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alleviate nearer distresses, and prevent or pacify domestick discontents.
If there be any man whom the sight of misery cannot move to compassion, who can hear the complaints of want without sympathy, and see the general calamity of his country without employing one hour on schemes for its relief; let not that man dare to boast of integrity, fidelity, or honour ; let him not presume to recommend the preservation of our faith, or adherence to our confederates: that wretch can have no real regard to any moral obligation, who has forgotten those first duties which nature impresses; nor can he that neglects the happiness of his country, recommend any good action for a good reason.
It should be considered, sir, that we can only be useful to our allies, and formidable to our enemies, by being unanimous and mutually confident of the good intentions of each other, and that nothing but a steady attention to the publick welfare, a constant readiness to remove grievances, and an apparent unwillingness to impose new burdens, can produce that unanimity.
As the cause is, therefore, necessarily to precede the effect, as foreign influence is the consequence of happiness at home, let us first endeavour to establish that alacrity and security that may animate the people to assert their ancient superiority to other nations, and restore that plenty which may raise them above any temptation to repine at assistance given to our allies.
No man, sir, can very solicitously watch over the welfare of his neighbour whose mind is depressed by poverty, or distracted by terrour; and when the nation shall see us anxious for the preservation of the queen of Hungary, and unconcerņed about the wants of our fellow-subjects, what can be imagined, but that we have some method of exempting ourselves from the common distress, and that we regard not the publick misery when we do not feel it?
Sir Robert WALPOLE replied, to the following effect : -Sir, it is always proper for every man to lay down some principles upon which he proposes to act, whether in publick or private ; that he may not be always wavering, un
certain, and irresolute; that his adherents may know what they are to expect, and his adversaries be able to tell why they are opposed.
It is necessary, sir, even for his own sake, that he may not be always struggling with himself; that he may know his own determinations, and enforce them by the reasons which have prevailed upon him to form them; that he may not argue in the same speech to contrary purposes, and weary the attention of his hearers with contrasts and antitbeses.
When a man admits the necessity of granting a supply, expatiates upon the danger that may be produced by retarding it, declares against the least delay, however speciously proposed, and enforces the arguments which have been already offered to show how much it is our duty and interest to allow it; may it not reasonably be imagined, that he intends to promote it, and is endeavouring to convince them of that necessity of which he seems himself convinced?
But when the same man proceeds to display, with equal eloquence, the present calamities of the nation, and tells to how much better purposes the sum thus demanded may be applied; when he dwells upon the possibility that an impolitick use may be made of the national treasure, and hints that it may be asked for one purpose and employed to another, what can be collected from his harangue, however elegant, entertaining, and pathetick? How can bis true opinion be discovered? Or how shall we fix such fugitive reasonings, such variable rhetorick?
I am not able, sir, to discern, why truth should be obscured; or why any man should take pleasure in heaping together all the arguments that his knowledge may supply, or his imagination suggest, against a proposition which be canuot deny. Nor can I assign any good purpose that can be promoted by perpetual renewals of debate, and by a repetition of objections, which have in former conferences, on the same occasion, been found of little force.
When the system of affairs is not fully laid open, and the schemes of the administration are in part unknown, it
is easy to raise objections formidable in appearance, which, perhaps, cannot be answered till the necessity of secrecy is taken away. When any general calamity has fallen upon a nation, it is a very fruitful topick of rhetorick, and may be very pathetically exaggerated, upon a thousand occasions to which it has no necessary relation.
Such, in my opinion, sir, is the use now made of the present scarcity, a misfortune inflicted upon us by the hand of providence alone; not upon us only, but upon all the nations on this side of the globe, many of which suffer more, but none less than ourselves.
If at such a time it is more burdensome to the nation to raise supplies, it must be remembered, that it is in proportion difficult to other nations to oppose those measures for which the supplies are granted ; and that the same sum is of greater efficacy in times of scarcity than of plenty.
Our present distress will, I hope, soon be at an end; and, perhaps, a few days may produce at least some alteration, It is not without reason, that I expect the news of some successful attempts in America, which will convince the nation, that the preparations for war have not been idle shows, contrived to produce unnecessary expenses.
In the mean time it is necessary that we support that: power which may be able to assist us against France, the only nation from which any danger can threaten us, even though our fleets in America should be unsuccessful.
If we defeat the Spaniards, we may assist the house of Austria without difficulty, and if we fail in our attempts, their alliance will be more necessary. The sum demanded for this important purpose cannot be censured as exorbitant, yet will, I hope, be sufficient: if more should hereafter appear necessary, I doubt not but it will be granted.
The question passed without opposition.
HOUSE OF COMMONS, DECEMBER 1, 1741.
The new house of commons being met, the usher oame
from the house of lords, with his majesty's commands for their immediate attendance, when they were ordered to choose a speaker; and being returned, Mr. PELHAM addressed himself in the following manner to the clerk of the house :
Mr. HARDINGE, As we are here assembled, in pursuance of the imperial summons, it is necessary, in obedience to his majesty's commands, and the established custom of this house, that we proceed immediately to the choice of a person qualified for the chair. -Gentlemen, it is with no common degree of satisfaction, that I observe this assembly so numerous on the first day; because whatever is transacted by us, must necessarily be considered by the nation with more regard, as it is approved by a greater number of their representatives; and because the present affair, which relates particularly to this house, must be more satisfactorily conducted, as our number is greater ; since every man must willingly abide by his own choice, and cheerfully submit to that authority, of which he has himself concurred to the establishment.
The qualifications required in the person who shall fill the chair, to his own reputation, and the advantage of the house, it is not necessary minutely to recount; it being obvious to every gentleman who hears me, that he must possess such an equality of temper, as may enable him always to preserve a steady and impartial attention, neither discomposed by the irregularities into which some gentlemen, unacquainted with the forms of this assembly, may easily fall, nor disconcerted by the heat and turbulence to which, in former parliaments, some of those whose experience might have taught them the necessity of decency, have been too often hurried by the eagerness of contro
versy. That he must add to his perpetual serenity, such a firmness of mind, as may enable him to repress petulance and subdue contumacy, and support the orders of the house, in whatever contrariety of counsels, or commotion of debate, against all attempts of infraction or deviation. That to give efficacy to his interpositions, and procure veneration to his decisions, he must, from his general character and personal qualities, derive such dignity and authority, as may naturally dispose the minds of others to obedience, as may suppress the murmurs of envy, and prevent the struggles of competition.
These qualifications were eminently conspicuous in the gentleman who filled the chair in the earlier part of my life, and who is now one of the ornaments of the other house. Such were his abilities, and such his conduct, that it would be presumptuous in any man, however endowed by nature, or accomplished by study, to aspire to surpass him ; nor can a higher encomium be easily conceived, than this house bestowed upon that person, who was thought worthy to succeed him.
The office which we have now to confer, is not only arduous with regard to the abilities necessary to the execution of it, but extremely burdensome and laborious, such as requires continual attendance, and incessant application ; nor can it be expected that any man would engage in it, who is not ready to devote his time and his health to the service of the publick, and to struggle with fatigue and restraint for the advantage of his country.
Such is the gentleman whom I shall propose to your choice ; one whose zeal for the present imperial house, and the prosperity of the nation, has been always acknowledged, and of whom it cannot be suspected that he will be deterred by any difficulties from a province which will afford him so frequent opportunities of promoting the common interest of the emperour and the people.
What success may be expected from his endeavours, we can only judge from his present influence; influence produced only by his private virtues ; but so extensive in that part of the nation which lies within the reach of his bene