Banner

The Age of George III

I am happy that you are using this web site and hope that you found it useful. Unfortunately, the cost of making this material freely available is increasing, so if you have found the site useful and would like to contribute towards its continuation, I would greatly appreciate it. Click the button to go to Paypal and make a donation.


The Letters of Junius

Letter LXII: To "an Advocate in the Cause of the People": 18 October 1771.

[251] SIR

You do not treat Junius fairly. You would not have condemned him so hastily, if you had ever read judge Foster's argument upon the legality of pressing seamen. A man who has not read that argument, is not qualified to speak accurately upon the subject. In answer to strong facts and fair reasoning, you produce nothing but a vague comparison between two things which have little or no resemblance to each other. General warrants, it is true, had been often issued but they had never been regularly questioned or resisted, until the case of Mr. Wilkes. He brought them to trial; and the moment they were tried, they were declared illegal. This is not the case of press warrants. They have been complained of, questioned, and resisted in a thousand instances; but still the legislature have never interposed, nor has there ever been a formal decision against them in any of the superior courts. [252] On the contrary, they have been frequently recognised and admitted by parliament; and there are judicial opinions given in their favour by judges of the first character. Under the various circumstances stated by Junius, he has a right to conclude for himself, that there is no remedy. If you have a good one to propose, you may depend upon the assistance and applause of Junius. The magistrate who guards the liberty of the individual deserves to be commended. But let him remember, that it is also his duty to provide for, or at least not to hazard, the safety of the community. If, in the case of a foreign war, and the expectation of an invasion, you would rather keep your fleet in harbour, than man it by pressing seamen who refuse the bounty, I have done.

You talk of disbanding the army with wonderful ease and indifference. If a wiser man held such language, I should be apt to suspect his sincerity.

As for keeping up a much greater number of seamen in time of peace, it is not to be done: you will oppress the merchant, you will distress trade, and destroy the nursery of your seamen. He must be a miserable statesman who voluntarily, by the same act increases the public expense, and lessens the means of supporting it.

PHILO JUNIUS.

Table of Contents Previous Next

Meet the web creator

These materials may be freely used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with applicable statutory allowances and distribution to students.
Re-publication in any form is subject to written permission.

Last modified 12 January, 2016

The Age of George III Home Page

Ministerial Instability 1760-70

Lord North's Ministry 1770-82

American Affairs 1760-83

The period of peace 1783-92

The Age of the French Wars 1792-1815 Irish Affairs 1760-89

Peel Web Home Page

Tory Governments 1812-30

Political Organisations in the Age of Peel

Economic Affairs in the Age of Peel

Popular Movements in the Age of Peel

Irish Affairs
1789-1850
 
Primary sources index British Political Personalities British Foreign policy 1815-65 European history
index sitemap advanced
search engine by freefind