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"The safety of Hanover, and its aggrandisement, were the main objects of the British court *." On this principle it was, that, in 1719, George 1. purchased from the queen of Sweden, and annexed to his German dominions, the dutchies of Bremen and Verden. The price was a million of rix dollars † ; + that interruption of commerce with Rufsia, and those naval expeditions to the Baltic, in defence of Sweden, which were specified in my last letter.-On the 16th June 1721, the king sent a message to the House of Commons, importing that he had agreed to pay a subsidy to Sweden of seventy-two thousand pounds, and that he hoped they would enable him to make good his engagements. The supply was granted. In about three weeks after, they were informed that the debts of the civil list amounted to five hundred and fifty thousand pounds; and that his majesty was confident they would impower him to raise that sum upon the revenue; which, after warm opposition, was permitted. On the 8th April 1725, the house received a message of the same kind; upon which "Mr Pulteney exprefsed his surprise, that a debt, "amounting to above five hundred thousand pounds, "thould have been contracted in three years: He said he "did not wonder that some persons fhould be so ea

*Guthrie edit. xi. page 518.

Vide Smollet's history. At three fhillings and sixpence per rix dolJar, this sum amounts to one hundred and seventy-five thousand pounis ; and at four shillings and sixpence, to two hundred and twenty-five thousind pounds. Mr Paine (Rights of Man, part ii. p. 117.) states the money at two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, and adds what cannot be doubted, that the purchase was made with the savings of the civil list.


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ger to make good the deficiences of the civil list, "since they and their friends enjoyed such a share of "that revenue; and he desired to know, whether "this was all that was due, or

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whether they should

Leave was granted million. In 1726, his

majesty entered into an agreement with the king of Sweden. He was to pay that monarch fifty thousand pounds per annum for three years, and the Swede was to keep in readiness ten thousand men for the service of England. The landgrave of Hefse Cafsel was engaged to provide twelve thousand men. He received seventy-four thousand pounds in hand, and was to have fifty thousand pounds more if his troops were wanted. In 1727 his majesty obtained an unlimited vote of credit for such sums as he should think necessary to employ in securing the trade of England, and restoring the peace of Europe. He died soon after, and we must agree with Dr Smollet "that "at the accefsion of George II. the nation had

great reason to wish for an alteration of measures ;" but unhappily, as he soon after observes," the system "of politics which the late king had established, under"went no sort of alteration." An hundred thousand pounds were immediately added to the civil list. Mr Shippen opposed this measure in an able harangue, and the money was voted by Walpole's mercenaries without a reply. On a message from the king they settled an hundred thousand pounds a-year as a provision for the queen, in case fhe survived her hus* Smollet's history.

band. Her death in 1737, preserved the kingdom from such a stupenduous burden.

In January 1728, "the House of Commons granted "two hundred and thirty thousand, nine hundred and "twenty-three pounds for the maintenance of twelve "thousand Hefsian troops; a subsidy of fifty thousand. "pounds to the king of Sweden; and twenty-five "thousand pounds to the duke of Wolfenbuttle *." Two hundred and fifty thousand pounds had been. charged for securing the trade of England, and restoring the peace of Europe, which by the way was not restored, conform to. the vote of credit in the the preceding sefsion. The house were honest enough. to solicit the king for a particular and distinct ac-. count of the distribution of this sum, which his majesty refused, as it had been employed, he affirmed, by his father and himself in services which required the greatest secresy t. A fhort time after, in examining the public accounts laid before the house, it was discovered," that an article of three hundred thousand "pounds, relating to the duty upon wrought plate,. "was totally omitted t." As usual, a violent debate ensued, and the frand was rectified.. Another unli mited vote of credit was passed; five hundred thousand pounds were granted for the payment of seamen's wages; and the sefsion difsolved on 28th May 1728.

The house again met in January following, and an hundred and fifteen thousand pounds were voted to make up a fresh deficiency in the civil list. Every transaction of this kind cost an obstinate battle. Our

Smollet's history.

t. Ibid.

‡ Ibid,

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ancestors had sense enough to see what they were about, and where they were driving; but debates were become a mere farce. Corruption had reached its zenith, and then, as now, even the deformity of public measures vanifhed in an abyfs of personal infamy. In 1729, an effort was made to rid this country of "the maintenance of the twelve thousand Hef"sians." But the ministerial band bore down all opposition. Frequent remonstrances were made, but to no purpose, against the subsidies continued to Hesse Cafsel, and Wolfenbuttle. In 1731, lord Bathurst moved for an address to his majesty, requesting him to discharge the Hefsians. The motion was rejected. It is not wonderful to hear that five members were at this time expelled the House of Commons for breach of trust, but it is quite inconceivable what crime could be considered as base enough to degrade them beneath a seat in such an afsembly. During the reign of Walpole the history of England will not bear a reading. There is nothing but a dull, uniform, and disgusting scene of treachery.

"Walpole," says the king of Prufsia, "had cap“tivated his majesty by the savings which he made "out of the civil list, from which GEORGE filled

bis Hanoverian treasury * ! What a beautiful system of government! In 1733, Walpole pro-. ceeded to a step worse perhaps than any which he had attempted before. He broke in upon the sinking fund,—a resource solemnly appropriated by parliament to the discharge of the national debt; ha

History of my own times chap. ii.

abstracted five hundred thousand pounds, and the practice having once begun, this fund was, in 1736, anticipated and mortgaged *. Admitting, as we must, that government was divested of all sense of principle and of fhame, yet, as the nation was at peace, and taxed to the utmost stretch, it is an object of surprise what could have become of such immense sums of money? and by what means a man of sense and abilities, like Walpole, fhould have been reduced to such detestable and desperate expedients? His scheme of an excise on tobacco, as far as I comprehend it, was far less oppressive than that introduced so much to the satisfaction of all parties by the minister of the present day. His motion was forced through the House of Commons, which was instantly blockaded by the citizens of London. The partizans of the minister were loaded with insults, and Walpole himself was burnt in effigy. He foresaw that his life was in danger, as the nation had not then sunk into its present stupidity. plan was therefore laid aside, and five hundred thousand pounds were obtained by the notable resource of a lottery. On the marriage at this time of the princefs royal with the prince of Orange, the received eighty thousand pounds, and an annuity of five thousand pounds for life. There was a terrible debate about repealing the septennial act: In which Sir William Wyndham, in a very remarkable speech, quoted verbatim by Smollet, drew the character of his majesty as a prince "uninformed, ignorant, un* Guthrie's grammar p. 298.

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