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to any man who reflects, that from one of the most wealthy nations in the world, the Dutch, with all their commerce, and all their parsimony, are reduced to penury and distress; for who can tell by what means they have sunk into their present low condition, if they suffered nothing by the late war?
How this gentleman, sir, has been deceived, and to whose insinuations his errours are to be imputed, I am at no loss to discover. I hope he will, by this confutation, be warned against implicit credulity, and remember with what caution that man is to be trusted, whose pernicious counsels have endangered his country.
Mr. VYNER spoke thus : -Sir, it is, in my opinion, an incontestable maxim, that no measures are eligible, which are unjust; and that, therefore, before any resolutions are formed, we ought to examine not what motives may be suggested by expedience, but what arguments may be advanced by equity on one part or the other.
If I do not mistake the true intent of the address now proposed, we are invited to declare that we will oppose the king of Prussia in his attempts upon Silesia, a declaration in which I know not how any man can concur, who knows not the nature of his claim, and the laws of the empire. It ought, therefore, sir, to have been the first endeavour of those by whom this address has been so zealously promoted, to show that his claim, so publickly explained, so firmly urged, and so strongly supported, is without foundation in justice or in reason, and is only one of those imaginary titles, which ambition may always find to the dominions of another.
But no attempt has been yet made towards the discussion of this important question, and, therefore, I know not how any man can call upon us to oppose the king of Prussia, when his claim may probably be just, and, by consequence, such as, if it were necessary for us to engage in the affairs of those distant countries, we ought to join with him in asserting
Lord GAGE spoke next, in substance as follows :—Sir, as no member of this assembly can feel a greater degree of
zeal for his majesty's honour than myself; none shall more readily concur in any expression of duty or adherence to him.
But I have been always taught that allegiance to my prince is consistent with fidelity to my country, that the interest of the king and the people of great Britain is the same; and that he only is a true subject of the crown, who is a steady promoter of the happiness of the nation.
For this reason I think it necessary to declare, that Hanover is always to be considered as a sovereignty separate from that of Britain, and as a country with laws and interests distinct from ours; and that it is the duty of the representatives of this nation, to take care that interests so different may never be confounded, and that Britain may incur no expense of which Hanover alone can enjoy the advantage.
If the elector of Hanover should be engaged in war with any of the neighbouring sovereigns, who should be enabled, by a victory, to enter into the country, and carry the terrours of war through all his territories, it would by no means be necessary for this nation to interpose; for the elector of Hanover might lose his dominions without any disadvantage or dishonour to the king or people of Britain.
HOUSE OF COMMONS, APRIL 16, 1741.
DEBATE ON A MOTION FOR SUPPORTING THE QUEEN OF
His majesty went this day to the house of lords, and after
his assent to several bills, he, in a speech from the throne to both houses of the senate, acquainted them, that the war raised against the queen of Hungary, and the va-rious claims on the late German emperour's succession, might expose the dominions of such princes as should incline to support the Pragmatick sanction to imminent danger. That the queen of Hungary required the
twelve thousand men stipulated by treaty, and thereupon he had demanded of the king of Denmark, and of the king of Sweden, as sovereign of Hesse Cassel, their respective bodies of troops, of six thousand men each, to be in readiness to march to her assistance. That he was concerting such farther measures as may disappoint all dangerous designs forming to the prejudice of the house of Austria, which might make it necessary for him to enter into still larger expenses for maintaining the Pragmatick sanction. He, therefore, in a conjuncture so critical, desired the concurrence of his senate, in enabling him to contribute, in the most effectual manner, to the support of the queen of Hungary, the preventing, by all reasonable means, the subversion of the house of Austria, and to the maintaining the liberties
and balance of power in Europe. The house of commons, in their address upon this occa
sion, expressed a dutiful sense of his majesty's just regard for the rights of the queen of Hungary, and for the maintaining the Pragmatick sanction; they declared their concurrence in the prudent measures which his majesty was pursuing for the preservation of the liberties.and balance of power in Europe; they assured his majesty, that, in justice to, and vindication of the honour and dignity of the British crown, they would effectually stand by and support his majesty against all insults and attacks, which any power, in resentment of the just measures which he had so wisely taken, should make upon any of his majesty's dominions, though not belonging to the crown of Great Britain. They farther assured his majesty, that in any future events which might make it necessary for him to enter into still larger expenses, they would enable him to contribute, in the most effec
tual manner, to the support of the designs he proposed. His majesty, in his answer to this address, observed their
readiness in enabling him to make good his engagements with the queen of Hungary, and the assurances given him not to suffer his foreign dominions to be in
sulted on account of the measures he was pursuing for
the support of the Pragmatick sanction, etc. In consequence of this procedure, the house, pursuant to
order, resolved itself into a committee, to consider of
the supplies granted to his majesty. Upon this occasion, a motion was made by sir Robert
Walpole for a grant of three hundred thousand pounds, for the support of the queen of Hungary, on which arose the following debate :
Sir ROBERT WALPOLE supported his motion by a speech, in substance as follows :—Sir, the necessity of this grant appears so plainly from the bare mention of the purposes for which it is asked, that I can scarcely conceive that its reasonableness will be disputed. I can discover no principles upon which an objection to this motion can be founded, nor the least arguments by which such objection can be supported.
The indispensable obligations of publick faith, the great ties by which nations are united, and confederacies formed, I cannot suppose any man inclined to invalidate. An exact performance of national promises, and inviolable adherence to treaties, is enforced at once by policy and justice, and all laws both of heaven and earth.
Publick perfidy, sir, like private dishonesty, whatever temporary advantages it may promise or produce, is always, upon the whole, the parent of misery. Every man, however prosperous, must sometimes wish for a friend ; and every nation, however potent, stand in need of an ally; but all alliances subsist upon mutual confidence, and confidence can be produced only by unlimited integrity, by known firmness, and approved veracity.
The use of alliances, sir, has, in the last age, been too much experienced to be contested; it is by leagues well concerted, and strictly observed, that the weak are defended against the strong, that bounds are set to the turbulence of ambition, that the torrent of power is restrained, and empires preserved from those inundations of war, that, in former times, laid the world in ruins. By
alliances, sir, the equipoise of power is maintained, and those alarms and apprehensions avoided, which must arise from daily vicissitudes of empire, and the fluctuations of perpetual contest.
That it is the interest of this nation to cultivate the friendship of the house of Austria, to protect its rights, and secure its succession, to inform it when mistaken, and to assist it when attacked, is allowed by every party. Every man, sir, knows that the only power that can sensibly injure us, by obstructing our commerce, or invading our dominions, is France, against which no confederacy can be formed, except with the house of Austria, that can afford us any efficacious support.
The firmest bond of alliances is mutual interest. Men easily unite against him whom they have all equal reason to fear and to hate; by whom they have been equally injured, and by whom they suspect that no opportunity will be lost of renewing his encroachments. Such is the state of this nation, and of the Austrians. We are equally endangered by the French greatness, and equally animated against it by hereditary animosities, and contests continued from one age to another; we are convinced that, however either may be flattered or caressed, while the other is invaded, every blow is aimed at both, and that we are divided only that we may be more easily destroyed.
For this reason we engaged in the support of the Pragmatick sanction, and stipulated to secure the imperial crown to the daughters of Austria ; which was nothing more than to promise, that we would endeavour to prevent our own destruction, by opposing the exaltation of a prince who should owe his dignity to the French, and, in consequence of so close an alliance, second all their schemes, admit all their claims, and sacrifice to their ambition the happiness of a great part of mankind.
Such would probably be the consequence, if the French should gain the power of conferring the imperial crown. They would hold the emperour in perpetual dependence, would, perhaps, take possession of his hereditary dominions, as a mortgage for their expenses; would awe him