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theatre of contention with a people refreshed by ten years of peace; enriched by the fruits of commercial enterprise during so long an interval; abounding with an hardy race of manly youth, whose hearts beat high to enter the lists of glory and try their strength with the foé; but with 'a people wearied, yet not exhausted, by nine years of war, carried on in every portion of the habitable globe; a war, which, in the grandeur of its principles, the astonishing exertions which it called forth, and the mighty consequences dependent on its termination, had required an unprecedented sacrifice of our country's blood and treasure. The nation, though reconciled to struggle, if necessary, to the last drop of its blood, for the sacred principles on which it had originally embarked, sighed after some moments of relaxation, that it might take breathi, and look a little into itself. Surely this conjuncture no man will pronounce to be the most auspicious for the acceptance of any share in the government, much less of the awful responsibility attached to its primary functions. It was a period of distresses ; à crisis ráther of danger than of hope, There was not the inust distant glimmering of a triumph that might cast a timely shade over the malversations or misfortunes of office, nor a prospect that might irradiate the gloom of despondency. The statesman who took the helm in such a tempestuous season, had a multitude of dangers to encounter, and little of what is termed glory to promise himself. His integrity and patriotism were his principal dependence, and to preserye and to repair, his sole objects. The days of impassioned chivalry had passed away; we had arrived on the verge of cold calculation.
Undaunted by the frowning aspect of the political hemisphere; conscious in the rectitude of his heart; endued with a benevolence of disposition ; bent on public good ; trusting that honesty in a government will ever be returned by the grateful fidelity of the people; 'and happily endowed with a natural inclination to preserve rather than to devastate, Mr. Addington obeyed the call of his sovereign. Fortunately for his own honor, he came with clean hands into the possession of power. Factions, cabal, intrigue had not marked one footstep of his public life. He had abetted no parties; he had neither formed nor renounced any COALITIONS; he had never conspired with any domineering families to thwart the measures of those in power ; to dic, gate to their sovereign the conditions of their services, or to prescribe exclusively for the national interests. Not one act of what is called political inconsistency had marked his progress; he had neither belied himself nor others; the good of his king and country was the constant theme and rule of his conduct. I challenge his defamers to deny this fact; for I have scrutinized him with the same minuteness as I have followed you. , It may be alleged that these are general assertions, after your best manner.
Granted : .bụt there is this essential difference between us; -you assert on conclusions suggested by your own ingenuity; I assert on Tacts known to all men: you argue, I. prove: you reject evidence, I ilJustrate it by details. That I may demonstrate this by Facts, permit me to remind you of the proof and pledge of public confidence, which was immediately afforded him by the first loan. In a great commercial country, such as this, where there is a mutual relation between commerce and politics, I think there cannot be a stronger evidence of popular approof, than the confidence of monied men.
Furthermore, his call was considered as the first signal of peace; so much so, that the ad. dresses which were preparing to accelerate that event, were instantly dropped. This was a strong mark of public confidence; and although it cannot be urged as an argument of the wisdom of measures which had not been tried, yet as a FACT, it is worthy of notice, as displaying the prepossession of the country, in favor of his pólitical character and abilities.
Two unsuccessful attempts at negociation with France, by an administration which afterwards rejected with haughty repulsiveness, the overtures of Bonaparte, had generated iñ the minds of most men a degree of diffidence respecting their sincerity, and doubts admitting their sincerity in any negociation for peace of their success. The nation was agitated and divided both in and out of parliament; and it now appears, that in the cabinet itself there was a want of unanimity. The abandonment of the intended addresses, may, therefore, be justly considered as a national recommendation of Mr. Addington, and as an honorable passport into the cabinet of his sovereign, whose choice was thus stamped by the concurrent consent of the people. 4, Secondly. The conduct of ministers in war as well as in peace.
The principal objection urged against Mr. Addington's administration, and indeed, every
collateral one may be referred to this one, consists, according to the language of his avowed opponents, in “a wànt of system, and a wayering, temporising, indecisive conduct.*" Although no facts whatever have been alleged to substantiate this charge, I shall establish its fallacy by proving its converse.
The first event that occurs to the mind is, the expedition to the Baltic, in which the praise has been claimed for those who projected it, without considering the merit due to those who provided the means of carrying it into effect, and through whose vigour it was successfully executed. Though the cause of quarrel with the Northern Powers had originated during the ministry of their predecessors, who had resolved to enforce their claims by arms; yet it does not follow that the present ministers were bound to pursue the same measures for the attainment of the same end. The fleet under Sir Hyde Parker might have received counter orders; the project of passing the Sound, and of establishing our maritime rights within sight of the walls of Copenhagen, might, by less vigorous ministers,
* Plain Answer, p. 23.