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The king of Spain indeed delayed to comply with our proposals, and our armament was made necessary by unsatisfactory answers and dilatory debates. The delay certainly increased our expenses, and it is not unlikely that the increase of our expenses put an end to the delay.
But this is the inevitable process of human affairs. Negociation requires time. What is not apparent to intuition must be found by inquiry. Claims that have remained doubtful for ages cannot be settled in a day. Reciprocal complaints are not easily adjusted but by reciprocal compliance. The Spaniards thinking themselves entitled to the island, and injured by Captain Hunt, in their turn demanded satisfaction, which was refused; and where is the wonder if their concessions were delayed! They may tell us, that an independent nation is to be influenced not by command, but by per. suasion; that if we expect our proposals to be received without deliberation, we assume that sovereignty which they do not grant us; and that if we arm while they are deliberating, we must indulge our martial ardour at our own charge.
The English ministry asked all that was reasonable, and enforced all that they asked. Our national honour is advanced, and our interest, if any interest we have, is sufficiently secured. There can be none amongst us to whom this transaction does not seem happily concluded, but those who, having fixed their hopes on public calamities, sat like vultures waiting for a day of carnage. Having worn out all the arts of domestick sedition, having wearied violence, and exhausted falsehood, they yet flattered themselves with some assistance from the pride or malice of Spain; and when they could no longer make the people complain of grievances which they did not feel, they had the comfort yet of knowing that real evils were possible, and their resolution is well known of charging all evil on their governors.
The reconciliation was therefore considered as the loss of their last anchor; and received not only with the fretfulness of disappointment, but the rage of desperation. When they found that all were happy in spite of their machinations, and the soft effulgence of peace
shone out upon the nation, they felt no motion but that of sullen envy; they could not, like Milton's prince of hell, abstract themselves a moment from their evil; as they have not the wit of Satan, they have not his virtue; they tried once again what could be done by sophistry without art, and confidence without credit. They represented their sovereign as dishonoured, and their country as betrayed, or, in their fiercer paroxysms of fury, reviled their sovereign as betraying it.
Their pretences I have here endeavoured to expose, by showing that more than has been yielded was not to be expected, that more perhaps was not to be desired, and that if all had been refused, there had scarcely been an adequate reason for a war.
There was perhaps never much danger of war or of refusal, but what danger there was, proceeded from the faction. Foreign nations, unacquainted with the insolence of common councils, and unaccustomed to the howl of plebeian patriotism, when they heard of rabbles and riots, of petitions and remonstrances, of discontent in Surrey, Derbyshire, and Yorkshire, when they saw the chain of subordination broken, and the legislature threatened and defied, naturally imagined that such a government had little leisure for Falkland's Island; they supposed that the English, when they returned ejected from Port Egmont, would find Wilkes invested with the protectorate; or see the Mayor of London, what the French have formerly seen their mayors of the palace, the commander of the army and tutor of the king ; that they would be called to tell their tale before the common council; and that the world was to expect war or peace from a vote of the subscribers to the Bill of Rights.
But our enemies have now lost their hopes, and our friends I hope are recovered from their fears. To fanсу that our government can be subverted by the rabble, whom its lenity has pampered into impudence, is to fear that a city may be drowned by the overflowing of its kennels. The distemper which cowardice or malice thought either decay of the vitals, or resolution of the nerves, appears at last to have been nothing more than a political phthiriasis, a disease too loathsome for a plain
er name; but the effect of negligence rather than of weakness, and of which the shame is greater than the danger.
Among the disturbers of our quiet are some animals of greater bulk, whom their power of roaring persuaded us to think formidable, but we now perceive that sound and force do not always go together. The noise of a savage proves nothing but his hunger.
After all our broils, foreign and domestick, we may at last hope to remain a while in quiet, amused with the view of our own success. We have gained political strength by the increase of our reputation; we have gained real strength by the reparation of our navy; we have shown Europe that ten years of war have not yet exhausted us; and we have enforced our settlement on an island on which twenty years ago we durst not ven. ture to look.
These are the gratifications only of honest minds; but there is a time in which hope comes to all. From the present happiness of the publick, the patriots themselves may derive advantage. To be harmless, though by impotence, obtains some degree of kindness; no man hates a worm as he hates a viper; they were once dreaded enough to be detested, as serpents that could bite; they have now shown that they can only hiss, and may therefore quietly slink into holes, and change their slough unmolested and forgotten.
P A TRIO T.
ADDRESSED TO THE
ELECTORS OF GREAT BRITAIN.
They bawl for freedom in their senseless mood,
Yet still revolt when truth would set them free ;
Licence they mean, when they cry good,
To improve the golden moment of opportunity, and catch the good that is within our reach, is the great art of life. Many wants are suffered, which might once have been supplied; and much time is lost in regreting the time which had been lost before.
At the end of every seven years comes the Saturnalian season, when the freemen of Great Britain may please themselves with the choice of their representatives. This happy day has now arrived, somewhat sooner than it could be claimed.
To select and depute those, by whom laws are to be made, and taxes to be granted, is a high dignity and an important trust; and it is the business of every elector to consider, how this dignity may be well sustained, and this trust faithfully discharged.
It ought to be deeply impressed on the minds of all who have voices in this national deliberation, that no man can deserve a seat in parliament who is not a PATRIOT. No other man will protect our rights, no 0« ther man can merit our confidence.
A PATRIOT is he whose publick conduct is regulatad by one single motive, the love of his country; who, as an agent in parliament, has for himself neither hope nor fear, neither kindness nor resentment, but refers every thing to the common interest.
That of five hundred men, such as this degenerate age affords, a majority can be found thus virtuously abstracted, who will affirm? Yet there is no good in despondence: vigilance and activity often effect more than was expected. Let us take a Patriot where we can meet him; and that we may not flatter ourselves by false appearances, distinguish those marks which are certain from those which may deceive: for a man may have the external appearance of a Patriot, without the constituent qualities; as false coins have often lustre, though they want weight.
Some claim a place in the list of Patriots by an acrimonious and unremitting opposition to the court.
This mark is by no means infallible. Patriotism is not necessarily included in rebellion. A man may hate his king, yet not love his country. He that has been refused a reasonable or unreasonable request, who thinks his merit under-rated, and sees bis influence declining, begins soon to talk of natural equality, the absurdity of many made for one, the original compact, the foundation of authority, and the majesty of the people. As his political melancholy increases, he tells, and perhaps dreams, of the advances of the prerogative, and the dangers of arbitrary power; yet his design in all his declamation is not to benefit his country, but to gratify his malice.
These, however, are the most honest of the opponents
government; their patriotism is a species of disease; and they feel some part of what they express. But the greater, far the greater number of those who rave and rail, and inquire and accuse, neither suspect nor fear, nor care for the Publick; but hope to force their way to riches by virulence and invective, and are vehement and clamorous, only that they may be sooner hired to be silent.