|The Right Honourable
The Earl of Orford
KG KB PC
|Prime Minister of Great Britain|
4 April 1721 â€“ 11 February 1742
|Preceded by||Office created|
|Succeeded by||The Earl of Wilmington|
|Chancellor of the Exchequer|
4 April 1727 â€“ 12 February 1740
|Preceded by||Sir John Pratt|
|Succeeded by||Samuel Sandys|
12 October 1715 â€“ 15 April 1717
|Preceded by||Sir Richard Onslow|
|Succeeded by||The Viscount Stanhope|
26 August 1676|
Houghton, Norfolk, England
|Died||18 March 1745
St James’s, Middlesex, Great Britain
Catherine Shorter (m. 1700; d. 1737)
|Alma mater||King’s College, Cambridge|
Many words are not wanting to show that the particular view of each court occasioned the dangers which affected the public tranquillity; yet the whole is charged to my account. Nor is this sufficient.
And here a most heinous charge is made, that the nation has been burdened with unnecessary expenses for the sole purpose of preventing the discharge of our debts and the abolition of taxes.
Have I given any symptoms of an avaricious disposition? Have I obtained any grants from the crown since I have been placed at the head of the treasury? Has my conduct been different from that which others in the same station would have followed?
Gentlemen have talked a great deal of patriotism. A venerable word, when duly practiced.
If they are really persuaded that the army is annually established by me, that I have the sole disposal of posts and honours, that I employ this power in the destruction of liberty and the diminution of commerce, let me awaken them from their delusion.
Wherever they have been arraigned, a plain charge has been exhibited against them. They have had an impartial trial and have been permitted to make their defense.
I will not attempt to deny the reasonableness and necessity of a party war; but in carrying on that war all principles and rules of justice should not be departed from.
Admitting, however, for the sake of argument, that I am prime and sole minister in this country, am I, therefore, prime and sole minister of all Europe? Am I answerable for the conduct of other countries as well as for that of my own?
IT has been observed by several gentlemen, in vindication of this motion, that if it should be carried, neither my life, liberty, nor estate will be affected.
And therefore, for the sake of my mater, without any regard for my own, I hope all those that have a due regard for our constitution and for the rights and prerogatives of the crown, without which our constitution can not be preserved, will be against this motion.
Some members of both Houses have, it is true, been removed from their employments under the Crown; but were they ever told, either by me or by any other of his majesty's servants, that it was for opposing the measures of the administration in Parliament?
But I have the satisfaction, at the same time, to reflect that the impression to be made depends upon the consistency of the charge and the motives of the prosecutors.
But I must think that an address to his majesty to remove one of his servants, without so much as alleging any particular crime against him, is one of the greatest encroachments that was ever made upon the prerogatives of the crown.
I have never been afraid of making patriots; but I disdain and despise all their efforts.
No expense has been incurred but what has been approved of and provided for by Parliament.
I happened to be one of those who thought all these expenses necessary, and I had the good fortune to have the majority of both houses of Parliament on my side.
It has from the beginning been carried on with as much vigor and as great care of our trade as was consistent with our safety at home and with the circumstances we were in at the beginning of the war.
I can not, therefore, see how this can be imputed as a crime, or how any of the king's ministers can be blamed for his doing what the public has no concern in; for if the public be well and faithfully served it has no business to ask by whom.
Is it no imputation to be arraigned before this House, in which I have sat forty years, and to have my name transmitted to posterity with disgrace and infamy?
It is but refusing to gratify an unreasonable or an insolent demand, and up starts a patriot.
The public treasure has been duly applied to the uses to which it was appropriated by Parliament, and regular accounts have been annually laid before Parliament, of every article of expense.
The very idea of true patriotism is lost, and the term has been prostituted to the very worst of purposes. A patriot, sir! Why, patriots spring up like mushrooms!