Characters like your’s, are regarded with impartial Attention by human Society, and the World will impatiently expect something in your Conduct suitable to your Rank and Dignity. Those who are intrusted with the Charter of our Liberties, or the Revenge of our Wrongs, are laid under the strongest Obligations which Honour or Gratitude can impose, to maintain the Rights and execute the Resentment of their Country; but if they fail to exert themselves to the utmost for this Purpose, the People, naturally fretful at their Losses, will not forbear reflecting on the supposed Authors of their Misfortunes. And when they call to mind that indelible Disgrace which has befallen them in the Mediterranean, it’s possible they may mingle too much Petulance and Severity in their Censures upon those who were concerned in that unfortunate Expedition.
I am extremely sorry, my Lord, to find your Name in the Number of those to whose Misconduct that fatal Defeat is attributed. You have been marked out by the Indignation of the Publick, and maliciously charged with Principles the most remote from your Heart, and Designs. No Person, I can assure you, was more assiduous in vindicating your Fame, than the Author of this Address; and it was not without the utmost Reluctance, that I ever suffered myself to entertain any Suspicion of the Wisdom or Activity of your Conduct: But since you have espoused the Cause of the Admiral, now under Condemnation, with so much Warmth and Solicitude, I fear your Sentiments are no longer a Doubt, nor your Behaviour altogether capable of such an honourable Construction as your Friends could wish.
I shall therefore take that Liberty which, as one of your Constituents, I may claim, of canvassing the Merits of that Transaction in which your Lordship had a considerable Share; and as I shall endeavour to preserve an inviolable Regard to Truth, without Partiality or Rancour, I hope you will esteem these Remonstrances as the Observations of a Friend, solicitous for your Reputation; and not of an Enemy, exulting in your Adversity. These are the unanimous Sentiments of your Constituents, who think themselves so far interested in the Fate of their Representative, as to be honoured by his Glory, and wounded by his Disgrace; who are more publick-spirited than to justify an unworthy Member, and more generous than to desert a faithful Officer, tho’ the popular Cry be against him.—The principal Objections against your Lordship’s Conduct, on which I shall now freely animadvert, are the Part you acted in the Mediterranean, and the Defence you have made at home.
With relation to the first, my Lord, I believe that your Friends and Enemies both lamented that terrible Oversight in the Administration, which neglected to prepare so invaluable a Fortress, as St. Philip’s, for every Contingency whatsoever; and, when it was besieged, heartily wished that that Detachment, which your Lordship commanded, had been stronger for its Relief. They apprehended that it was not politick, considering the precarious Events of War, to trust to a small Number, from an ostentatious Confidence of our Strength, or an ill-judged Frugality, when greater Forces might have been sent, consistent with our Safety at home....