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to have the last word; and who generally international law-if right, where societies of spoke by choice before his most formidable men are concerned, be any thing but another opponents. His merit was almost entirely name for might-if we do not adopt the docrhetorical. He did not succeed either in ex- trine of the Buccaniers, which seems to be position or in refutation; but his speeches also the doctrine of Mr. Thackeray, that treaabounded with lively illustrations, striking ties mean nothing within thirty degrees of the apophtnegms, well-told anecdotes, happy ailu- line-the war with Spain was altogether unsions, passionate appeals. His invective and justifiable. But the truth is, that the promoters sarcasm were tremendous. Perhaps no Eng- of that war have saved the historian the trouble lish orator was ever so much feared. of trying them: they have pleaded guilty. "I But that which gave most effect to his de- have seen," says Burke, "and with some care clamation, was the air of sincerity, of vehe- examined, the original documents concerning ment feeling, of moral elevation, which be- certain important transactions of those times. longed to all that he said. His style was not They perfectly satisfied me of the extreme in. always in the purest taste. Several contem-justice of that war, and of the falsehood of the porary judges pronounced it too florid. Wal-colours which Walpole, to his ruin, and guided pole, in the midst of the rapturous eulogy by a mistaken policy, suffered to be daubed which he pronounces on one of Pitt's greatest over that measure. Some years after, it was orations, owns that some of the metaphors my fortune to converse with many of the prinwere too forced. The quotations and classical cipal actors against that minister, and with stories of the great orator are sometimes too those who principally excited that clamour. trite for a clever schoolboy. But these were None of them, no, not one, did in the least deniceties for which the audience cared little. fend the measure, or attempt to justify their The enthusiasm of the orator infected all who conduct. They condemned it as freely as they were near him; his ardour and his noble would have done in commenting upon any bearing put fire into the most frigid conceit, proceeding in history in which they were to and gave dignity to the most puerile allusion. tally unconcerned.”* Pitt, on subsequent occasions, gave ample proof that he was not one of those tardy penitents.
His powers soon began to give annoyance to the government, and Walpole determined to make an example of the patriotic cornet. Pitt was accordingly dismissed from the service. Mr. Thackeray absurdly says that the minister took this step, because he plainly saw that it would have been vain to think of buying over so honourable and disinterested an opponent. We do not dispute Pitt's integrity; but we do not know what proof he had given of it, when he was turned out of the army; and we are sure that Walpole was not likely to give credit for inflexible honesty to a young adventurer who had never had an opportunity of refusing any thing. The truth is, that it was not Walpole's practice to buy off enemies. Mr. Burke truly says, in the Appeal to the old Whigs, “Walpole gained very few over from the Opposition." He knew his business far too well. He knew that for one mouth that is stopped with a place, fifty other mouths will instantly be opened. He knew that it would have been very bad policy in him to give the world to understand that more was to be got by thwart ing his measures than by supporting them. These maxims are as old as the origin of parliamentary corruption in England. Pepys learned them, as he tells us, from the counsellors of Charles the Second.
The elections of 1741 were unfavourable to Walpole; and after a long and obstinate strug gle he found it necessary to resign. The Duke of Newcastle and Lord Hardwicke opened a negotiation with the leading patriots, in the hope of forming an administration on a Whig basis. At this conjuncture, Pitt, Lyttleton, and those persons who were most nearly connected with them, acted in a manner very little to their honour. They attempted to come to an understanding with Walpole, and offered, if he would use his influence with the king in their favour, to screen him from prosecution. They even went so far as to engage for the concur rence of the Prince of Wales. But Walpole knew that the assistance of the Boys, as he called the young patriots, would avail him nothing if Pulteney and Carteret should prove intractable, and would be superfluous, if the great leaders of the Opposition could be gained. He, therefore, declined the proposal. It is remarkable that Mr. Thackeray, who has thought it worth while to preserve Pitt's bad college verses, has not even alluded to this story-a story which is supported by strong testimony, and which may be found in so common a book as Coxe's Life of Walpole.
Pitt was no loser. He was made Groom of The new arrangements disappointed almost the Bed-chamber to the Prince of Wales, and every member of the Opposition, and none continued to declaim against the minister with more than Pitt. He was not invited to become a unabated violence and with increasing ability. placeman; and he, therefore, stuck firmly to his The question of maritime right, then agitated old trade of patriot. Fortunate it was for him between Spain and England, called forth all that he did so. Had he taken office at this time. his powers. He clamoured for war with a he would in all probability have shared largely vehemence which it is not easy to reconcile in the unpopularity of Pulteney, Sandys, and with reason or humanity, but which appears Carteret. He was now the fiercest and most to Mr. Thackeray worthy of the highest admi- implacable of those who called for vengeance ration. We will not stop to argue a point on on Walpole. He spoke with great energy and which we had long thought that all well-in-ability in favour of the most unjust and violent formed people were agreed. We could easily how, we think, that, if any respect be due to
Letter on a Regicide Peace.
propositions which the enemies of the fallen minister could invent. He urged the House of Commons to appoint a secret tribunal for the purpose of investigating the conduct of the late First Lord of the Treasury. This was done. The great majority of the inquisitors were notoriously hostile to the accused statesman. Yet they were compelled to own that they could find no fault in him. They therefore called for new powers, for a bill of indemnity to witnesses; or, in plain words, for a bill to reward all who might give evidence, true or false, against the Earl of Orford. This bill Pitt supported-Pitt, who had offered to be a screen between Lord Orford and public justice! These are melancholy facts. Mr. Thackeray omits them, or hurries over them as fast as he can; and, as eulogy is his business, he is in the right to do so. But, though there are many parts in the life of Pitt which it is more agreeable to contemplate, we know none more instructive. What must have been the general state of political morality, when a young man, considered, and justly considered, as the most public-spirited and spotless statesmen of his time, could attempt to force his way into office by means so disgraceful?
The will was made in August. The Duchess died in October. In November Pitt had become a courtier. The Pelhams had forced the king, much against his will, to part with Lord Carteret, now Earl Granville. They proceeded, after this victory, to form the government on that basis, called by the cant name of the "broad bottom." Lyttleton had a seat at the treasury, and several other friends of Pitt were provided for. But Pitt himself was, for the present, forced to be content with promises. The king resented most highly some expres sions which the ardent orator had used in the debate on the Hanoverian troops. But Newcastle and Pelham expressed the strongest confidence that time, and their exertions, would soften the royal displeasure.
Pitt, on his part, omitted nothing that might facilitate his admission to office. He resigned his place in the household of Prince Frederic, and, when Parliament met, exerted his eloquence in support of the government. The Pelhams were really sincere in their endea vours to remove the strong prejudices that had The bill of indemnity was rejected by the taken root in the king's mind. They knew Lords. Walpole withdrew himself quietly that Pitt was not a man to be deceived with from the public eye; and the ample space ease, or offended with impunity. They were which he had left vacant was soon occupied afraid that they should not be long able to put by Carteret. Against Carteret Pitt began to him off with promises. Nor was it their inte thunder with as much zeal as he had ever rest so to put him off. There was a strong tie manifested against Sir Robert. To Carteret between him and them. He was the enemy of he transferred most of the hard names which their enemy. The brothers hated and dreaded were familiar to his eloquence-sole minister, the eloquent, aspiring, and imperious Granville. wicked minister, odious minister, execrable They had traced his intrigues in many quarters. minister. The great topic of his invective was They knew his influence over the royal mind. the favour shown to the German dominions of They knew that, as soon as a favourable opporKing George. He attacked with great vio-tunity might arrive, he would be recalled to the ence, and with an ability which raised him to head of affairs. They resolved to bring things the very first rank among the parliamentary to a crisis; and the question on which they took speakers, the practice of paying the Hanove-issue with their master was, whether Pitt should rian troops with English money. The House or should not be admitted to office? They of Commons had lately lost some of its most chose their time with more skill than generosidistinguished ornaments. Walpole and Pul- ty. It was when rebellion was actually raging teney had accepted peerages; Sir William in Britain, when the Pretender was master of Wyndham was dead; and among the rising the northern extremity of the island, that they men none could be considered as, on the whole, tendered their resignations. The king found a match for Pitt. himself deserted, in one day, by the whole strength of that party which had placed his family on the throne. Lord Granville tried to form a government; but it soon appeared that the parliamentary interest of the Pelhams was irresistible; and that the king's favourite statesman could count only on about thirty Lords, and eighty members of the House of Commons. The scheme was given up. Granville went away laughing. The ministers came back stronger than ever, and the king was now no longer able to refuse any thing that they might be pleased to demand. All that he could do, was to mutter that it was very hard that Newcastle, who was not fit to be chamberlain to the most insignificant prince in Germany should dictate to the King of England.
During the recess of 1744, the old Duchess of Marlborough died. She carried to her grave the reputation of being decidedly the best hater of her time. Yet her love had been infinitely more destructive than her hatred. In the time of Anne, her temper had ruined the party to which she belonged, and the husband whom she adored. Time had made her neither wiser nor kinder. Whoever was at any moment great and prosperous, was the object of her fiercest detestation. She had hated Walpole
-she now hated Carteret.
Pope, long before her death, predicted the fate of her vast property :
"To heirs unknown descends the unguarded store, Or wanders, Heaven-directed, to the poor."
in consideration of "the noble defence he had made for the support of the laws of England, and to prevent the ruin of his country."
Pitt was poor enough; and to him Heaven directed a portion of the wealth of the haughty dowager. She left him a legacy of £10,000, VOL. II.-30
One concession the ministers graciousiy made. They agreed that Pitt should not be placed in a situation in which it would be necessary for him to have frequent interviews
with the king. Instead, therefore, of making | offices in the government. One of these, Mur
their new ally Secretary of War, as they had intended, they appointed him Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, and in a few months promoted him to the office of Paymaster of the Forces.
This was, at that time, one of the most lucrative offices in the government. The salary vas but a small part of the emolument which he Paymaster derived from his place. He was allowed to keep a large sum-seldom less than £100,000-constantly in his hands; and the interest on this sum, probably about £4,000 a year, he might appropriate to his own use. This practice was not secret, nor was it considered as disreputable. It was the practice of men of undoubted honour, both before and after the time of Pitt. He, however, refused to accept one farthing beyond the salary which the law had annexed to his office. It had been usual for foreign princes, who received the pay of England, to give to the Paymaster of the Forces a small per centage on the subsidies. These ignominious vails Pitt resolutely declined.
Disinterestedness of this kind was, in his days, very rare. His conduct surprised and amused politicians. It excited the warmest Fox, the father of that great man whose admiration throughout the body of the people. mighty efforts in the cause of peace, of truth, In spite of the inconsistencies of which Pitt and of liberty have made that name immortal, had been guilty, in spite of the strange contrast was secretary at war. He was a favourite with between his violence in Opposition and his the king, with the Duke of Cumberland, and tameness in office, he still possessed a large with some of the most powerful individuals of share of the public confidence. The motives the great Whig connection. His parliamentwhich may lead a politician to change his con-ary talents were of the highest order. As a nections, or his general line of conduct, are often speaker he was in almost all respects the very obscure; but disinterestedness in money mat- opposite of Pitt. His figure was ungraceful: ters everybody can understand. Pitt was thence- his face, as Reynolds and Roubiliac have preforth considered as a man who was proof to all served it to us, indicated a strong understandsordid temptations. If he acted ill, it might be|ing; but the features were coarse, and the gefrom an error in judgment; it might be from neral aspect dark and lowering. His manner resentment; it might be from ambition. But, was awkward; his delivery was hesitating; he poor as he was, he had vindicated himself from was often at a stand for want of a word; but all suspicion of covetousness. as a debater-as a master of that keen, weighty, manly logic which is suited to the discussion of political questions-he has perhaps never been surpassed except by his son. In reply he was as decidedly superior to Pitt as in declamation he was inferior. Intellectually, the balance was nearly equal between the rivals. But here, again, the moral qualities of Pitt turned the scale. Fox had undoubtedly many virtues. In natural disposition as well as in talents he bore a great resemblance to his more celebrated son. He had the same sweetness of temper, the same strong passions, the same openness, boldness, and impetuosity, the same cordiality towards friends, the same pla cability towards enemies. No man was more warmly or justiy beloved by his family or by his associates. But unhappily he had been trained in a bad political school-in a school the doctrines of which were, that political vir tue is the mere coquetry of political prostitu tion; that every patriot has his price; that government can be carried on only by means of corruption; and that the state is given as a prey to statesmen. These maxims were too much in vogue throughout the lower ranks of Walpole's party, and were too much encou raged by Walpole himself, who, from contempt
Eight quiet years followed-eight years during which the minority, feeble from the time of Lord Granville's defeat, continued to dwindle till it became almost invisible. Peace was made with France and Spain in 1748. Prince Frederick died in 1751, and with him died the very semblance of opposition. All the most distinguished survivors of the party which had supported Walpole and of the party which had opposed him were united under his successor. The fiery and vehement spirit of Pitt had for a time been laid to rest. He silently acquiesced in that very system of Continental measures which he had lately condemned. He ceased to talk disrespectfully about Hanover. He did not object to the treaty with Spain, though that | treaty left us exactly where we had been when he uttered his spirit-stirring harangues against the pacific policy of Walpole. Now and then glimpses of his former self appeared, but they were few and transient. Pelham knew with whom he had to deal, and felt that an ally so little used to control and so capable of inflicting injury might well be indulged in an occasional fit of waywardness.
ray, was successively Solicitor-general and Attorney-general. This distinguished person far surpassed Pitt in correctness of taste, in power of reasoning, in depth and variety of knowledge. His parliamentary eloquence never blazed into sudden flashes of dazzling brilliancy; but its clear, placid, and mellow splendour was never for an instant overclouded. Intellectually he was, we believe, fully equal to Pitt; but he was deficient in the moral qualities to which Pitt owed most of his success. Murray wanted the energy, the courage, the all-grasping and all-risking ambition which make men great in stirring times. His heart was a little cold; his temper cautious even to timidity; his manners decorous even to formality. He never exposed his fortunes or his fame to any risk which he could avoid. At one time he might in all probability have been Prime Minister. But the object of all his wishes was the judicial bench. The situation of Chief Justice might not be so splendid as that of First Lord of the Treasury; but it was dignified; it was quiet; it was secure; and therefore it was the favourite situation of Murray.
Two men, little, if at all, inferior to Pitt in wers of mind, held, like him, subordinate
extravagantly and offensively into the opposite extreme. The loose political morality of Fox presented a remarkable contrast to the ostentatious purity of Pitt. The nation distrusted the former, and placed implicit confidence in the latter. But almost all the statesmen of the age had still to learn that the confidence of the nation was worth having. While things went on quietly, while there was no opposition, while every thing was given by the favour of a small ruling junto, Fox had a decided advantage over Pitt; but when dangerous times came, when Europe was convulsed with war, when Parliament was broken up into factions, when the public mind was violently excited, the favourite of the people rose to supreme power, while his rival sank into insignificance.
of what is in our day called humbug, often rannigher secrets of state, but obeyed implicitly the directions of his superior, and was, to use Doddington's expression, merely Lord Sunder. land's man. But times were changed. Since the days of Sunderland the importance of the House of Commons had been constantly on the increase. During many years the person who conducted the business of the government in that house had almost always been Prime Minister. Under these circumstance it was not to be supposed that any person who possessed the talents necessary to the situation would stoop to accept it on such terms as Newcastle was disposed to offer.
Pitt was ill at Bath; and had he been well and in London, neither the king nor Newcastle would have been disposed to make any overtures to him. The cool and wary Murray had set his heart on professional objects. Nego tiations were opened with Fox. Newcastle behaved like himself--that is to say, childishly and basely. The proposition which he made was, that Fox should be Secretary of State, with the lead of the House of Commons; that the disposal of the secret-service money, or in plain words, the business of buying members of Parliament, should be left to the First Lord of the Treasury, but that Fox should be exactly informed of the way in which this fund was employed.
Early in the year 1754, Henry Pelham died unexpectedly. "Now I shall have no more peace," exclaimed the old king when he heard the news. He was in the right. Pelham had succeeded in bringing together and keeping together all the talents of the kingdom. By his death the highest post to which an English subject can aspire was left vacant, and at the same moment the influence which had yoked together and reined in so many turbulent and ambitious spirits was withdrawn.
Within a week after Pelham's death it was determined that the Duke of Newcastle should be placed at the head of the treasury; but the arrangement was still far from complete. Who was to be the leading minister of the crown in the House of Commons? Was the office to be intrusted to a man of eminent talents? And would not such a man in such a place demand and obtain a larger share of power and patronage than Newcastle would be disposed to concede? Was a mere drudge to be employed? And what probability was there that a mere drudge would be able to manage a large and stormy assembly abounding with able and experienced men?
Pope has said of that wretched miser, Sir John Cutler
"Cutler saw tenants break and houses fall
For very want; he could not build a wall." Newcastle's love of power resembled Cutler's love of money. It was an avarice which thwarted itself-a penny-wise and pound-foolish cupidity. An immediate outlay was so painful to him, that he would not venture to make the most desirable improvement. If he could have found the heart to cede at once a portion of his authority, he might probably have insured the continuance of what remained; but he thought it better to construct a weak and rotten government, which tottered at the smallest breath and fell in the first storm, than to pay the necessary price for sound and durable materials. He wished to find some person who would be willing to accept the lead of the House of Commons on terms similar to those on which Secretary Craggs had acted under Sunderland five-andthirty years before. Craggs could hardly be cailed a minister. He was a mere agent for he minister. He was not trusted with the
To these conditions Fox assented. But the next day every thing was confusion. Newcastle had changed his mind. The conver sation which took place between Fox and the duke is one of the most curious in English his. tory. "My brother," said Newcastle, "when he was at the treasury, never told anybody what he did with the secret-service money. No more will I." The answer was obvious. Pel ham had been not only First Lord of the Trea sury, but manager of the House of Commons, and it was therefore unnecessary for him to confide to any other person his dealings with the members of that house. "But how," said Fox, "can I lead in the Commons without in formation on this head? How can I talk to gentlemen when I do not know which of them have received gratifications and which have not? And who," he continued, "is to have the disposal of places?" "I myself," said the duke. "How then am I to manage the House of Commons?" "Oh, let the members of the House of Commons come to me." Fox then mentioned the general election which was approaching, and asked how the ministerial burghs were to be filled up. "Do not trouble yourself," said Newcastle, "that is all settled." This was too much for human nature to bear. Fox refused to accept the secretaryship of state on such terms, and the duke confided the management of the House of Commons to a dull, harmless man, whose name is almost forgotten in our time--Sir Thomas Robinson
When Pitt returned from Bath, he affected great moderation, though his haughty soul was boiling with resentment. He did not complain of the manner in which he had been passed by; and said openly, that in his opinion, Fox was the fittest man to lead the House of Com mons. The rivals were reconciled by their
The elections of 1754 were favourable to the administration. But the aspect of foreign affairs was threatening. In India the English and the French had been employed ever since the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, in cutting each other's throats. They had lately taken to the same practice in America. It might have been foreseen that stirring times were at hand -times which would call for abilities very different from those of Newcastle and Robinson.
common interests and their common enmities, always considered as his tools. Legge, the and concerted a plan of operations for the next Chancellor of the Exchequer, refused to sigt. session. "Sir Thomas Robinson lead us!" the treasury warrants which were necessary said Pitt to Fox; "the duke might as well to give effect to the treaties. Those persons send his jack-boot to lead us." who were supposed to possess the confidence of the young Prince of Wales and his mother, held very menacing language. In this perplexity Newcastle sent for Pitt, hugged him, patted him, smirked at him, wept over him, and lisped out the highest compliments and the most splendid promises. The king, who had hitherto been as sulky as possible, would be civil to him at the levee; he should be brought into the cabinet; he should be consulted about every thing; if he would only be In November, the Parliament met; and be- so good as to support the Hessian subsidy in fore the end of that month the new Secretary the House of Commons. Pitt coldly declined of State had been so unmercifully baited by the proffered seat in the cabinet, expressed the the Paymaster of the Forces, and the Secre- highest love and reverence for the king, and tary at War, that he was thoroughly sick of said that if his majesty felt a strong personal his situation. Fox attacked him with great interest in the Hessian treaty, he would so far force and acrimony. Pitt affected a kind of deviate from the line which he had traced out contemptuous tenderness for Sir Thomas, and for himself as to give that treaty his support. directed his attacks principally against New-"Well, and the Russian subsidy?" said New. castle. On one occasion, he asked in tones castle. "No," said Pitt, "not a system of of thunder, whether Parliament sat only to subsidies." The duke summoned Lord Hardregister the edicts of one too-powerful subject? wicke to his aid; but Pitt was inflexible. The duke was scared out of his wits. He was Murray would do nothing, Robinson could do afraid to dismiss the mutineers; he was afraid nothing. It was necessary to have recourse to promote them; but it was absolutely neces- to Fox. He became Secretary of State, with sary to do something. Fox, as the less proud the full authority of a leader in the House of and intractable of the refractory pair, was pre- Commons; and Sir Thomas was pensioned ferred. A seat in the cabinet was offered to off on the Irish establishment. him, on condition that he would give efficient support to the ministry in Parliament. In an evil hour for his fame and his fortunes, he accepted the offer, and abandoned his connection with Pitt, who never forgave this desertion.
Sir Thomas, assisted by Fox, contrived to get through the business of the year without much trouble. Pitt was waiting his time. The negotiations pending between France and England took every day a more unfavourable aspect. Towards the close of the session the king sent a message to inform the House of Commons, that he had found it necessary to make preparations for war. The House returned an address of thanks, and passed a vote of credit. During the recess, the old animosity of both nations was inflamed by a series of disastrous events. An English force was cut off in America; and several French merchantmen were taken in the West Indian seas. It was plain that war was at hand.
The first object of the king was to secure Hanover; and Newcastle was disposed to gratify his master. Treaties were concluded, after the fashion of those times, with several petty German princes, who bound themselves to find soldiers if England would find money; and as it was suspected that Frederic the Second had set his heart on the electoral dominions of his uncle, Russia was hired to keep Prussia in
When the stipulations of these treaties were made known, there arose throughout the kingdom a murmur, from which a judicious observer might easily prognosticate the approach of a tempest. Newcastle encountered strong pposition, even from those whom he had
In November, 1755, the House met. Publie expectation was wound up to the height. After ten quiet years there was to be an Opposi tion, countenanced by the heir-apparent of the throne, headed by the most brilliant orator of the age, and backed by a strong party throughout the country. The debate on the address was long remembered as one of the greatest parliamentary conflicts of that generation. It began at three in the afternoon, and lasted till five the next morning. It was on this night that Gerard Hamilton delivered that single speech from which his nickname was derived. His eloquence threw into the shade every orator except Pitt, who declaimed against the subsidies for an hour and a half with extraor dinary energy and effect. Those powers which had formerly spread terror through the majori ties of Walpole and Carteret, were now displayed in their highest perfection before an audience long accustomed to such exhibitions. One fragment of this celebrated oration remains in a state of tolerable preservation. It is the comparison between the coalition of Fox and Newcastle, and the junction of the Rhone and the Saone. "At Lyons,” he said, "I was taken to see the place where the two rivers meet-the one gentle, feeble, languid, and though languid, yet of no depth, the other a boisterous and impetuous torrent; but dif ferent as they are, they meet at last." The amendment moved by the Opposition was rejected by a great majority, and Pitt and Legge were immediately dismissed from their offices. Lyttleton, whose friendship for Pitt had, during some time, been cooling, succeeded Legge as Chancellor of the Exchequer.