Judicious Mr. Viner availed nothing against the Proposed Address; any more than he would against the Atlantic Tide, coming in unanimous, under influence of the Moon itself,--as indeed this Address, and the triumphant Subsidy which was voted in the rear of it, may be said to have done. [Coxe, iii. 265.] Subsidy of 300,000 pounds to her Hungarian Majesty; which, with the 200,000 pounds already gone that road, makes a handsome Half-million for the present Year. The first gush of the Britannia Fountain,--which flowed like an Amalthea's Horn for seven years to come; refreshing Austria, and all thirsty Pragmatic Nations, to defend the Keystone of this Universe. Unluckily every guinea of it went, at the same time, to encourage Austria in scorning King Friedrich's offers to it; which perhaps are just offers, thinks Mr. Viner; which once listened to, Pragmatic Sanction would be safe. [Mr. Viner was of Pupham, or Pupholm, in Lincolnshire, for which County he sat then, and for many years before and after,--from about 1713 till 1761, when he died. A solid, instructed man, say his contemporaries. "He was a friend of Bolingbroke's, and had a house near Bolingbroke's Battersea one." He is Great great- grandfather to the present Mr. Viner, and to the Countess de Grey and Ripon; which is an interesting little fact.]
This Parliament is strong for Pragmatic Sanction, and has high resentments against Walpole; in both which points the New Parliament, just getting elected, will rival and surpass it,-- especially in the latter point, that of uprooting Walpole, which the Nation is bent on, with a singular fury. Pragmatic Sanction like to be ruined; and Walpole furiously thrown out: what a pair of sorrows for poor George! During his late Caroline's time, all went peaceably, and that of "governing" was a mere pleasure; Walpole and Caroline cunningly doing that for him, and making him believe he was doing it. But now has come the crisis, the collapse; and his poor Majesty left alone to deal with it!--
No. 2. CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORIAN ON THE PHENOMENON OF WALPOLE IN ENGLAND.
"For above Ten Years, Walpole himself", says my Constitutional Historian (unpublished), "for almost Twenty Years, Walpole virtually and through others, has what they call 'governed' England; that is to say, has adjusted the conflicting Parliamentary Chaos into counterpoise, by what methods he had; and allowed England, with Walpole atop, to jumble whither it would and could. Of crooked things made straight by Walpole, of heroic performance or intention, legislative or administrative, by Walpole, nobody ever heard; never of the least hand-breadth gained from the Night- realm in England, on Walpole's part: enough if he could manage to keep the Parish Constable walking, and himself float atop. Which task (though intrinsically zero for the Community, but all- important to the Walpole, of Constitutional Countries) is a task almost beyond the faculty of man, if the careless reader knew it!
"This task Walpole did,--in a sturdy, deep-bellied, long-headed, John-Bull fashion, not unworthy of recognition. A man of very forcible natural eyesight, strong natural heart,--courage in him to all lengths; a very block of oak, or of oakroot, for natural strength. He was always very quiet with it, too; given to digest his victuals, and be peaceable with everybody. He had one rule, that stood in place of many: To keep out of every business which it was possible for human wisdom to stave aside. 'What good will you get of going into that? Parliamentary criticism, argument and botheration? Leave well alone. And even leave ill alone:--are you the tradesman to tinker leaky vessels in England? You will not want for work. Mind your pudding, and say little!' At home and abroad, that was the safe secret. For, in Foreign Politics, his rule was analogous: 'Mind your own affairs. You are an Island, you can do without Foreign Politics; Peace, keep Peace with everybody: what, in the Devil's name, have you to do with those dog-worryings over Seas? Once more, mind your pudding!' Not so bad a rule; indeed it is the better part of an extremely good one;--and you might reckon it the real rule for a pious Rritannic Island (reverent of God, and contemptuous of the Devil) in times of general Down-break and Spiritual Bankruptcy, when quarrellings of Sovereigns are apt to be mere dog-worryings and Devil's work, not good to interfere in.
"In this manner, Walpole, by solid John-Bull faculty (and methods of his own), had balanced the Parliamentary swaggings and clashings, for a great while; and England had jumbled whither it could, always in a stupid, but also in a peaceable way. As to those same 'methods of his own' they were--in fact they were Bribery. Actual purchase of votes by money slipt into the hand. Go straight to the point. 'The direct real method this,' thinks Walpole: 'is there in reality any other?' A terrible question to Constitutional Countries; which, I hear, has never been resolved in the negative, by the modern improvements of science. Changes of form have introduced themselves; the outward process, I hear, is now quite different. According as the fashions and conditions alter,--according as you have a Fourth Estate developed, or a Fourth Estate still in the grub stage and only developing,--much variation of outward process is conceivable.
"But Votes, under pain of Death Official, are necessary to your poor Walpole: and votes, I hear, are still bidden for, and bought. You may buy them by money down (which is felony, and theft simple, against the poor Nation); or by preferments and appointments of the unmeritorious man,--which is felony double-distilled (far deadlier, though more refined), and theft most compound; theft, not of the poor Nation's money, but of its soul and body so far, and of ALL its moneys and temporal and spiritual interests whatsoever; theft, you may say, of collops cut from its side, and poison put into its heart, poor Nation! Or again, you may buy, not of the Third Estate in such ways, but of the Fourth, or of the Fourth and Third together, in other still more felonious and deadly, though refined ways. By doing clap-traps, namely; letting off Parliamentary blue-lights, to awaken the Sleeping Swineries, and charm them into diapason for you,--what a music! Or, without clap- trap or previous felony of your own, you may feloniously, in the pinch of things, make truce with the evident Demagogos, and Son of Nox and of Perdition, who has got 'within those walls' of yours, and is grown important to you by the Awakened Swineries, risen into alt, that follow him. Him you may, in your dire hunger of votes, consent to comply with; his Anarchies you will pass for him into 'Laws,' as you are pleased to term them;--instead of pointing to the whipping-post, and to his wicked long ears, which are so fit to be nailed there, and of sternly recommending silence, which were the salutary thing.--Buying may be done in a great variety of ways. The question, How you buy? is not, on the moral side, an important one. Nay, as there is a beauty in going straight to the point, and by that course there is likely to be the minimum of mendacity for you, perhaps the direct money-method is a shade less damnable than any of the others since discovered;--while, in regard to practical damage resulting, it is of childlike harmlessness in comparison!
"That was Walpole's method; with this to aid his great natural faculty, long-headed, deep-bellied, suitable to the English Parliament and Nation, he went along with perfect success for ten or twenty years. And it might have been for longer,--had not the English Nation accidentally come to wish, that it should CEASE jumbling NO-whither; and try to jumble SOME-whither, at least for a little while, on important business that had risen for England in a certain quarter. Had it not been for Jenkins's Ear blazing out in the dark English brain, Walpole might have lasted still a long while. But his fate lay there:--the first Business vital to England which might turn up; and this chanced to be the Spanish War. How vital, readers shall see anon. Walpole, knowing well enough in what state his War-apparatus was, and that of all his Apparatuses there was none in a working state, but the Parliamentary one,-- resisted the Spanish War; stood in the door against it, with a rhinoceros determination, nay almost something of a mastiff's; resolute not to admit it, to admit death as soon. Doubtless he had a feeling it would be death, the sagacious man;--and such it is now proving; the Walpole Ministry dying by inches from it; dying hard, but irremediably.