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importance in the state. He had been suffered o form a ministry, and to pronounce sentence of exclusion on all his rivals-on the most powerful noblemen of the Whig party-on the ablest debater in the House of Commons. And he now found that he had gone too far. The English Constitution was not, indeed, without a popular element. But other elements generally predominated. The confidence and admiration of the nation might make a statesman formidable at the head of an Oppositionmight load him with framed and glazed parchments, and gold boxes-might possibly, under very peculiar circumstances, such as those of the preceding year, raise him for a time to power. But, constituted as Parliament then was, the favourite of the people could not depend on a majority in the people's own House. The Duke of Newcastle, however contemptible in morals, manners, and understanding, was a dangerous enemy. His rank, his wealth, his unrivalled parliamentary interest, would alone have made him important. But this was not all. The Whig aristocracy regarded him as their leader. His long possession of power had given him a kind of prescriptive right to possess it still. The House of Commons had been elected when he was at the head of affairs. The members for the ministerial boroughs had all been nominated by him. The public offices swarmed with his creatures.
Pitt desired power; and he desired it, we really believe. from high and generous motives. He was in the strict sense of the word a patriot. He had no general liberality-none of that philanthropy which the great French writers of his time preached to all the nations of Europe. He loved England as an Athenian loved the city of the Violet Crown-as a Roman loved the "maxima rerum Roma." He saw his country insulted and defeated. He saw the national spirit sinking. Yet he knew what the resources of the empire, vigorously employed, could effect; and he felt that he was the man to employ them vigorously. "My lord," he said to the Duke of Devonshire, "I am sure that I can save this country, and that nobody else can."
Desiring, then, to be in power, and feeling that his abilities and the public confidence were not alone sufficient to keep him in power against the wishes of the court and the aristocracy, he began to think of a coalition with Newcastle.
Newcastle was equally disposed to a reconciliation. He, too, had profited by his recent experience. He had found that the court and the aristocracy, though powerful, were not every thing in the state. A strong oligarchical connection, a great borough interest., ample patronage, and secret-service money, might, in quiet times, be all that a minister needed; but it was unsafe to trust wholly to such support in time of war, of discontent, and of agitation. The composition of the House of Commons was not wholly aristocratical, and whatever be the composition of large deliberative assemblies, their spirit is always in some degree popular. Where there are free debates, eloquence must have admirers, and reason
must make converts. Where there is a free press, the governors must live in constant awe of the opinions of the governed.
Thus these two men, so unlike in character, so lately mortal enemies, were necessary to each other. Newcastle had fallen in November, for want of that public confidence which Pitt possessed, and of that parliamentary sup port which Pitt was better qualified than any man of his time to give. Pitt had fallen in April, for want of that species of influence which Newcastle had passed his whole life iz acquiring and hoarding. Neither of them hac power enough to support himself. Each of them had power enough to overturn the other Their union would be irresistible. Neither the king nor any party in the state would be able to stand against them.
Under these circumstances, Pitt was not disposed to proceed to extremities against his predecessors in office. Something, however, was due to consistency; something was neces sary for the preservation of his popularity He did little; but that little he did in such a manner as to produce great effect. He came down to the House in all the pomp of gout: his legs swathed in flannels, his arms dangling in a sling. He kept his seat through several fatiguing days, in spite of pain and languor. He uttered a few sharp and vehement sentences; but during the greater part of the discussion, his language was unusually gentle.
When the inquiry had terminated, without a vote either of approbation or of censure, the great obstacle to a coalition was removed. Many obstacles, however, remained. The king was still rejoicing in his deliverance from the proud and aspiring minister, who had been forced on him by the cry of the nation. His majesty's indignation was excited to the highest point, when it appeared that Newcastle, who had, during thirty years, been loaded with marks of royal favour, and who had bound himself, by a solemn promise; never to coalesce with Pitt, was meditating a new perfidy. Of all the statesmen of that age, Fox had the largest share of royal favour. A coalition between Fox and Newcastle was the arrangement which the king wished to bring about. But the duke was too cunning to fall into such a snare. As a speaker in Parlia ment, Fox might perhaps be as useful to an administration as his great rival; but he was one of the most unpopular men in England. Then, again, Newcastle felt all that jealousy of Fox which, according to the proverb, generally exists between two of a trade. Fox would certainly intermeddle with that department, which the duke was most desirous to reserve entire to himself-the jobbing department. Pitt, on the other hand, was quite willing to leave the drudgery of corruption to any who might be inclined to undertake it.
During eleven weeks England remained without a ministry; and, in the mean time, Parliament was sitting, and a war was raging The prejudices of the king, the haughtiness of Pitt, the jealousy, levity, and treachery of Newcastle, delayed the settlement. Pitt knew the duke too well to trust him witheat security
The duke loved power too much to be inclined amidst the roar of guns and kettledrums, and to give security. While they were haggling, the shouts of an immense multitude. Ad the king was in vain attempting to produce a dresses of congratulauon came in from all the final rupture between them, or to form a go- great towns of England. Parliament met only vernment without them. At one time he ap- to decree thanks and monuments, and to beplied to Lord Waldegrave, an honest and stow, without one murmur, supplies more sensible man, but unpractised in affairs. than double of those which had been given Lord Waldegrave had the courage to accept during the war of the Grand Alliance. the Treasury, but soon found that no administration formed by him had the smallest chance of standing a single week.
The year 1759 opened with the conquest of Goree. Next fell Guadaloupe; then Ticonderoga; then Niagara. The Toulon squadron was completely defeated by Boscawen off Cape Lagos. But the greatest exploit of the year was the achievement of Wolfe on the heights of Abraham. The news of his glorious death, and of the fall of Quebec, reached London in the very week in which the Houses met. All was joy and triumph; envy and faction were forced to join in the general applause. Whigs and Tories vied with each other in extolling the genius and energy of Pitt. His colleagues were never talked of or thought of. The House of Commons, the nation, the colonies, our allies, our enemies, had their eyes fixed on him alone.
At length the king's pertinacity yielded to the necessity of the case. After exclaiming with great bitterness, and with some justice, against the Whigs, who ought, he said, to be ashamed to talk about liberty, while they submitted to be the footmen of the Duke of Newcastle, he notified his submission. The influence of the Prince of Wales prevailed on Pitt to abate a little, and but a little, of his high demands; and all at once, out of the chaos in which parties had for some time been rising, falling, meeting, separating, arose a government as strong at home as that of Pelham, as successful abroad as that of Godolphin.
Newcastle took the Treasury; Pitt was Secretary of State, with the lead in the House of Commons, and the supreme direction of the war and of foreign affairs. Fox, the only man who could have given much annoyance to the new government, was silenced with the office of Paymaster, which, during the continuance of that war, was probably the most lucrative place in the whole government. He was poor, and the situation was tempting; yet it cannot but seem extraordinary, that a man who had played a first part in politics, and whose abilities had been found not unequal to that part, who had sat in the cabinet, who had led the House of Commons, who had been twice trusted by the king with the office of forming a ministry, who was regarded as the rival of Pitt, and who at one time seemed likely to be a successful rival-should have consented, for the sake of emolument, to take a subordinate place, and to give silent votes for all the measures of a government, to the deliberations of which he was not summoned.
Scarcely had Parliament voted a monument to Wolfe, when another great event called for fresh rejoicings. The Brest fleet, under the command of Conflans, had put out to sea. It was overtaken by an English squadron, under Hawke. Conflans attempted to take shelter close under the French coast. The shore was rocky, the night was black, the wind was furious, the Bay of Biscay ran high. But Pitt had infused into every branch of the service a spirit which had been long unknown. No British seaman was disposed to err on the same side with Byng. The pilot told Hawke that the attack could not be made without the in-greatest danger. "You have done your duty in remonstrating," answered Hawke; "I will answer for every thing. I command you to lay me alongside the French admiral." The result was a complete victory.
The year 1760 came, and still triumph followed triumph. Montreal was taken, the whole province of Canada was subjugated; the French fleets underwent a succession of disasters in the seas of Europe and America. In the mean time, conquests equalling in rapidity, and far surpassing in magnitude those of Cortes and Pizarro, had been achieved in the East. In the space of three years the English had founded a mighty empire. The French had been defeated in every part of India. Chandernagore had yielded to Clive, Pondicherry to Coote. Throughout Bengal, Bahar, Orissa, and the Carnatic, the authority of the East India Company was more absolute than that of Acbar or Aurungzebe had ever been.
On the continent of Europe the odds were against England. We had but one important ally, the King of Prussia, and he was attacked, not only by France, but by Russia and Austria. Yet even on the continent the energy of Pitt triumphed over all difficulties. Vehemently as he had condemned the practice of subsi dizing foreign princes, he now carried that practice farther than Carteret himself would
The first measures of the new administration were characterized rather by vigour than by judgment. Expeditions were sent against different parts of the French coast, with little success. The small island of Aix was taken, Rochefort threatened, a few ships burned in the harbour of St. Maloes, and a few guns and mortars brought home as trophies from the fortifications of Cherbourg. But, before long, conquests of a very different kind filled the kingdom with pride and rejoicing. A succession of victories, undoubtedly brilliant, and, as it was thought, not barren, raised to the highest point the fame of the minister to whom the conduct of the war had been intrusted. In July, 1758, Louisbourg fell. The whole island of Cape Breton was reduced: the fleet, to which the court of Versailles had confided the defence of French America, was destroyed. The captured standards were borne triumph from Kensington palace to the city, were suspended in St. Paul's church,
have ventured or would have wished to do. The active and able sovereign of Prussia received such pecuniary assistance as enabled him to maintain the conflict on equal terms against his powerful enemies. On no subject had Pitt ever spoken with so much eloquence and ardour, as on the mischiefs of the Hanoverian connection. He now declared, not without much show of reason, that it would be unworthy of the English people to suffer their king to be deprived of his electoral dominion in an English quarrel. He assured his countrymen that they should be no losers, and that he would conquer America for them in Germany. By taking this line he conciliated the king, and lost no part of his influence with the nation. In Parliament, such was the ascendency which his eloquence, his success, his high situation, his pride, and his intrepidity had obtained for him, that he took liberties with the House, of which there had been no example, and which has never since been imitated. No orator could there venture to reproach him with inconsistency. One unfortunate man made the attempt, and was so much disconcerted by the scornful demeanour of the miniser that he stammered, stopped, and sat down. Even the old Tory country gentlemen, to whom he very name of Hanover had been odious, gave their hearty ayes to subsidy after subsidy. In a lively contemporary satire, much more lively indeed than delicate, this remarkable conversion is not unhappily described.
"No more they make a fiddle-faddle
Even as a war minister, Pitt is scarcely entitled to all the praise which his contemporaries lavished on him. We, perhaps from ignorance, cannot discern in his arrangements any appearance of profound or dexterous combination. Several of his expeditions, particularly those which were sent to the coast of France, were at once costly and absurd. Our Indian conquests, though they add to the splendour of the period during which he was at the head of affairs, were not planned by him. He had great energy, great determination, great means at his command. His temper was enterprising, and, situated as he was, he had only to follow his temper. The wealth of a rich nation, the valour of a brave nation, were ready to support him in every attempt.
In one respect, however, he deserved all the praise that he has ever received. The success of our arms was perhaps owing less to the skill of his dispositions, than to the nationa resources and the national spirit. But that the national spirit rose to the emergency, that the national resources were contributed with un exampled cheerfulness-this was undoubtedly his work. The ardour of his spirit had set the whole kingdom on fire. It infiamed every soldier who dragged the cannon up the heights of Quebec, and every sailor who boarded the French ships amidst the rocks of Brittany. The minister, before he had been long in office, had imparted to the commanders whom he employed his own impetuous, adventurous, and defying character. They, like him, were disposed to risk every thing, to pay double or quits to the last, to think nothing done while any thing remained, to fail rather than not to attempt. For the errors of rashness there might be indulgence. For over-caution, for faults like those of Lord George Sackville, there was no mercy. In other times, and
In the mean time, the nation exhibited all the signs of wealth and prosperity. The merchants of London had never been more thriv-against other enemies, this mode of warfare ing. The importance of several great com- might have failed. But the state of the French mercial and manufacturing towns, Glasgow, government and of the French nation gave in particular, dates from this period. The every advantage to Pitt. The fops and infine inscription on the monument of Lord triguers of Versailles were appalled and beChatham, in Guildhall, records the general wildered by his vigour. A panic spread opinion of the citizens of London, that under through all ranks of society. Our enemies his administration commerce had been "united soon considered it as a settled thing that they with and made to flourish by war." were always to be beaten. Thus victory begot victory; till, at last, wherever the forces of the two nations met, they met with disdainful con fidence on the one side, and with a craven fear on the other.
It must be owned, that these signs of prosperity were in some degree delusive. It must be owned, that some of our conquests were rather splendid than useful. It must be owned, that the expense of the war never enVOL. II.-31
The situation which Pitt occupied at the
The success of Pitt's continental measures was such as might have been expected from their vigour. When he came into power, Hanover was in imminent danger; and before he had been in office three months, the whole electorate was in the hands of France. But the face of affairs was speedily changed. The invaders were driven out. An army, partly English, partly Hanoverian, partly composed of soldiers furnished by the petty princes of Germany, was placed under the command of Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick. The French were beaten in 1758 at Creveldt. In 1759, they received a still more complete and humiliating defeat at Minden.
tered into Pitt's consideration. Perhaps it would be more correct to say, that the cost cf his victories increased the pride and pleasure with which he contemplated them. Unlike other men in his situation, he loved to exag gerate the sums which the nation was laying out under his direction. He was proud of the sacrifices and efforts which his eloquence and his success had induced his countrymen to make. The price at which he purchased faithful service and complete victory, though far smaller than that which his son, the most profuse and incapable of war ministers, paid for treachery, defeat, and shame, was severely felt by the nation.
close of the reign of George the Second was the most enviable ever occupied by any public man in English history. He had conciliated the king; he dominecred over the House of Commons; he was adored by the people; he was admired by all Europe. He was the first Englishman of his time; and he had made England the first country in the world. The Great Commoner-the name by which he was often designated-might look down with scorn on coronets and garters. The nation was drunk with joy and pride. The Parliament was as quiet as it had been under Pelham. The old party distinctions were almost effaced; nor was their place yet supplied by distinctions of a yet more important kind. A new generation of country-squires and rectors had arisen who knew not the Stuarts. The Dissenters were tolerated; the Catholics not cruelly persecuted. The Church was drowsy and indulgent. The great civil and religious conflict which began at the Reformation seemed to have terminated in universal repose. Whigs and
Tories, Churchman and Puritans, spoke wita equal reverence of the constitution, and with equal enthusiasm of the talents, virtues, and services of the minister.
A few years sufficed to change the whole aspect of affairs. A nation convulsed by faction, a throne assailed by the fiercest invective. a House of Commons hated and despised by the nation, England set against Scotland, Britain set against America, a rival legislature sitting beyond the Atlantic, English blood shed by English bayonets, our armies capitulating, our conquests wrested from us, our enemies hastening to take vengeance for past humiliation, our flag scarcely able to maintain itself in our own seas-such was the spectacle Pitt lived to see. But the history of this great revolution requires far more space than we can at present bestow. We leave the “Great Commoner" in the zenith of his glory. It is not impossible that we may take some other opportunity of tracing his life to its melancholy yet not inglorious, close
[EDINBURGH REVIEW, 1837.]
derives pleasure and advantage from the performances of such a man. The number of those who suffer by his personal vices is small, even in his own time, when compared with the number of those to whom his talents are a source of gratification. In a few years, all those whom he has injured disappear. But his
WE return our hearty thanks to Mr. Montagu, as well for his very valuable edition of Lord Bacon's Works, as for the instructive Life of the immortal author, contained in the last volume. We have much to say on the subject of this Life, and will often find ourselves obliged to dissent from the opinions of the biographer. But about his merit as a col-works remain, and are a source of delight to lector of the materials out of which opinions millions. The genius of Sallust is still with are formed, there can be no dispute; and we us. But the Numidians whom he plundered, readily acknowledge that we are in a great and the unfortunate husbands who caught him measure indebted to his minute and accurate in their houses at unseasonable hours, are forresearches, for the means of refuting what we gotten. We suffer ourselves to be delighted by cannot but consider his errors. the keenness of Clarendon's observation, and by the sober majesty of his style, till we forget the oppressor and the bigot in the historian. Falstaff and Tom Jones have survived the gamekeepers whom Shakspeare cudgelled, and the landladies whom Fielding bilked. A great writer is the friend and benefactor of his readers; and they cannot but judge of him under the deluding influence of friendship and gratitude. We all know how unwilling we are to admit the truth of any disgraceful story about a person whose society we like, and from whom we have received favours, how long we struggle against evidence, how fondly, when the facts cannot be disputed, we cling to the hope that there may be some explanation or some extenuating circumstance with which we are unacquainted. Just such is the feeling which a man of liberal education naturally entertains towards the great minds of former ages. The debt which he owes to them is incalculable. They have guided him to truth. They have filled his mind with noble and graceful images. They have stood by him in all vicissitudes-comforters in sorrow, nurses in sickness, companions in solitude. These friendships are exposed to no danger from the occurrences by which other attachments are weakened or dissolved. Time glides by; fortune is inconstant; tempers are soured; bonds which seemed indissoluble are daily sundered by interest, by emulation, or by caprice. But no such cause can affect the silent converse which we hold with the highest of human intellects. That placid intercourse is disturbed by no jealousies or resentments. These are the old friends who are never seen with new faces, who are the same in wealth and in poverty, in glory and in obscurity. With the dead there is no rivalry. In the dead there is no change. Plato is never sullen. Cervantes is never petulant. Demosthenes never comes unseasonably. Dante never stays too long. No difference of political opinion can alienate Cicero. No heresy can excite the horror of Bossuet.
The labour which has been bestowed on this volume, has been a labour of love. The writer is evidently enamoured of the subject. It fills his heart. It constantly overflows from his lips and his pen. Those who are acquainted with the courts in which Mr. Montagu practises with so much ability and success, well know how often he enlivens the discussion of a point of law by citing some weighty aphorism, or some brilliant illustration, from the De Augmentis or the Novum Organum. The Life before us, doubtless, owes much of its value to the honest and generous enthusiasm of the writer. This feeling has stimulated his activity; has sustained his perseverance; has called forth all his ingenuity and eloquence: but, on the other hand, we must frankly say, that it has, to a great extent, perverted his judgment.
We are by no means without sympathy for Mr. Montagu even in what we consider as his weakness. There is scarcely any delusion which has a better claim to be indulgently treated than that, under the influence of which a man ascribes every moral excellence to those who have left imperishable monuments of their genius. The causes of this error lie deep in the inmost recesses of human nature. We are all inclined to judge of others as we find them. Our estimate of a character always depends much on the manner in which that character affects our own interests and passions. We find it difficult to think well of those by whom we are thwarted or depressed; and we are ready to admit every excuse for the vices of those who are useful or agreeable to us. This is, we believe, one of those illusions to which the whole human race is subject, and which experience and reflection can only partially remove. It is, in the phraseology of Bacon, one of the idola tribus. Hence it is, that the moral character of a man eminent in letters, or in the fine arts, is treated-often by contemporaries-almost always by posterity -with extraordinary tenderness. The world
The Works of Francis Bacon, Lord Chancellor of England. A new Edition. By BASIL MONTAGU, Esq. 16
vols. 8vo. London. 1825-1834.
Nothing, then, can be more natural than that a person of sensibility and imagination should entertain a respectful and affectionate feeling