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arranged with the air of a Grecian drapery, venteen he was entered at Trinity Coilege, and the crutch placed as gracefully as that of Oxford. During the second year of his resiBelisarius or Lear.

dence at the University, George the First died; Yet, with all his faults and affectations, Pitt and the event was, after the fashion of that gehad, in a very extraordinary degree, many of neration, celebrated by the Oxonians in many the elements of greatness. He had splendid very middling copies of verses. On this occatalents, strong passions, quick sensibility, and sion Pitt published some Latin lines, which vehement enthusiasm for the grand and the Mr. Thackeray has preserved. They prove beautiful. There was something about him that he had but a very limited knowledge even which ennobled tergiversation itself. He often of the mechanical part of his art. All true went wrong, very wrong. But to quote the Etonians will hear with concern, that their ianguage of Wordsworth,

illustrious school-fellow is guilty of making

the first syllable in labenti short. The matter “ He still retained, 'Mid such a basement, what he had received

of the poem is as worthless as that of any From nature, an intense and glowing mind." college exercise that was ever written before

or since. There is, of course, much about In an age of low and dirty prostitution—in Mars, Themis, Neptune, and Cocytus. The the age of Doddington and Sandys—it was Muses are earnestly entreated to weep for something to have man who might, perhaps, Cæsar; for Cæsar, says the poet, loved the under some strong excitement, have been Muses ;—Cæsar, who could not read a line of tempted to ruin his country, but who never Pope, and who loved nothing but punch and

rould have stooped to pilfer from her ;--a man fat women. whose errors arose, not from a sordid desire Pitt had been, from his schooldays, cruelly of gain, but from a fierce thirst for power, for tormented by the gout; and was at last advised glory, and for vengeance. History owes to to travel for his health. He accordingly left him this attestation-that, at a time when any Oxford without taking a degree, and visited thing short of direct embezzlement of the pub- France and Italy. He returned, however, lic money was considered as quite fair in pub- without having received much benefit from his lic men, he showed the most scrupulous dis- excursion, and continued, till the close of his interestedness; that, at a time when it seemed life, to suffer most severely from his constituto be generally taken for granted that govern- tional malady. ment could be upheld only by the basest and His father was now dead, and had left

very most immoral arts, he appealed to the better little to the younger children. It was necesand nobler parts of human nature; that he sary that William should choose a profession. made a brave and splendid attempt to do, by He decided for the army, and a corner's commeans of public opinion, what no other states- mission was procured for him in the Blues. man of his day thought it possible to do, ex- But, small as his fortune was, his family had cept by means of corruption; that he looked both the power and the inclination to serve for support, not like the Pelhams, to a strong him. At the general election of 1734, his elder aristocratical connection, not, like Bute, to the brother Thomas was chosen both for Old Sa. personal favour of the sovereign, but to the rum and for Oakhampton. When Parliament middle class of Englishmen; that he inspired met in 1735, Thomas made his election to that class with a firm confidence in his inte serve for Oakhampton, and William was regrity and ability ; that, backed by them, he turned for Old Sarum. forced an unwilling court and an unwilling Walpole had now been, during fourteen oligarchy to admit him to an ample share of years, at the head of affairs. He had risen to power; and that he used his power in such a power under the most favourable circummanner as clearly proved that he had sought stances. The whole of the Whig party—of it, not for the sake of profit or patronage, but that party which professed peculiar attachment from a wish to establish for himself a great and to the principles of the Revolution, and which durable reputation by means of eminent ser-exclusively enjoyed the confidence of the vices rendered to the state.

reigning house-had been united in support The family of Pitt was wealthy and respect of his administration. Happily for him, he able. His grandfather was Governor of Madras; had been out of office when the South Sea Act and brought back from India that celebrated was passed; and, though he does not appear diamond which the Regent Orleans, by the ad- to have foreseen all the consequences of that vice of Saint Simon, purchased for upwards measure, he had strenuously opposed it, as he of three millions of livres, and which is still opposed almost all the measures, good or bad, considered as the most precious of the crown of Sunderland's administration. When the jewels of France. Governor Pitt bought estates South Sea Company were voting dividends of and rotten boroughs, and sat in the House of fifty per cent.-when a hundred pounds of their Commons for Old Sarum. His son Robert was stock were selling for eleven hundred pounds at one time member for Old Sarum, and at an- —when Threadneedle street was daily crowd. other for Oakhampton. Robert had two sons. ed with the coaches of dukes and prelates Thomas, the elder, inherited the estates and when divines and philosophers turned gamblers the parliamentary interest of his father. The -when a thousand kindred bubbles weir daily second was the celebrated William Pitt. blown into existence—the periwig company,

He was born in November, 1708. About the and the Spanish-jackass company, and the early part of his life little more is known than quicksilver-fixation company_Walpole's calin that he was educated at Eton, and that at se- good sense preserved him from the general infatuation. He condemned the prevailing mad- an offer. He indignantly refused to accept'r ness in public, and turned a considerable sum For suine time he continued to brood over his by taking advantage of it in private. When wrongs, and to watch for an opportunity of the crash came—when ten thousand families revenge. As soon as a favourable conjunc. were reduced to beggary in a day-when the ture arrived, he joined the minority, and bepeople, in the frenzy of their rage and despair, came the greatest leader of Opposition that the clamoured not only against the lower agents House of Commons had ever seen. in the juggle, but against the Hanoverian fa- Of all the members of the cabinet, Carteret vourites, against the English ministers, against was the most eloquent and accomplished. His the king himself—when Parliament met, eager talents for debate were of the first order; his for confiscation and blood--when members of knowledge of foreign affairs superior to that the House of Commons proposed that the di- of any living statesman; his attachment to the rectors should be treated like parricides in Protestant succession was undoubted. But ancient Rome, tied up in sacks, and thrown there was not room in one government for him into the Thames, Walpole was the man on and Walpole. Carteret retired, and was, from whom all parties turned their eyes. Four years that time forward, one of the most persevering before he had been driven from power by the and formidable enemies of his old colleague. intrigues of Sunderland and Stanhope, and the If there was any man with whom Walpole lead in the House of Commons had been in- could have consented to make a partition of trusted to Craggs and Aislabie. Stanhope was power, that man was Lord Townshend. They no more. Aislabie was expelled from Parlia- were distant kinsmen by birth, near kinsmen ment, on account of his disgraceful conduct by marriage. They had been friends from regarding the South Sea scheme. Craggs was childhood. They had been schoolfellows at saved by a timely death from a similar mark Eton. They were country-neighbours in Norof infamy. A large minority in the House of folk. They had been in office together under Commons voted for a severe censure on Sun- Godolphin. They had gone into opposition derland, who, finding it impossible to withstand together when Harley rose to power. They the force of the prevailing sentiment, retired had been persecuted by the same House of from office, and outlived his retirement but a Commons. 'They had, after the death of Anne, very short time. The schism which had di- been recailed together to office. They had vided the Whig party was now completely again been driven out by Sunderland, and had healed. Walpole had no opposition to en- again come back together when the influence counter except that of the Tories, and the of Sunderland had declined. Their opinions

Tories were naturally regarded by the king on public affairs almost always coincided i with the strongest suspicion and dislike. They were both men of frank, generous, and

For a time business went on with a smooth compassionate natures; their intercourse had ness and a despatch such as had not been been for many years most affectionate and cor. known since the days of the Tudors. During dial. But the ties of blood, of marriage, and the session of 1724, for example, there was of friendship, the memory of mutual services only a single division. It was not impossible and common persecutions, were insufficient to that, by taking the course which Pelham after- restrain that ambition which domineered over wards took-by admitting into the government all the virtues and vices of Walpole. He was all the rising talents and ambition of the Whig resolved, to use his own metaphor, that the firm party, and by making room here and there for of the house should be, not « Townshend and a Tory not unfriendly to the House of Bruns. Walpole,” but “Walpole and Townshend." wick-Walpole might have averted the tre- At length the rivals proceeded to personal mendous conflict in which he passed the lat- abuse before witnesses, seized each other by ter years of his administration, and in which the collar, and grasped their swords. The he was at length vanquished. The Opposition women squalled. The men parted the combatwhich overthrew him was an opposition cre- ants.* By friendly intervention the scandal ated by his own policy. by his own insatiable of a duel between cousins, brothers-in-law, old love of power.

friends, and old colleagues, was prevented. In the very act of forming his ministry, he But the disputants could not long continue to turned one of the ablest and most attached of act together. Townshend retired, and with his supporters into a deadly enemy. Pulteney rare moderation and public spirit, refused to had strong public and private claims to a high take any part in politics. He could not, he situation in the new arrangement. His fortune said, trust his temper. He feared that the rewas immense. His private character was collection of his private wrongs might impel respectable. He was already a distinguished him to follow the example of Pulteney, and to Speaker. He had acquired official experience oppose measures which he thought generally in an important post. He had been, through beneficial to the country. He, therefore, never all changes of fortune, a consistent Whig. visited London after his resignation; hur pass, When the Whig party was split into two sec-ed the closing years of his life in dignity and tions, Pulteney had resigned a valuable place, repose among his trees and pictures at Rainand had followed the fortunes of Walpole. Yet ham. when Walpole returned to power, Pulteney Next went Chesterfield. He too was a Whig was not invited to take office. An angry discussion took place between the friends. The # The scene of this extraordinary quarrel was, we lerainister offered a peerage. It was impossible Mr. Ellice, the secretary at War. It was then the resi

lieve, a house in Cleveland Square, now occupied by for Pulteney not to discern the motive of such Idence of Colonel Selwyn.


und a friend of the Protestant succession. He character could drag down such parts; and was an orator, a courtier, a wit, and a man of Winnington, whose private morals lay, justly or ·

etters. He was at the head of ton in days unjustly, under imputations of the worst kind. when, in order to be at the head of ton, it was The discontented Whigs were, not perhaps not sufficient to be dull and supercilious. It in number, but certainly in ability, experience, was evident that he submitted impatiently to and weight, by far the most important part of the ascendency of Walpole. He murmured the Opposition. The Tories furnished little against the Excise Bill. His brothers voted more than rows of ponderous fox-hunters, fat against it in the House of Commons. The with Staffordshire or Devonshire ale-men minister acted with characteristic caution and who drank to the king over the water, and becharacteristic energy ;--caution in the conduct lieved that all the fundholders were Jewsof public affairs; energy where his own ad- men whose religion consisted in hating the ministration was concerned. He withdrew Dissenters, and whose political researches had his bill, and turned out all his hostile or waver-led them to fear, like Squire Western, that their ing colleagues, Chesterfield was stopped on land might be sent over to Hanover to be put the great staircase of St. James's, and sum- into the sinking-fund. The eloquence of these moned to deliver up the staff which he bore as patriotic squires, the remnant of the on :e forLord Steward of the Household. A crowd of midable October Club, seldom went beyond a noble and powerful functionaries—the Dukes hearty Ay or No. Very few members if this of Montrose and Bolton, Lord Burlington, party had distinguished themselves mach in Lord Stair, Lord Cobham, Lord Marchmont, Parliament, or could, under any circumstances, Lord Clinton-were at the same time dis- have been called to fill any high office; and missed from the service of the crown.

those few had generally, like Sir William Not long after these events, the Opposition Wyndham, learned in the company of their was reinforced by the Duke of Argyle, a man new associates the doctrines of toleration and vainglorious indeed and fickle, but brave, elo political liberty, and might indeed with strict quent, and popular. It was in a great mea- propriety be called Whigs. sure owing to his exertions that the Act of Set- It was to the Whigs in opposition, the patlement had been peaceably executed in Eng-triots, as they were called, that the most disland immediately after the death of Anne, and tinguished of the English youth, who at this that the Jacobite rebellion which, during the season entered into public life, attached themfollowing year, broke out in Scotland, was sup- selves. These inexperienced politicians selt pressed. He too carried over to the minority all the enthusiasm which the name of liberty The aid of his great name, his talents, and his naturally excites in young and ardent minds. paramount influence in his native country. They conceived that the theory of the Tory

In each of these cases taken separately, a Opposition, and the practice of Walpole's goskilful defender of Walpole might perhapsvernment, were alike inconsistent with the make out a case for him. But when we see principles of liberty. They accordingly rethat during a long course of years all the foot- paired to the standard which Pulteney had set steps are turned the same way—that all the up. While opposing the Whig minister, they most eminent of those public men who agreed professed a firm adherence to the purest docwith the minister in their general views of irines of Whigism. He was the schismatic; policy left him, one after another, with sore and they were the true Catholics, the peculiar peoirritated minds, we find it impossible not to ple, the depositaries of the orthodox faith of believe that the real explanation of the phe- Hampden and Russell; the one sect which, nomenon is to be found in the words of his son, amidst the corruptions generated by time, and “Sir Robert Walpole loved power so much by the long possession of power, had preserved that he would not endure a rival."* Hume has inviolate the principles of the Revolution. Of described this famous minister with great feli- the young men who attached themselves to city in one short sentence-“moderate in exer- this portion of the Opposition, the most discising power, not equitable in engrossing it.” tinguished were Lyttleton and Pitt. Kind-hearted, jovial, and placible as Walpole When Pitt entered Parliament, the whole was, he was yet a man with whom no person political world was attentively watching the of high pretensions and high spirit could long progress of an event which soon added great continue to act. He had, therefore, to stand strength to the Opposition, and particularly against an Opposition containing all the most to that section of the Opposition in which the accomplished statesmen of the age, with no young statesman enrolled himself. The Prince better support than that which he received from of Wales was gradually becoming more and persons like his brother Horace, or Henry Pel- more estranged from his father and his faham, whose industrious mediocrity gave him ther's ministers, and more and more friendly no cause for jealousy; or from clever adven- to the patriots. turers, whose situation and character diminish- Nothing is more natural than that, in a nu ed the dread which their talents might other- narchy, where a constitutional Opposition ex wise have inspired. To this last class belong- ists, the heir-apparent of the throne should put ed Fox, who was too poor to live without office; himself at the head of that Opposition. He is Sir William Yonge, of whom Walpole himself impelled to such a course by every feeiing vf said, that nothing but such parts could buoy up ambition and of vanity. He cannot be more such a character, that nothing but such a than second in the estimation of the party

which is in. He is sure to be the first mem*Memoirs, vol. I. p. 201.

ber of the party which is out. The highest


favour which the existing administration can of politicians, who had considered themselves expect from him is, that he will not discard as placed under sentence of perpetual excluthem. But, if he joins the Opposition, all his sion from office, and who, in their despair, had associates expect that he will promote them; been almost ready to join in a counter-revoluand the feelings which men entertain towards tion, as the only mode of removing the proone from whom they hope to obtain great ad scription under which they lay, now saw with vantages which they have not, are far warmer pleasure an easier and safer road to power than the feelings with which they regard one opening before them, and thought it far better who, at the very utmost, can only leave them to wait till, in the natural course of things, the in possession of what they already have. An crown should descend to the heir of the house heir-apparent, therefore, who wishes to enjoy, of Brunswick, than to risk their lands and in the highest perfection, all the pleasure that their necks in a rising for the house of Stuart. can be derived from eloquent flattery and pro- The situation of the royal family resembled found respect, will always join those who are the situation of those Scotch families in which struggling to force themselves into power. father and son took opposite sides during the This is, we believe, the true explanation of a rebellion, in order that, come what might, the fact which Lord Granville attributed to some estate might not be forfeited. natural peculiarity in the illustrious house of In April, 1736, Frederic was married to the Brunswick. “This family," said he at Council, Princess of Saxe-Gotha, with whom he afterwe suppose after his daily half-gallon of Bur- wards lived on terms very similar to those on gundy, “always has quarrelled and always which his father had lived with Queen Carowill quarrel, from generation to generation.” line. The prince adored his wife, and thought He should have known something of the mat- her in mind and person the most attractive of ter; for he had been a favourite with three suc- her sex. But he thought that conjugal fidelity cessive generations of the royal house. We was an unprincely virtue; and, in order to be cannot quite admit his explanation ; but the like Henry the Fourth and the Regent Orleans, fact is indisputable. Since the accession of he affected a libertinism for which he had no George the First, there have been four Princes taste, and frequently quitted the only woman of Wales, and they have all been almost con- whom he loved for ugly and disagreeable stantly in opposition.

mistresses. Whatever might have been the motives The address which the House of Commons which induced Prince Frederic to join the presented to the king on occasion of the party opposed to Sir Robert Walpole, his sup-prince's marriage, was moved, not by the mi. port infused into many members of that party nister, but Pulteney, the leader of the Whigs a courage and an energy, of which they stood in opposition. It was on this motion that Pitt, greatly in need. Hitherto, it had been impos- who had not broken silence during the session sible for the discontented Whigs not to feel in which he took his seat, addressed the House some misgivings when they found themselves for the first time. “A contemporary historian," dividing night after night, with uncompromis- says Mr. Thackeray, “describes Mr. Pit's first ing Jacobites, who were known to be in con- speech as superior even to the models of anstant communication with the exiled family ; cient eloquence. According to Tindal, it was or with Tories who had impeached Somers, more ornamented than the speeches of Dewho had murmured against Harley and St. mosthenes, and less diffuse than those of CiJohn as too remiss in the cause of the Church cero." This unmeaning phrase has been a and the landed interest; and who, if they were hundred times quoted. That it should ever not inclined to attack the reigning family, yet have been quoted, except to be laughed at, is considered the introduction of that family as, strange. The vogue which it has obtained at best, only the less of two great evils—as a may serve to show in how slovenly a way necessary, but a painful and humiliating pre- most people are content to think. Did Tindal, servative against Popery. The minister might who first used it, or Archdeacon Coxe, or Mr. plausibly say that Pulteney and Carteret, in Thackeray, who have borrowed it, ever in their the hope of gratifying their own appetite for lives hear any speaking which did not deserve office and for revenge, did not scruple to serve the same compliment? Did they ever hear the purposes of a faction hostile to the Pro-speaking less ornamented than that of Detestant succession. The appearance of Fre- mosthenes, or more diffuse than that of Cideric at the head of the patriots silenced this cero ? We know no living orator, from Lord reproach. The leaders of the Opposition might Brougham down to Mr. Hunt, who is not en now boast that their proceedings were sanc- titled to the same magnificent eulogy. It would tioned by a person as deeply interested as the be no very flattering compliment to a man's king himself in maintaining the Act of Settle- figure to say, that he was taller than the Polish inent; and that, instead of serving the pur- Count, and shorter than Giant O'Brien ;-fatter poses of the Tory party, they had brought that than the Anatomie Vivante, and more slender party over to the side of Whigism. It must than Daniel Lambert. indeed be admitted that, though both the king Pitt's speech, as it is reported in the Gentle and the prince behaved in a manner little to man's Magazine, certainly deserves Tindals their honour—though the father acted harshly, compliment, and deserves no other. It is just the son disrespectfully, and both childish- as empty and wordy as a maiden speech on ly-the royal family was rather strengthened such an occasion might be expected to be. than weakened by the disagreement of its two But the fluency and the personal advantages most distinguished members. A large class of the young orator instantly caught the ear


and eye of his audience. He was, from the But it was not solely or principally to oute day of his first appearance, always heard with ward accomplishments that Pitt owed the vast attention; and exercise soon developed the influence which, during nearly thirty years, he great powers which he possessed.

exercised over the House of Commons. He In our time, the audience of a member of was undoubtedly a great orator; and, from the Parliament is the nation. The three or four descriptions of his contemporaries, and the hundred persons who may be present while a fragments of his speeches which still remain, speech is delivered may be pleased or disgust- it is not difficult to discover the nature and exed by the voice and action of the orator; but tent of his oratorical powers. in the reports which are read the next day by He was no speaker of set speeches. His hundreds of thousands, the difference between few prepared discourses were complete failthe noblest and the meanest figure, between ures. The elaborate panegyric which he prothe richest and the shrillest tones, between the nounced on General Wolfe was considered as most graceful and the most uncouth gesture, the very worst of all his performances. “No altogether vanishes. A hundred years ago, man,” says a critic who had often heard him, scarcely any report of what passed within the ever knew so little what he was going in walls of the House of Commons was suffered say.” Indeed his facility amounted to a vice. to get abroad. In those times, therefore, the He was not the master, but the slave of his impression which a speaker might make on own speech. So little self-command had he the persons who actually heard him was every when once he felt the impulse, that he did not thing. The impression out of doors was hard- like to take part in a debate when his mind ly worth a thought. In the Parliaments of was full of an important secret of state. “I that time. therefore, as in the ancient common- must sit still," he once said to Lord Shelburne wealths, those qualifications which enhance on such an occasion ; "for when once I am the immediate effect of a speech, were far up, every thing that is in my mind comes more important ingredients in the composition out.” of an orator than they would appear to be in Yet he was not a great debater. That he our time. All those qualifications Pitt pos- should not have been so when first he enter. sessed in the highest degree. On the stage, he ed the House of Commons, is not strange. would have been the finest Brutus or Coriola- Scarcely any person had ever become so nus ever seen. Those who saw him in his without long practice ad many failures. It decay, when his health was broken, when his was by slow degrees, as Burke said, that the mind was jangled, when he had been removed late Mr. Fox became the most brilliant and from that stormy assembly of which he tho- powerful debater that ever Parliament saw. roughly knew the temper, and over which he Mr. Fox himself attributed his own success to possessed unbounded influence, to a small, a the resolution which he formed when very torpid, and an unfriendly audience, say that young, of speaking, well or ill, at least once his speaking was then, for the most part, a every night.“ During five whole sessions," low, monotonous muttering, audible only to he used to say, "I spoke every night but one: those who sat close to him—that, when vio- and I regret only that I did not speak on that lently excited, he sometimes raised his voice night too.” Indeed, it would be difficult to for a few minutes, but that it soon sank again name any great debater, except Mr. Stanley, into an unintelligible murmur. Such was the whose knowledge of the science of parliamentEarl of Chatham ; but such was not William ary defence resembles an instinct, who has Pitt. His figure, when he first appeared in not made himself a master of his art at the Parliament, was strikingly graceful and com- expense of his audience. manding, his features high and noble, his eye But as this art is one which even the ablest full of fire. His voice, even when it sank to a men have seldom acquired without long pracwhisper, was heard to the remotest benches; tice, so it is one which men of respectable when he strained it to its full extent, the sound abilities, with assiduous and intrepid practice, rose like the swell of the organ of a great ca- seldom fail to acquire. It is singular thai in thedral, shook the house with its peal, and was such an art, Pitt, a man of splendid talents, ci' heard through lobbies and down staircases, to great fluency, of great boldness-a man whose the Court of Requests and the precincts of whole life was passed in parliamentary conWestminster Hall. He cultivated all these flict-a man who, during several years, was eminent advantages with the most assiduous the leading minister of the crown in the House care. His action is described by a very ma- of Commons-should never have attained to lignant observer as equal to that of Garrick. high excellence. He spoke without premedi. His play of countenance was wonderful; he tation ; but his speech followed the course of frequently disconcerted a hostile orator by a his own thoughts, and not the course of the single glance of indignation or scorn. Every previous discussion. He could, indeed, treatone, from the impassioned cry to the thrilling sure up in his memory some detached expres. aside, was perfectly at his command. It is by sion of a hostile orator, and make it the text no means improbable that the pains which he for sparkling ridicule or burning invective. took to improve his great personal advantages Some of the most celebrated bursts of his elo nad, in some respects, a prejudicial operation, quence were called forth by an unguarded and tended to nourish in him that passion for word, a laugh, or a cheer. But this was the theatrical effect which, as we have already re-only sort of reply in which he appears to have marked, was one of the most conspicuous excelled. He was perhaps the only great Eng. blemishes in his character.

lish orator who did not think it any advantago

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