Letters of Junius/Letter XIII

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12. June, 1769.


THE Duke of Grafton's friends not finding it convenient to enter into a contest with Junius, are now reduced to the last melancholy resource of defeated argument, the flat general charge of scurrility and falsehood. As for his style, I shall leave it to the critics. The truth of his facts is of more importance to the public. They are of such a nature that I think a bare contradiction will have no weight with any man who judges for himself. Let us take them in the order in which they appear in his last letter.

1. Have not the first rights of the people, and the first principles of the constitution, been openly invaded, and the very name of all elections made ridiculous, by the arbitrary appointment of Mr. Luttrell?

2. Did not the Duke of Grafton frequently lead his mistress into public, and even place her at the head of his table, as if he had pulled down an ancient temple of Venus, and could bury all decency and shame under the ruins?—Is this the man who dares to talk of Mr. Wilkes's morals?

3. Is not the character of his presumptive ancestors as strongly marked in him, as if he had descended from them in a direct legitimate line? The idea of his death is only prophetic; and what is prophecy but a narrative preceding the fact?

4. Was not Lord Chatham the first who raised him to the rank and post of a minister, and the first whom he abandoned?

5. Did he not join with Lord Rockingham, and betray him?

6. Was he not the bosom friend of Mr. Wilkes, whom he now pursues to destruction?

7. Did he not take his degrees with credit at Newmarket, White's, and the opposition?

8. After deserting Lord Chatham's principles, and sacrificing his friendship, is he not now closely united with a set of men, who, tho' they have occasionally joined with all parties, have in every different situation, and at all times, been equally and constantly detested by this country?

9. Has not Sir John Moore a pension of five hundred pounds a year?—This may probably be all acquittance of favours upon the turf; but is it possible for a minister to offer a grosser outrage to a nation, which has so very lately cleared away the beggary of the civil list, at the expence of more than half a million?

10. Is there any one mode of thinking or acting with respect to America, which the Duke of Grafton has not successively adopted and abandoned?

11. Is there not a singular mark of shame set upon this man, who has so little delicacy and feeling, as to submit to the opprobrium of marrying a near relation of one who had debauched his wife?—In the name of decency, how are these amiable cousins to meet at their uncle's table?—It will be a scene in Œdipus, without the distress. Is it wealth, or wit, or beauty,—or is the amorous youth in love?

The rest is notorious. That Corsica has been sacrificed to the French: that, in some instances, the laws have been scandalously relaxed, and, in others, daringly violated; and that the King's subjects have been called upon to assure him of their fidelity, in spite of the measures of his servants.

A writer, who builds his arguments upon facts such as these, is not easily to be confuted. He is not to be answered by general assertions, or general reproaches. He may want eloquence to amuse and persuade; but, speaking truth, he must always convince.