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HONOURABLE CHARLES JAMES FOX,
My dear Charles, AM, on many accounts, exceedingly pleased with
your journey to Ireland. I do not think it was possible to dispose better of the interval between this and the meeting of Parliament. I told you as much, in the same general terms, by the post
. My opinion of the infidelity of that conveyance hindered me from being particular. I now sit down with malice prepense to kill you with a very long letter, and must take my chance for some safe method of conveying the dose. Before I say any thing to you of the place you are in, or the business of it, on which, by the way, a great deal might be said, I will turn myself to the concluding part of your letter from Chatsworth. You are sensible that I do not differ from
in many things; and most certainly I do not dissent from the main of your doctrine, concerning the heresy, of depending upon contingencies. You must recollect how uniform my sentiments have been on that subject. I have ever wished a kettled plati- of our own, founded in the very essence of the American business, wholly unconnected with the events of the war, and framed in such a manner as to keep up our credit, and maintain our system at home, in spite of any thing, which may hạppen abroad. I am now convinced, by a long and somewhat vexatious experience, that such a plan is absolutely impracticable. I think with you, that some faults in the constitution of those, whom we must love and trust, are among the causes of this impracticability; they are faults too, that one can hardly wish them perfectly cured of, as I am afraid they are intimately connected with honest, disinterested intentions, plentiful fortunes, assured rank, and quiet homes. A great deal of activity and enterprize can scarcely ever be expected from such men, unless some horrible calamity is just over their heads; or unless they suffer some gross personal insults from power, the resentment of which may be as unquiet and stimulating a principle in their minds, as ambition is in those of a different complexion. To say the truth, I cannot greatly blame them. We live at a time, when men are not repaid in fame for what they sacrifice in interest or repose,
On the whole, when I consider of what discordant, and particularly of what fleeting materials the opposition has been all along composed, and at the same time review what Lord Rockingham has done, with that and - with his own shattered constitų.
tion, for these last twelve years, I confess I am rather surprized that he has done so much, and persevered so long, than that he has felt now and then some cold fits, and that he grows somewhat languid and desponding at last. I know, that he and those, who are much prevalent with him, though they are not thought so much devoted to popularity as others, do very much look to the people; and more than I think is wise in them, who do so little to guide and direct the publick opinion. Without this they act, indeed; but they act as it were from compulsion, and because it is impossible, in their situation, to avoid taking some part. All this it is impossible to change, and to no purpose to complain of.
As to that popular humour, which is the medium we float in, if I can discern any thing at all of its present state, it is far worse than I have ever known, or could ever imagine it. The faults of the people are not popular vices; at least they are not such as grow out of what we used to take to be the English temper and character. The greatest number have a sort of an heavy, lumpish acquiescence in Government, without much respect or esteem for those, that composé it. I really cannot avoid making some very unpleasant prognosticks from this disposition of the people. I think that
of the symptoms must have struck you; I will mention one or two, that are to me very remarkable. You must know, that at Bristol we grow, as an election interest, and even as a party interest, rather stronger than we were when I was chosen. We have just now a majority in the Corporation. In this state of mat; ters, what, think you, have they done? They have voted their freedom to Lord Sandwich, and Lord Suffolk!--to the first at the very moment, when the American privateers were domineering in the Irish Sea, and taking the Bristol traders in the Bristol Channel;—to the latter, when his remonstrances on the subject of captures were the jest of Paris and of Europe. This fine step was taken, it seems, in honour of the zeal of these two profound statesmen in the prosecution of John the Painter; sọ totally negligent are they of every thing essential, and so long and so deeply affected with trash the most low and contemptible; just as if they thought the merit of Sir John Fielding was the most shining point in the character of great ministers, in the most critical of all times, and, of all others, the most deeply interesting to the commercial world! My best friends in the Corporation had no other doubts on the occasion, than whether it did not belong to me, by right of my representative capacity, to be the bearer of this auspicious compliment. In addition to this, if it could receive any addition, they now employ me to solicit, as a favour of no small magnitude, that after the example of Newcastle they may be suffered to arm vessels for their
own defence in the Channel. Their memorial, under the seal of Merchants-hall, is now lying on the table before me. Not a soul has the least sensibility on finding themselves, now for the first time, obliged to act as if the community were dissolved, and, after enormous payments towards the common protection, each part was to defend itself, as if it were a separate state.
I don't mention Bristol, as if that were the part furthest gone in this mortification. Far from it; I know that there is rather a little more life in us than in any other place. In Liverpool they are literally almost ruined by this American war; but they love it as they suffer from it. In short, from whatever I see, and from whatever quarter I hear, I am convinced, that every thing, that is not absolute stagnation, is evidently a party spirit, very adverse to our
politicks, and to the principles, from whence they „It elie note, y
arise. There are manifest marks of the resurrection
of the Tory party: They no longer criticise, as all him the great disengaged people in the world will, on the acts of
Government; but they are silent under every evil,
and hide and cover up every ministerial blunder and njetinte
misfortune, with the officious zeal of men, who think they have a party of their own to support in power. The Tories do universally think their power and consequence involved in the success of this American business. The Clergy are astonishingly warm in it; and what the Tories are when embodied and united