It was natural that Pitt and Grenville, j till her fleet, laden with the treasures of heing such as they were, should take very America, should have arrived. different views of the situation of affairs. The existence of the treaty could not be Pitt could see nothing but the trophies; kept a secret from Pitt. He acted as a Grenville could see nothing but the bill. man of his capacity and energy might be Pitt boasted that England was victorious at expected to act. He at once proposed to once in America, in India, and in Germa- | declare war against Spain, and to intercept ny-the umpire of the Continent, the mis- the American fleet. He had determined, tress of the sea. Grenville cast up the sub- it is said, to attack without delay both Hasidies, sighed over the army extraordinaries, vanna and the Philippines. and groaned in spirit to think that the na His wise and resolute counsel was rejecttion had borrowed eight millions in one ed. Bute was foremost in opposing it, and year.

was supported by almost the whole cabiWith a ministry thus divided, it was not net. Some of the ministers doubted, or difficult for Bute to deal. Legge was the first affected to doubt, the correctness of Pitt's who fell. He had given offence to the intelligence; some shrank from the responyoung King in the late reign, by refusing to sibility of advising a course so bold and support a creature of Bute at a Hampshire decided as that which he proposed; some election. He was now not only turned were weary of his ascendency, and were out, but in the closet, when he delivered up glad to be rid of him on any pretext. One his seal of office, was treated with gross in- only of his colleagues agreed with him, his civility.

brother-in-law, Earl Temple. Pitt, who did not love Legge, say this Pitt and Temple resigned their offices. event with indifference. But the danger To Pitt the young King behaved at parting was now fast approaching himself. Charles in the most gracious manner. Pitt, who, the Third of Spain had early conceived a proud and fiery every where else, was aldeadly hatred of England. Twenty years be- ways meek and humble in the closet, was fore, when he was King of the two Sicilies, moved even to tears. The King and the he had been eager to join the coalition against favorite urged him to accept some substanMaria Theresa. But an English fleet had tial mark of royal gratitude. Would be suddenly appeared in the Bay of Naples. like to be appointed governor of Canada? An English captain had landed, had pro- A salary of £5000 a-year should be anceeded to the palace, had laid a watch on nexed to the office. Residence would not the table, and had told his majesty that, be required. It was true that the governor within an hour, a treaty of neutrality must of Canada, as the law then stood, could not be signed, or a bombardment would com- be a member of the House of Commons. mence. The treaty was signed; the squad- But a bill should be brought in authorizing ron sailed out of the bay twenty-four hours Pitt to hold his government together with after it had sailed in; and from that day the a seat in Parliament, and in the preamble ruling passion of the humbled Prince was should be set forth his claims to the gratiaversion to the English name. He was at tude of his country. Pitt answered, with length in a situation in which he might all delicacy, that his anxieties were rather hope to gratify that passion. He had re- for his wife and family than for himself, cently become King of Spain and the In- and that nothing would be so acceptable to dies. He saw, with envy and apprehension, him as a mark of royal goodness which the triumphs of our navy, and the rapid ex- might be beneficial to those who were deartension of our colonial Empire. He was a est to him. The hint was taken. The Bourbon, and sympathized with the distress same gazette which announced the retireof the house from which he sprang. He ment of the secretary of state, announced was a Spaniard; and no Spaniard could also, that, in consideration of his great pubbear to see Gibraltar and Minorca in the lic services, his wife had been created a possession of a foreign power. Impelled peeress in her own right, and a pension of by such feelings, Charles concluded a se- three thousand pounds a-year for three lives cret treaty with France. By this treaty, I had been bestowed on himself. It was known as the Family Compact, the two doubtless thought that the rewards and honpowers bound themselves, not in express ors conferred on the great minister would words, but by the clearest implication, to have a conciliatory effect on the public make war on England in common. Spain mind. Perhaps, too, it was thought that his postponed the declaration of hostilities only popularity, which had paruly arisen from

the contempt which he had always shown of Cadiz, before Bute could be convinced for money, would be damaged by a pension : that the court of Madrid really entertained and indeed a crowd of libels instantly ap- hostile intentions. peared, in which he was accused of having The session of Parliament which followsold his country. Many of his true friends ed Pitt's retirement passed over without thought that he would have best consulted


violent storm. Lord Bute took on the dignity of his character by refusing to himself the most prominent part in the accept any pecuniary reward from the court. House of Lords. He had become secretary Nevertheless, the general opinion of his tal- of state, and indeed prime minister, without ents, virtues, and services, remained unal- having once opened his lips in public extered. Addresses were presented to him cept as an actor. There was, therefore, from several large towns. London showed no small curiosity to know how he would its admiration and affection in a still more acquit himself. Members of the House of marked manner. Soon after his resigna- Commons crowded the bar of the Lords, tion came the Lord Mayor's day. The and covered the steps of the throne. It, King and the royal family dined at Guildhall. was generally expected that the orator Pitt was one of the guests. The young would break down ; but his most malicious sovereign, seated by his bride in his state hearers were forced to own that he had coach, received a remarkable lesson. He made a better figure than they expected. was scarcely noticed. All eyes were fixed They, indeed, ridiculed his action as theaton the fallen minister ; all acclamations rical, and his style as tumid. They were directed to him. The streets, the balconies, especially amused by the long pauses the chimney-tops burst into a roar of de- which, not from hesitation but from affeclight as his chariot passed by. The ladies tation, he made at all the emphatic words, waved their handkerchiefs from the win- and Charles Townsend cried out,

· Mindows. The common people clung to the ute guns!' The general opinion, however, wheels, shook hands with the footmen, and was, that if Bute had been early practised even kissed the horses. Cries of ‘No Bute!' in debate he might have become an im

No Newcastle salmon!' were mingled with pressive speaker. the shouts of 'Pitt for ever!' When Pitt In the Commons, George Grenville bad entered Guildhall, he was welcomed by been intrusted with the lead. The task loud huzzas and clapping of hands, in was not, as yet, a very difficult one: for Pitt which the very magistrates of the city join- did not, think fit to raise the standard of ed. Lord Bute, in the mean time, was opposition. His speeches at this time were hooted and pelted through Cheapside, and distinguished, not only by that eloquence in would, it was thought, have been in some which he excelled all his rivals, but also by danger, if he had not taken the precaution a temperance and a modesty which had of surrounding his carriage with a str ng too often been wanting to his character. body-guard of boxers. Many persons blam- When war was declared against Spain, he ed the conduct of Pitt on this occasion, as justly laid claim to the merit of having foredisrespectful to the King. Indeed, Pitt seen what had at length become manifest himself afterwards owned that he had done to all, but he carefully abstained from arrowrong. He was led into this error, as he gant and acrimonious expressions; and this was afterwards led into more serious errors, abstinence was the more honorable to him, by the influence of his turbulent and mis- because his temper, never very placid, was chievous brother-in-law, Temple.

now severely tried, both by gout and by caThe events which immediately followed lumny. The courtiers had adopted a mode Pitts's retirement raised his fame higher of warfare, which was soon turned with far than ever. War with Spain proved to be, more formidable effect against themselves. as he had predicted, inevitable. News Half the inhabitants of the Grub-Street garcame from the West Indies that Martinique rets paid their milk-scores, and got their had been taken by an expedition which he shirts out of pawn by abusing Pitt. His had sent forth. Havanna fell; and it was German war, his subsidies, his pension, his known that he had planned an attack on wife's peerage, were shin of beef and gin, Havanna. Manilla capitulated : and it was blankets and baskets of small coal, to the believed that he had meditated a blow against starving poetasters of the Fleet. Even in Manilla. The American fleet, which he the House of Commons, he was, on one ochad proposed to intercept, had unloaded casion during this session, assailed with an an immense cargo of bullion in the haven insolence and malice which called forth the

DECEMBER, 1844. 31

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

as well

indignation of all men of all parties; but which he thus threw away, or rather put he endured the outrage with majestic pa- into the hands of his enemies. If Newtience. In his younger days he had been castle had been suffered to play at being but too prompt to retaliate on those who first minister, Bute might securely and attacked him; but now, conscious of his quietly have enjoyed the substance of powgreat services, and of the space which he fill- er. The gradual introduction of Tories ed in the eyes of all mankind, he would not into all the departments of the government stoop to personal squabbles.' This is no might have been effected without any vioseason,' he said, in the debate on the Span- lent clamor, if the chief of the great Whig ish war, ‘for altercation and recrimination. connection had been ostensibly at the head A day has arrived when every Englishman of affairs. This was strongly represented should stand forth for his country. Arm to Bute by Lord Mansfield, a man who may the whole; be one people ; forget every justly be called the father of modern Torything but the public. I set you the exam-ism, of Toryism modified to suit an order ple. Harassed by slanderers, sinking un- of things under which the House of Comder pain and disease, for the publie I forget mons is the most powerful body, in the state. both my wrongs and my infirmities!' On The theories which had dazzled Bute a general review of his life, we are inclined could not impose on the fine intellect of to think that his genius and virtue never Mansfield. The temerity with wbich Bute shone with so pure an effulgence as during provoked the hostility of powerful and deepthe session of 1762.

ly-roc ted interests, was displeasing to MansThe session drew towards the close; and field's cold and timid nature. ExpostulaBute, emboldened by the acquiescence of tion, however, was vain. Bute was impathe Houses, resolved to strike another great tient of advice, drunk with success, eager blow, and to become first minister in name to be, in show as well as in reality, the

as in reality. That coalition, head of the government. He had engaged which a few months before had seemed all in an undertaking, in which a screen was powerful, had been dissolved. The retreat absolutely necessary to his success, and of Pitt had deprived the government of pop- even to his safety. He found an excellent ularity. Newcastle had exulted in the fall screen ready in the very place where it of the illustrious colleague whom he envied was most needed; and he rudely pushed it and dreaded, and had not foreseen that his away. own doom was at hand. He still tried to And now the new system of government flatter himself that he was at the head of the came into full operation. For the first government; but insults heaped on insults at time since the accession of the house of length undeceived him. Places which had Hanover, the Tory party was in the ascend. always been considered as in his gift, were ant. The prime minister himself was a bestowed without any reference to him. His Tory. Lord Egremont, who had succeedexpostulations only called forth significant ed Pitt as secretary of state, was a Tory, hints that it was time for him to retire. and the son of a Tory. Sir Francis DashOne day he pressed on Bute the claims of wood, a man of slender parts, of small espea Whig Prelate to the archbishopric ofrience, and of notoriously immoral characYork. If your grace thinks so highly of ter, was made chancellor of the exchehim,' answered Bute, 'I wonder that you quer, for no reason that could be image did not promote him when you had the ined, except that he was a Tory and thad power.' Still the old man clung with been a Jacobite. The royal household desperate grasp to the wreck. Seldom, in- was filled with men whose favorite toast, deed, have Christian meekness and Chris- a few years before, had been the King tian humility equalled the meekness and over the water. The relative position of humility of his patient and abject ambition. the two great national seats of learning was At length he was forced to understand that suddenly changed. The University of Oxall was over. He quitted that court where ford had long been thė chief seat of dishe had held high office during forty-five affection. In troubled times, the High years, and hid his shame and regret among Street had been lined with bayonets; the the cedars of Claremont. Bute became colleges had been searched by the King's first lord of the treasury.

messengers. Grave doctors were in the The favorite had undoubtedly committed habit of talking very Ciceronian treason in a great error. It is impossible to imagine the theatre; and the under-graduates drank a tool better suited to his purposes than that bumpers to Jacobite toasts, and chanted




483 Jacobite airs. Of four successive Chan The mutual animosity of the Whig and cellors of the University, one had notori- Tory parties had begun to languish after ously been in the Pretender's service; the fall of Walpole, and had seemed to be the other three were fully believed to almost extinct at the close of the reign of be in secret correspondence with the ex- George the Second. It now revived in all iled family. Cambridge had therefore its force. Many Whigs, it is true, were been especially favored by the Hano- still in office. The Duke of Bedford had verian Princes, and had shown herself signed the treaty with France. The Duke grateful for their patronage. George the of Devonshire, though much out of humor, First had enriched her library; George still continued to be Lord-Chamberlain. the Second had contributed munificently Grenville who led the House of Commons, to her senate-house. Bishoprics and dean- and Fox who still enjoyed in silence the eries were showered on her children. Her immense gains of the Pay-Office, had alChancellor was Newcastle, the chief of the ways been regarded as strong Whigs. But Whig aristocracy; her High-Steward was the bulk of the party throughout the counHardwicke, the Whig head of the law. try regarded the new minister with abhorBoth her burgesses had held office under rence. There was, indeed, no want of the Whig ministry. Times had now popular themes for invective against his changed. The University of Cambridge character. He was a favorite ; and favorwas received at St. James's with compara- ites have always been odious in this countive coldness. The answers to the address-try. No mere favorite had been at the es of Oxford were all graciousness and head of the government, since the dagger warmth,

of Felton reached the heart of the Duke of The watchwords of the new government Buckingham. After that event, the most were prerogative and purity. The sove- arbitrary and the most frivolous of the Stureign was no longer to be a puppet in the arts had felt the necessity of confiding the hands of any subject, or of any combina- chief direction of affairs to men who had tion of subjects. "George the Third would given some proof of parliamentary or offinot be forced to take ministers whom he cial talent. Strafford, Falkland, Clarendisliked, as his grandfather had been forced don, Clifford, Shaftesbury, Lauderdale, to take Pitt. George the Third would not Danby, Temple, Halifax, Rochester, Sunbe forced to part with any whom he de- derland, whatever their faults might be, lighted to honor, as his grandfather had were all men of acknowledged ability been forced to part with Carteret. At the They did not owe their eminence merely same time, the system of bribery which had to the favor of the sovereign. On the congrown up during the late reigns was to trary, they owed the favor of the sovereign cease. It was ostentatiously proclaimed to their eminence. Most of them, indeed, that, since the accession of the young had first attracted the notice of the court King, neither constituents nor representa- by the capacity aud vigor which they had tives had been bought with the secret service shown in opposition. The Revolution money. To free Britain from corruption seemed to have for ever secured the state and oligarchical cabals, to detach her from against the domination of a Carr or a Vilcontinental connections, to bring the bloody liers. Now, however, the personal regard and expensive war with France and Spain of the King had at once raised a man who to a close, such were the specious objects had seen nothing of public business, who which Bute professed to procure.

had never opened his lips in Parliament, Some of these objects he attained. Eng. over the heads of a crowd of eminent oraland withdrew, at the cost of a deep stain tors, financiers, diplomatists. From a prion her faith, from her German connections. vate gentleman, this fortunate minion had The war with France and Spain was ter- at once been turned into a secretary of minated by a peace, honorable indeed and state. He had made his maiden speech advantageous to our country, yet less hon- when at the head of the administration. orable and less advantageous than might The vulgar resorted to a simple explanahave been expected from a long and almost tion of the phenomenon, and the coarsest unbroken series of victories, by land and ribaldry against the Princess Mother was sea, in every part of the world. But the scrawled on every wall and in every alley. only effect of Bute's domestic administra This was not all. The spirit of Party, tion was to make faction wilder and corrup-roused by impolitic provocation from its

| long sleep, roused in turn a still fiercer and

tion fouler than ever.

[ocr errors]

more malignant Fury, the spirit of nation- for a libel on the Revolution, was honored
al animosity, The grudge of Whig with a mark of royal approbation, similar
against Tory was mingled with the grudge to that which was bestowed on the author
of Englishman against Scot. The two of the English Dictionary, and of the Van-
sections of the great British people had ity of Human Wishes. It was remarked
not yet been indissolubly blended together. that Adam, a Scotchman, was the court
The events of 1715 and of 1745 had left architect, and that Ramsay, a Scotchman,
painful and enduring traces. The trades was the court painter, and was preferred to
men of Cornhill had been in dread of see- Reynolds. Mallet, a Scotchman of no
ing their tills and warehouses plundered by high literary fame, and of infamous char-
bare-legged mountaineers from the Gram- acter, partook largely of the liberality of
pians. They still recollected that Black the government. John Home, a Scotch-
Friday, when the news came that the re- man, was rewarded for the tragedy of Doug.
bels were at Derby, when all the shops in las, both with a pension and with a sinecure
the city were closed, and when the Bank of place. But, when the author of the Bard,
England began to pay in sixpences. The and of the Elegy in a Country Churchyard,
Scots, on the other hand, remembered, ventured to ask for a Professorship, the
with natural resentment, the severity with emoluments of which he much needed, and
which the insurgents had been chastised, for the duties of which he was, in many
the military outrages, the humiliating laws, respects, better qualified than any man lir-
the heads fixed on Temple Bar, the fires ing, he was refused; and the post was be-
and quartering-blocks on Kennington Com- stowed on the pedagogue under whose care



army, the

The favorite did not suffer the Eng- the favorite's son-in-law, Sir James Lowlish to forget from what part of the island ther, had made such signal proficiency in he came. The

cry of all the south was the graces and in the humane virtues. that the public offices, the

navy, Thus, the first lord of the treasury was were filled with high-cheeked Drummonds detested by many as a ory, by many as a and Erskines, Macdonalds and Macgilli- favorite, and by many as a Scot. All the vrays, who could not talk a Christian hatred which fowed from these various tongue, and some of whom had but lately sources soon mingled, and was directed in begun to wear Christian breeches. All one torrent of obloquy against the treaty the old jokes on hills without trees, girls of peace. The Duke of Bedford, who without stockings, men eating the food of negotiated that treaty, was hooted through horses, pails emptied from the fourteenth the streets. Bute was attacked in his story, were pointed against these lucky ad- chair, and was with difficulty rescued by a venturers. To the honor of the Scots it troop of guards. He could hardly walk must be said, that their prudence and their the streets in safety without disguising pride restrained them from retaliation. himself. A gentleman who died not many Like the princess in the Arabian tale, they years ago used to say, that he once recog, stopped their ears tight, and, unmoved by nized the favorite Earl in the piazza of the shrillest note of abuse, walked on, Covent Garden, muffled in a large coat, without once looking around, straight to- and with a hat and wig drawn down over wards the Golden Fountain.

his brows. His lordship’s established type Bute, who had always been considered with the mob was a jack-boot, a wretched as a man of taste and reading, affected, pun on his Christian name and title

. A from the moment of his elevation, the jack-boot, generally accompanied by a petcharacter of a Mæcenas

. If he expected ticoat, was sometimes fastened on a galto conciliate the public by encouraging lows, and sometimes committed to the literature and art, he was grievously mis- flames. Libels on the court, exceeding in taken. Indeed, none of the objects of his audacity and rancor any that had been munificence, with the single exception of published for many years, now appeared Johnson, can be said to have been well se- daily both in prose and verse.

Wilkes, lected; and the public, not unnaturally, with lively insolence, compared the mo ascribed the selection of Johnson rather to ther of George the Third to the mother of the Doctor's political prejudices than to Edward the Third, and the Scotch minis his literary merits. For a wretched scrib- ter to the gentle Mortimer.

Churchill, bler named Sheffeare, who had nothing in with all the energy of hatred, deplored the common with Johnson except violent Ja- fate of his country, invaded by a new race cobitism, and who had stood in the pillory of savages, more cruel and ravenous than

« VorigeDoorgaan »