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a Mecklenburg quarrel, in which the Elector of Hanover took a very vehement part: he absolutely refused him money too, and was reproached by the King for breach of his promise. His answer was, though respectful, yet firm, and it was sincere. He would not dispute, he said, the assertion of his Majesty; but if he had ever made such a promise, he was wholly unable to recollect it. To the rapacity of the German favourites he offered so firm a resistance that he was the abhorrence and detestation of them all, both men and women. When George was, five years after, bent upon opposing the Czar's attempts in favour of the Duke of Holstein's views upon the Swedish throne, Walpole plainly and firmly explained his views, refused the sum demanded, and so impressed the King with the wisdom of his pacific policy, that he joined him against all his other ministers, both English and German.-With George II. he held the same honest, independent course; insomuch that at one time the King's displeasure rose to the height of making it impossible for Queen Caroline, his steady supporter, to defend, or even name him in her husband's presence. Her only means of assuaging the Royal anger was to ascribe the minister's peaceful, or, as the King termed it, unworthy and feeble policy, to his brother Horace's influence over his mind on all foreign matters. His remonstrance against "the petty Germanic schemes" of that prince were unremitting; and once he had the courage to tell him how much "the welfare of his own dominions and the happiness of Europe depended on his being a great king rather than a considerable elector!" If such a speech was likely to be little palatable to his Electoral Highness, still less pleasing must have been the remark which the same honest minister ventured to make on one of the many occasions when the implacable hatred of the House of Brunswick towards that of Brandenburg broke out. "Will your Majesty engage in an enterprise which must prove both disgraceful and disadvantageous ? Why, Hanover will be no more than a breakfast to the Prussian army.'
The only serious objection ever urged against Sir Robert's foreign policy, his suffering the Emperor (Charles VI.) to encounter much hazard from Spain and France rather than actively aid him in his measures, and
In commemorating the inestimable service which Walpole's pacific policy rendered to his country and the world, strict justice required us to enumerate the obstacles which were offered to his wise and honest course. The other great service which he rendered to his country, was the securing of the Protestant succession ;-invaluable, not merely as excluding the plague of the Romish hierarchy and Romish superstition, but as perpetuating the settlement of the Revolution, by which the right of the people to discard their rulers, and to choose such as will protect, not destroy, their liberties, was recognized and acted upon. Then Walpole had to struggle, not only against the intrigues of the exiled family, sometimes openly, always secretly, favoured by France, but against a majority of the landed interest in England, perhaps in Scotland, certainly in Ireland—a majority in number as well as in value of the whole people. The accession of George I. had added to the weight of the Stuart faction all those whom that prince excluded from his favour, by the policy which he from the first pursued of placing himself at the head of a party. The appearance among us of a foreigner to exercise all the functions of royalty, cooled the loyalty of some natural friends, while it converted many indifferent persons into enemies. Above all, the inroad of a foreign court, foreign mistresses, foreign favourites, all insatiable of English gold as soon as they reached the land of promise, created a degree of discontent, and even of disgust, which mightily increased the prevailing tendency to regret the sway of a native family. In this state of things did Walpole prove himself a match for the extreme difficulties of his position. Through his universal and accurate intelligence, he was constantly aware of every design that was plotting in every corner of Europe, from Stockholm to Naples, by the restless intrigues of the exiled familyaware of them long before they had time for ripening into
thus raising France at Austria's expense, has long since faded from the memory of all reflecting men, as a wholly groundless charge. In fact, although Charles was so incensed at our conduct respecting the guarantee of the Pragmatic Sanction, as at times to be in a state of mental derangement, it is certain that by no other course could war with France, and a general war in Europe, have been avoided.
mischief-aware of them, generally speaking, from the very first movement in any of their most secret councils. There was not, too, a family in the British dominions whose leanings he was not acquainted with, and whose relations, with the Pretender, if they had any, he did not know. This knowledge he used without ever abusing it: he acted upon it for the safety of the State, without ever once bringing it to bear against the parties, or deriving from it the means of injuring, or of annoying, or of humbling his adversaries. The fact is well known, that he was possessed of proofs which would have ruined more than one of them. Shippen, among others, knew he was in his antagonist's power; but that antagonist never prevented him from honestly pursuing the course of his violent and indeed very factious opposition. It must be further observed, in honour of Walpole's wisdom and firmness, that when the Protestant succession was endangered by foreign movements on the part of the Pretender, his all but invincible repugnance to warlike measures gave way to a provident spirit of wary precaution; and he at once, both in his foreign negotiations with Holland and Germany, and in his vigorous preparations for war with France, showed his resolute determination to defend at all hazards the Revolution Settlement, and to punish those who would molest it.
The financial administration of Walpole has been deservedly commended by all but the zealots of a faction. Every one has admitted the great improvements which he introduced into that department. A single measure by which he repealed above a hundred export duties, and nearly forty on imported articles, was only part of his system; which was clearly before his age, and therefore exposed him to the usual clamour raised against original thinkers on state affairs. He held that raw commodities for manufactures, and articles of necessity for consumption, should be relieved from all taxes; that the impost upon land should be reduced as far as possible; that the revenue collected from the customs, being liable to evasions by contraband trade, should be transferred to the excise; and that articles of luxury should thus be more securely and economically made to bear the burdens of the public ex
penditure. Every one knows the clamour which the great measure of the excise, the principal illustration of his doctrine, encountered. His reason for relinquishing it is not discreditable to him. He had carried it by majorities always decreasing; and, when finally the majority was under twenty, he gave it up on ascertaining that the people were so generally set against it, that the aid of troops would be required to collect it. "No revenue," said this constitutional minister, "ought to be levied in this free country that it requires the sabre and the bayonet to collect." A learned and eminently narrow-minded man, hating Walpole for his Revolution principles, has not scrupled to record his own factious folly in the definition of Excise given in his dictionary. Another, a greater, a more factious, and a less honest man, helped, and much less impotently helped, to clamour down the only other part of Walpole's domestic administration which has ever been made the subject of open attack; though doubtless the extinction of Jacobitism was the real, but hidden, object of all these invectives :-I mean Dean Swift, whose promotion in the church he had prevented, upon discovering the most glaring acts of base perfidy on the part of that unprincipled wit; and whose revenge was taken against the provision made, rather by Walpole's predecessors than himself, for supplying a copper coinage to Ireland, upon terms to the trader perfectly fair, and to the country sufficiently advantageous. The Drapier's Letters,' one of his most famous productions, and by far his most popular, the act of his life, he was accustomed to confess, upon which rested his whole Irish popularity-and no name ever retained its estimation in the mind of the Irish people nearly so long-urged his countrymen to reject these halfpence; it being, the very reverend author solemnly asserted, "their first duty to God next to the salvation of their souls ;" and he asserted, impudently asserted, that the coin was only worth a twelfth of its nominal value. Impudently, I repeat, and why ?-Because a careful assay was immediately made at the English mint, by the Master of the Mint, and the result was to ascertain that the standard weight was justly proved. And who was that Master? None other than Sir Isaac Newton. The calumnies and the ribaldry of the Dean prevailed over the
experiments of the illustrious philosopher, and the coinage was withdrawn from circulation.*
The private character of Walpole is familiarly known; and all contemporary writers join in giving the same impression of it. Open, honest, unaffected, abounding in kindness, overflowing with good-humour, generous to profusion, hospitable to a fault, in his manners easy to excess -no wonder that the ruler of the country should have won all hearts, by qualities which would have made a private gentleman the darling of society. With these merits, however, were joined defects or weaknesses, that broke in somewhat upon the respect which severe judges require a great statesman to be compassed with round about. His mirth was somewhat free, and apt to be coarse; he patronized boisterous hilarity in the society which he frequented, and at the merry meetings which were the relaxation of his life. He regarded not the decorum which sober habits sustain; and he followed, in respect of convivial enjoyments, rather the fashion of his own day than of ours. He indulged, too, in gallantry more than beseemed either his station or his years; and he had, like a celebrated contemporary of his, the weakness of affecting to be less strictly virtuous in this respect than he was, and considerably more successful in his pursuit of such recreations. This mixture of honest openness and scorn of hypocrisy, with some little tendency to boast of fortune's favours, made the only trait like an exception to the wholly plain and unaffected nature of the man. Nor is it easy to define with accuracy how much was affectation, and how much ought to be set down to the account of a merely joyous and frank temper. The delight which all persons, of whatever age or cast, took in his society, is admitted by every witness.
Of Sir Robert Walpole's character as an orator, or rather a great master of debate, it is of course at this distance of time, and with so little help from the parliamentary history
* An Irish writer of incoherent mathematical papers in our own day attacks Sir Isaac Newton as a "Saxon," and a "driveller;" and he is not treated in Ireland with universal scorn.
Louis XIV., when some one was recounting his nephew the Duc d'Orléans's (afterwards Regent's) foibles and vices, said, in language much eulogized by St. Simon, who relates the anecdote,-"Encore est-il fanfaron de vices qu'il n'a point."