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satirist does for other ridiculous men nature had done for him. Whatever was absurd about him stood out with grotesque prominence from the rest of the character. He was a living, moving, talking caricature. His gait was a shuffling trot; his utterance a rapid stutter; he was always in a hurry; he was never in time; he abounded in fulsome caresses and in hysterical tears. His oratory resembles that of Justice Shallow. It was nonsense effervescent with animal spirits and impertinence. Of his ignorance many anecdotes remain, some well authenticated, some probably invented at coffee-houses, but all exquisitely characteristic. "Oh-yes-yes-to be sure-Annapolis must be defended -troops must be sent to Annapolis-Pray, where is Annapolis?"-"Cape Breton an island! wonderful-show it me in the map. So it is, sure enough. My dear sir, you always bring us good news. I must go and tell the king that Cape Breton is an island."
And this man was during nearly thirty years secretary of state, and during nearly ten years first lord of the treasury! His large fortune, his strong hereditary connexion, his great parliamentary interest, will not alone explain this extraordinary fact. His success is a signal instance of what may be effected by a man who devotes his whole heart and soul without reserve to one object. He was eaten up by ambition. His love of influence and authority resembled the avarice of the old usurer in the "Fortunes of Nigel." It was so intense a passion that it supplied the place of talents, that it inspired even fatuity with cunning. "Have no money dealings with my father," says Martha to Lord Glenvarloch; "for, dotard as he is, he will make an ass of you." It was as dangerous to have any political connexion with Newcastle as to buy and sell with old Trapbois. He was greedy after power with a greediness all his own. He was jealous of all his colleagues, and even of his own brother. Under the disguise of levity he was false beyond all example of political falsehood. All the able men of his time ridiculed him as a dunce, a driveller, a child who never knew his own mind for an hour together, and he overreached them all round.
If the country had remained at peace, it is not impossible that this man would have continued at the head of affairs, without admitting any other person to a share of his
authority, until the throne was filled with a new prince, who brought with him new maxims of government, new favourites, and a strong will. But the inauspicious commence. ment of the Seven Years' War brought on a crisis to which Newcastle was altogether unequal. After a calm of fifteen years the spirit of the nation was again stirred to its inmost depths. In a few days the whole aspect of the politica world was changed.
But that change is too remarkable an event to be discussed at the end of an article already too long. It is probable that we may, at no remote time, resume the subject.
THACKERAY'S HISTORY OF THE EARL OF
THOUGH several years have elapsed since the publication of this work, it is still, we believe, a new publication to most of our readers. Nor are we surprised at this. The book is large and the style heavy. The information which Mr. Thackeray has obtained from the State Paper Office is new, but much of it is to us very uninteresting. The rest of his narrative is very little better than Gifford's or Tomline's Life of the Second Pitt, and tells us little or nothing that may not be found quite as well told in the "Parliamentary History," the "Annual Register," and other works equally
Almost every mechanical employment, it is said, has a tendency to injure some one or other of the bodily organs of the artisan. Grinders of cutlery die of consumption; weavers are stunted in their growth; and smiths become blear-eyed. In the same manner almost every intellectual employment has a tendency to produce some intellectual malady. Biographers, translators, editors-all, in short, who employ themselves in illustrating the lives or the writings of others, are peculiarly exposed to the Lues Boswelliana, or disease of admiration. But we scarcely remember ever to have seen a patient so far gone in this distemper as Mr. Thackeray. He is not satisfied with forcing us to
* A History of the Right Honourable William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, ontaining his Speeches in Parliament, a considerable portion of his Correspondence when Secretary of State, upon French, Spanish, ana American Affairs, never before published; and an account of the principal Events and Persons of his Time, connected with his Life, Sentiments, ana Administration. By the Rev. FRANCIS THACKERAY, A. M. 2 vols. 4to. London, 1827.
confess that Pitt was a great orator, a vigorous minister, an honourable and high-spirited gentleman. He will have it that all virtues and all accomplishments met in his hero. In spite of gods, men, and columns, Pitt must be a poet-a poet capable of producing a heroic poem of the first order; and we are assured that we ought to find many charms in such lines as these:
Midst all the tumults of the warring sphere,
My light-charged bark may haply glide;
Some gale may waft, some conscious thought shall cheer,
Pitt was in the army for a few months in time of peace. Mr. Thackeray accordingly insists on our confessing that, if the young cornet had remained in the service, he would have been one of the ablest commanders that ever lived. But this is not all. Pitt, it seems, was not merely a great poet in esse, and a great general in posse, but a finished example of moral excellence-the just man made perfect. He was in the right when he attempted to establish an inquisition, and to give bounties for perjury, in order to get Walpole's head. He was in the right when he declared Walpole to have been an excellent minister. He was in the right when, being in opposition, he maintained that no peace ought to be made with Spain, till she should formally renounce the right of search. He was in the right when, being in office, he silently acquiesced in a treaty by which Spain did not ren unce the right of search. When he left the Duke of Newcastle, when he coalesced with the Duke of Newcastle; when he thundered against subsidies, when he lavished subsidies with unexampled profusion; when he execrated the Hanoverian connexion; when he declared that Hanover ought to be as dear to us as Hampshire; he was still invariably speaking the language of a virtuous and enlightened statesman.
The truth is, that there scarcely ever lived a person whc had so little claim to this sort of praise as Pitt. He was undoubtedly a great man. But his was not a complete and well-proportioned greatness. The public life of Hampden, or of Somers, resembles a regular drama, which can be criticised as a whole, and every scene of which is to be viewed in connexion with the main action. The public life of
Pitt, on the other hand, is a rude though striking piece-a piece abounding in incongruities-a piece without any unity of plan, but redeemed by some noble passages, the effect of which is increased by the tameness or extravagance of what precedes and of what follows. His opinions were unfixed. His conduct at some of the most important coniunctures of his life was evidently determined by pride and resentment. He had one fault, which of all human faults is most rarely found in company with truc greatness. He was extremely affected. He was an almost solitary instance of a man of real genius, and of a brave, lofty, and commanding spirit, without simplicity of character. He was an actor in the closet, an actor at Council, an actor in Parliament; and even in private society he could not lay aside his theatrical tones and attitudes. We know that one of the most distinguished of his partisans often complained that he could never obtain admittance to Lord Chatham's room till everything was ready for the representation, till the dresses and properties were all correctly disposed, till the light was thrown with Rembrandt-like effect on the head of the illustrious performer, till the flannels had been arranged with the air of a Grecian drapery, and the crutch placed as gracefully as that of Belisarius or Lear.
Yet, with all his faults and affectations, Pitt had, in a very extraordinary degree, many of the elements of greatness. He had splendid talents, strong passions, quick sensibility, and vehement enthusiasm for the grand and the beautiful. There was something about him, which ennobled tergiversation itself. He often went wrong, very wrong. But to quote the language of Wordsworth,
"He still retained,
'Mid such abasement, what he had received
In an age of low and dirty prostitution-in the age of Doddington and Sandys-it was something to have a man who might, perhaps, under son.e strong excitement, have been tempted to ruin his country, but who never would have stooped to pilfer from her ;-a man whose errors arose, not from a sordid desire of gain, but from a fierce thirst for power, for glory, and for vengeance. History owes to