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have believed, fifteen years ago, that M. Guizot | generally succeeds to morbid excitement. The and M. Villemain would have to defend pro- people had been maddened by sophistry, by perty and social order against the Jacobinical calumny, by rhetoric, by stimulants applied to attacks of such enemies as M. Genoude and the national pride. In the fulness of bread, M. de La Roche Jaquelin? they had raved as if famine had been in the Thus the successors of the old Cavaliers land. While enjoying such a measure of civil had turned demagogues; the successors of and religious freedom as, till then, no great the old Roundheads had turned courtiers. Yet society had ever known, they had cried out for was it long before their mutual animosity a Timoleon or a Brutus to stab their oppres began to abate; for it is the nature of parties sors to the heart. They were in this frame of to retain their original enmities, far more firm- mind when the change of administration took ly than their original principles. During many place; and they soon found that there was to years, a generation of Whigs whom Sidney be no change whatever in the system of gewould have spurned as slaves, continued to vernment. The natural consequences follow wage deadly war with a generation of Tories ed. To frantic zeal succeeded sullen indifferwhom Jefferies would have hanged for re-ence. The cant of patriotism had not merely publicans. ceased to charm the public ear, but had become as nauseous as the cant of Puritanism after the downfall of the Rump. The hot fit was over: the cold fit had begun: and it was long before seditious arts, or even real grievances, could bring back the fiery paroxysm which had run its course, and reached its termination
Through the whole reign of George the First, and through nearly half of the reign of George the Second, a Tory was regarded as an enemy of the reigning house, and was excluded from all the favours of the crown. Though most of the country gentlemen were Tories, none but Whigs were created peers and baronets. Though most of the clergy were Tories, none but Whigs were created deans and bishops. In every county opulent and well-descended Tory squires complained that their names were left out of the commission of the peace; while men of small estate and mean birth, who were for toleration and excise, septennial parliaments and standing armies, presided at quarter sessions, and became deputy lieutenants.
Two attempts were made to disturb this tranquillity. The banished heir of the house of Stuart headed a rebellion; the discontented heir of the house of Brunswick headed an opposition. Both the rebellion and the opposition came to nothing. The battle of Culloden annihilated the Jacobite party; the death of Prince Frederic dissolved the faction which, under his guidance, had feebly striven to an noy his father's government. His chief fol lowers hastened to make their peace with the ministry; and the political torpor became complete.
Five years after the death of Prince Frederic, the public mind was for a time violently excited. But this excitement had nothing to do with the old disputes between Whigs and Tories. England was at war with France. The war had been feebly conducted. Minorca had been torn from us. Our fleet had retired before the white flag of the House of Bourbon. A bitter sense of humiliation, new to the proudest and bravest of nations, superseded every other feeling. The cry of all the counties and great towns of the realm was for a
By degrees some approaches were made owards a reconciliation. While Walpole was at the head of affairs, emnity to his power induced a large and powerful body of Whigs, headed by the heir-apparent of the throne, to make an alliance with the Tories, and a truce even with the Jacobites. After Sir Robert's fall, the ban which lay on the Tory party was taken off. The chief places in the administration continued to be filled by Whigs, and, indeed, could scarcely have been filled otherwise; for the Tory nobility and gentry, though strong in numbers and in property, had among them scarcely a single man distinguished by talents, either for business or for debate. Å few of them, however, were admitted to sub-government which would retrieve the honour ordinate offices; and this indulgence produced of the English arms. The two most powerful a softening effect on the temper of the whole men in the country were the Duke of New. body. The first levee of George the Second castle and Pitt. Alternate victories and deafter Walpole's resignation was a remarka- feats had made them sensible that neither of ble spectacle. Mingled with the constant sup- them could stand alone. The interests of the porters of the house of Brunswick, with the state, and the interests of their own ambition, Russells, the Cavendishes, and the Pelhams, impelled them to coalesce. By their coalition appeared a crowd of faces utterly unknown to was formed the ministry which was in power the pages and gentlemen-ushers, lords of rural when George the Third ascended the throne. manors, whose ale and fox-hounds were renowned in the neighbourhood of the Mendip hills, or round the Wrekin, but who had never crossed the threshold of the palace since the days when Oxford, with the white staff in his hand, stood behind Queen Anne.
During the eighteen years which followed this day, both factions were gradually sinking deeper and deeper into repose. The apathy of the public mind is partly to be ascribed to the unjust violence with which the administration of Walpole had been assailed. In the body politic, as in the natural body, morbid languor
The more carefully the structure of this celebrated ministry is examined, the more shall we see reason to marvel at the skill or the luck which had combined in one harmo nious whole such various and, as it seemed, incompatible elements of force. The influence which is derived from stainless integrity, the influence which is derived from the vilest arts of corruption, the strength of aristocratical connection, the strength of democratical enthusiasm, all these things were for the first time found together. Newcastle brought to the coalition a vast mass of power, which had
beyond his capacity. It was true that his poor advice about expeditions and treaties was listened to with indulgence by a gracious sovereign. If the question were, who should command in North America, or who should be ambassador at Berlin, his colleagues would probably condescend to take his opinion. But he had not the smallest influence with the secretary of the treasury, and could not ven
descended to him from Walpole and Pelham. I did him too much honour. Such matters were The public offices, the church, the courts of law, the army, the navy, the diplomatic service, swarmed with his creatures. The boroughs, which long afterwards made up the memorable schedules A and B, were represented by his nominees. The great Whig families, which during several generations had been trained in the discipline of party warfare, and were accustomed to stand together in a firm phalanx, acknowledged him as their cap-ture to ask even for a tide-waiter's place. tain. Pitt, on the other hand, had what New- It may be doubted whether he did not owe castle wanted, an eloquence which stirred the as much of his popularity to his ostentatious passions and charmed the imagination, a high purity, as to his eloquence, or to his talents for reputation for purity, and the confidence and the administration of war. It was everywhere ardent love of millions. said with delight and admiration that the great The partition which the two ministers made Commoner, without any advantages of birth of the powers of government was singularly or fortune, had, in spite of the dislike of the happy. Each occupied a province for which he court and of the aristocracy, made himself the was well qualified; and neither had any inclina- first man in England, and made England the tion to intrude himself into the province of the first country in the world; that his name was other. Newcastle took the treasury, the civil mentioned with awe in every palace from and ecclesiastical patronage, and the disposal Lisbon to Moscow; that his trophies were in of that part of the secret service money which all the four quarters of the globe; yet that he was then employed in bribing members of was still plain William Pitt, without title or Parliament. Pitt was secretary of state, with riband, without pension or sinecure place. the direction of the war and of foreign affairs. Whenever he should retire, after saving the Thus the filth of all the noisome and pestilen-state, he must sell his coach-horses and his tial sewers of government was poured into one silver candlesticks. Widely as the taint of channel. Through the other passed only what corruption had spread, his hands were clean. was bright and stainless. Mean and selfish They had never received, they had never politicians, pining for commissionerships, gold given, the price of infamy. Thus the coalition sticks, and ribands, flocked to the great house gathered to itself support from all the high at the corner of Lincoln's Inn Fields. There, and all the low parts of human nature, and at every levee, appeared eighteen or twenty was strong with the whole united strength of pair of lawn sleeves; for there was not, it was virtue and of mammon. said, a single prelate who had not owed either his first elevation or some subsequent translation to Newcastle. There appeared those members of the House of Commons in whose silent votes the main strength of the government lay. One wanted a place in the excise for his butler. Another came about a prebend for his son. A third whispered that he had always stood by his Grace and the Protestant succession; that his last election had been very expensive; that pot-wallopers had now no conscience; that he had been forced to take up money on mortgage; and that he hardly knew where to turn for five hundred pounds. The duke pressed all their hands, passed his arms round all their shoulders, patted all their backs, and sent away some with wages, and some with promises. From this traffic Pitt stood haughtily aloof. Not only was he himself incorruptible, but he shrank from the loathsome drudgery of corrupting others. He had not, however, been twenty years in Parliament, and ten in office, without discovering how the government was carried on. He was perfectly aware that bribery was practised on a large scale by his colleagues. Hating the practice, yet despairing of putting it down, and doubting whether, in those times, any ministry could stand without it, he determined to be blind to it. He would see nothing, know nothing, believe nothing. People who came to talk to him about shares in lucrative contracts, or about the means of securing a Cornish corporation, were soon put out of countenance by his arrogant humility. They
Pitt and Newcastle were co-ordinate chief ministers. The subordinate places had been filled on the principle of including in the government every party and shade of party, the avowed Jacobites alone excepted; nay, every public man who, from his abilities or from his situation, seemed likely to be either useful in office or formidable in opposition
The Whigs, according to what was then considered as their prescriptive right, held by far the largest share of power. The main support of the administration was what may be called the great Whig connection-a connection which, during near half a century, had generally had the chief sway in the country, and which derived an immense authority from rank, wealth, borough interest, and firm union. To this connection, of which Newcastle was the head, belonged the houses of Cavendish, Lennox, Fitzroy, Bentinck, Manners, Conway, Wentworth, and many others of high note.
There were two other powerful Whig connections, either of which might have been a nucleus for a formidable opposition. But room had been found in the government for both. They were known as the Grenvilles and the Bedfords.
The head of the Grenvilles was Richard Earl Temple. His talents for administration and debate were of no high order. But his great possessions, his turbulent and unscru pulous character, his restless activity, and his skill in the most ignoble tactics of faction, made him one of the most formidable enemies that a ministry could have. He was keeper
of the privy seal. His brother George was treasurer of the navy. They were supposed to be on terms of close friendship with Pitt, who had married their sister, and was the most uxorious of husbands.
The Bedfords, or, as they were called by their enemies, the Bloomsbury gang, professed to be led by John Duke of Bedford, but in truth led him wherever they chose, and very often led him where he never would have gone of his own accord. He had many good qualities of head and heart, and would have been certainly a respectable, and possibly a distinguished man, if he had been less under the influence of his friends, or more fortunate in choosing them. Some of them were indeed, to do them justice, men of parts. But here, we are afraid, eulogy must end. Sandwich and Rigby were able debaters, pleasant boon companions, dexterous intriguers, masters of all the arts of jobbing and electioneering, and, both in public and private life, shamelessly immoral. Weymouth had a natural eloquence, which sometimes astonished those who knew how little he owed to study. But he was indolent and dissolute, and had early impaired a fine estate with the dice-box, and a fine constitution with the bottle. The wealth and power of the duke, and the talents and audacity of some of his retainers, might have seriously annoyed the strongest ministry. But his assistance had been secured. He was Lordlieutenant of Ireland; Rigby was his secretary; and the whole party dutifully supported the measures of the government.
Two men had, a short time before, been thought likely to contest with Pitt the lead of the House of Commons-William Murray and Henry Fox. But Murray had been removed to the Lords, and was Chief-Justice of the King's Bench; Fox was indeed still in the Commons. But means had been found to secure, if not his strenuous support, at least his silent acquiescence. He was a poor man; he was a doting father. The office of PaymasterGeneral during an expensive war was, in that age, perhaps the most lucrative situation in the gift of the government. This office was bestowed on Fox. The prospect of making a noble fortune in a few years, and of providing amply for his darling boy Charles, was irresistibly tempting. To hold a subordinate place, however profitable, after having led the House of Commons, and having been intrusted with the business of forming a ministry, was indeed a great descent. But a punctilious sense of personal dignity was no part of the character of Henry Fox.
men stood so low in public estimation, that the only service which they could have rendered to any government would have been to oppose it. We speak of Lord George Sackville and Bubb Dodington.
Though most of the official men, and all the members of the cabinet, were reputed Whigs, the Tories were by no means excluded from employment. Pitt had gratified many of them with commands in the militia, which increased both their income and their importance in their own counties; and they were therefore in better humour than at any time since the death of Anne. Some of the party still continued to grumble over their punch at the Cocoa-Tree; but in the House of Commons not a single one of the malecontents durst lif his eyes above the buckle of Pitt's shoe.
Thus there was absolutely no opposition. Nay, there was no sign from which it could be guessed in what quarter opposition was likely to arise. Several years passed during which Parliament seemed to have abdicated its chief functions. The Journals of the House of Commons during four sessions contain no trace of a division on a party question. The supplies, though beyond precedent great, were voted without discussion. The most animated debates of that period were on road bills and enclosure bills.
The old king was content; and it mattered little whether he were content or not. It would have been impossible for him to emancipate himself from a ministry so powerful, even if he had been inclined to do so. But he had no such inclination. He had once, indeed, been strongly prejudiced against Pitt, and had repeatedly been ill-used by Newcastle; but the vigour and success with which the war had been waged in Germany, and the smoothness with which all public business was car ried on, had produced a favourable change in the royal mind.
Such was the posture of affairs when, on the 25th of October, 1760, George the Second suddenly died, and George the Third, then twenty-two years old, became king. The situation of George the Third differed widely from that of his grandfather and that of his great-grandfather. Many years had now elapsed since a sovereign of England had been an object of affection to any part of his people. The first two kings of the house of Hanover had neither those hereditary rights which have often supplied the defect of merit, nor those personal qualities which have often supplied the defect of title. A prince may be popular with little virtue or capacity, if he reigns by We have not time to enumerate all the birthright derived from a long line of illusother men of weight and talents who were, by trious predecessors. An usurper may be some tie or other, attached to the government. popular, if his genius has saved or aggran We may mention Hardwicke, reputed the first dized the nation which he governs. Perhaps lawyer of the age; Legge, reputed the first no rulers have in our time had a stronger hold financer of the age; the acute and ready Os-on the affection of subjects than the Emperor wald; the bold and humerous Nugent; Charles Francis, and his son-in-law the Emperor Townshend, the most brilliant and versatile Napoleon. But imagine a ruler with no better of mankind; Elliot, Barrington, North, Pratt. title than Napoleon, and no better understandIndeed, as far as we recollect, there were in ing than Francis. Richard Cromwell was the whole House of Commons only two inen such a ruler; and, as soon as an arm was of distinguished abilities who were not con- lifted up against him, he fell without a struggle, dected with the government; and those two amidst universal derision. George the Firs
and George the Second were in a situation | to reproach him with. Even the remaining which bore some resemblance to that of Rich-adherents of the house of Stuart could scarcely ard Cromwell. They were saved from the impute to him the guilt of usurpation. He was fate of Richard Cromwell by the strenuous not responsible for the Revolution, for the Act and able exertions of the Whig party, and by of Settlement, for the suppression of the risings the general conviction that the nation had no of 1715 and of 1745. He was innocent of the hoice but between the house of Brunswick blood of Derwentwater and Kilmarnock, of Baland Popery. But by no class were the Guelphs merino and Cameron. Born more than fifty regarded with that devoted affection, of which years after the old line had been expelled, Charles the First, Charles the Second, and fourth in descent and third in succession of the Janes the Second, in spite of the greatest Hanoverian dynasty, he might plead some show fauts, and in the midst of the greatest misfor- of hereditary right. His age, his appearance, tunes, received innumerable proofs. Those and all that was known of his character, conWhigs who stood by the dynasty so manfully ciliated public favour. He was in the bloom with purse and sword, did so on principles of youth; his person and address were pleasing. independent of, and indeed almost incompati- Scandal imputed to him no vice; and flattery ble with, the sentiment of devoted loyalty. might, without any glaring absurdity, ascribe The moderate Tories regarded the foreign to him many princely virtues. dynasty as a great evil, which must be endured for fear of a greater evil. In the eyes of the high Tories, the elector was the most hateful of robbers and tyrants. The crown of another was on his head; the blood of the brave and loyal was on his hands. Thus, during many years, the kings of England were objects of strong personal aversion to many of their subjects, and of strong personal attachment to none. They found, indeed, firm and cordial support against the pretender to their throne; but this support was given, not at all for their sake, but for the sake of a religious and political system which would have been endangered by their fall. they were compelled to purchase by perpetually This support, too, sacrificing their private inclinations to the party which had set them on the throne, and which maintained them there.
At the close of the reign of George the Se-
ment of loyalty, a sentiment which had lately
by a great party long estranged from his house,
He died; and at once a new world opened. The young king was a born Englishman. All his tastes and habits, good or bad, were Eng-commerce with society, in order that she might lish. No portion of his subjects had any thing hold an undivided empire over their minds. She
gave a very different explanation of her conduct. She would gladly, she said, see her sons and daughters mix in the world, if they could do so without risk to their morals. But the Scandal represented the Groom of the Stole profligacy of the people of quality alarmed her. as the favoured lover of the Princess-Dowager. The young men were all rakes; the young He was undoubtedly her confidential friend. women made love, instead of waiting till it was The influence which the two united exercised made to them. She could not bear to expose over the mind of the king, was for a time urthose whom she loved best to the contaminating bounded. The princess, a woman and a f influence of such society. The moral advan-reigner, was not likely to be a judicious adri tages of the system of education which formed ser about affairs of state; the earl could scarcely the Duke of York, the Duke of Cumberland, be said to have served even a noviciate in poli and the Queen of Denmark, may perhaps be tics. His notions of government had beer ac questioned. George the Third was indeed no quired in the society which had been in the libertine; but he brought to the throne a mind habit of assembling round Frederic at Kew and only half opened, and was for some time en- Leicester House. That society consisted prin tirely under the influence of his mother and of cipally of Tories, who had been reconciled to his Groom of the Stole, John Stuart Earl of the house of Hanover by the civilay with Bute. which the prince had treated them, and by the hope of obtaining high preferment when he should come to the throne. Their political creed was a peculiar modification of Toryism. It was the creed neither of the Teries of the seventeenth nor of the Tories of the nineteenth century; it was the creed, not of Filmer and Sacheverell, not of Perceval and Eldon, but of the sect of which Bolingbroke may be consi dered as the chief doctor. This sect deserves commendation for having pointed out and justly reprobated some great abuses which sprang up during the long domination of the Whigs. But it is far easier to point out and reprobate abuses than to propose reforms; and the reforms which Bolingbroke proposed would either have been utterly inefficient, or would have produced much more mischief than they would have removed.
The Earl of Bute was scarcely known, even by name, to the country which he was soon to govern. He had indeed, a short time after he came of age, been chosen to fill a vacancy which, in the middle of a parliament, had taken place among the Scotch representative peers. He had disobliged the Whig ministers by giving some silent votes with the Tories, had consequently lost his seat at the next dissolution, and had never been re-elected. Near twenty years had elapsed since he had borne any part in politics. He had passed some of those years at his seat in one of the Hebrides, and from that retirement he had emerged as one of the household of Prince Frederic. Lord Bute, excluded from public life, had found out many ways of amusing his leisure. He was a tolerable actor in private theatricals, and was particularly successful in the part of Lothario. A The revolution had saved the nation from handsome leg, to which both painters and sa- one class of evils, but had at the same timetirists took care to give prominence, was among such is the imperfection of all things humanhis chief qualifications for the stage. He de- engendered or aggravated another class of vised quaint dresses for masquerades. He evils which required new remedies. Liberty dabbled in geometry, mechanics, and botany. and property were secure from the attacks of He paid some attention to antiquities and works prerogative. Conscience was respected. N of art, and was considered in his own circle as government ventured to infringe any of the a judge of painting, architecture, and poetry. rights solemnly recognised by the instrument It is said that his spelling was incorrect. But which had called William and Mary to the though, in our time, incorrect spelling is justly throne. But it cannot be denied that, under considered as a proof of sordid ignorance, it the new system, the public interests and the would be most unjust to apply the same rule public morals were seriously endangered by to people who lived a century ago. The novel corruption and faction. During the long strug of Sir Charles Grandison was published about gle against the Stuarts, the chief object of the time at which Lord Bute made his appear- the most enlightened statesmen had been to ance at Leicester House. Our readers may strengthen the House of Commons. The strug perhaps remember the account which Char-gle was over, the victory was won, the House lotte Grandison gives of her two lovers. One of Commons was supreme in the state; and of them, a fashionable baronet who talks French all the vices which had till then been latent in and Italian fluently, cannot write a line in his the representative system were rapidly deve own language without some sin against ortho-loped by prosperity and power. Scarcely had graphy; the other, who is represented as a the executive government become really re most respectable specimen of the young aris- sponsible to the House of Commons, when it tocracy, and something of a virtuoso, is de- began to appear that the House of Commons scribed as spelling pretty well for a lord. On was not really responsible to the nation. Many the whole, the Earl of Bute might fairly be of the constituent bodies were under the abso called a man of cultivated mind. He was also lute control of individuals; many were notori a man of undoubted honour. But his under- ously at the command of the highest bidder. standing was narrow, and his manners cold The debates were not published; it was very and haughty. His qualifications for the part seldom known out of doors how a gentleman of a statesman were best described by Frederic, had voted. Thus, while the ministry was ac who often indulged in the unprincely luxury of countable to the Parliament, the majority of the sneering at his dependents. "Bute," said his Parliament was accountable to nobody. Under
royal highness, "you are the very man to be envoy at some small proud German court where there is nothing to do."