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as potent enemies as it now bath, yet ine king of England your coach, or stationed at a theatre? And if you are, in prevailed "
reality, that public man, that king, that magistrate, which Some opinion may now be expected from me, upon a these questions suppose you to be, is it any answer to point of equal delicacy to the writer, and hazard to the your people, to say, that among your domestics you are printer. When the character of the chief magistrate is good-humored, that to one lady you are faithful, that to in question, more must be understood that may be safely your children you are indulgent? Sir, the man who ad, expressed.If it be really a part of our constitution, and dresses you in these terms, is your best friend: he would not a mere dictum of the law, that the king can do no willingly bazard his life in defense of your title to the wrong, it is not the only instance, in the wisest of human crown; and, if power be yonr object, will still show you institutions, where theory is at variance with practice. how possible it is for a king of England, by the noblest That the sovereign of this country is not amenable to any means, to be the most absolute prince in Europe. You form of trial known to the laws, is unquestionable: but have no enemies, sir, but those who perfuade you to aim exemption from punishment is a singular privilege an- at power without right, and who think it flattery to tell nexed to the royal character, and no way excludes the you, that the character of king dissolves the natural re, possibility of deserving it. How long, and to what ex- lation between guilt and punisment." tent, a king of England may be protected by the forms, I cannot conceive that there is a heart so callous, or when he violates the spirit of the constitution, deserves an understanding so depraved, as to attend to a discourse to be considered. A mistake in this matter proved fatal of this nature, and not to feel the force of it. But where to Charles and his son. For my own part, far from think is the man, among those who have access to the closet, ing that the king can do no wrong, far from suffering resolute and honest enough to deliver it? The liberty of myself to be deterred or imposed upon by the language the press is our only resource: it will command an audiof forms, in opposition to the substantial evidence of ence when every honest man in the kingdom is excluded. truth; if it were my misfortune to live under the in- This glorious privilege may be a security to the king as auspicious reign of a prince, whose whole life was em- well as a resource to his people. Had there been no star, ployed in one base, contemptible struggle with the free chamber, there would bave been no rebellion against spirit of his people, or in the detestable endeavor to cor- Charles the First. The constant censure and admonition rupt their moral principles, I would not scruple to de- of the press would have corrected his conduct, prevented clare to bim, “Sir, you alone are the author of the great- a civil war, and saved him from an ignominious death. I est wrong to your subjects and to yourself. Instead of am no friend to the doctrine of precedents, exclusive of reigning in the hearts of your people, instead of com- right; though lawyers often tell us, that whatever has manding their lives and fortunes through the medium of been once done may lawfully be done again. I shall contheir affections; has not the strength of the crown, clude this preface with a quotation, applicable to the sub
uence or prerogative, been uniformly ex- ject, from a foreign writer,* whose Essay on the Eng erted, for eleven years together, to support a narrow, Constitution I beg leave to recommend to the public, as & pitiful system of government which defeats itself, and performance deep, solid, and ingenious. answers no one purpose of real power, profit, or per- "In short, whoever considers what it is that constitutes sonal satisfaction to you? With the greatest unappro- the moving principle of what we call great affairs, and priated revenue of any prince in Europe, have we not the invincible sensibility of man to the opinion of his fele seen you reduced to such vile and sordid distresses, as low-creatures, will not hesitate to affirm, that if it were would have conducted any other man to a prison ? With possible for the liberty of the press to exist in a despotio & great military, and the greatest naval power in the government, and what is not less difficult)for it to exist known world, have not foreign nations repeatedly in- without changing the constitution, this liberty of the sulted you with impunity? Is it not notorious that the press would alone form a counterpoise to the power of vast revenues, extorted from the labor and industry of the prince. If, for example, in an empire of the East, & your subjects, and given you to do honor to yourself and sanctuary could be found, which, rendered respectablo to the nation, are dissipated in corrupting their repre- by the ancient religion of the people, migbt ensure safety sentatives? Are you a prince of the house of Hanover, to those who sbould bring thither their observations of and do you exclude all the leading Whig families from any kind; and that, from thence printed papers should your councils? Do you profess to govern according to issue, which, under a certain seal, might be equally re
ith that profession to impart spected, and which, in their daily appearance, should exyour confidence and affection to those men only who, amine and freely discuss the conduct of the cadis, the though now, perhaps, detached from the desperate cause basbaws, the vizir, the divan, and the sultan himself: of the pretender, are marked in this country by an hered- that would introduce immediately some degree of libitary attachment to high and arbitrary principles of goverty." ernment? Are you so infatuated as to take the sense of your people from the representation of ministers, or from the shouts of a mob, notoriously hired to surround! * Monsieur de Lolme.
LETTERS OF JUNIUS.
| sovereign ascended the throne, we were a flourishing ADDRESSED TO THE PRINTER OF THE PUBLIC ADVERTISER.
and a contented people. If the personal virtues of a
**** king could have insured the happiness of his subjects, January 21, 1789.
the scene could not have altered so entirely as it has The submission of a free people to the executive done. The idea of uniting all parties, of trying all authority of government, is no more than a compli- characters, and distributing the offices of state by ance with laws which they themselves have enacted. rotation, was gracious and benevolent to an extreme, While the national honor is firmly maintained abroad, though it has not yet produced the many salutary and while justice is impartially administered at home, effects which were intended by it. To say nothing of the obedience of the subject will be voluntary, cheer- the wisdom of such a plan, it undoubtedly arose from ful, and, I might almost say, unlimited. A generous an unbounded goodness of heart, in which folly had nation is grateful even for the preservation of its no share. It was not a capricious partiality to new rights, and willingly extends the respect due to the faces; it was not a natural turn for low intrigue; nor office of a good prince into an affection for his person. was it the treacherous amusement of double and triple Loyalty, in the heart and understanding of an Eng- negotiations. No, sir, it arose from a continued lishman, is a rational attachment to the guardian of anxiety, in the purest of all possible hearts, for the the laws. Prejudices and passion have sometimes general welfare. Unfortunately for us, the event has carried it to a criminal length, and, whatever for- not been answerable to the design. After a rapid eigners may imagine, we know that Englishman have succession of changes, we are reduced to that state erred as much in a mistaken zeal for particular per- which hardly any change can mend. Yet there is no sons and families, as they ever did in defense of what extremity of distress, which, of itself, ought to rethey thought most dear and interesting to them- duce a great nation to despair. It is not the disorselves.
der, but the physician : it is not a casual concurrence It naturally fills us with resentment, to see such a of calamitous circumstances; it is the pernicious hand temper insulted and abused. In reading the history of government which alone can make a whole people of a free people, whose rights have been invaded, we desperate. are interested in their cause. Our own feelings tell Without much political sagacity, or any extraordiis how long they ought to have submitted, and at nary depth of observation, we need only mark how what moment it would have been treachery to them the principal departments of the state are bestowed, selves not to have resisted. How nuch warmer will and look no farther for the true cause of every misbe our resentment, if experience should bring the fa- chief that befalls us. tal example home to ourselves!
The finances * of a nation, sinking under its debts The situation of this country is alarming enough and expenses, are committed to a young nobleman, to rouse the attention of every man who pretends to already ruined by play. Introduced to act under the s concern for the public welfare. Appearances justi- auspices of lord Chatham, and left at the head of ly suspicion; and when the safety of a nation is at affairs by that nobleman's retreat, he became minisstake, suspicion is a just ground of inquiry. Let us ter by accident: but deserting the principles and proenter into it with candor and decency. Respect is fessions which gave him a moment's popularity, we lue to the station of ministers: and, if a resolution see him from every honorable engagement to the mast at last be taken, there is none so likely to be public, an apostate by design. As for business, the supported with firmness, as that which has been world yet knows nothing of his talents or resolution; adopted with moderation.
unless a wayward, wavering inconsistency be a mark The ruin or prosperity of a state depends so much of genius, and caprice a demonstration of spirit. It may ipon the administration of its government, that, to be said, perhaps that it is his grace's province, as sureDe acquainted with the merit of a ministry, we need ly it is his passion, rather to distribute than to save the inly observe the condition of the people. If we see public money; and that while lord North is chancelthem obedient to the laws, prosperous in their in- lor of the exchequer, the first lord of the treasury lustry, united at home, and respected abroad, we may be as thoughtless and extravagant as he pleases. nay reasonably presume that their affairs are con- I hope, however, he will not rely too much on the lucted by men of experience, abilities, and virtue. fertility of lord North's genius for finance: his lord[f, on the contrary, we see an universal spirit of dis- ship is yet to give us the first proof of his abilities. rust and dissatisfaction, a rapid decay of trade, dis- It may be candid to suppose that he has hitherio lensions in all parts of the empire, and a total loss voluntarily concealed his talents; intending, perof respect in the eyes of foreign powers, we may pro- haps, to astonish the world, when we least expect it, wounce, without hesitation, that the government of with a knowledge of trade, a choice of expedients, hat country is weak, distracted, and corrupt. The and a depth of resources, equal to the necessities, and nultitude, in all countries, are patient to a certain pint. Ill usage may rouse their indignation, and * The duke of Grafton took the office of secretary of urry them into ex cesses. but the original fant is in state, with an engager:ent to support the marquis of
Rockingham's administration. He resigned, however, in government. Perhaps there never was an instance of a little time, under pretense that he could not act without s change in the circumstances and temper of a whole lord Chatham, nor bear to see Mr. Wilkes abandoned ; but nation so sudden and extraordinary as that which that under lord Chatbam, he would act in any office.
This was the signal of lord Rockingham's dismission. the misconduct of ministers has, within these few | When lord Chatham came in, the duke got possession of years, produced in Great Britain. When our gracious the treasury. Reader, mark the consequence!
far beyond the hopes of his country. He must now have appeared, let his measures, as far as they have exert the whole power of his capacity, if he would operated, determine tor him. In the former we have wish us to forget, that, since he has been in office, no seen strong assertions without proof, declamation plan has been formed, no system adhered to, nor any without argument, and violent censures without one important measure adopted for the relief of pub- dignity or moderation; but neither correctness in lic credit. If his plan for the service of the current the composition, nor judgment in the design. As for year be not irrevocably fixed on, let me warn him to his measures, let it be remembered, that he was think seriously of consequences, before he ventures called upon to conciliate and unite ; and that, when to increase the public debt. Outraged and oppressed he entered into office, the most refractory of the as we are, this nation will not bear, after a six years' colonies were still disposed to proceed by the conpeace, to see new millions borrowed, without an stitutional methods of petition, and remonstrant. eventual diminution of debt, or reduction of interest. Since that period they have been driven into erThe attempt might rouse a spirit of resentment which cesses little short of rebellion. Petitions have been might reach beyond the sacrifice of a minister. As hindered from reaching the throne ; and the contineto the debt upon the civil list, the people of England ance of one of the principal assemblies rested upon expect that it will not be paid without a strict in- an arbitrary condition,* which, considering the temquiry how it was incurred. If it must be paid by per they were in, it was impossible they should conparliamcat, let me advise the chancellor of the ex- ply with ; and which would have availed nothing a chequer to think of some better expedient than a to the general question, if it had been complied with. lottery. To support an expensive war, or in circum- So violent, and, I believe, I may call it, so unconstances of absolute necessity, a lottery may, perhaps, stitutional, an exertion of the prerogative, to say be allowable; but, besides that it is at all times the nothing of the weak, injudicious terms in which it very worst way of raising money upon the people, I was conveyed, gives us as humble an opinion of his think it ill becomes the royal dignity to have the lordship's capacity, as it does of his temper and debts of a king provided for, like the repairs of a moderation. While we are at peace with other country bridge, or a decayed hospital. The manage- nations, our military force may, perhaps, be spared ment of the king's affairs in the house of commons, to support the earl of Hillsborough's measures in cannot be more disgraced than it has been. A lead- America. Whenever that force shall be necessarily ing minister* repeatedly called down for absolute withdrawn or diminished, the dismission of such a ignorance, ridiculous motions ridiculously with minister will neither console us for his imprudence. drawn, deliberate plans disconcerted, and a week's nor remove the settled resentment of a people, who. preparation of graceful oratory lost in a moment, complaining of an act of the legislature, are outraged give us some, though not adequate ideas, of lord by an unwarrantable stretch of prerogative; and, North's parliamentary abilities and influence. Yet, supporting their claims by argument, are insulted before he had the misfortune of being chancellor of with declamation. the exchequer, he was neither an object of derision Drawing lots would be a prudent and reasonable to his enemies, nor of melancholy pity to his method of appointing the officers of state, compared friends.
to a late disposition of the secretary's office. Lon A series of inconsistent measures hasalienated the col- Rochford was acquainted with the affairs and temonies from their duty as subjects, and from their natural per of the southern courts; lord Weymouth was affection to their common country. When Mr. Grenville equally qualified for either department:t by what was placed at the head of the treasury, he felt the im- unaccountable caprice has it happened, that the latpossibility of Great Britain's supporting such an ter, who pretends to no experience whatsoever, is reestablishment, as her former successes had made in- moved to the most important of the two departdispensable, and at the same time of giving any ments; and the former, by preference, placed in a : sensible relief to foreign trade, and to the weight of office where his experience can be of no use to him the public debt. He thought it equitable, that those Lord Weymouth had distinguished himself, in his parts of the empire which had benefited most by the first employment, by a spirited, if not judicions com expenses of the war, should contribute something to duct. He had animated the civil magistrate beford the expenses of the peace, and he had no doubt of the the tone of civil authority, and had directed the constitutional right vested in parliament to raise the operations of the army to more than military eitcontribution. But, unfortunately for his country, cution. Recovered from the errors of his youth, Mr. Grenville was at any rate to be distressed, be- from the distraction of play, and the bewitching cause he was minister; and Mr. Pitti and lord Cam- smiles of Burgundy, behold him exerting the whole den were to be the patrons of America, because they strength of his clear, unclouded faculties in the ser were in opposition. Their declamation gave spirit vice of the crown. It was not the heat of midnight and argument to the colonies; and while, perhaps, excesses, nor ignorance of the laws, nor the furious they meant no more than the ruin of a minister, they, spirit of the house of Bedford ; no, sir, when this in effect, divided one half of the empire from the respectable minister interposed his authority between other.
| the magistrate and the people, and signed the manUnder one administration the stamp-act is made ; / date, on which for aught he knew, the lives of under the second it is repealed: under the third, in thousands depended, he did it from the deliberate spite of all experience, a new mode of taxing the motion of his heart supported by the best of his colonies is invented, and a question revived which iudgment. ought to have been buried in oblivion. In these cir- It has lately been a fashion to pay a compliment cumstances a new office is established for the busi- to the bravery and generosity of the commander-iness of the plantations, and the earl of Hillsborough chief, I at the expense of his understanding. They called forth, at a most critical season, to govern America. The choice, at least, announced to us a *That they should retract one of their resolutions, and man of superior capacity and knowledge. Whether erase the entry of it. he be so or not, let his despatches, as far as they
+ It was pretended that the earl of Rochford, while sm bassador in France, bad quarrelled with the duke et
Choiseul; and that, therefore, be was appointed to the * This happened frequently to poor lord North.
northern department, out of compliment to the French Yet Junius has been called the partisan of lord Chat minister
& The late lord Granby.
who love him least make no question of his courage, were possible for us to escape a crisis so full of while his friends dwell chiefly on the facility of his terror and despair, posterity will not believe the hisdisposition. Admitting him to be as brave as a total tory of the present times. They will either conclude absence of all feeling and reflection can make him, that our distresses were imaginary, or that we had let us see what sort of merit he derives from the re- the good fortune to be governed by men of acknowlmainder of his character. If it be generosity to accu-edged integrity and wisdom: they will not believe it mulate, in his own person and family, a number of possible, that their ancestors could have surlucrative employments; to provide, at the public ex-vived or recovered from so desperate a condition, pense, for every creature that bears the name of Man- while a duke of Grafton was prime minister, a lord ners; and, neglecting the merit and services of the North chancellor of the exchequer; a Weymouth and rest of the army, to heap promotions upon his favor- a Hillsborough secretaries of state; a Granby comites and dependents; the present commander-in-mander-in-chief; and a Mansfield chief criminal chief is the most generous man alive. Nature has judge of the kingdom. been sparing of her gifts to this noble lord ; but
JUNIUS. where birth and fortune are united, we expect the noble pride and independence of a man of spirit, not the servile humiliating complaisance of a courtier.
LETTER II. As to the goodness of his heart, if a proof of it be taken from the facility of never refusing, what con
TO THE PRINTER OF THE PUBLIC ADVERTISER. clusion shall we draw from the indecency of never SIR,
January 26, 1789. performing? And if the discipline of the army be in The kingdom swarms with such numbers of felonany degree preserved, what thanks are due to a man, ious robbers of private character and virtue, that no whose cares, notoriously confined to filling up vacan- honest or good man is safe; especially as these cowcies, have degraded the office of commander-in-chiet, ardly, base assassins, stab in the dark, without havinto a broker of commissions ?
ing the courage to sign their real names to their With respect to the navy, I shall only say, that malevolent and wicked productions. A writer, who this country is so highly indebted to Sir Edward signs himself Junius, in the Public Advertiser of the Hawke, that no expense should be spared to secure 21st instant, opens the deplorable situation of his to him an honorable and affluent retreat.
country in a very affecting manner. With a pompous The pure and impartial administration of justice is, parade of his candor and decency, he tells us that perhaps, the firmest bond to secure a cheerful sub- we see dissensions in all parts of the empire, an unimission of the people, and to engage their affectionsversal spirit of distrust and dissatisfaction, and a to governinent. It is not sufficient that questions of total loss of respect towards us in the eyes of foreign private right or wrong are justly decided, nor that powers. But this writer, with all his boasted canjudges are superior to the vileness of pecuniary cor-dor, has not told us the real cause of the evils he so ruption. Jefferies himself, when the court had no pathetically enumerates. I shall take the liberty to interest, was an upright judge. A court of justice explain the cause for him. Junius, and such writers may be subject to another sort of bias, more impor | as himself, occasion all the mischief complained of, tant and pernicious, as it reaches beyond the interest | by falsely and maliciously traducing the best characof individuals, and affects the whole community. A ters in the kingdom: for when our deluded people at judge, under the influence of government, may be home, and foreigners abroad, read the poisonous and honest enough in the decision of private causes, yet inflammatory libels that are daily published with a traitor to the public. When a victim is marked impunity, to vilify those who are any way distinout by the ministry, this judge will offer himself to guished by their good qualities and eminent virtues ; perform the sacrifice: he will not scruple to prostitute when they find no notice taken of, or reply given to his dignity, and betray the sanctity of his office, these slanderous tongues or pens, their conclusion is, whenever an arbitrary point is to be carried for gov- that both the ministers and the nation have been ernment, or the resentment of a court to be gratified. fairly described, and they act accordingly. I think
These principles and proceedings, odious and con- it, therefore, the duty of every good citizen to stand temptible as they are, in effect are no less injudicious. forth, and endeavor to undeceive the public, when A wise and generous people are roused by every ap- the vilest arts are made use of to defame and blacken pearance of oppressive, unconstitutional measures, the brightest characters among us. An eminent whether those measures are supported only by the author affirms it to be almost as criminal to hear a power of government, or masked under the forms of worthy man traduced, without attempting his justià court of justice. Prudence and self-preservation fication, as to be the author of the calumny against will oblige the most moderate dispositions to make him. For my own part, I think it a sort of miscommon cause even with a man whose conduct they prision of treason against society. No man, therecensure, if they see him persecuted in a way which fore, who knows lord Granby, can possibly hear so the real spirit of the laws will not justify. The facts good and great a character most vilely abused, withon which these remarks are founded are too notorious out a warm and just indignation against this Junius, to require an application.
this high-priest of envy, malice, and all uncharitaThis, sir, is the detail. In one view behold a nation bleness, who has endeavored to sacrifice our beloved overwhelmed with debt; her revenues wasted, her commander-in-chief at the altars of his horrid trade declining; the affections of her colonies alien- deities. Nor is the injury done to his lordship alone, ated; the duty of the magistrate transferred to the but to the whole nation, which may too soon feel the soldiery; a gallant army, which never fought unwill- contempt, and consequently the attacks, of our late ingly but against their fellow subjects, mouldering enemies, if they can be induced to believe that the away for want of the direction of a man of common person on whom the safety of these kingdoms so abilities and spirit; and in the last instance, the ad- much depends, is unequal to his high station, and ministration of justice become odious and suspected to destitute of those qualities which form a good genthe whole body of the people. This deplorable scene eral. One would have thought that his lordship's admits of but one addition, that we are governed by services in the cause of his country, from the battle counsels from which a reasonable man can expect no of Culloden to his most glorious conclusion of the remedy but poison : no relief but death.
late war, might have entitled him to common respect If, by the immediate interposition of Providence, it I and decency at least; but this uncandid, indecent