Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

LECTURE II.

THE POLITICAL AWAKENING.

William Pitt, Lord Chatham.

The Founding of the Empire.

"A great and celebrated name; a name that keeps the name of this country respectable in every other on the globe."-EDMUND BURKE.

"Your country has been long in labor, and has suffered much, but a: last she has produced a man."-FREDERICK THE Great,

"I want to call England cut of that enervate state in which 20,000 men from France can shake her."-WILLIAM PITT, 1757.

"No man ever entered the Earl of Chatham's closet who did not feel himself, if possible, braver at his return than when he went in."-COLONEL BARRÉ.

"This most remarkable man who, in spite of many and glaring defects, was undoubtedly one of the noblest, as he was one of the greatest, who have ever appeared in English politics."-W. E. LECKY.

"His greatness is throughout identified with the expansion of England; he is a statesman of Greater Britain. It is in the buccaneering war with Spain that he sows his political wild oats; his glory is won in the great colonial duel with France; his old age is spent in striving to avert schism in Greater Britain."-SIR JOHN SEELEY.

"If ever there has lived a man in modern times to whom the praise of a Roman spirit might be truly applied, that man beyond all doubt was William Pitt. . . Bred amidst too frequent examples of corruption; entering public life at a low tone of public morals; standing between the mock-patriots and the sneerers at patriotism-between Bolingbroke and Walpole-he manifested the most scrupulous disinterestedness, and the most lofty and generous purposes: he shunned the taint himself, and in time removed it from his country."-LORD MAHON.

"He was a political mystic; sometimes sublime, sometimes impossible, and sometimes insane. But he had genius. No country could have too many Pitts the more she has the greater will she be. But no country could afford the costly and splendid luxury of many Chathams."-LORD ROSEBERY,

:

[blocks in formation]

SCOPE OF LECTURE.

The contrast between Walpole and William Pitt. Empire-building. Humiliating position of England in 1757. Disasters on sea and land. "We are no longer a nation" (Chesterfield). Four years later, under Pitt, England stood at the head of all the nations, victorious in America, victorious in India, victorious on the sea.

The change of English opinion in regard to the Empire. Decline of the pessimist view of the Colonies and India. Causes of the change. The shrinkage of the world, stronger race-sympathy, better interpretation of past history. Seeley's "Expansion of England" and its influence upon thought. The necessity of a right perspective of the eighteenth century. Its chief aspect is-Greater Britian.

The dreary period succeeding Walpole's fall, 1742--1757. Incompetence of his rivals, Pulteney and Carteret. The ascendency of the Pelhams. What circumstances gave them power? Henry Pelham a bad copy of Walpole. Contemptibility of the Duke of Newcastle. Opinions of contemporaries. His ignorance and absurdity. Notwithstanding, for a quarter of a century no minister, not even Pitt, could govern England without Newcastle's co-operation. The age of gross Parliamentary corruption. The House of Commons independent of the Crown and not yet controlled by public opinion. Rotten boroughs. Bribery almost a necessity of the times. The extent of Parliamentary corruption. Lord Beaconsfield's description of English government at this time-a Venetian oligarchy. Newcastle, a man of great wealth, caring only for power, became in 1754 the chief of the Whig grandees and governor of England, although "not fit to be Chamberlain in the smallest of German Courts." The critical character of George II's last years. Incessant war. The great colonial duel of France and England. Supremacy in America and Asia at stake. The need of a Hero-King. Failure of the Whig aristocracy to produce a leader of genius. Against the wishes of the King and of the nobles, the nation in 1757 forced Pitt into power. "It is the people who have sent me here."

66

European politics at this date. Frederic II and the Seven Years' War. Prussia and England ranged against France, Austria, Russia, Sweden, Poland. The real meaning of the Seven Years' War for England. Here is a development which ever since the seventeenth century has been steadily growing in magnitude; here is a development which binds together the future with the past." The race for Empire. Success of the French. Disasters of the English before Pitt. Braddock's defeat in America. 50,000 Hanoverians to defend England! The loss of Minorca. Calcutta taken by Surajah Dowlah. Surrender of the Duke of Cumberland. The convention of Koster-Seven. "It is time for England to slip her cables and float away into some unknown ocean." (Horace Walpole). Accession of William Pitt to ower. "I know that I can save this country and that no one else can."

Pitt's early career.

Born in 1708, and entered Parliament, a "Cornet of the Blues," in 1735. The "Boy Patriots." Pitt's burning patriotism the secret of his success. His consummate eloquence. Different conditions of eighteenth and nineteenth century oratory. The "grand style." The oratory of inspiration. Charge of theatricality. Pitt's faults:-(a) Lack of simplicity; (6) Want of humor; (c) His arrogance, a "Grand Solitary," without friends; (d) The inconsistencies of his Parliamentary career, e. g. as regards standing army. Hanoverian subsidies, attitude towards George II. But after all these are slight faults in comparison with the general nobility and grandeur of his nature, as shown in (1) his courage. The "Great Commoner," dependent entirely upon his popularity, constantly espouses unpopular causes. Illustrations-Admiral Byng, clamor against Scotsmen, John Wilkes, American resistance. (2) Disinterestedness as regards money. His conduct as Paymaster of the Forces compared with that of Henry Fox. The first protest against the mercenary politics of the eighteenth century and the systematic plundering of England by the Whig aristocracy. (3) Intense patriotism. “He loved England as an Athenian loved the city of the Violet Crown." The English Empire of to-day is a monument to him. The stupendous nature of his task. His successful appeal to higher ideals. The awakening of the dry bones. "The ardor of his soul set the whole kingdom on fire"

Pitt's Great Administration, 1757-1761. English successes in India under Clive were not due to him, but coincided in time with his real achievements. The battle of Plassey. Eyre Coote's victory of Wandewash. Capture of Pondicherry. The French worsted in India. Pitt's own work is Canada and the expulsion of the French from North America. His policy of" winning America in Germany." Importance of his close alliance with Frederick the Great. Condition of North America when Pitt took office. Magnificent daring and enterprise of the French. Their plan of hemming in the English and preventing their advance to the West. The Marquis of Montcalm. The chain of forts. Defeats of Major George Washington and General Braddock. Pitt's great effort of 1759. Three separate armies hurled against Canada. Pitt's sagacity in choosing men. General Wolfe, character and history. The famous siege of Quebec. The strength of the position. Wolfe's early failures. The last, forlorn hope, and the Heights of Abraham. The night attack and the battle. Death of Wolfe. Death of Montcalm. Significance of the victory. The doom of French dominion in America. Contest of France and England on the sea. Pitt's sea-dogs. Lord Hawke's defeat of the French navy in Quiberon Bay. Final supremacy of England on the sea. Conclusion-in three years William Pitt had changed the history of the world. Is there any greater name in our national record?

1708. Birth of Pitt.

IMPORTANT DATES,

1726. At Trinity College, Oxford.

1735. M.P. for Old Sarum.

1736. Dismissed from the army by Walpole. Opposition. 1746. Paymaster of the Forces.

1755. Attack on Newcastle. Dismissed from office.

1756. Devonshire-Pitt Coalition, lasts only a few months. THE GREAT ADMINISTRATION.

June, 1757, to October, 1761.

1757. BATTLE OF PLASSEY (June).

Conquest of Bengal.

Defeat of Cumberland (July).
Battle of Rossbach.

Rochefort failure.

1758. Howe's attack on St. Malo and Cherbourg.

Fall of Louisburg. Capture of Cape Breton and of Fort Duquesne. 1759. "The Year of Victories." Capture of Fort Niagara (Prideaux) Capture of Ticonderoga (Amherst).

WOLFE'S VICTORY ON Heights of Abraham.
Capture of Goree, Senegal and Guadaloupe.

English naval victory at Lagos Bay (Boscawen).

Battle of Minden. Defeat of the French.

BATTLE OF QUIBERON BAY. Defeat of the French navy. ENGLISH
SUPREME ON THE SEA.

1760. Final Conquest of Canada.

Battle of Wandewash (Eyre Coote). Conquest of the Carnatic. 1761. Resignation of Pitt.

[blocks in formation]

1. Explain and illustrate the influence exercised by William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, on English politics.

2. The growth and extent of Parliamentary corruption in England in the eighteenth century.

3. What were the circumstances in which Canada became a British possession?

4. India in 1750.

5. What judgment do you pass on Clive's early proceedings in India?

6. What amount of truth is there in Shelburne's bitter criticism of Chatham's character?

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

B. BIOGRAPHIES. There is as yet, unfortunately, no good book, great or small, dealing with the life of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham. Read, as introduction, Macaulay's “Essays" and Lecky's “History of England,” vol. ii. Consult Lord E. Fitzmaurice's "Life of Shelburne" (a hostile view), Lord Mahon's "History of England," and Thackeray's "History of W. Pitt" (2 vols., 1827).

C. FOR CANADA. Parkman's "Montcalm and Wolfe."

D. INDIA. Lyall's "British Dominion in India; " Wilson's "Life of Clive." E. Accessible Original AuthoRITIES. Chatham's "Speeches;" Chatham Correspondence," 4 vols.; Almon's "Anecdotes and Speeches of Chatham;" Walpole's "Memoirs."

[ocr errors]

NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS.

A. ENGLISH POSSESSIONS IN 1714 AND 1763.

1. 1714. North American coast from Nova Scotia to Florida, and inland to the Alleghany Mountains; Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Hudson's Bay India: small settlements in Bengal and Madras, Bombay. West Indies: Jamaica, Barbadoes, Bahamas, Bermudas, St. Christopher, Antigua. Africa: Cape Coast Castle. Europe: Gibraltar and Minorca.

II. 1763. As before, with the additions of (a) Upper and Lower Canada, Labrador, New Brunswick, Cape Breton Isle, Prince Edward's Isle, and all territory north of Louisiana and Mexico and west of the Alleghanies; (6) Bengal, Masulipatam, the Northern Circars, supremacy over Arcot; Grenada St. Vincent's, Dominica, Guadaloupe, Trinidad.

[blocks in formation]

"Without a moment of hesitation, without a twinge of diffidence, he set himself at the head of his countrymen; and they, placing their blood and treasure at his disposal, believing all that he asserted, paying all that he

« AnteriorContinuar »