It is sagacity. Sa. approved by a majority of both houses, it was gacity to compare causes and effects; to judge received by the nation with universal discontent. of the present state of things, and discern the I mysell heard that wise man (Sir Robert Wal- luture by a careful review of the past. Oliver pole) say in the House of Commons, "'Tis true Cromwcil, who astonished mankind by his intel. Te have got a Convention and a vote of Parlia- ligence, did not derive it from spies in the cabi. ment; but what signifies it? We shall have a net of every prince in Europe : he drew it from Spanish war upon the back of our Convention." the cabinet of his own sagacious mind. He obHere, my Lords, I can not help mentioning a served facts, and traced them forward to their very striking observation made to me by a noble consequences. From what was, he concluded Lord (Granville), since dcad. His abilities did what must be, and he never was deceived. In honor to this House and to this nation. In the the present situation of affairs, I think it would opper departments of government he had not his be treachery to the nation to conceal from them equal; and I feel a pride in declaring, that to his their real circumstances, and, with respect to a patronagc, his friendship, and instruction, I owe foreign enemy, I know that all concealments are whatever I am. This great man has often obsery- vain and useless. They are as well acquainted ed to me, that, in all the negotiations which pre- with the actual force and weakness of this counceded the Convention, our ministers never found try as any of the King's servants. This is no vut that there was no ground or subject for any time for silence or reserve. I charge the min. negotiation. That the Spaniards had not a right isters with the highest crimes that men in their to search our ships, and when they attempted to stations can be guilty of. I charge them with regulate that right by treaty, they were regu. having destroyed all content and unanimity at lating a thing which did not exist. This I take home by a series of oppressive, unconstitutiona, to be something like the case of the ministry. measures; and with having betrayed and deliv. The Spaniards have seized an island they have ered up the nation desenseless to a foreign enlo right to; and his Majesty's servants make it emy. a matter of negotiation, whether his dominions Their utmost vigor has reached no farther shall be restored to him or not.
than to a fruitless, protracted negotiation. When From what I have said, my Lords, I do not they should have acted, they have contented doubt but it will be understood by many Lords, themselves with talking about it, goddess, and and given out to the public, that I am for hurry about it." If we do not stand forth, and do our ing the nation, at all events, into a war with duty in the present crisis, the nation is irretriev.
ably undone. I despise the little policy of con. • The Convention here referred to was the one cealments. You ought to know the whole of made by Sir Robert Walpole in 1739, wbich Lord your situation. If the information be new to the Chatham at the time so strenuously resisted. | ministry, let them take care to profit by ::. 1