The North Briton
No. XLV, * Saturday, April 23, 1763
[John Wilkes]


The following advertisement appeared in all the papers on the 13 of April.

THE North Briton makes his appeal to the good sense, and to the candour of the English nation. In the present unsettled and fluctuating state of the
administration , he is really fearful of falling into involuntary errors, and he does not wish to mislead. All his reasonings have been built on the strong foundation of facts ; and he is not yet informed of the whole interior state of government with such minute precision , as now to venture the submitting his crude ideas of the present political crisis to the discerning and impartial public. The Scottish minister has indeed retired. Is his influence at an end? or does he still govern by the † three wretched tools of his power, who to their indelible infamy, have supported the most odious of his measures, the late ignominious Peace , and the wicked extension of the arbitrary mode of Excise ? The North Briton has been steady in his opposition to single , insolent, incapable, despotic minister; and is equally ready, in the service of his country, to combat the triple-headed, Cerberean administration, if the Scot is to assume that motley form. By Him every arrangement to this hour has been made, and the notification has been as regularly sent by letter under His Hand. It therefore seems clear to a demonstration, that He intends only to retire into that situation, which He held before He first took the seals; I mean the dictating to every part of the king's administration. The North Briton desires to be understood, as having pledged himself a firm and intrepid assertor of the rights of his fellow subjects, and of the liberties of Whigs and Englishmen.

* The passages included within the inverted commas [here red] are the only passages, to which any objection is made in the Information filed in the King's-Bench by the Attorney Genera l against the publisher, Mr. George Kearsley .

† The earls of
Egremont and Halifax , and G. Grenvlle , Esq;
Genus Orationis atrox, & vehemens, cui opponitur lenitatis & mansuetudinis . [The kind of terrible eloquence, & severity, which is opposed by leniency & gentleness.]
Cicero.

THE King's Speech has always been considered by the legislature, and by the public at large, as the Speech of the Minister.* It has regularly, at the beginning of every session of parliament, been referred by both houses to the consideration of a committee, and has been generally canvassed with the utmost freedom, when the minister of the crown has been obnoxious to the nation. The ministers of this free country, conscious of the undoubted privileges of so spirited a people, and with the terrors of parliament before their eyes, have ever been cautious, no less with regard to the matter, than to the expressions, of speeches, which they have advised the sovereign to make from the throne, at the opening of each session. They well knew, that an † honest house of parliament, true


* Anno 14 G. II. 1740. Duke of Argyle.
The King's Speech is always in this House considered as the Speech of the Ministers. Lords Debates, vol. 7. p. 413.

Lord Carteret.
When we take his Majesty's Speech into consideration, though we have heard it from his own mouth, yet we do not consider it as his Majesty's speech, but as the speech of his ministers , p. 425.

Anno 7 Geo. II. 1733. Mr. Shippen.
I believe it has always been granted, that the speeches from the Throne are the compositions of ministers of state; upon that supposition we have always thought ourselves at liberty to examine every proposition contained in them; even without doors people are pretty free in their remarks upon them: I believe no Gentleman here is ignorant of the reception the speech from the Throne, at the close of last session, met with from the nation in general. Commons Debates, vol.8. page 5.

Anno 13 Geo. II. 1739. Mr. Pulteney, now earl of Bath.
His Majesty mentions heats and animosities. Sir, I don't know who drew up this speech; but whoever he was, he should have spared that expression: I wish be had drawn a veil over the heats and animosities that must be owned once subsisted upon this head; for I am sure none now subsist. Vol. II. p. 96.

† The House of Commons in 1715 exhibited,
Articles of impeachment of high treason, and other high crimes and misdemeanors against

to their trust, could not fail to detect the fallacious arts, or to remonstrate against the daring acts of violence, committed by any minister. The Speech at the close of the session, has ever been considered as the most secure method of promulgating the favourite court creed among the vulgar; because the parliament, which is the constitutional guardian of the liberties of the people, has in this case no opportunity of remonstrating, or of impeaching any wicked servant of the crown.

This week has given the public the most abandoned instance of ministerial effrontery ever attempted to be imposed on mankind. The ministers speech of last Tuesday, is not to be paralleled in the annals of this country. I am in doubt, whether the imposition is greater on the sovereign, or on the nation. Every friend of his country must lament that a prince of so many great and amiable qualities, whom England truly reveres, can be brought to give the sanction of his sacred name to the most odious measures, and to the most unjustifiable, public declarations, from a throne ever renowned for truth, honour, and unsullied virtue.
I am sure, all foreigners, especially the king of Prussia, will hold the minister in contempt and abhorrence. He has made our sovereign declare, My expectations have been fully answered by the happy effects which the several allies of my crown have derived from this salutary measure of the definitive Treaty. The powers at war with my good brother the King of Prussia, have been induced to agree to such terms of accommodation, as that great prince has approved; and the success which has attended my negotiation, has necessarily and immediately diffused the blessings of peace through every part of Europe. The infamous fallacy of this whole sentence is apparent to all mankind: tor it is known, that the King of Prussia did not barely approve , but absolutely dictated , as conqueror, every

Robert
Earl of Oxford, and Earl Mortimer. Article 15 is for having corrupted the sacred fountain of truth, and put falsehoods into the mouth of Majesty, in several speech's made to parliament. Vide VoL III. and Journals of the House of Commons , vol. 18, p. 214.

article of the terms of peace. No advantage of any kind has accrued to that magnanimous prince from our negotiation , but he was basely deserted by the Scottish prime minister of England . He was known by every court in Europe to be scarcely on better terms of friendship here , than at Vienna ; and he was betrayed by us in the treaty of peace . What a strain of insolence, therefore, is it in a minister to lay claim to what he is conscious all his efforts tended to prevent, and meanly to arrogate to himself a share in the fame and glory of one of the greatest princes the world has ever seen? The king of Prussia , however, has gloriously kept all his former conquests , and stipulated security for all his allies, even for the elector of Hanover . I know in what light this great prince is considered in Europe, and in what manner he has been treated here ; among other reasons, perhaps, from some contemptuous expressions he may have used of the Scot : expressions which are every day ecchoed by the whole body of Englishmen through the southern part of this island.

The
Preliminary Articles of Peace were such as have drawn the contempt of mankind on our wretched negotiators. All our most valuable conquests were agreed to be restored, and the East-India company would have been infallibly ruined by a single article of this fallacious and baneful negotiation. No hireling of the minister has been hardy enough to dispute this; yet the minister himself has made our sovereign declare, the satisfaction which he felt at the approaching re-establishment of peace upon conditions so honourable to his crown, and so beneficial to his people. As to the entire approbation of parliament, which is so vainly boasted of, the world knows how that was obtained. The large debt on the Civil List , already above half a year in arrear, shews pretty clearly the transactions of the winter. It is, however, remarkable, -that the minister's speech dwells on the entire approbation given by parliament to the Preliminary Articles , which I will venture to say, he must by this time be ashamed of; for be has been brought to confess the total want of that knowledge, accuracy and precision, by which such immense advantages both of trade and territory, were sacrificed to our inveterate enemies. These gross blunders are, indeed, in some measure set right by the Definitive Treaty ; yet, the most important articles, relative to cessions , commerce , and the Fishery, remain as they were, with respect to the French . The proud and feeble Spaniard too does not Renounce, but only Desists from all pretensions, 'which he may have formed, to the right of Fishing — where? only about the island of Newfoundland — till a favourable opportunity arises of insisting on it, there, as well as elsewhere .

The minister cannot forbear, even in the King['s] Speech, insulting us with a dull repetition of the word œconomy. I did not expect so soon to have seen that word again, after it had been so lately exploded, and more than once, by a most numerous audience, hissed off the stage of our English theatres. It is held in derision by the voice of the people, and every tongue loudly proclaims the universal contempt, in which these empty professions are held by this nation. Let the public be informed of a single instance of œconomy, except indeed in the houshold. Is a regiment, which was completed as to its compliment of officers on the Tuesday , and broke on the Thursday , a proof of œconomy ? Is the pay of the Scottish Master Elliot to be voted by an English parliament, under the head of œconomy ? Is this, among a thousand others, one of the convincing proofs of a firm resolution to form government on a plan of strict œconomy? Is it not notorious, that in the reduction of the army, not the least attention has been paid to it. Many unnecessary expences have been incurred, only to encrease the power of the crown, that is, to create more lucrative jobs for the creatures of the minister? The staff indeed is broke, but the discerning part of mankind immediately comprehended the mean subterfuge, and resented the indignity put upon so brave an officer, as marshal Ligonier . That step was taken to give the whole power of the army to the crown, that is, to the minister. Lord Ligonier is now no longer at the head of the army; but lord Bute in effect is: I mean that every preferment given by the crown will be found still to be obtained by his enormous influence, and to be bestowed only on the creatures of the Scottish faction. The nation is still in the fame deplorable state, while he governs, and can make the tools of his power pursue the same odious measures. Such a retreat, as he intends, can only mean that personal indemnity, which, I hope, guilt will never find from an injured nation. The negociations of the late inglorious peace , and the excise , will haunt him, wherever he goes, and the terrors of the just resentment, which he must be to meet from a brave and insulted people, and which must finally crush him, will be for ever before his eyes.

In vain will such a minister, or the foul dregs of his power, the tools of corruption and despotism, preach up in the speech that spirit of concord, and that obedience to the laws, which is essential to good order. They have sent the spirit of discord through the land, and I will prophecy, that it will never be extinguished, but by the extinction of their power. Is the spirit of concord to go hand in hand with the Peace and Excise thro' this nation? Is it to be expected between an insolent Exciseman, and a peer, gentleman, freeholder, or farmer, whose private houses are now made liable to be entered and searched at pleasure? Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, and in general all the Cyder countries, are not surely the several counties which are alluded to in the speech. The spirit of concord hath not gone forth among them; but the spirit of liberty has, and a noble opposition has been given to the wicked instruments of oppression. A nation as sensible as the English, will see that a spirit of concord, when they are oppressed, means a tame submission to injury, and that a spirit of liberty ought then to arise, and I am sure ever will, in proportion to the weight of the grievance they feel. Every legal attempt of a contrary tendency to the spirit of concord will be deemed a justifiable resistance, warranted by the spirit of the English constitution.

A despotic minister will always endeavour to dazzle his prince with high-flown ideas of the prerogafive and honour of the crown, which the minister will make a parade us firmly maintaining. I wish as much as any man in the kingdom to see the honour of the crown maintained in a manner truly becoming Royalty. I lament to seek it sunk even to prostitution. What a shame was it to see the security of this country, in point of military force, complimented away, contrary to the opinion of Royalty itself, and sacrificed to the prejudices and to the ignorance of a set of people, the most unfit from every consideration to be consulted on a matter relative to the security of the house of Hanover?   I wish to see the honour of the crown religiously asserted with regard to our allies, and the dignity of it scrupulously maintained with regard to foreign princes. Is it possible such an indignity can have happened, such a sacrifice of the honour of the crown of England , as that a minister should already have kissed his majesty's hand on being appointed to the most insolent and ungrateful court in the world, without a previous assurance of that reciprocal nomination which the meanest court in Europe would insist upon, before she proceeded to an act otherwise so derogatory to her honour? But Electoral Policy has ever been obsequious to the court of Vienna , and forgets the insolence with which count Colloredo left England. Upon a principle of dignity and œ conomy , lord Stormont , a Scottish peer of the loyal house of Murray , kissed his majesty's hand, I think, on Wednesday in the Easter week; but this ignominious act has not yet disgraced the nation in the London Gazette . The ministry are not ashamed of doing the thing in private; they are only afraid of the publication. Was it a tender regard for the honour of the late king, or of his present majesty, that invited to court lord George Sackville, in these first days of Peace , to share in the general satisfaction, which all good courtiers received in the indignity offered to lord Ligonier , and on the advancement of — ? Was this to shew princely gratitude to the eminent services of the accomplished general of the house of Brunswic , who has had fo great a share in rescuing Europe from the yoke of France ; and whose nephew we hope soon to see made happy in the possession of the most amiable princess in the world? Or, is it meant to assert the honour of the crown only against the united wishes of a loyal and affectionate people, founded in a happy experience of the talents, ability, integrity, and virtue of those, who have had the glory of redeeming their country from bondage and ruin, in order to support, by every art of corruption and intimidation, a weak, disjointed, incapable set of — I will call them any thing but ministers — by whom the Favourite still meditates to rule this kingdom with a rod of iron.

The Stuart line has ever been intoxicated with the slavish doctrines of the
absolute , independent , unlimited power of the crown. Some of that line were so weakly advised, as to endeavour to reduce them into practice: but the English nation was too spirited to suffer the least encroachment on the ancient liberties of this kingdom.  The King of England is only the * first magistrate of this country; but is invested by law with the whole executive power. He is, however, responsible to his people for the due execution of "the royal functions, in the choice of ministers, &c, equally with the meanest of his subjects in his particular duty. The personal character of our present amiable sovereign makes us easy and happy that so great a power is lodged in such hands; but the favourite has given too just cause for him to escape the general odium. The prerogative of the crown is to exert the constitutional powers entrusted to it in a way, not of blind favour and partiality, but of wisdom and judgment. This is the spirit of our constitution. The people too have their prerogative , and, I hope, the fine words of Dryden will be engraven on. our hearts,

Freedom
is the English subject's Prerogative.

* In the first speech of James I. to his
English parliament , March 32, 1603, are the following words, That I am a SERVANT is most true — I will never hi ashamed to confess it. My principal honour, to be the GREAT SERVANT of the commonwealth. Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. I, p. 145.

To the NORTH BRITON.

Sir,
Please to state the following fact, which is of a nature almost entirely new, and I will soon trouble you with my observations on so remarkable a proceeding.

L. S.
By the Right Hon. WELBORE ELLIS,
    His Majesty's Secretary at War.

Having received his Majesty's commands, do hereby discharge Anthony Nichols, a private man, from the
Coldstream regiment of foot-guards, commanded by General James Lord Tyrawley, from any further service in the lame regiment.

Given under my hand and seal, at the War Office, this 26th day of March 1763.
W. ELLIS.

To all his Majesty's officers, civil and military, whom it may concern.

By the Articles Of War, Sect. 3. Art. 2.
After a non-commissioned officer, or soldier, shall have been duly enlisted, and sworn, he shall not be dismissed our service, without a discharge in writing; and no discharge granted to him shall be allowed of as sufficient, which is not signed by a Field Officer of the Regiment into which he was enlisted; or commanding officer, where no Field Officer of the regiment is in Great-Britain.

Quere. Is the
Secretary at War a Field-Officer? or what Officer is he?
I am, &c.

End of the Second Volume.

See also:

  1. The North Briton, Wikipedia article.
  2. Wilkes, Liberty, and Number 45, Jack Lynch
  3. The North Briton, complete, PDF.