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such circumstances, nothing could be more na- | upright designs? tural than that the members should insist on dicting himself from the use of corrup influ By what means? Inter. being paid for their votes, should form them-ence, what motive was he to address to the Dodselves into combinations for the purpose of ingtons and Winningtons? raising the price of their votes, and should at strengthened by habit, to be laid asleep by a Was cupidity, critical conjunctures extort large wages by few fine sentences about virtue and union? threatening a strike. Thus the Whig ministers of George the First and George the Second were compelled to reduce corruption to a system, and to practise it on a gigantic scale.
mirers, particularly among men of letters. It Absurd as this theory was, it had many adwas now to be reduced to practice; and the reforeseen, the most piteous and ridiculous of sult was, as any man of sagacity must have failures.
If we are right as to the cause of these abuses, we can scarcely be wrong as to the remedy. The remedy was surely not to deprive the House of Commons of its weight in sion, appeared some signs which indicated the On the very day of the young king's acces the state. Such a course would undoubtedly approach of a great change. have put an end to parliamentary corruption which he made to his council was not submit. and to parliamentary factions: for, when votes ted to the cabinet. It was drawn up by Bute, The speech cease to be of importance, they will cease to and contained some expressions which might be bought, and when knaves can get nothing be construed into reflections on the conduct of by combining, they will cease to combine. affairs during the late reign. Pitt remon But to destroy corruption and faction by in-strated, and begged that these expressions migh troducing despotism, would have been to cure be softened down in the printed copy; but it bad by worse. The proper remedy evidently was not till after some hours of altercation was, to make the House of Commons respon- that Bute yielded; and, even after Bute had sible to the nation; and this was to be effected yielded, the king affected to hold out till the in two ways-first, by giving publicity to par- following afternoon. On the same day on liamentary proceedings, and thus placing which this singular contest took place, Bute every member on his trial before the tribunal was not only sworn of the privy council, but of public opinion; and secondly, by so reform-introduced into the cabinet. ing the constitution of the House, that no man should be able to sit in it who had not been returned by a respectable and independent body of constituents.
secretaries of state, in pursuance of a plan Soon after this, Lord Holdernesse, one of the concerted with the court, resigned the seals. place. A general election speedily followed, Bute was instantly appointed to the vacant and the new secretary entered parliament in the only way in which he then could enter it, as one of the sixteen representative peers of Scotland.
Bolingbroke and Bolingbroke's disciples recommended a very different mode of treating the diseases of the state. Their doctrine was, that a vigorous use of the prerogative by a patriot king would at once break all factious combinations, and supersede the pretended necessity of bribing members of Parliament. The scarcely be doubted that they would have been Had the ministers been firmly united, it can king had only to resolve that he would be able to withstand the court. The parliamentmaster, that he would not be held in thraldomary influence of the Whig aristocracy, comby any set of men, that he would take for min- bined with the genius, the virtue, and the isters any persons in whom he had confidence, fame of Pitt, would have been irresistible. without distinction of party, and that he would | But there had been in the cabinet of George restrain his servants from influencing, by im- the Second latent jealousies and enmities, moral means, either the constituent bodies or which now began to show themselves. Pitt the representative body. This childish scheme had been estranged from his old ally Legge, proved that those who proposed it knew no- the chancellor of the exchequer. Some of the thing of the nature of the evil with which they ministers were envious of Pitt's popularity; pretended to deal. The real cause of the pre- others were, not altogether without cause, valence of corruption and faction was, that a disgusted by his imperious and haughty deHouse of Commons, not accountable to the meanour; others, again, were honestly oppeople, was more powerful than the king. posed to some parts of his policy. They Bolingbroke's remedy could be applied only by admitted that he had found the country in the a king more powerful than the House of Com- depths of humiliation, and had raised it to the mons. How was the patriot prince to govern height of glory; they admitted that he had in defiance of the body without whose consent conducted the war with energy, ability, and he could not equip a sloop, keep a battalion splendid success. under arms, send an embassy, or defray even the drain on the resources of the state was But they began to hint that the charges of his own household? Was he unexampled, and that the public debt was into dissolve the Parliament? And what was he creasing with a speed at which Montague or likely to gain by appealing to Sudbury and Godolphin would have stood aghast. Some Old Sarum against the venality of their repre- of the acquisitions made by our fleets and sentatives? Was he to send out privy seals? armies were, it was acknowledged, profitable Was he to levy ship-money? If so, this as well as honourable; but, now that George boasted reform must commence in all proba- the Second was dead, a courtier might venbility by civil war, and, if consummated, must be consummated by the establishment of absolute monarchy. Or was the patriot king to carry the House of Commons with him in his
In the reign of Anne, the House of Lords had re
solved that, under the 23d article of Union, no Scotch
ture to ask why England was to become a par- | posed to be intimately acquainted with the ty in a dispute between two German powers. whole fiscal system of the country. He had What was it to her whether the house of paid especial attention to the law of ParliaHapsburg or the honse of Brandenburg ruled ment, and was so learned in all things relating in Silesia? Why were the best English regi- to the privileges and orders of the House of ments fighting on the Maine? Why were the Commons, that those who loved him least Prussian battalions paid with English gold? pronounced him the only person competent The great minister seemed to think it beneath to succeed Onslow in the Chair. His speeches him to calculate the price of victory. As long were generally instructive, and sometimes, as the Tower guns were fired, as the streets from the gravity and earnestness with which were illuminated, as French banners were he spoke, even impressive; but never brilcarried in triumph through the streets of Lon- liant, and generally tedious. Indeed, even don, it was to him matter of indifference to when he was at the head of affairs, he somewhat extent the public burdens were augment-times found it difficult to obtain the ear of the ed. Nay, he seemed to glory in the magnitude House. In disposition as well as in intellech of these sacrifices, which the people, fascinated he differed widely from his brother-in-law. by his eloquence and success, had too readily Pitt was utterly regardless of money. He made, and would long and bitterly regret. would scarcely stretch out his hand to take There was no check on waste or embezzle- it; and, when it came, he threw it away with ment. Our commissaries returned from the childish profusion. Grenville, though strictly camp of Prince Ferdinand to buy boroughs, upright, was grasping and parsimonious. Pitt to rear palaces, to rival the magnificence of was a man of excitable nerves, sanguine in the old aristocracy of the realm. Already had hope, easily elated by success and popularity, we borrowed, in four years of war, more than keenly sensible of injury, but prompt to forhe most skilful and economical government give; Grenville's character was stern, melanwould pay in forty years of peace. But the choly, and pertinacious. Nothing was more remarkable in him than his inclination alprospect of peace was as remote as ever. could not be doubted that France, smarting ways to look on the dark side of things. He and prostrate, would consent to fair terms of was the raven of the House of Commons, accommodation; but this was not what Pitt always croaking defeat in the midst of triwanted. War had made him powerful and umphs, and bankruptcy with an overflowing popular with war, all that was brightest in exchequer. Burke, with general applause, his life was associated: for war, his talents compared Grenville, in a time of quiet and were peculiarly fitted. He had at length be- plenty, to the evil spirit whom Ovid described gun to love war for its own sake, and was looking down on the stately temples and more disposed to quarrel with neutrals than wealthy haven of Athens, and scarce able to refrain from weeping because she could find to make peace with enemies. nothing at which to weep. Such a man was not likely to be popular. But to unpopularity Grenville opposed a dogged determination, which sometimes forced even those who
Such were the views of the Duke of Bedford and of the Earl of Hardwicke; but no member of the government held these opinions so strongly as George Grenville, the treasurer of the navy. George Grenville was brother-in-hated him to respect him. law of Pitt, and had always been reckoned one of Pitt's personal and political friends. But it is difficult to conceive two men of talents and integrity more utterly unlike each other. Pitt, as his sister often said, knew nothing accurately except Spenser's Fairy Queen. He had never applied himself steadily to any branch of knowledge. He was a wretched financier. He never became familiar even with the rules of that House of which he was the brightest ornament. He had never studied public law as a system; and was, indeed, so ignorant of the whole subject, that George the Second, on one occasion, complained bitterly that a man who had never read Vattel should presume to undertake the direction of foreign affairs. But these defects were more than redeemed by high and rare gifts; by a strange power of inspiring great masses of men with confidence and affection; by an eloquence which not only delighted the ear, but stirred the blood and brought tears into the eyes; by originality
Pitt, who did not love Legge, saw this event with indifference. But the danger was now fast approaching himself. Charles the Third
them. Grenville, on the other hand, was by
in devising plans; by vigour in executing of Spain had early conceived a deadly hatred
It was natural that Pitt and Grenville, being such as they were, should take very different views of the situation of affairs. Pitt could see nothing but the trophies; Grenville could see nothing but the bill. Pitt boasted that England was victorious at once in America, in India, and in Germany-the umpire of the Continent the mistress of the sea. Grenville cast up the subsidies, sighed over the army extraordina ries, and groaned in spirit to think that the nation had borrowed eight millions in ons year.
With a ministry thus divided, it was not dif ficult for Bute to deal. Legge was the first who fell. He had given offence to the young king in the late reign, by refusing to support a creature of Bute at a Hampshire election. He was now not only turned out, but in the closet, when he delivered up his seal of office, was treated with gross incivility.
captain had landed, had proceeded to the palace, had laid a watch on the table, and had told his majesty that, within an hour, a treaty of neutrality must be signed, or a bombardment would commence. The treaty was signed; the squadron sailed out of the bay twenty-four hours after it had sailed in; and from that day the ruling passion of the humbled prince was aversion to the English name. length in a situation in which he might hope to He was at gratify that passion. He had recently become King of Spain and the Indies. He saw, with envy and apprehension, the triumphs of our navy, and the rapid extension of our colonial empire. He was a Bourbon, and sympathized with the distress of the house from which he sprang. He was a Spaniard; and no Spaniard could bear to see Gibraltar and Minorca in the possession of a foreign power. Impelled by such feelings, Charles concluded a secret treaty with France. By this treaty, known as the Family Compact, the two themselves, not in express words, but by the powers bound clearest implication, to make war on England in common. Spain postponed the declaration of hostilities only till her fleet, laden with the treasures of America, should have arrived.
The existence of the treaty could not be kept a secret from Pitt. He acted as a man of his capacity and energy might be expected to act. He at once proposed to declare war against Spain, and to intercept the American fleet. He had determined, it is said, to attack without delay both Havanna and the Philippines.
His wise and resolute counsel was rejected. Bute was foremost in opposing it, and was supported by almost the whole cabinet. Some of the ministers doubted, or affected to doubt, the correctness of Pitt's intelligence; some shrank from the responsibility of advising a course so bold and decided as that which he proposed; some were weary of his ascendency, and were glad to be rid of him on any pretext. One only of his colleagues agreed with him, his brother-in-law, Earl Temple.
his wife had been created a peeress in her own
Pitt's retirement raised his fame higher than
The session of Parliament which followed
Pitt and Temple resigned their offices. To Pitt the young king behaved at parting in the most gracious manner. Pitt, who, proud and fiery everywhere else, was always meek and humble in the closet, was moved even to tears. The king and the favourite urged him to accept some substantial mark of royal gratitude. Would he like to be appointed governor of Canada? A salary of £5000 a-year should be annexed to the office. Residence would not be required. It was true that the governor of Canada, as the law then stood, could not be a member of the House of Commons. But a bill should be brought in, authorizing Pitt to hold his government together with a seat in Parliament, and in the preamble should be set forth his claims to the gratitude of his country. Pitt answered, with all delicacy, that his anxieties were rather for his wife and family than for himself, and that nothing would be so acceptable to him as a mark of royal goodness, which might be beneficial to those who were dearest to him. The hint was taken. The Pitt's retirement passed over without any viosame gazette which announced the retirement lent storm. Lord Bute took on himself the of the secretary of state, announced also, that, most prominent part in the House of Lords. In consideration of his great public services, He had become secretary of state, and indeed
prime minister, without having once opened as in reality. That coalition, which a few months before had seemed all-powerful, had his lips in public except as an actor. was, therefore, no small curiosity to know how been dissolved. The retreat of Pitt had dehe would acquit himself. Members of the prived the government of popularity. NewHouse of Commons crowded the bar of the castle had exulted in the fall of the illustrious Lords, and covered the steps of the throne. It colleague whom he envied and dreaded, and was generally expected that the orator would had not foreseen that his own doom was at break down; but his most malicious hearers hand. He still tried to flatter himself that he were forced to own that he had made a better was at the head of the government; but insults figure than they expected. They, indeed, ridi- heaped on insults at length undeceived him. culed his action as theatrical, and his style as Places which had always been considered as tumid. They were especially amused by the in his gift, were bestowed without any referlong pauses which, not from hesitation but ence to him. His expostulations only called from affectation, he made at all the emphatic forth significant hints that it was time for him words, and Charles Townshend cried out, to retire. One day he pressed on Bute the "Minute guns!" The general opinion how- claims of a Whig prelate to the archbishopric ever was, that if Bute had been early practised of York. "If your grace thinks so highly of in debate, he might have become an impres- him," answered Bute, "I wonder that you did not promote him when you had the power." sive speaker. Still the old man clung with a desperate grasp to the wreck. Seldom, indeed, have Christian meekness and Christian humility equalled the meekness and humility of his patient and abject ambition. At length he was forced to understand that all was over. He quitted that court where he had held high office during fortyfive years, and hid his shame and regret among the cedars of Claremont. Bute became first lord of the treasury.
In the Commons, George Grenville had been intrusted with the lead. The task was not, as yet, a very difficult one: for Pitt did not think fit to raise the standard of opposition. His speeches at this time were distinguished, not only by that eloquence in which he excelled all his rivals, but also by a temperance and a modesty which had too often been wanting to his character. When war was declared against Spain, he justly laid claim to the merit of having foreseen what had at length become manifest to all, but he carefully abstained from arrogant and acrimonious expressions; and this abstinence was the more honourable to him, because his temper, never very placid, was now severely tried, both by gout and by calumny. The courtiers had adopted a mode of warfare, which was soon turned with far more formidable effect against themselves. Half the inhabitants of the Grub Street garrets paid their milk-scores, and got their shirts out of pawn, by abusing Pitt. His German war, his subsidies, his pension, his wife's peerage, were shin of beef and gin, blankets and baskets of small coal, to the starving poetasters of the Fleet. Even in the House of Commons, he was, on one occasion during this session, assailed with an insolence and malice which called forth the indignation of men of all parties; but he endured the outrage with majestic patience. In his younger days he had been but too prompt to retaliate on those who tacked him; but now, conscious of his great services, and of the space which he filled in the eyes of all mankind, he would not stoop to personal squabbles. "This is no season," he said, in the debate on the Spanish war, "for altercation and recrimination. A day has arrived when every Englishman should stand forth for his country. Arm the whole; be one Deople; forget every thing but the public. I Bet you the example. Harassed by slanderers, sinking under pain and disease, for the public I forget both my wrongs and my infirmities!" On a general review of his life, we are inclined to think that his genius and virtue never shone with so pure an effulgence as during the session of 1762.
The favourite had undoubtedly committed a great error. It is impossible to imagine a tool better suited to his purposes than that which he thus threw away, or rather put into the hands of his enemies. If Newcastle had been suffered to play at being first minister, Bute might securely and quietly have enjoyed the substance of power. The gradual introduction of Tories into all the departments of the government might have been effected without any violent clamour, if the chief of the great Whig connection had been ostensibly at the head of affairs. This was strongly represented to Bute by Lord Mansfield, a man who may justly be called the father of modern Toryism, of Toryism modified to suit an order of things under which the House of Commons is the most powerful body in the state. The theories which had dazzled Bute could not impose on the fine intellect of Mansfield. The temerity with which Bute provoked the hostility of at-powerful and deeply-rooted interests, was dis pleasing to Mansfield's cold and timid nature. Expostulation, however, was vain. Bute was impatient of advice, drunk with success, eager to be, in show as well as in reality, the head of the government. He had engaged in an undertaking, in which a screen was absolutely necessary to his success, and even to his safety. He found an excellent screen ready in the very place where it was most needed; and he rudely pushed it away.
And now the new system f government came into full operation. For the first time since the accession of the house of Hanover, the Tory party was in the ascendant. The prime minister himself was a Tory. Lord Egremont, who had succeeded Pitt as secretary of state, was a Tory, and the son of a Tory. Sir Francis Dashwood, a man of slender parts, of small experience, and of notoriously im moral character, was made chancellor of the
The session drew towards the close; and
exchequer, for no reason that could be ima- | Walpole, and had seemed to be almost extinct gined, except that he was a Tory and had been at the close of the reign of George the Second. a Jacobite. The royal household was filled It now revived in all its force. Many Whigs, with men whose favourite toast, a few years it is true, were still in office. The Duke of before, had been the "King over the water." Bedford had signed the treaty with France. The The relative position of the two great national Duke of Devonshire, though much out of huseats of learning was suddenly changed. The mour, still continued to be Lord-chamberlain. University of Oxford had long been the chief Grenville, who led the House of Commons, and seat of disaffection. In troubled times, the Fox, who still enjoyed in silence the immense High Street had been lined with bayonets; the gains of the Pay-Office, had always been recolleges had been searched by the king's mes-garded as strong Whigs. But the bulk of the sengers. Grave doctors were in the habit of party throughout the country regarded the new talking very Ciceronian treason in the theatre; minister with abhorrence. There was, indeed, and the under-graduates drank bumpers to Ja- no want of popular themes for invective against cobite toasts, and chanted Jacobite airs. Of his character. He was a favourite; and favourfour successive Chancellors of the University, ites have always been odious in this country. one had notoriously been in the Pretender's No mere favourite had been at the head of the service; the other three were fully believed government, since the dagger of Felton reached to be in secret correspondence with the exiled the heart of the Duke of Buckingham. After family. Cambridge had therefore been espe- that event, the most arbitrary and the most cially favoured by the Hanoverian princes, frivolous of the Stuarts had felt the necessity and had shown herself grateful for their pa- of confiding the chief direction of affairs to tronage. George the First had enriched her men who had given some proof of parliamenlibrary; George the Second had contributed tary or official talent. munificently to her senate-house. Bishoprics Clarendon, Clifford, Shaftesbury, Lauderdale, and deaneries were showered on her children. Danby, Temple, Halifax, Rochester, SunderStrafford, Falkland, Her Chancellor was Newcastle, the chief of land, whatever their faults might be, were all the Whig aristocracy; her High-Steward was Hardwicke, the Whig head of the law. Both owe their eminence merely to the favour of the men of acknowledged ability. They did not her burgesses had held office under the Whig sovereign. On the contrary, they owed the faministry. Times had now changed. The Uni- vour of the sovereign to their eminence. Most versity of Cambridge was received at St. of them, indeed, had first attracted the notice of James's with comparative coldness. The an- the court by the capacity and vigour which swers to the addresses of Oxford were all gra- they had shown in opposition. The Revoluciousness and warmth. against the domination of a Carr or a Villiers. tion seemed to have for ever secured the state Now, however, the personal regard of the king had at once raised a man who had seen nothing of public business, who had never opened his lips in Parliament, over the heads of a crowd of eminent orators, financiers, diplomatists. From a private gentleman, this fortunate minion had at once been turned into a secretary of state. He had made his maiden speech when at the head of the administration. The vulgar resorted to a simple explanation of the phenomenon, and the coarsest ribaldry against the Princess Mother was scrawled on every wall and in every alley.
by impolitic provocation from its long sleep, This was not all. The spirit of party, roused roused in turn a still fiercer and more malignant fury, the spirit of national animosity. The gruuge of Whig against Tory was mingled with the grudge of Englishman against Scol The two sections of the great British people The events of 1715 and of 1744 had left painhad not yet been indissolubly blended together. ful and enduring traces. The tradesmen of Cornhill had been in dread of seeing their tills and warehouses plundered by bare-legged mountaineers from the Grampians. They still recollected that Black Friday, when the news came that the rebels were at Derby, when all the shops in the city were closed, and when the Bank of England began to pay in sixpences. The Scots, on the other hand, remembered, with natural resentment, the severity with military outrages, the humiliating laws, the which the insurgents had been chastised, the heads fixed on Temple Bar, the fires and quar
The watchwords of the new government were prerogative and purity. The sovereign was no longer to be a puppet in the hands of any subject, or of any combination of subjects. George the Third would not be forced to take ministers whom he disliked, as his grandfather had been forced to take Pitt. George the Third would not be forced to part with any whom he delighted to honour, as his grandfather had been forced to part with Carteret. At the same time, the system of bribery which had grown up during the late reigns was to cease. It was ostentatiously proclaimed that, since the accession of the young king, neither constituents nor representatives had been bought with the secret service money. To free Britain from corruption and oligarchical cabals, to detach her from continental connections; to bring the bloody and expensive war with France and Spain to a close, such were the specious objects which Bute professed to procure.
Some of these objects he attained. England withdrew, at the cost of a deep stain on her faith, from her German connections. The war with France and Spain was terminated by a peace, honourable indeed and advantageous to our country, yet less honourable indeed and advantageous than might have been expected from a long and almost unbroken series of victories, by land and sea, in every part of the world. But the only effect of Bute's domestic administration was to make faction wilder and corruption fouler than ever.
The mutual animosity of the Whig and Tory parties had begun to languish after the fall of