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I am almost led to despair that we shall ever be able to extricate ourselves. At any rate, the day of retribution is at hand, when the vengeance of a much injured and afflicted people, will, I trust, fall heavily on the authors of their ruin; and I am strongly inclined to believe, that before the day to which the proposed adjournment shall arrive, the noble earl who moved it, will have just cause to repent of his motion.
His Speech on Cases brought before the Admiralty
said, he did not mean to rise at so late an hour, had not some law.positions, of the most extraordinary tex, ture and tendency he ever heard, within or without the walls of that house, fallen from a learned and hon. gen. tleman who had just sat down. Were it not for his rank in his profession, he should have remained silent; but as that circumstance might have a tendency to im. pose and mislead some one auditor or other, he thought it his duty to pay a little attention to the arguments of his learned friend. It would, he believed, be sufficient only to state the argument, in order to shew the gross absurdity with which it was fraught.
The learned gentleman set out with describing the admiralty board as a piece of mere official mechanism, without any power or function but what was imparted to it by the statute. The learned gentleman, taking this for granted, follows it with another assertion, which we are instructed to give credit to upon the same autho. rity. He tells you, that the admiralty board is thus mechanized by act of parliament. I admire the inge. nuity of the learned gentleman. He has made one as.
sertion without proof, and expects that you should be. lieve his second assertion, upon the modesto claim that the first was incontrovertibly established. After dwelling some time on the structure of the learned gentleman's logic, he next proceeded to examine the several parts of what he called this curious piece of mechanism ; and the degrees of impulsive motion supposed to be com, municated to it by the act of parliament.
The accusation is delivered to the board ; the board may or may not examine the charge ; for if they do, according to the learned gentleman's argument, it can be to no manner of purpose, farther than that of gratify. ing an idle, or of being punished in their feelings by a painful curiosity.
But examine or not, be the accusation ever so absurd, malicious, or improbable, the party accused must have immediate notice of trial. If I have pushed the argu. ment further than it was stated, I desire to be corrected, Now, I would ask the learned gentleman, or the noble lord who has so often risen in this debate, whether the board thus mechanically restricted, have in fact any
power at all?
Might not any accusation be as well delivered to an inferior clerk, or the office-keeper, as to the board ? The effect would be equally the same in one event as the other, if the accusation was lodged with the fire-lighter as with the first commissioners ; and the numerous evils arising from such an unlimited licence to accuse, and such an uniform ministerial acquiescence in the pretended obligation to bring every such accusation into actual existence, as the first ministerial step to immediate trial, be past remedy or correction. After saying that the board had always a deliberative and discretional power to receive or reject, and that the act of the 22d Geo. II. neither divested, curtailed or altered that power, he proceeded to controvert the principles of law maintained by his learned antagonist. The first, he said, was the position, that there were instances in our laws,
only means of effecting so desirable an end consisted, not in recruiting our armies, but in recruiting our councils.
Enlist new ministers, and pursue new measures. Not that he meant to have it understood that he was one of the general herd of complainers, or that he considered our past misfortunes as an incontrovertible proof of the want of wisdom in administration. He had no such idea; on the contrary, he knew that several of those who were employed in the first offices of government were men of sound judgment, unimpeachable integrity, and extensive talents; but when he considered the tremendous state of national affairs, he thought that all the men of abilities, let them be of what party they would, should be called upon for their advice and as. sistance. He therefore wished most anxiously that gentleman would forego their animosities, their prejudices, and their passions ; that a coalition of parties might take place and unanimity of sentiment might once more prevail.
From unanimity, and the exertion of a general zeal to save the kingdom, he said, he alone expected that immediate ruin could be avoided. He had little skill as an artist; but there were great and masterly painters on both sides the chair ; the picture of the country, which had been more than once drawn by the Salvator Rosas of the opposite side of the house, was a capital exhibition; it was grand and sublime, but dreadful and alarming. The honourable gentleman who proposed the bill was a more flattering artist, and had given a very different view indeed of the same country. If the like. ness was not so striking, if his outline was not so true and accurate as that of the gentleman of the opposite school, he had amply compensated for this trifling defect, by a richness of colouring, a brilliancy of sky, a glow of tints, which would have done honour to a Claude Lorrain. He was no painter, but something like his brother, * though with inferior powers of pencil ; any thing therefore that he should attempt to delineate,
* Mr. H. Bunbury.
would be found to be a mere sketch, a rough outline, a rude daubing. * To drop all metaphor, he was far, as he had before said, from thinking all the present ministry wanting in capacity. The noble lord in the blue ribbon was possessed of a sound understanding, an ho nest mind, and most respectable abilities. The learned gentleman who had lately left that house in consequence of his promotion to a high office, he had often listened to with pleasure. His manly sense, quick discernment, profound sagacity, and great professional knowledge, his love of justice, and his firmness of mind, qualified him in the fullest manner to be the adviser of his king, in a moment of so much danger, and in which the coune sel of wise and upright men was so essentally necessary as at present. When he considered the gentlemen on the opposite side of the house, he saw among them men of the first abilities, and men whose talents might at this
crisis be exercised equally to their own honour and the • service of the state. (Sir Charles then spoke of the tas lents of three gentlemen
of the opposition, Mr. Burke, Mr. Dunning, and Mr. Fox, in terms of the highest panegyric.)
The fruitful imagination of the first, his brilliancy of thought, powerful eloquence, strict integrity of con. duct, and refined delicacy of sentiment, he said, pointed him out as a fit person to be employed in government. With regard to the second, his great knowledge of both professional and political affairs, his keen and pene. trating perception, his sound understanding, his. un. sullied honour, and wise decisions upon every point he spoke to, rendered him essentially qualified to assist in restoring the lost dignity of Great Britain ; and as almost every man in that house, as well as almost every man without doors; when he thought either his person, his property, or his fame in danger, ran eagerly to him, and solicited his assistance and protection, he • Sir Charles pursued his metaphorical allusion to painting for considerable time. Vol. II.
saw no reason why this country should not have the bene. fit of his great abilities, as well as individuals. (Of the. third gentleman he spoke in the following words ;)?
There is another ornament of his country, a gentleman with whom I have the honour and happiness to live in the most familiar habits, of whose extraordinary talents you are daily witnesses, but whose real character, (dis: figured by calumny, and those shameful and unfounded aspersions which flow daily from an unrestrained and licentious press,) is yet unknown to you. Permit me, impelled by the partiality of friendship, and still more by a zeal for truth, to shew to you, and through you to his country, this valuable man in his proper colours, that you may know to whom to look for assistance in this hour of peril and calamity. To dwell on the shrewd. ness of his understanding, on the liberality of his exalt. ed mind, on his rapid and unerring judgment, on his convincing and overpowering oratory, were to mispend your time. Of his talents you are daily witnesses : you are unanimous admirers. But believe me, gentlemen, he merits not your admiration only ; he is deserving of your respect-of your most affectionate regard : here. sembles not those splendid pebbles which ingenious industry renders glittering at a distance, but whose lustre fades as you approach them; like the genuine diamond, he is more brilliant on a closer inspection ; his amiable qualities are as captivating, and uncommon as his intellectual ones; those of his heart as superior to those of his head. Unlike the generality of mankind, his excellence is more apparent to those who see him in his un guarded moments ; and, in defiance of the levelling maxim of Rochefoucault, he is a hero, even to his valet de chambre.
Having carried his eulogium on these three gentlemen very far, sir Charles recurred to his original posi. tion,—that our army was sufficiently numerous, if wisely directed, to defend our present possessions. That if it was deemed advisable to increase it, in the exhausted