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fused, as will happen, when malice and discontent are ashamed of their complaint. The past and the future are complicated in the censure.
We have heard a tumultuous clamour about honour and rights, injuries and insults, the British flag, and the Favourite's rudder, Buccarelli's conduct, and Grimaldi's declarations, the Manilla ransom, delays and reparation.
Through the whole argument of the faction runs the general error, that our settlement on Falk. land's Island was not only lawful but unquestionable; that our right was not only certain but acknowledged; and that the equity of our conduct was such, that the Spaniards could not blame or obstruct it without combating their own conviction, and opposing the general opinion of mankind.
If once it be discovered that, in the opinion of the Spaniards, our settlement was' usurped, our claim arbitrary, and our conduct insolent, all that has happened will appear to follow by a natural concatenation. Doubts will produce disputes and disquisition, disquisition requires delay, and delay causes inconvenience.
Had the Spanish government immediately yield. ed unconditionally all that was required, we might have been satisfied; but what would Europe have judged of their submission that they shrunk be. fore us as a conquered people, who having lately yielded to our arms, were now compelled to sacrifice to our pride. The honour of the Publick is indeed of high importance; but we must remember that we have had to transact with a mighty king
and a powerful nation, who have unluckily been taught to think that they have honour to keep or lose as well as ourselves.
When the Admiralty were told in June of the warning given to Hunt, they were, I suppose, informed that Hunt had first provoked it by warning away the Spaniards, and naturally considered one act of insolence as balanced by another, without expecting that more would be done on either side. Of representations and remonstrances there would be no end, if they were to be made whenever small commanders are uncivil to each other; nor could peace ever be enjoyed, if upon such transient provocations it be imagined necessary to prepare for
We might then, it is said, have increased our force with more leisure and less inconvenience; but this is to judge only by the event.
We omitted to disturb the Publick, because we did not suppose
that an armament would be necessary. Some months afterwards, as has been told, Buccarelli, the governor of Buenos Ayres, sent against the settlement of Port Egmont a force which ensured the conquest. The Spanish commander réquired the English captains to depart, but they thinking that resistance necessary which they knew to be useless, gave the Spaniards the right of prescribing terms of capitulation. The Spaniards imposed no new condition, except that the sloop should not sail under twenty days; and of this they secured the performance by taking off the rudder.
To an inhabitant of the land there appears nou thing in all this unreasonable or ofensive. If the
English intended to keep their stipulation, how were they intjured by the detention of the rudder? If the rudder be to a ship what his tail is in fables to a fox, the part in which honour is placed, and of which the violation is never to be endured, I am sorry that the Favourite suffered an indignity, but cannot yet think it a cause for which nations should slaughter one another.
When Buccarelli's invasion was known, and the dignity of the crown infringed, we demanded reparation and prepared for war, and we gained equal respect by the moderation of our terms, and the spirit of our exertion. The Spanish minister immediately denied that Buccarelli had received any particular orders to sieze Port Egmont, nor pretended that he was justified, otherwise than by the general instructions by which the American governors are required to exclude the subjects of
To have inquired whether our settlement at Port Egmont was any violation of the Spanish rights, had been to enter upon a discussion which the pertinacity of political disputants might have continued without end. We therefore called for restitution, not as a confession of right, but as a reparation of honour, which required that we should be restored to our former state upon the island, and that the king of Spain should disavow the action of his governor.
In return to this demand, the Spaniards expect. ed from us a disavowal of the menaces with which they had been first insulted by Hunt; and if the claim to the island be supposed doubtful, they cera tainly expected it with equal reason. This, however, was refused, and our superiority of strength gave validity to our arguments.
But we are told that the disavowal of the king of Spain is temporary and fallacious ; that Buccarelli's armament had all the appearance of regular forces and a concerted expedition; and that he is not treated at home as a man guilty of piracy, or as disobedient to the orders of his master.
That the expedition was well planned, and the forces properly supplied, affords no proof of communication between the governor and his court. Those who are entrusted with the care of kingdoms in another hemisphere, must always be trusted with power
to defend them. As little can be inferred from his reception at the Spanish coạrt. He is not punished indeed, for what has he done that deserves punishment? He was sent into America to govern and defend the dominions of Spain. He thought the English were encroaching, and drove them away. No Spaniard thinks that he has exceeded his duty, nor does the king of Spain charge him with excess.
The boundaries of dominion in that part of the world have not yet been settled; and he mistook, if a mistake there was, like a zeal. ous subject, in his master's favour.
But all this inquiry is superfluous. Consi. dered as a reparation of honour, the disavowal of the king of Spain, made in the sight of all Europe, is of equal value, whether true or false. There is indeed no reason to question its veracity; they, however, who do not believe it, must Vol. X.
allow the weight of that influence by which a great prince is reduced to disown his own commission.
But the general orders upon which the governor is acknowledged to have acted, are neither disavowed nor explained. Why the Spaniards should disavow the defence of their own terri. tories, the warmest disputant will find it difficult to tell; and if by an explanation is meant an accurate delineation of the southren empire, and the limitation of their claims beyond the line, it cannot be imputed to any very culpable remissness, that what has been denied for two centuries to the European powers, was not obtained in a hasty wrangle about a petty settlement.
The ministry were too well acquainted with negociation to fill their heads with such idle expectations. The question of right was inex. plicable and endless. They left it as it stood. To be restored to actual possession was casily practicable. This restoration they required and obtained.
But they should, say their opponents, have insisted upon more; they should have exacted not only reparation of our honour but repayment of our expence.
Nor are they all satisfied with the recovery of the costs and damages of the present contest; they are for taking this opportunity of calling in old debts, and reviving our right to the ransom of Manilla.
The Manilla ransom has, I think, been most mentioned by the inferior bellowers of seditition. Those who lead the faction know that it cannot