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received his instructions, not from Madrid, but from Versailles.
This was not hid from our ministers at home, and the discovery ought to have alarmed them, if the good of their country had been the object of their anxiety. They could not but have seen that the whole Spanish monarchy was melted down into the cabinet of Versailles. But they thought this circumstance an advantage; as it enabled them to go through with their work the more expeditiously. Expedition was everything to them; because France might happen during a protracted negotiation to discover the great imposition of our victories.
In the same spirit they negotiated the terms of the peace. If it were thought advisable not to take any positive security from Spain, the most obvious principles of policy dictated that the burthen of the cessions ought to fall upon France; and that everything which was of grace and favour should be given to Spain. Spain could not, on her part, have executed a capital article in the family compact, which obliged her to compensate the losses of France. At least she could not do it in America ; for she was expressly precluded by the treaty of Utrecht from ceding any territory or giving any advantage in trade to that power. What did our ministers ? They took from Spain the territory of Florida, an object of no value except to show our dispositions to be quite equal at least towards both powers; and they enabled France to compensate Spain by the gift of Louisiana ; loading us with all the harshness, leaving the act of kindness with France, and opening thereby a door to the fulfilling of this the most consolidating article of the family compact. Accordingly that dangerous league, thus abetted and authorized by the English ministry without an attempt to invalidate it in any way, or in any of its parts, exists to this hour; and has grown stronger and stronger every hour of its existence.
As to the second component of a good peace, compensation, I have but little trouble; the author has said nothing upon that head. He has nothing to say. After a war of such expense, this ought to have been a capital consideration. But on what he has been so prudently silent, I think it is right to speak plainly. All our new acquisitions together, at this time, scarce afford matter of revenue, either at home or abroad, sufficient to defray the expense of their establishments; not one shilling towards the reduction of our debt. Guadaloupe or Martinico alone would have given us material aid; much in the way of duties, much in the way of trade and navigation. A good ministry would have considered how a renewal of the Assiento might have been obtained. We had as much right to ask it at the treaty of Paris as at the treaty of Utrecht. We had incomparably more in our hands to purchase it. Floods of treasure would have poured into this kingdom from such a source; and, under proper management, no small part of it would have taken a public direction, and have fructified an exhausted exchequer.
If this gentleman's hero of finance, instead of flying from a treaty, which, though he now defends, he could not approve, and would not oppose; if he, instead of shifting into an office, which removed him from the manufacture of the treaty, had, by his credit with the then great director, acquired for ús these, or any of these, objects, the possession of Guadaloupe or Martinico, or the renewal of the Assiento, he might have held his head high in his country; because he would have performed real service; ten thousand times more real service, than all the economy of which this writer is perpetually talking, or all the little tricks of finance which the expertest juggler of the treasury can practise, could amount to in a thousand years. But the occasion is lost; the time is gone, perhaps, for ever.
As to the third requisite, alliance, there too the author is silent. What strength of that kind did they acquire ? They got no one new ally; they stript the enemy of not a single old one. They disgusted (how justly, or unjustly, matters not) every ally we had; and from that time to this we stand friendless in Europe. But of this naked condition of their country I know some people are not ashamed. They have their system of politics; our ancestors grew great by another. In this manner these virtuous men concluded the peace; and their practice is only consonant to their theory.
Many things more might be observed on this curious head of our author's speculations. But, taking leave of what the writer says in his serious part, if he be serious in any part, I shall only just point out a piece of his pleasantry. No
man I believe, ever denied that the time for making peace is that in which the best terms may be obtained. But what that time is, together with the use that has been made of it, we are to judge by seeing whether terms adequate to our advantages, and to our necessities, have been actually obtained. Here is the pinch of the question, and to which the author ought to have set his shoulders in earnest. Instead of doing this, he slips out of the harness by a jest; and sneer. ingly tells us, that, to determine this point, we must know the secrets of the French and Spanish cabinets, and that parliament was pleased to approve the treaty of peace with. out calling for the correspondence concerning it. How just this sarcasm on that parliament may be, I say not; but how becoming in the author, I leave it to his friends to determine.
Having thus gone through the questions of war and peace, the author proceeds to state our debt, and the interest which it carried, at the time of the treaty, with the unfairness and inaccuracy, however, which distinguish all his assertions, and all his calculations. To detect every fallacy, and rectify every mistake, would be endless. It will be enough to point out a few of them, in order to show how unsafe it is to place anything like an implicit trust in such a writer.
The interest of debt contracted during the war is stated by the author at £2,614,892. The particulars appear in pages 14 and 15. Among them is stated the unfunded debt, £9,975,017, supposed to carry interest on a medium at 3 per cent., which amounts to £299,250. We are referred to the Considerations on the Trade and Finances of the Kingdom, p. 22, for the particulars of that unfunded debt. Turn to the work, and to the place referred to by the author himself, if you have a mind to see a clear detection of a capital fallacy of this article in his account. You will there see that this unfunded debt consists of the nine following articles : the
Something however has transpired in the quarrels among those concerned in that transaction. It seems the good Genius of Britain, so much vaunted by our author, did his duty nobly. Whilst we were gaining such advantages, the court of France was astonished at our concessions. “J'ai apporté à Versailles, il est vrai, les Ratifications du Roi d'Angleterre à vostre grand étonnement, et à celui de bien d'autres. Je dois cela au bontés du Roi d'Angleterre, à celles de Milord Bute, à Mons. le Comte de Viry, à Mons. le Duc de Nivernois, et en fin à mon sçavoir faire.” Lettres, &c. du Chev. D'Eon, p. 51.
remaining subsidy to the Duke of Brunswick; the remaining dedommagement to the Landgrave of Hesse; the German demands; the army and ordnance extraordinaries; the deficiencies of grants and funds ; Mr. Touchet's claim; the debts due to Nova Scotia and Barbadoes; exchequer bills; and navy debt. The extreme fallacy of this state cannot escape any reader who will be at the pains to compare the interest money, with which he affirms us to have been loaded, in his State of the Nation, with the items of the principal debt to which he refers in his Considerations. The reader must observe, that of this long list of nine articles, only two, the exchequer bills, and part of the navy debt, carried any interest at all. The first amounted to £1,800,000; and this undoubtedly carried interest. The whole navy debt indeed amounted to £4,576,915 ; but of this only a part carried interest. The author of the Considerations, &c., labours to prove this very point in p. 18; and Mr. G. has always defended himself upon the same ground, for the insufficient provision he made for the discharge of that debt. The reader may see their own authority for it.
Mr. G. did in fact provide no more than £2,150,000 for the discharge of these bills in two years. It is much to be wished that these gentlemen would lay their heads together, that they would consider well this matter, and agree upon something. For when the scanty provision made for the
I“ The navy bills are not due till six months after they have been issued; six months also of the seamen's wages by act of parliament must be, and in consequence of the rules prescribed by that act, twelve months' wages generally, and often much more, are retained; and there has been besides at all times a large arrear of pay, which, though kept in the account, could never be claimed, the persons to whom it was due having left neither assignees nor representatives. The precise amount of such sums cannot be ascertained; but they can hardly be reckoned less than 13 or 14 hundred thousand pounds. On 31st Dec. 1754, when the navy debt was reduced nearly as low as it could be, it still amounted to £1,296,567 188. 11 d., consisting chiefly of articles which could not then be discharged; such articles will be larger now, in proportion to the increase of the establishment; and an allowance must always be made for them in judging of the state of the navy debt, though they are not distinguishable in the account. In providing for that which is payable, the principal object of the legislature is always to discharge the bills, for they are the greatest article; they bear an interest of 4 per cent.; and when the quantity of them is large, they are a heavy encumbrance upon all money transactions.”
unfunded debt is to be vindicated, then we are told it is a very small part of that debt which carries interest. But when the public is to be represented in a miserable condition, and the consequences of the late war to be laid before us in dreadful colours, then we are to be told that the unfunded debt is within a trifle of ten millions, and so large a portion of it carries interest that we must not compute less than 3 per cent. upon the whole.
In the year 1764, parliament voted £650,000 towards the discharge of the navy debt. This sum could not be applied solely to the discharge of bills carrying interest; because part of the debt due on seamen's wages must have been paid, and some bills carried no interest at all. Notwithstanding this, we find by an account of the Journals of the House of Commons, in the following session, that the navy debt carrying interest was, on the 31st of December, 1764, no more than £1,687,442. I am sure therefore that I admit too much when I admit the navy debt carrying interest, after the creation of the navy annuities in the year 1763, to have been £2,200,000. Add the exchequer bills; and the whole unfunded debt carrying interest will be four millions instead of ten; and the annual interest paid for it at 4 per cent. will be £160,000 instead of £299,250. An error of no small magnitude, and which could not have been owing to inadvertency.
The misrepresentation of the increase of the peace establishment is still more extraordinary than that of the interest of the unfunded debt. The increase is great undoubtedly. However, the author finds no fault with it, and urges it only as a matter of argument to support the strange chimerical proposals he is to make us in the close of his work for the increase of revenue. The greater he made that establishment, the stronger be expected to stand in argument: but, whatever he expected or proposed, he should have stated the matter fairly. He tells us that this establishment is nearly £1,500,000 more than it was in 1752, 1753, and other years of peace. This he has done in his usual manner, by assertion, without troubling himself either with proof or probability. For he has not given us any state of the peace establishment in the years 1753 and 1754, the time which he means to compare with the present. As I am obliged to force him to that