[Footnote 8: “Lords’ Journals,” vol. ii., pp. 745-751.]
These Addresses received a better attention than did the letters from the revenue commissioners. The Houses were courteously informed that their communications would receive His Majesty’s careful consideration. Walpole kept his promise, but not before he had fought hard to maintain the English prerogative, as he might have called it. The “secret” history as narrated in Coxe’s lively manner, throws some light on the situation. Coxe really finds his hero’s conduct not marked with “his usual caution.” The Lord Lieutenant was permitted to go to Ireland without proper instructions; the information on which Walpole acted was not reliable; and he did not sufficiently appreciate the influence of Chancellor Midleton and his family. “He bitterly accused Lord Midleton of treachery and low cunning, of having made, in his speeches, distinction between the King and his ministers, of caballing with Carteret, Cadogan, and Roxburgh, and of pursuing that line of conduct, because he was of opinion the opposite party would gain the ascendency in the cabinet. He did not believe the disturbances to be so serious as they were represented, nor was he satisfied with the Duke of Grafton’s conduct, as being solely directed by Conolly, but declared that the part acted by Conolly, almost excused what the Brodricks had done.” Carteret complained to the King and proved to him that Walpole’s policy was a dangerous one. The King became irritated and Walpole “ashamed.” He even became “uneasy,” and it is to be supposed, took a more “cautious” course; for he managed to conciliate the Brodricks and the powers in Dublin. But the devil was not ill long. The cabinet crisis resulted in the triumph of Townshend and Walpole, and the devil got well again. Carteret must be removed and the patent promoted. But Midleton and the Brodricks must be kept friendly. So Carteret went to Ireland as Lord Lieutenant, Midleton remained Chancellor, and constituted a lord justice, and St. John Brodrick was nominated a member of the Privy Council. Still farther on his “cautious” way, Ireland must be given some consideration; hence the Committee of the Privy Council, specially called to inquire into the grievances complained of by the Irish Houses of Parliament in their loyal addresses.
The Committee sat for several weeks, and the report it issued forms the subject of Swift’s animadversions in the Drapier’s third letter. But the time spent by the Committee in London was being utilized in quite a different fashion by Swift in Ireland. “Cautious” as was Walpole, he had not reckoned with the champion of his political opponents of Queen Anne’s days. Swift had little humour for court intrigues and cabinet cabals. He came out into the open to fight the good fight of the people to whom courts and cabinets should be servants and not self-seeking masters. Whatever doubts the people of Ireland may have had about the legal