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might be called to act. This was ever perceived to be his distinguishing quality; and it was displayed at every period of his public life, and in all matters from the most trifling to the most important. An example is often cited as illustrating this truly admirable peculiarity. He was always exceedingly fond of music, and in his youth he played on the violoncello. One morning this pastime kept him till too late for parade, he being then a subaltern officer. From that hour he never touched the instrument; to the end of his life his love of music continued throughout as great as before. That he took so little interest in any but vocal music, is very possibly attributable to the same incident. That he early abstained from the use of wine, except in the most moderate degree, is possibly owing to some such accidental circumstance; for it is said, that when a very young man, he gave way, like others, to this pernicious indulgence.
It would be quite superfluous to dwell on the singular brilliancy of his career, and the uninterrupted success which his marvellous circumspection and calm but immovable resolution, secured in the face of such difficulties as no other man ever had to contend with. Rather than recount how many times he was thanked by the Parliament, what honours he received from the Crown and two Houses with the perfectly unanimous approval of the people at times of the fiercest party conflicts, what happy fortune attended him in circumstances where success must of necessity depend half upon chance, quantas ille res domi militiæque quantaque felicitate gesserit; ut ejus semper voluntatibus non modo cives assenserint, socii obtemperarint, hostes obedierint, sed etiam venti tempestatesque obsecundarint*it is more important to consider such peculiarities as are apt to escape the vulgar eye-and of these the most remarkable is the early maturity of his
* Pro Leg. Manil.
genius. When that extraordinary and most instructive publication of his Despatches appeared, respecting which he once with good-humoured pleasantry observed, that he was surprised to find himself one of the most voluminous of authors, and the study of which is known to have converted some very eminent statesmen who had, under the influence of party prejudices, greatly misjudged him, and who now declared at once and in the strongest terms how grievously they had erred -perhaps the most striking of the reflections which arose in the reader's mind was what manifest proofs were everywhere afforded that it was the same man throughout; and that at the outset of his life, when commanding, or when negotiating, with the armies or the native powers of India, and bearing his part in the civil as well as military administration of his brother, there appears precisely the same genius and the same virtue which were afterwards displayed in Europe. The Despatches through the whole of these most interesting volumes are plainly the work of the same person, and record the self-same conduct, both in council and in the field. The identity of the man is complete; the manner, as is the expression respecting the great masters of art, is the same in this great master of the arts of War and of Government; his first manner is as unchanged as would have been that of Raphael, had he produced the Transfiguration when he left the school of Pietro Perugino.
But, as regards state affairs, an important change took place in the circumstances, indeed in the sphere, in which he was called to act so conspicuous a part. In the East, and before the peace of 1815, he had not to deal with popular governments, unless in so far as he felt the obstructions which our parties placed in the way of his military operations. At the close of the war, too, for some years, he was only engaged in negotiations with powers which had no constitutional government; and his great knowledge of every
thing that bore upon our foreign relations, with his extraordinary sagacity, his habitual circumspection, his dispassionate view of every question, his instinctive perception of the point at which to yield or to compromise, his absolute firmness of purpose when all opposition was to be overcome, and all difficulties to be disregarded, rendered his assistance in the complicated proceedings of those days invaluable, independent of the weight resulting from his personal authority with foreign courts; but also his co-operation with the government at home, and even for some time after he had become a member of it, was confined to questions of foreign policy. He found himself in a novel position upon domestic questions, as the minister of a government conducted in Parliament; and with the modesty of his nature, as well as the good sense which suggested the jealousy felt of military rulers, he abstained from either taking a prominent part, or even exerting the whole of his just influence over his colleagues. The great error, to call it by no worse name, of the submission to the royal caprice in 1820, never could have been committed had the Duke been as many months as he was weeks in office, and had the over-ruling influence over the Prince, which he soon obtained, been as freely exerted as it afterwards was in some of the most delicate matters connected with that shameful passage in our history. In all things of little moment, his principles, both of attachment to monarchical government and of submission to lawful authority, made him lean towards the head of the state.
The great measure of 1829 was certainly his work.
"If there is any one eminent criterion which above all the rest distinguishes a wise Government from an administration weak and improvident, it is this-Well to know the best time and manner of yielding what it is impossible to keep."-Burke's Speech on Economical Reform. The application of this wise saying is not confined to one branch of Government, and it deserves to be borne in mind upon the next subject of consideration, the change of policy in 1829.
From his long connexion with the Irish government, which he had served in early life on the Duke of Richmond's staff, and afterwards as Chief Secretary, he had to combat strong prejudices, perhaps opinions not altogether deserving that name. The obstruction of party trammels he felt far less; the sense of a large majority of the people he respected, because he knew it to be grounded upon religious scruples conscientiously entertained; but his opinion was formed upon a deliberate consideration of the whole question; and regarding the time as come for repealing the remaining portion of the penal laws, upon the difficulties which were alike interposed by the Crown, by the Parliament, and by the country, he only looked in order promptly and effectually, we need not add, resolutely, to overcome them. Two circumstances may be mentioned not so generally known as the other parts of the story. He had resigned with most of his colleagues, and had taken leave of the King, who from the declarations of the opposition in the House of Commons, found that he could no more find successors to his confidence, willing to carry their own favourite measures, than in 1820 he could from the same quarter obtain a ministry on the ground of his abandoning the proceedings against his consort.* Aware, too, of the risk which the question ran from any premature disclosure, and how necessary was its being at once announced to Parliament, and adopted before time could be given to revive the spirit of religious animo
* The King had held out to his ministers in 1820 that he would send for their adversaries; but aware how impossible it was to make even the most lukewarm opposers of the Bill agree to help in carrying it, he added that he should give it up; the threat, therefore, was merely penal. In 1829 it was repeated in the like form, and was frustrated by the same announcement on our part. This I had the satisfaction of making on the part of the Whig opposition; Mr. Huskisson made it on behalf of the Canning party. We both acted on information of what had passed at Windsor. (February 5, and especially March 3, 1829.)
sity, the Duke carried on himself the correspondence which was required, and sat in councils to which only some five or six were summoned beside the cabinet itself.
The succeeding year witnessed the only error of the Duke's life, whether military or civil, his declaration against Parliamentary Reform, or rather the manner in which that antagonism was announced. Had he only opposed our great measure without protesting against all improvement whatever in the system, as a thing impossible because of its perfection, it is highly probable that a much less considerable change would have satisfied us, than we were thus induced to propound, from finding that his hostility was so general and uncompromising. We had, indeed, believed till the very opening of the session that a measure of Reform, though of an exceedingly imperfect kind, was in contemplation by the government, if not actually prepared; and we knew that certain of the liberal party were disposed to accept from the Tories an instalment, in the notion of owing nothing to the Whigs, the regular opposition party, on whose chances of power they little relied, and in the expectation of afterwards obtaining further. concessions from their adversaries. But the Duke's declaration extinguished all such hopes, and indeed rendered the proposal of a large measure the more necessary as well as the more feasible. That the cause of Reform gained much by this cannot be doubted; but as the Duke was from deep conviction averse to it, and believed the fate of the monarchy to be involved in making any change whatever in the structure of the Parliament, the course which he took enabling us to effect a change so large that some of its most strenuous supporters have not hesitated to term it a revolution, must be admitted to have deserved the appellation of an extraordinary error, and one betokening an acquaintance as yet imperfect,