Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

the Foreign Ministers remained inactive and unprovided; the system of Europe was dissolved; the chain of our alliances was broken; all the wheels of government at home and abroad were stopped ;-because the King's turnspit was a member of Parliament.' The household troops form an army, who will be ready to mutiny for want of pay,

and whose mutiny will be really dreadful to a Commander in Chief. A rebellion of the thirteen Lords of the bedchamber would be far more terrible to a Minister, and would probably affect his power more to the quick, than a revolt of thirteen colonies. What an uproar such an event would create at court! What fetitions, and committees, and associations would it not produce! Bless me! what a clattering of white sticks and yellow sticks would be about his head !—what a storm of gold keys would fly about the ears of the Minister ! what a shower of Georges, and Thistles, and medals, and collars of S. S. would assail him at his first entrance into the antichamber, after an insolvent Christmas quar

[ocr errors]

ter! A tumult which could not be appeased
by all the harmony of the New Year's

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

The individuals affected by his reform
(after it had fallen much short of his in-
tention) have inveighed bitterly against
Burke for diminishing their profits. That,
no doubt, was a serious concern to themselves
and those interested in their prosperity; but it
could be no reason to prevent a patriot from
proposing reduction of useless expence,
that some had gained by it. If a man find it
prudent to dismiss supernumerary footmen,
or housemaids, he ought not to be deterred
by the consideration, that it would be more
agreeable to these persons to live
though doing nothing in return. He went
through offices of a higher description than
those of the mere menials of the household,
and proposed the reduction of various places
in the civil list, in which either there was
pay without service, or where the pay
greatly exceeded the service. An impartial
examiner must admit the justness and com-

[ocr errors]

upon him,

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

prehensiveness of Burke's general principles of political economy, the accuracy of his details of office, and the applicability of his principles to those details: he must acknowledge that considerable saving would have accrued to the nation from the general adoption of his plan, as indeed there did even from the partial. Their utility would have been much greater if they could be applied to infinitely more momentous departments of public expence than any within the civil list, to the ordnance, the navy, and the army. The necessary expenditure in these is so very considerable, that there is a much greater probability of waste, and opportunity of mismanagement or even intentional misapplication, than in the comparativ:ly confied expenditure of the civil list. From the general political principles of Burke, together with his particular finan-. cial principles, it is probable that if he had fully succeeded in his first plan of reform, he would have afterwards 'extended their operation to the larger sources of expence. Ministers joined with Opposition in bestow

[ocr errors]

ing the highest applause, not on his eloquence only, but on his financial principles. When, however, the principles came to be applied to the particular plans of reform, they did not accede. Burke grounded four bills on his plan, which, after much discussion, were at length rejected.


A new law was proposed this session for excluding contractors from Parliament, and very ably supported by Burke, Fox, and Dunning, and passed the House of Com

During the discussion of Burke's bill, Mr. Dunning, after enlarging very much on the influence of the Crown, and endeavouring to shew that it was attended with most pernicious effects, moved the famous resolution, that the influence of the Crown has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished. This resolution was supported by Fox, Burke, and the whole force of Opposition, with such effect, that, to the surprise and alarm of Administration, and probably to the astonishment of the mover himself, it was carried by a majority

[blocks in formation]



of 233 to 215, and on it several other resolutions were grounded. Although this majority was of no long duration on the side of Opposition, it afforded them well grounded hopes that their warfare against the Minister would be at last successful. The country gentlemen had been so moved by the state of public affairs as described by Dunning, Fox, and Burke, that they were staggered in their opinion of Lord North; and though, after a short dereliction, they again returned to him, it was probable that the increasing burdens from the war, joined to the forcible eloquence of the Opposition leaders, would induce them entirely to abandon Administration; as afterwards took place. On the general ground of diminishing the influence of the Crown, a bill was proposed under the auspices of Burke, for

preventing revenue officers from voting at elections, but rejected by a small majority. The bill for excluding contractors was lost in the House of Lords. Whether Lord North had suffered it to pass without much opposition in the House of Commons, from

« AnteriorContinuar »