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quired, and long preserved, the reputation of | ty; and that, though an uncertain friend, he infallible wisdom and invariable success, he was a placable enemy. He voted in favour lived to see a mighty ruin wrought by his own of Lord Strafford, the victim of the Whigs. ungovernable passions;-to see the great par- He did his utmost to save Lord Russell, the ty which he had led, vanquished, and scatter- victim of the Tories. And on the whole, we ed, and trampled down;-to see all his own are inclined to think that his public life, though devilish enginery of lying witnesses, partial far indeed from faultless, has as few great sheriffs, packe 1 juries, unjust judges, blood- stains as that of any politician who took an thirsty mobs, ready to be employed against active part in affairs during the troubled and himself and his most devoted followers;-to disastrous period of ten years which elapsed fly from that proud city whose favour had al- between the fall of Lord Danby and the Revomost raised him to be Mayor of the Palace;-lution. to hide himself in squalid retreats; to cover his gray head with ignominious disguises;-lar observations, and much more to general and he died in hopeless exile, sheltered by a speculation, than that of Shaftesbury. Shaftesstate which he had cruelly injured and insult-bury knew the king, the Council, the Parliaed, from the vengeance of a master whose fa- ment, the city, better than Halifax; but Halifax. vour he had purchased by one series of crimes, would have written a far better treatise on poand forfeited by another. litical science than Shaftesbury. Shaftesbury shone more in consultation, and Halifax in
His mind was much less turned to particu
Halifax had, in common with Shaftesbury, and with almost all the politicians of that age, controversy:-Shaftesbury was more fertile in a very loose morality where the public were expedients, and Halifax in arguments. Noconcerned; but in his case the prevailing in- thing that remains from the pen of Shaftesbury fection was modified by a very peculiar con- will bear a comparison with the political tracts stitution both of heart and head;-by a temper of Halifax. Indeed, very little of the prose of singularly free from gall, and by a refining that age is so well worth reading as the "Chaand skeptical understanding. He changed racter of a Trimmer," and the "Anatomy of an his course as often as Shaftesbury; but he Equivalent." What particularly strikes us in did not change it to the same extent, or in the those works, is the writer's passion for genesame direction. Shaftesbury was the very re- ralization. He was treating of the most excitverse of a trimmer. His disposition led him ing subjects in the most agitated times-he generally to do his utmost to exalt the side was himself placed in the very thick of the which was up, and to depress the side which civil conflict:-yet there is no acrimony, nowas down. His transitions were from extreme thing inflammatory, nothing personal. He preto extreme. While he stayed with a party, he serves an air of cold superiority, a certain went all lengths for it :—when he quitted it, he philosophical serenity, which is perfectly marwent all lengths against it. Halifax was em- vellous, he treats every question as an abstract phatically a trimmer,-a trimmer both by in- question, begins with the widest propositions tellect and by constitution. The name was fixed on him by his contemporaries; and he was so far from being ashamed of it that he assumed it as a badge of honour. He passed from faction to faction. But instead of adopt ing and inflaming the passions of those whom he joined, he tried to diffuse among them something of the spirit of those whom he had just left. While he acted with the Opposition, he was suspected of being a spy of the court; and when he had joined the court, all the Tories were dismayed by his republican doctrines.
He wanted neither arguments nor eloquence to exhibit what was commonly regarded as his wavering policy in the fairest light. He trimmed, he said, as the temperate zone trims between intolerable heat and intolerable cold -as a good government trims between despotism and anarchy-as a pure church trims between the errors of the Papists and those of the Anabaptists. Nor was this defence by any means without weight; for though there is abundant proof that his integrity was not of strength to withstand the temptations by which his cupidity and vanity were sometimes assailed, yet his dislike of extremes, and a forgiving and compassionate temper which seems to have been natural to him, preserved him from all participation in the worst crimes of his time. If both parties accused him of deserting them, both were compelled to admit that they had great obligations to his humaniVOL. III-47
argues those propositions on general grounds and often, when he has brought out his theorem, leaves the reader to make the application, without adding an allusion to particular men or to passing events. This speculative turn of mind rendered him a bad adviser in cases which required celerity. He brought forward, with wonderful readiness and copiousness, arguments, replies to those arguments, rejoinders to those replies, general maxims of policy, and analogous cases from history. But Shaftesbury was the man for a prompt decision. Of the parliamentary eloquence of these celebrated rivals, we can judge only by report; and so judging, we should be inclined to think that, though Shaftesbury was a distinguished speaker, the superiority belonged to Halifax. Indeed the readiness of Halifax in debate, the extent of his knowledge, the ingenuity of his reasoning, the liveliness of his expression, and the silver clearness and sweetness of his voice, seem to have made the strongest impression on his contemporaries. By Dryden he is described as
"Of piercing wit and pregnant thought, Endued by nature and by learning taught To move assemblies."
His oratory is utterly and irretrievably lost to us, like that of Somers, of Bolingbroke, of Charles Townshend-of many others who were accustomed to rise amidst the breathless expectation of senates, and to sit down amidst reiterated bursts of applause. But old men who lived to admire the eloquence of Pultene
in its meridian, and that of Pitt in its splendid | all business. Accordingly there soon arose a dawn, still murmured that they had heard no- small interior cabinet, consisting of Essex, thing like the great speeches of Lord Halifax Sunderland, Halifax, and Temple. For a time on the Exclusion Bill. The power of Shaftes- perfect harmony and confidence subsisted be bury over large masses was unrivalled. Ha- tween the four. But the meetings of the thirty lifax was disqualified by his whole character, were stormy. Sharp retorts passed between moral and intellectual, for the part of a dema- Shaftesbury and Halifax, who led the opposite gogue. It was in small circles, and, above all, parties. In the Council, Halifax generally had in the House of Lords, that his ascendency was the advantage. But it soon became apparent that Shaftesbury still had at his back the maThe disconjority of the House of Commons. tents, which the change of ministry had for a moment quieted, broke forth again with re doubled violence; and the only effect which the late measures appeared to have produced was, that the Lord President, with all the digThe imnity and authority belonging to his high place, stood at the head of the Opposition. peachment of Lord Danby was eagerly prosecuted. The Commons were determined to exclude the Duke of York from the throne. All offers of compromise were rejected. It must not be forgotten, however, that in the midst of the confusion, one inestimable law,-— the only benefit which England has derived from the troubles of that period, but a benefit which may well be set off against a great mass of evil,-the Habeas Corpus Act, was pushed through the Houses, and received the royal assent.
Shaftesbury seems to have troubled himself very little about theories of government. Halifax was, in speculation, a strong republican, and did not conceal it. He often made hereditary monarchy and aristocracy the subjects of his keen pleasantry, while he was fighting the battles of the court, and obtaining for himself step after step in the peerage. In this way he attempted to gratify at once his intellectual vanity and his more vulgar ambition. He shaped his life according to the opinion of the multitude, and indemnified himself by talking according to his own. His colloquial powers were great; his perceptions of the ridiculous exquisitely fine; and he seems to have had the rare art of preserving the reputation of good-breeding and good-nature, while habitually indulging his trong propensity to mockery. Temple wished to put Halifax into the new Council, and to leave out Shaftesbury. The king objected strongly to Halifax, to whom he had taken a great dislike, which is not accounted for, and which did not last long. Temple replied that Halifax was a man em nent both by his station and by his abilities, and would, if excluded, do every thing against the new arrangement, that could be done by eloquence, sarcasm, and intrigue. All who were consulted were of the same mind; and the king yielded, but not till Temple had almost gone on his knees. The point was no sooner settled than his majesty declared that he would have Shaftesbury too. Temple again had recourse to entreaties and expostulation. Charles told him that the enmity of Shaftesbury would be at least as formidable as that of Halifax; and this was true: but Temple might have replied that by giving power to Halifax they gained a friend, and that by giving power to Shaftesbury they only strengthened an euemy. It was vain to argue and protest. The king only laughed and jested at Temple's anger; and Shaftesbury was not only sworn of the Council, but appointed Lord President.
Temple was so bitterly mortified by this step, that he had at one time resolved to have nothing to do with the new administration; and seriously thought of disqualifying himself from sitting in the Council by omitting to take the sacrament. But the urgency of Lady Temple and Lady Giffard induced him to abandon that intention.
The king, finding the Parliament as troublesome as ever, determined to prorogue it; and he did so without even mentioning his intention to the Council by whose advice he had pledged himself, only a month before, to conduct the government. The councillors were generally dissatisfied, and Shaftesbury swore with great vehemence that if he could find out who the secret advisers were he would have their heads.
The Parliament rose: London was deserted; and Temple retired to his villa, whence, on council days, he went to Hampden Court. The post of Secretary was again and again pressed on him by his master, and by his three colleagues of the inner cabinet. Halifax, in particular, threatened laughingly to burn down the house at Sheen. But Temple was immovable. His short experience of English politics had disgusted him; and he felt himself so much oppressed by the responsibility under which he at present lay, that he had no inclination to add to the load.
When the term fixed for the prorogation had nearly expired, it became necessary to consider what course should be taken. The king and his four confidential advisers thought that a new Parliament might be more manageable, and could not possibly be more refractory than that which they now had, and they therefore determined on a dissolution. But when the question was proposed at Council, the majority, jealous, it should seem, of the small directing knot, and unwilling to bear the unpopularity of the measures of government while excluded from all power, joined Shaftesbury, and the members of the cabinet were left alone in the minority. The king, however, had made up his mind, and ordered the Parliament to be instantly dissolved. Temple's Council was now nothing more than an ordinary Privy Council
The Council was organized on the 21st of April, 1679; and on the very next day one of the fundamental principles on which it had been constructed was violated. A secret committee, or, in the modern phrase, a cabinet of nine members was formed. But as this committee included Shaftesbury and Monmouth, it contained within itself the elements of as much faction as would have sufficed to impede
if indeed it were not something less; and though Temple threw the blame of this on the king, on Lord Shaftesbury, on everybody but himself, it is evident that the failure of his plan is to be traced to its own inherent defects. His Council was too large to transact business which required expedition, secrecy, and cordial co-prorogue the new Parliament for a year, and operation. A cabinet was therefore formed requested them not to object; for he had, he within the Council. The cabinet and the ma- said, considered the subject fully, and had jority of the Council differed; and, as was to made up his mind. All who were not in the be expected, the cabinet carried their point. secret were thunderstruck-Temple as much Four votes outweighed six-and-twenty. This as any. Several members rose and entreated being the case, the meetings of the thirty were to be heard against the prorogation. But the not only useless, but positively obnoxious. king silenced them, and declared that his resolution was unalterable. Temple, greatly hurt at the manner in which both himself and the Council had been treated, spoke with great spirit. He would not, he said, disobey the king by objecting to a measure on which his majesty was determined to hear no argument; but he would most earnestly entreat his majesty, if the present Council was incompetent to advise him, to dissolve it and select another; for it was absurd to have councillors who did not counsel, and who were summoned only to
At the ensuing election, Temple was chosen for the University of Cambridge. The only objection that was made to him by the members of that learned body was, that in his little work on Holland he had expressed great approbation of the tolerant policy of the States; and this blemish, however serious, was overlooked in consideration of his high reputation, and of the strong recommendations with which he was furnished by the court.
During the summer he remained at Sheen, and amused himself with rearing melons; leav-be silent witnesses of the acts of others. The ing to the three other members of the inner king listened courteously. But the members cabinet the whole direction of public affairs. of the cabinet resented this reproof highly; Some unexplained cause began, about this time, and from that day Temple was almost as much to alienate them from him. They do not ap- estranged from them as from Shaftesbury. pear to have been made angry by any part of He wished to retire altogether from business. his conduct, or to have disliked him personally. But just at this time, Lord Russell, Lord Ca But they had, we suspect, taken the measure vendish, and some other councillors of the po of his mind, and satisfied themselves that he pular party, waited on the king in a body, dewas not a man for that troubled time, and that clared their strong disapprobation of his meahe would be a mere encumbrance to them: sures, and requested to be excused from atliving themselves for ambition, they despised tending any more at Council. Temple feared his love of ease. Accustomed to deep stakes that if, at this moment, he also were to within the game of political hazard, they despised | draw, he might be supposed to act in concert his piddling play. They looked on his cautious with those decided opponents of the court, and measures with the sort of scorn with which the to have determined on taking a course hostile gamblers at the ordinary, in Sir Walter Scott's to the government. He therefore continued to novel, regarded Nigel's practice of never touch-go occasionally to the board, but he had no ing a card but when he was certain to win. longer any real share in the direction of public He soon found that he was left out of their se- affairs. crets. The king had, about this time, a dangerous attack of illness. The Duke of York, on receiving the news, returned from Holland. The sudden appearance of the detested Popish | successor excited anxiety throughout the country. Temple was greatly amazed and disturbed. He hastened up to London and visited Essex, who professed to be astonished and mortified, but could not disguise a sneering smile. Temple then saw Halifax, who talked to him much about the pleasures of the country, the anxieties of office, and the vanity of all human things, but carefully avoided politics, and when the duke's return was mentioned, only sighed, shook his head, shrugged his shoulders, and lifted up his eyes and hands. In a short time Temple found that his two friends had been quizzing him; and that they had themselves sent for the duke in order that his Royal Highness might, if the king should die, be on the spot to frustrate the designs of Monmouth.
He was soon convinced, by a still stronger proof, that though he had not exactly offended his master, or his colleagues, in the cabinet, he had ceased to enjoy their confidence. The result of the general election had been
decidedly unfa rourable to the government; and Shaftesbury impatiently expected the day when the Houses were to meet. The king, guided by the advice of the inner cabinet, determined on a step of the highest importance. He told the Council that he had resolved to
At length the long term of the prorogation expired. In October, 1680, the Houses met: and the great question of the Exclusion was revived. Few parliamentary contests in our history appear to have called forth a greater display of talent; none certainly ever called forth more violent passions. The whole nation was convulsed by party spirit. The gentlemen of every county, the traders of every town, the boys at every public school, were divided intc exclusionists and abhorrers. The book-stalls were covered with tracts on the sacredness of hereditary right, on the omnipotence of Parlia ment, on the dangers of a disputed succession, and on the dangers of a Popish reign. It was in the midst of this ferment that Temple took his seat, for the first time, in the House of Commons. HIS
The occasion was a very great one. talents, his iong experience of affairs, his un spotted public character, the high posts which he had filled, seemed to mark him out as a man on whom much would depend. He acted like himself. He saw that, if he supported the Ex clusion, he made the king and the heir-pre sumptive his enemies; and that, if he opposed
it, he made himself an object of hatred to the unscrupulous and turbulent Shaftesbury. He neither supported nor opposed it. He quietly absented himself from the House. Nay, he took care, he tells us, never to discuss the question in any society whatever. Lawrence Hyde, afterwards Earl of Rochester, asked him why he did not attend in his place. Temple replied that he acted according to Solomon's advice, neither to oppose the mighty, nor go about Darker times followed. The Oxford Parliato stop the current of a river. The advice, what- ment was dissolved. The Tories were triumphever its value may be, is not to be found either ant. A terrible vengeance was inflicted on the in the canonical or apocryphal writings ascrib-chiefs of the Opposition. Temple learned in his retreat the disastrous fate of several of his old colleagues in Council. Shaftesbury fled to Holland. Russell died on the scaffold. Essex added a yet sadder and more fearful story to the bloody chronicles of the Tower. Monmouth clung in agonies of supplication round the knees of the stern uncle whom he had wronged, and tasted a bitterness worse than that of death,
ed to Solomon. But Temple was much in the habit of talking about books which he had never read; and one of those books, we are afraid, was his Bible. Hyde answered, "You are a wise and a quiet man." And this might be true. But surely such wise and quiet men have no call to be members of Parliament in critical times.
A single session was quite enough for Temple. When the Parliament was dissolved, and another summoned at Oxford, he obtained an audience of the king, and begged to know whether his majesty wished him to continue in Parliament. Charles, who had a singularly quick eye for the weaknesses of all who came near him, had no doubt seen through and through Temple, and rated the parliamentary support of so cool and guarded a friend at its proper value. He answered good-naturedly, but we suspect a little contemptuously, "I doubt, as things stand, your coming into the House will not do much good. I think you may as well let it alone." Sir William accordingly informed his constituents that he should not again apply for their suffrages; and set off for Sheen, resolving never again to meddle with public affairs. He soon found that the king was displeased with him. Charles, indeed, in his usual easy way, protested that he was not angry, not at all. But in a few days he struck Temple's name out of the list of privy councillors. Why this was done Temple declares himself unable to comprehend. But surely it hardly required his long and extensive converse with the world to teach him that there are conjunctures when men think that all who are not with them are against them,--that there are conjunctures when a lukewarm friend, who will not put himself the least out of his way, who will make no exertion, who will run no risk, is more distasteful than an enemy. Charles had hoped that the fair character of Temple would add credit to an unpopular and suspected government. But his majesty soon found that this fair character resembled pieces of furniture which we have seen in the drawing-rooms of very precise old ladies, which are a great deal too white to be used. This exceeding niceness was altogether out of season. Neither party wanted a man who was afraid of taking a part, of incurring abuse, of making enemies. There were probably many good and moderate men who would have hailed the appearance of a respectable mediator. But Temple was not a mediator. He was merely a neutral.
He had about fifteen hundred a year, besides the Mastership of the Rolls in Ireland; an office in which he had succeeded his father, and which was then a mere sinecure for life, requiring no residence. His reputation both as a negotiator and a writer stood high. He resolved to be safe, to enjoy himself, and to let the world take its course; and he kept his re solution.
the bitterness of knowing that he had humbled himself in vain. A tyrant trampled on the liberties and religion of the realm. The national spirit swelled high under the oppression. Disaffection spread even to the strongholds of loyalty,-to the cloisters of Westminster, to the schools of Oxford, to the guardroom of the household troops, to the very hearth and bedchamber of the sovereign. But the troubles which agitated the whole society did not reach the quiet orangery in which Temple loitered away several years without once seeing the smoke of London. He now and then appeared in the circle at Richmond or Windsor. But the only expressions which he is recorded to have used during those perilous times, were that he would be a good subject, but that he had done with politics.
The Revolution came. Temple remained strictly neutral during the short struggle; and then transferred to the new settlement the same languid sort of loyalty which he had felt for his former masters. He paid court to William at Windsor, and William dined with him at Sheen. But in spite of the most pressing solicitations, he refused to become Secretary of State. The refusal evidently proceeded only from his dislike of trouble and danger; and not, as some of his admirers would have us believe, from any scruple of conscience or honour. For he consented that his son should take the office of Secretary at War under the new sovereigns. That unfortunate young man destroyed himself within a week after his ap pointment, from vexation at finding that his advice had led the king into some improper steps with regard to Ireland. He seems to have inherited his father's extreme sensibility to failure; without that singular prudence which kept his father out of all situations in which any serious failure was to be apprebended. The blow fell heavy on the family. They retired in deep dejection to Moor Park, which they now preferred to Sheen, on account of the greater distance from London. In that spot, then very secluded, Temple passed the remainder
At last, however, he had escaped from pub- Mr. Courtenay (vol. ii. p. 160) confounds Moor Park lic life, and found himself at liberty to follow in Surrey, where Temple resided, with the Moor Park in Hertfordshire, which he praises in the essay on Gar his favourite pursuits. His fortune was easy.dening.
of his life. The air agreed with him. The Yet in justice to Temple we must say, that soil was fruitful, and well suited to an experi- there is no reason to think that Swift was more mental farmer and gardener. The grounds unhappy at Moor Park than he would have been were laid out with the angular regularity in a similar situation under any roof in Eng. which Sir William had admired in the flower-land. We think also that the obligations which beds of Haarlem and the Hague. A beautiful the mind of Swift owed to that of Temple were rivulet, flowing from the hills of Surrey, bound- not inconsiderable. Every judicious reader ed the domain. But a straight canal which, must be struck by the peculiarities which disbordered by a terrace, intersected the garden, tinguish Swift's political tracts from all similar was probably more admired by the lovers of works produced by mere men of letters. Let the picturesque in that age. The house was any person compare, for example, the conduct small, but neat and well furnished;-the of the Allies, or the Letter to the October Club, neighbourhood very thinly peopled. Temple with Johnson's False Alarm, or Taxation no had no visiters, except a few friends who were Tyranny, and he will be at once struck by the willing to travel twenty or thirty miles in difference of which we speak. He may possiorder to see him; and now and then a foreigner bly think Johnson a greater man than Swift. whom curiosity brought to have a look at the He may possibly prefer Johnson's style to author of the Triple Alliance. Swift's. But he will at once acknowledge that Johnson writes like a man who has never been out of his study. Swift writes like a man who has passed his whole life in the midst of public business, and to whom the most important affairs of state are as familiar as his weekly bills.
Here, in May, 1694, died Lady Temple. From the time of her marriage we know little of her, except that her letters were always greatly admired, and that she had the honour to correspond constantly with Queen Mary. Lady Giffard, who, as far as appears, had always been on the best terms with her sisterin-law, still continued to live with Sir William.
But there were other inmates of Moor Park to whom a far higher interest belongs. An eccentric, uncouth, disagreeable, young Irishman, who had narrowly escaped plucking at Dublin, attended Sir William as an amanuensis, for twenty pounds a year and his board,dined at the second table, wrote bad verses in praise of his employer, and made love to a very pretty, dark-eyed young girl, who waited on Lady Giffard. Little did Temple imagine that the coarse exterior of his dependant concealed a genius equally suited to politics and to letters; a genius destined to shake great kingdoms, to stir the laughter and the rage of millions, and to leave to posterity memorials which can perish only with the English language. Little did he think that the flirtation in his servants' hall, which he perhaps scarcely deigned to make the subject of a jest, was the beginning of a long unprosperous love, which was to be as widely famed as the passion of Petrarch, or of Abelard. Sir William's secretary was Jonathan Swift-Lady Giffard's waiting-maid was poor Stella.
Swift retained no pleasing recollections of Moor Park. And we may easily suppose a situation like his to have been intolerably painful to a mind haughty, irascible, and conscious of pre-eminent ability. Long after, when he stood in the Court of Requests with a circle of gartered peers round him, or punned and rhymed with cabinet ministers over Secretary St. John's Mount-Pulciano, he remembered, with deep and sore feeling, how miserable he used to be for days together when he suspected that Sir William had taken something ill. He could hardly believe that he, the same Swift who chid the Lord Treasurer, rallied the Captain General, and confronted the pride of the Duke of Buckinghamshire with pride still more inflexible, could be the same being who had passed nights of sleepless anxiety, in musing over a cross look or a testy word of a patron. "Faith," he wrote to Stella, with bitter levity "Sir William spoiled a fine gentleman.”¦
"Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian knot of it he will unloose,
The difference, in short, between a political pamphlet by Johnson, and a political pamphlet by Swift, is as great as the difference between an account of a battle by Doctor Southey and the account of the same battle by Colonel Napier. It is impossible to doubt that the superiority of Swift is to be, in a great measure, attributed to his long and close connection with Temple.
Indeed, remote as the alleys and flower-pots of Moor Park were from the haunts of the busy and the ambitious, Swift had ample opportunities of becoming acquainted with the hidden causes of many great events. William was in the habit of consulting Temple, and occasionally visited him. Of what passed between them very little is known. It is certain, however, that when the Triennial Bill had been carried through the two Houses, his majesty, who was exceedingly unwilling to pass it, sent the Earl of Portland to learn Temple's opinion. Whether Temple thought the bill in itself a good one does not appear; but he clearly saw how imprudent it must be in a prince, situated as William was, to engage in an altercation with his Parliament; and directed Swift to draw up a paper on the subject, which, however, did not convince the king.
The chief amusement of Temple's declining years was literature. After his final retreat from business, he wrote his very agreeable memoirs; corrected and transcribed many of his letters; and published several miscella neous treatises, the best of which, we think, is that on Gardening. The style of his essays is, on the whole, excellent,-almost always pleas ing, and now and then stately and splendid The matter is generally of much less value; as our readers will readily believe when we in form them that Mr. Courtenay—a biograpner,
that is to say, a literary vassal, bound by the immemorial law of his tenure to render ho mage, aids, reliefs, and all other customary